Split down the middle by the vast Rocky Mountains and jam-packed with national parks and wilderness areas, Colorado is an ideal travel destination for outdoor pursuits in every season. From skiing and whitewater rafting to hiking, biking and camping, outdoor activities are a way of life in the Centennial State. The state’s fun-loving culture attracts visitors looking for a laidback vacation too. After all, Colorado produces more beer than any other state and is one of only two states in the Union that has legalized marijuana for recreational use. Rich in historical and cultural attractions as well as in natural beauty, the best places to visit in Colorado have something special to offer every visitor.
A spectacular scenic drive stretches from the old mining town of Silverton, to the town of Ouray, along what is called the Million Dollar Highway. This is a 46-kilometer two-lane highway that hugs the mountainside in places and looks out over jaw-dropping cliffs and across valleys to inspiring mountain peaks. It is one of the most spectacular mountain drives in Colorado. If you have time, you can extend this into a longer route and drive the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. The Skyway is a full-day trip that you will want to do in good weather, but can be done in winter or summer.
Situated on Vail Square, The Arrabelle sets the standard for luxurious lodging, while its jaw-dropping setting reflects the romantic heritage and ambiance of the European Alps. Here you’ll find architectural touches of Salzburg, Innsbruck and Prague, along with high-end amenities such as personal butler service, ski valet and even grocery delivery. Look forward to heading to the rooftop for laps in the pool and soaking in the whirlpool together while taking in magnificent Rocky Mountain views. You can also relax and unwind together while indulging in treatments at the property’s RockResorts Spa, which offers even more stunning Rockies vistas. Each one of the spacious suites host impressive features like a living room area with a fireplace, ideal for toasting to your new life together while cuddling up next to its warmth.
Visitors come from far reaches to travel America’s highest continuous paved highway. Not for the queasy and open only between Memorial Day — pending the towering walls of winter snow have melted — and Labor Day, two-lane Trail Ridge Road takes explorers across the Continental Divide, past weathered tundra overlooking sweeping valleys and into the clouds at 12,183 feet. The ribbon of a road covers the 46-mile stretch between Estes Park on the park’s east side and the marine town of Grand Lake at the park’s western entrance. There Peak to Peak Highway is another byway near the park, starting in Estes and going through Nederland, Black Hawk and Central City.
Located in in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde is home to the famous cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi people. It is one of the most significant archeological preserve of Native American culture in the US. In the 12th century, the Anasazi start building houses in shallow caves and under rock overhangs along the canyon walls. The most famous of these is Cliff Palace. The Ancient Puebloans constructed it from sandstone bricks, and mortar made from ash, clay and water. It encompassed 150 rooms and 76 open areas. Climatic change and increased population placed the communities under stress and by the late 1270s, the Ancestral Puebloan population began migrating to what is now New Mexico and Arizona.
Dunton Hot Springs is a luxury hideaway with authentic nineteenth century hand-hewn log cabins and a bath house with natural hot springs in Colorado. Dunton attracts outdoor adventure enthusiasts as well as guests who are looking for a quiet place to relax in natural surroundings. The cabins are located in the San Juan Range of the Colorado Rockies 8,700 feet above sea levels. Guests have access to a two story library and an open-air wedding chapel. Visitors can keep in touch with the outside world through high speed wireless internet access and video conferencing.
And when it’s time to book your weekend trip to Colorado, consider a vacation rental as your accommodation. Whether you prefer an urban loft, slopeside home, or mountain chalet, TripAdvisor offers a wide variety of different rentals across the state. You’ll be treated to homey amenities such as a full kitchen, laundry, and even perhaps a fireplace and Jacuzzi for those chilly Colorado nights!
A small city that packs a lot of punch for its size, Vail is one of the most beloved ski destinations in the country, where its not uncommon to spot a celebrity or two. Nestled between the Gore Mountain Range and Sawatch Mountain Range, this narrow alley is home to the largest single-mountain resort in the United States. While most visitors come to Vail for its famous 5,289 acres of ski slopes, in the summer visitors can also explore the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area and Holy Cross Wilderness area to hike the area’s rugged mountainside trails.
