Breathtaking mountain peaks, unending countryside beauty, charming small towns, and year-round sunshine: what’s not to love about Colorado?
With so much to see and do, deciding exactly where to visit in the Centennial State can be tricky. There are stretches of beautiful open spaces for the outdoorsy, cultural and historical attractions for the curious, enticing waters for the watersports lovers, and tons of activities for thrill-seekers.
Here are the top Colorado vacation spots.
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Picture by Wolfgang Mororer.
Situated in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen’s is a city that conjures up images of a magical winter wonderland. Its natural beauty coupled with a remote, mountainous terrain makes it the perfect vacation destination. And apart from its magical scenery, its infrastructure is outstanding. No surprise the rich and famous troop here.
Gliding down its world-renowned ski slopes is the top activity during the winter months, but there’re many other things to do when the weather is warmer. Visitors can enjoy leisurely hikes amidst wildflower-filled meadows, fish for trout, or take shuttles to nearby14,000-foot peaks.
After a day of adventure, head to nearby Glenwood Springs to relax at one of the world’s largest therapeutic hot springs. Alternatively, you can check out Aspen’s high-end boutiques, visit its landmark opera house, spend time at the art museum, or stop at one of its trendy restaurants to get a taste of the town’s growing culinary reputation.
Picture by Laura Scudder.
Boulder makes a great base for travelers looking to spend their vacation outdoors. Nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this town is famous for people who are active and healthy and its abundance of outdoor pursuits. To be precise, there are around 45,000 acres of unspoiled outdoor beauty for visitors to explore.
One of the most charming hiking areas is Chautauqua Park, located just ten minutes away from downtown. The views of the iconic flatiron rock formations are mesmerizing, and you’ll love the picturesque gardens and delicious fresh air.
When you aren’t hiking or biking, check out the city’s vibrant restaurant scene. Visit Boulder’s farmer’s market rated as one of the top in the nation and enjoy a healthy farm-to-table meal. The market is also loaded with charming shops and street performers.
Telluride is a small town offering the quintessential mountain town experience. It’s an excellent vacation destination for visitors who are ready to hit the slopes. Surrounded by giant cliffs and boasting more than 1,700 skiable acres, this adventure hub will keep you busy. It mainly attracts skiers thanks to its world-class ski resort and magnificent slopes.
When it isn’t skiing season, this Victorian-era mining town still draws hordes of visitors. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, jump on the free Gondola ride and land at Mountain Village. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view of the town below and its surrounding landscape.
When you aren’t hiking, biking, or rafting, wander the art galleries, shops, restaurants, and museums in the town. The place also hosts the Telluride Film Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Picture by Daniel Mayer.
A vacation to Colorado isn’t complete without visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park. Its majestic mountain ranges, snow-capped peaks, beautiful alpine lakes, and captivating wildlife make it an ideal vacation spot for those who crave outdoor adventures.
Spanning 265,769 acres of pristine wilderness and featuring more than 350 miles of hiking trails, there’s plenty of ground to cover. Just make sure you grab a Colorado trail map before you start exploring. When touring the park, start at the visitor center to discover its history, best hiking routes, and top wildlife viewing spots.
You can then choose to hike a section known for wildflowers that carpet the landscape or pick a trail that leads to glorious waterfalls and glistening lakes. One of the best nearby towns to stay in is Estes Park. It’s a small but famous mountain town tucked away in a lush forest a short distance away from the park.
Picture by Robert Corby.
Colorado Springs lies on the eastern slope of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains at the foot of Pikes Peak, and it’s packed with four-season activities for visitors. One of its most treasured attractions is The Garden of the Gods park, which features red sandstone formations and sweeping mountain views.
Places to explore include Pikes Peak national forests, home to a peak that rises more than 14,000 feet. Royal Gorge is another natural wonder with a 1,200 feet deep gorge carved into the landscape by the raging Arkansas River. This river offers some of America’s best whitewater rafting.
Art and history enthusiasts will also have an incredible experience in Colorado Springs. There is an art gallery, fine arts theatre, a pioneer museum, and an art school. The collections you’ll find range from Indian sand paintings to modern artistic works.
Boasting a rich history, a vibrant downtown, and a phenomenal ski resort, Breckenridge has a lot in store for its guests. One of its main attractions is the skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing terrain. Hitting the slopes in its gorgeous mountain surroundings is a memory that will hang around for a long time.
While most think of Breckenridge as just a ski town, it’s also packed to the brim with four-season adventures. Hike one of the hundreds of trails skirting through wildflower meadows, roaring waterfalls, and pristine creeks. You can also take historic walks on the gold-rush towns or learn how to pan for gold at an old mine. For the daring, explore the town’s ghostly past.
Along Breckenridge’s Main Street, you’ll come across art galleries, stores, bars, and restaurants that have stood there for more than a century. They are an exciting place to explore local cuisine, stop for a refreshing drink, or shop for unique souvenirs.
Durango is a southwestern mountain town with a lovely setting and unique culture. Its warm-weather adventures include hiking the nearby San Juan Mountains, paddling, kayaking, and whitewater rafting at the Animas River.
When you aren’t hiking, mountain biking, or playing in the waterways, stroll the historic downtown area. It’s lined with well-restored, grand old buildings that operate as hotels, restaurants, and breweries.
For a more thrilling experience, hop aboard the historic Durango & Silverton Railroad. The train weaves through mountain passes, deep canyons, charming valleys, and rushing rivers before arriving at an old mining town high up in the mountains.
Enjoy the Beauty of Colorado
The Centennial State is a wonderland that appeals to all kinds of visitors, from nature lovers, culture hounds, thrill-seekers, history buffs to small-town enthusiasts. If you’re having a hard time deciding where to vacation, start with the above vacation spots.