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Colorado Vacation Ideas

Vacation Planning Ideas

Colorado Vacation Planning Ideas

You're ready to do some vacation planning. You could use a break, and you've seen pictures of Colorado's majestic landscapes reaching 2 miles into the American sky. This is someplace you'd like to see and experience. It would take a few lifetimes to see, enjoy, experience, feel, and reach what Colorado offers. So, we're here to help you with your Colorado vacation planning and the best way to maximize your time while in Colorado.

Create Your Vacation Plan

With so much going on in Colorado, it’s best to identify your vacation passion and the passions of the group or other person you are traveling with. Here is a list of considerations to help you get the best Colorado vacation experience.

Summer Vacation Planning vacation planning scenic train

What summer Colorado activities are a priority for you and your group? Start by identifying the primary activity and prioritizing from there.

    • Perhaps your bucket list includes visiting an adventure park, a scenic train ride, a hot springs visit, zip lining, getting a hike or two in, and rafting.  Wow, that’s ambitious but it can be done. Once again, staying in a region like the Royal Gorge area can serve this up. If you look closely, you will find companies that even sell combinations of experiences in one day.

    • Suppose you're planning a backpacking trip. You would want to select a region, such as Rocky Moutain National Park, and stay there.

    • If day hiking is more your thing, you will get the most hiking in by exploring a region rather than trying to travel all over the state, but some travel is realistic.

Are you planning to tour the state? Will you need lodging, or will you be camping along the way?

    • Summer tourist season in Colorado is popular. If you’re planning on camping, whether in a tent or RV, you will need to plan ahead. Reservations at public campgrounds are necessary, especially during “peak season.”

Identify what “other” activities are important.

Check in with your travel companions and find out what activities they have in mind. You might find mutual interests or complete diversity. Knowing this will help you map your route and where to find lodging. Below are some activity suggestions.

Winter Vacation Planning

Will your winter vacation be at a ski resort?snowboarder vacation planning

    • There are 25 ski areas in Colorado and 32 Nordic Centers to choose from. First, understand your group's expectations. Then, explore the resort options for what they offer, the type of terrain, the expense, apres-ski activities, and more.

    • There are other resort options besides ski resort towns. Many neighboring mountain towns have excellent lodging and dining choices and even more alternative things to do. Consider more out-of-the-way natural hot spring resorts.

Are all members of your group skiers, or are there snowboarders too?

    • Suppose you’re vacationing with a mix of skiers, snowboarders, and ability level. It’s best to closely examine the resorts with terrain parks and a mix of blue and expert-level ski runs. The larger resorts will have the most options.

Does your group want to travel to different resort destinations or stay at a specific resort?

    • If you want to check out different resorts, staying in the Central part of Colorado is the most efficient option, as all these resorts can be reached by car in a few hours. Or, skip the winter driving around, stay at a designated resort, and focus on your fun there.

    • Download the Summit Stage app and ride the FREE Summit Stage bus in Summit County. This bus services the entire area of Summit County, including Silverthorne, Dillon, Keystone, A-Basin, Breck Transit Center, Frisco, and all places in between.

Is vacationing on a budget a concern?

    • If budget-mindedness is part of your vacation, try planning your trip during the “off-season” or not “peak-season” times. Check out these every day, more affordable resorts. In either case, you should be able to find deals on lift tickets and lodging.

Are off-slope activities appealing, such as shopping, dining, spas, events, or alternative activities?

    • If your group needs alternative activities, the bigger resorts will have the most varied selection. However, popular attractions like winter scenic train rides, natural hot springs, and guided tours such as snowmobiling or sleigh rides are not necessarily at the resort. Check out “other attractions” first and then decide on the resort to stay at.

Colorado's Endless List of Vacation Options

Colorado offers an almost endless list of vacation options. The first step is to understand if you want to tour around or stay in one place. Either has much to offer. However, touring the state will require more vacation planning. Please use our free vacation planning itinerary tool. This will help you keep track of the sights and experiences you don’t want to miss. Plus, organize your lodging and travel routes along the way.

Staying put at that special place in Colorado is also a good way to spend your vacation. With so much to explore in any given region of the State, it might make more sense for you just to find lodging in a favorite place and base all your activities on that location. In either case, feel free to request some of our free visitor guides, and use our free itinerary tool to help organize all the activities, keep the dates and times handy, and make your vacation more relaxing.

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Lake George Co

Lake George

Visit Historic Lake George, Colorado

The first Colorado Midland passenger train from Colorado Springs reached the settlement of “Rocky” in 1887. A manufacturer from Boston named George Frost constructed a dam at the mouth of Granite Canyon (now Elevenmile Canyon) and platted the nearby town of Lake George.

County Road 96 now follows the old Colorado Midland Railway grade through Elevenmile Canyon where locomotive residue can still be seen around railroad tunnels that were blasted through solid granite. Along the way are public campgrounds, picnic areas, bird watching pullouts, rock climbing routes and world-class trout fishing.

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About Fairplay

Discover Fairplay, Colorado

The discovery of gold in 1859 brought thousands of prospectors to Fairplay, once South Park. Latecomers pushed west and established mining camps in the area called South Park. After several prosperous years, Fairplay became the county seat in 1867.

If your curious about how Fairplay relates to South Park and the modern-day sitcom cartoon South Park.
There are some interesting historical relationships and parallels that help shed light on the topic. 