All this and more just moments from your dream mountain town home. Or, venture further into Rocky Mountain National Park and nearby high mountain ranges to find scenic drives and trailheads — with wild flower fields, lush basins and snowcapped massifs, world famous hiking, backpacking and mountaineering, pristine trails up bubbling brooks and cascading waterfalls, through chaos canyons to stair-stepping alpine lakes, frozen tarns, imposing glaciers, tantalizing 13’ners and 14,000′ sawtooth ridges — an adventure-filled vacation you’ll always remember.
Nestled along the Fall River, Murphy’s River Lodge is located only two blocks from the historic downtown area of Estes Park. Completely remodeled lodgings include 13 rooms, rooms with private decks, a second property Murphy’s Resort and six fully-furnished vacation home rentals in Estes Park. These single family home rentals include access to River Lodge or Resort amenities including the pools and hot tubs!
The Springs Resort - overlooks the San Juan river and is an oasis of relaxation and romance. The resort features 18 different therapeutic mineral soaking pools, full spa services and deluxe accommodations. They've got romance packages perfect for weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries too. And with Wolf Creek Ski Area just a short distance away, this could be a very romantic Colorado winter vacation.
Gem Lake is high among the rounded granite domes of Lumpy Ridge. Untouched by glaciation, this outcrop of 1.8 billion-year-old granite has been sculpted by wind and chemical erosion into a backbone-like ridge. Pillars, potholes, and balanced rocks are found around the midpoint of the trail, along with views of the Estes Valley and Continental Divide. Potts Puddle trail is accessible from the Black Canyon trail.
Guest rooms at both lodge buildings are tastefully decorated and fully equipped with the necessary amenities for absolute comfort, including private bathrooms with showers and soaking tubs, stone fireplaces, and flat-screen televisions. The inn is situated within walking distance of the town’s restaurants, bars, and clubs, as well as other entertainment and events that happen on a regular basis. The Minturn Inn is located two hours from Denver.
Chapin Pass trail traverses a dense forest to beautiful views of the Chapin Creek valley, proceeding onward above timberline to the western flank of Mount Chapin. Tundra Communities Trail, accessible from Trail Ridge Road, is a hike offering tundra views and alpine wildflowers. Other trails are Tombstone Ridge and Ute Trail, which starts at the tundra and is mostly downhill from Ute Crossing to Upper Beaver Meadows, with one backcountry camping site. Cache La Poudre River trail begins north of Poudre Lake on the west side of the valley near Milner Pass and heads downward toward the Mummy Pass trail junction. Lake Irene is a recreation and picnic area.
Lumpy Ridge Trail leads to Paul Bunyan's Boot at about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from the trailhead, then Gem Lake, and a further 2.2 mi (3.5 km) to Balanced Rock. Black Canyon Trail intersects Cow Creek Trail, forming part of the Gem Lake loop which goes through the old McGregor Ranch valley, passing Lumpy Ridge rock formations, with a loop hike that goes into the McGraw Ranch valley.
Another one of the state’s most popular skiing and snowboarding destinations, Steamboat Springs may be a winter wonderland during the chillier months of the year, but the summer brings an endless landscape of green dotted with brilliant wildflowers. This is when this Wild West town really comes alive, with visitors enjoying fly fishing, inner tube rides and rafting trips on the Yampa River, endless scenic hiking and mountain biking trails, and natural hot springs that are ideal for soothing sore muscles afterward. If you can be here around late June/early July, you can attend the legendary annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park festival which boasts an extensive display of colorful hot air balloons along with some 50 artist vendors, live entertainment, food and drink vendors, and an interactive children’s art area.
Take advantage of The Mining Exchange MX Spa Couples Retreat massage, perfect for newly married couples celebrating wedded bliss, long-time couples enjoying their anniversary, or simply a needed romantic Colorado Springs getaway. This massage also offers special add-on features including a soak in one of their Kohler VibrAcoustic Bubble Massage Chromotherapy Tubs, chocolate covered strawberries and champagne.
Our warm and inviting Beaver Creek accommodations feature premium amenities that will make guests feel right at home, such as our Hyatt Grand Beds® with crisp linens, large flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and rich alpine views. Indulge in one of our luxury suites and enjoy extra perks, like a 500 sq. ft. terrace overlooking the entire valley, a kitchenette, and cozy fireplace for chilly nights.
