Your Colorado Summer Vacation Checklist

By Lisa Blake

Colorado is cherished for its high-reaching peaks, rivers and hiking, campgrounds and fishing, national parks and music scene and so much more. It’s hard to narrow bucket lists down here.

Consider this a starting point — there’s much more out there — to build your dream Colorado summer itinerary.

Visit Pikes Peak

Ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and take in panoramic views from the top of this iconic Colorado Springs area mountain. While you’re there, check out nearby Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods.

Catch a Rockies Game

Head to Coors Field to see MLB’s Colorado Rockies. The boys in purple and black are having a great season and the revamped stadium offers all the ballpark classics along with mile-high seating.

Slides and Rides

Hot summer days call for thrill rides and big splashes. Hit Elitch Gardens and Water World in Denver. These two urban attractions are summer classics.

Attend a Festival

Colorado fests revolve around music, food, beer and wine. Don’t miss Crested Butte’s Wildflower Festival, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival in Fort Collins, Telluride Blues and Brews and the Taste of Colorado in Denver.

Hike to Waterfalls

Summer is prime for waterfall viewing. Head to Steamboat Springs’ Fish Creek Falls, Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park or stunning Bridal Veil Falls near Telluride for freefalling wonders.

Whitewater Rafting

Colorado is known for epic river rafting, with guided trips spanning half-day to multi-day, mild to extreme. The Arkansas River, Cache la Poudre River and the Colorado River never disappoint.

Camp Out

Rustic, riverside tent sites, fully equipped RV grounds, private yurts and cabins—Colorado is built for nights under the stars.
Colorado Camping

Go Fish

Cast into ample rivers and lakes with a fly or reel rod and see if you can pull in one of Colorado’s famous rainbow, cutthroat or brown trout.

Hot Springs

Cool summer nights in the mountains are meant for hot springs soaking. Nearly two dozen naturally healing hot springs occur in Colorado, many combining plush lodging and spa treatments with the relaxing pools.

Ride the Rails

Train rides in Leadville, Georgetown, Durango, Cripple Creek and more put riders in the middle of iconic scenic and historic backdrops.

Breweries and Distilleries

Cheers the state’s many talented brewers and distillers on a tour culminating in a tasting or taproom visit.

Adventure Parks

These man-made attractions combine nature and adrenaline-focused activities such as ropes courses, high-flying rides and scenic trams. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park are two favorites.
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

See Live Music Outside 

Summer concerts under the stars are legendary in Colorado. Find everything from country to indie on stages as large as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and as intimate as Planet Bluegrass.

National and State Parks

Colorado’s 42 state parks and 10 national parks and monuments are jam-packed with camping, fishing, hiking, water sports and plenty of room to roam.

Catch a Rodeo

Small town round-ups and nationally recognized competitions make Colorado’s rodeo scene one of the best.

For more Colorado summer vacation ideas, visit

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