Loveland Ski Area is near to the hearts and homes of generations of Colorado skiers and riders. Just 53 miles from Denver, Loveland offers uncrowded slopes, remarkable terrain, free close-in parking and a season that lasts from October through May. Loveland also averages 400″ of snow each season – more than any Front Range or Summit County resort. Loveland is a perfect place for those that simply want to ski and ride. This is Colorado. Welcome home.
If you’re interested in visiting the iconic archaeological sites in Mesa Verde National Park, a trip to Durango is in order. This southwestern Colorado city is the closest town to the Puebloan cliff dwellings, and even offers convenient day trips for travelers who are strapped for time. While you’re in town, take the Million Dollar Highway through the San Juan National Forest for some of the best views in the region.
The weather in RMNP is highly variable. To avoid being caught off-guard, pay attention to the weather report (especially afternoon thunderstorms in the summer or heavy snow during the winter). The NPS also warns that wintertime visitors planning on cross-country skiing should be aware of the risks of avalanches, and should consider completing an avalanche training from places like the Colorado Avalanche Information Center before hitting the trails. For more safety tips, consult the NPS website .
True love deserves nothing but the best. Have a romantic getaway at the Broadmoor, where you will experience world-class service and be pampered like royalty! Located not far from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the hotel provides only the best for its guests. To start the day, you can have a swim in one of its three swimming pools. Then, have breakfast in one of the 18 dining sites in the hotel. There are plenty of activities for you to spend the rest of the day, such as golfing, getting a spa treatment, and playing tennis.
Alta Lakes is a pristine and secluded wilderness setting situated 30 minutes outside the charming mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. The Observatory is nestled underneath the 13,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains – it is one of only a few homes in the United States at 11,000+ feet! The backcountry cabin with charming rugged details serves as the perfect romantic mountain getaway for couples.
Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road – which crests at over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds – along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. In a world of superlatives, Rocky is on top!
Telluride offers the quintessential Colorado mountain town experience. Not only are its streets lined with grand Victorian buildings, but it has become a hub for adventurers, athletes, and artists of all types, nestled in an isolated box canyon, far from the chaos of modern life. While there’s no skiing this time of year, visitors can still take a ride on the gondola up the mountain to get a bird’s eye view of the town and the breathtaking surrounding landscape. There’s also the opportunity to hike to the state’s longest free-falling waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, enjoy fantastic fishing, golfing and biking. This little town is big when it comes to festivals too, with the annual Bluegrass Festival bringing a multitude of bluegrass bands to the area to enjoy the sun and the tunes in the outdoor amphitheater.
Every summer, Aspen gets taken over by classic music lovers during the renowned Aspen Music Festival and School with more than 300 concerts. Learn about Aspen from Dean Weiler during one of his popular Aspen Walking Tours and pay respect to John Denver at the John Denver Sanctuary you will pass by while hiking the picturesque Rio Grande Trail. Next read: best Aspen restaurants.
The Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver offers vacationers historic accommodations, a great spa, fitness center and a gourmet restaurant. Each room and suite at the hotel is individually furnished, featuring unique touches such as antique headboards and romantic claw foot tubs. Plush amenities include flat-screen HD TVs and Bose radios with an iPod docking station. Stay in touch while traveling by connecting through complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi on your phone, tablet or laptop. The Corner Room is especially romantic, letting you enjoy the view of the street below through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Thanks to a wide variety of things to do and places to see, Boulder is arguably one of the best weekend getaways in Colorado—if not the whole Western United States! This college town (home to University of Colorado Boulder) has it all: hike the Flatirons or Chautauqua Park in the morning, tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory and Leanin’ Tree gallery in the afternoon, and then head to Pearl Street for shopping, drinking, and dining at night—and get around on the Boulder Creek Path in between. A Boulder bike tour helps you fit in even more sightseeing, perfect for a quick itinerary.
Vail is one of the world’s most popular ski resort towns, but in the warmer months of the year, it draws visitors who come to mountain bike, hike, golf and ride whitewater rapids. Throughout the season, there are an abundance of music and dance festivals, including the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival which features orchestras like the New York Philharmonic that performs at the outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, as well as the Vail International Dance Festival and the Vail Jazz Festival. Just a few of the other highlights include botanical tours through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, rock climbing excursions in Vail Valley and the wealth of shops, bars and eateries in the village of Vail itself.