Today, Fairplay is the center of commerce for Park County, with a thriving business and vibrant local arts community. The many lodging, dining, and retail options reflect the unique character of this quaint mountain town.  Surrounded by majestic peaks and pastoral beauty, Fairplay calls out to artists of all media, many of whom have made Fairplay home.

meadow view Fairplay Colorado

Fairplay Year-Round

Seasonal Events

True to its quaint mountain character, a variety of fun and colorful events are hosted, such as the signature Burro Days race, the Bead & Fiber Show, the free summer concert series and the one-of-a-kind South Park Arts Celebration. This four-day open-air celebration of nature, history, and art, capitalizes on the unusual abundance of scenic and historic sites that make South Park, including Fairplay, so captivating.

Winter

At almost 10,000′, Fairplay is an outdoor enthusiast paradise in the winter. Embraced by the Mosquito Mountain Range and minutes to world-class skiing, boarders and skiers alike can explore pristine backcountry or groomed resort trails. Diverse and interesting ice climbing terrain welcomes beginners and challenges experts. Additionally, snowmobiling and snowshoeing provide travel access to remote back-bowls and rolling terrain. Hunters thrive on a nearly year-round season, as do anglers, with fly-fishing in summer and ice-fishing in winter. Named the “Fly-Fishing Capital of Colorado,” anglers can expect to experience a thrill a minute. Fairplay is home to the award-winning Fairplay Beach, where one can cast a line, pan for gold, and even camp overnight – all less than a minute from Main Street and historic Front Street, where dining, wine-tasting, local art galleries, South Park City Museum and shopping entice.

Spring – Summer

South Park City sign

Summer comes alive with bright wildflowers, lush meadows, and snow-capped mountain peaks. Outdoor adventures abound, from mellow strolls through the forest to challenging climbs—beginner trails to extreme single-track calls out to mountain bikers of all levels. Rock climbers and hikers can summit a myriad of 14,000-foot peaks. Take a horseback ride, ATV or off-road vehicle along 100-year-old mining trails. In Town, a custom skate park puts even a seasoned skater to the test.

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Alma

The settlement of Alma sprang up in 1873 when the Boston and Colorado Smelting Company built an operation there. At 10,578 feet, Alma currently is the highest incorporated town in the U.S. Listed on the State Register of Historic Properties, the 1925 Alma School is a rare local example of Mission-style buildings. It now serves as Alma’s Town Hall and is open to the public during regular business hours.

Also listed on the State Register, the 1936 Alma Community Church is a well-preserved stone church of the Rustic style. The 1871 Clesson Cabin was one of the first permanent residences in Alma. Contact Town Hall (719-836-2712) to arrange group tours of the town’s historic buildings.

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Loveland Colorado

Visit Loveland, Colorado

Just 50 minutes north of Denver lies the charming foothills city of Loveland, famous among outdoor enthusiasts and for its ski area. Loveland is perfect base camp for adventures in the majestic Rocky Mountains backcountry and also as gateway to the recreation town of Estes Park and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park

Postcard-perfect Loveland is also a great place for families, with activities and events tailored to all ages and interests. Known for its lively arts and shopping opportunities and for its many breweries and distilleries, Loveland also holds a very sweet distinction among American cities: Each year more than 200,000 people from around the globe send Valentines to the Loveland Chamber of Commerce to be remailed with a special return address and logo from the nation’s Sweetheart City.

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Snowy Colorado Mountains

Colorado Destinations

Unique Colorado Destination

Colorado’s cities and towns are as diverse and beautiful as its landscape.

The culturally rich city of Denver and the quiet mountain escape of Aspen are all attractive Colorado destinations. Colorado has a vacation destination for everyone. Are the high mountain peaks calling your name? Get to know Colorado and plan your trip to check off everything on your bucket list. Rafting, skiing, hiking, art shows, concerts, mountain biking, cycling, dining, fishing, mountain retreats, exploring nature, and much more. Coloradoinfo.com has divided Colorado into 3 regions. Each of these regions represents unique characteristics and proximity.

View our interactive regional map of Colorado to take a closer look and find the locations you want to visit.
Order a free Colorado vacation planning guide to help you find the perfect vacation spot!

Colorado destinations - Gunnison National Forest

The Central Mountains

The heart of the Rocky Mountains spans the state north to south, and is home to the highest elevated cities and towns in the country, which feature over two dozen ski resorts. This region is Colorado’s gem for world-famous ski areas, mountain lifestyle, and activities.

The Rockies Playground, recently named by the Colorado Tourism Office, is the most central region of the Rocky Mountains and includes some of Colorado’s most famous resort towns. Due to their close proximity and popularity as ski resorts, the name was chosen to appeal to potential tourists. This region’s towns include Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Glenwood Springs, Dillon and Leadville. However, significant resort towns lie north and south of the playground region, including Steamboat Springs in north-central Colorado. Resort towns in south-central Colorado include: Crested Butte, Monarch, Del Norte, Powderhorn and Wolf Creek. The Central Mountains region captures almost all of the mountain towns north to south, aside from Telluride and Durango.

The Central Mountains region includes several spectacular national forests.national forest in Colorado

All of which include amazing mountain scenery, wildlife, trail systems, nearby camping and towns. From north to south:

The Front Range & Plains

A way of referring to how the plains of Colorado meet the eastern slope of the continental divide.

If you want to watch a Broadway show or enjoy a museum exhibit, you will have the most options in the Front Range. The urban cities of Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs are well known for their performing arts, museums, and cultural festivals.

Don’t Miss Front Range Colorado Destination

The Front Range region includes notable attractions such as Estes Park, the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Pikes Peak, a whole family mountain attraction, lies just west of Colorado Springs. Featuring a scenic train, rafting, horseback riding and much more.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, an amazing music venue in the foothills west of Denver.

Colorado’s Western Slope

A general way of referring to Northwest and Southwest Colorado. 

The Western Slope is a much more remote experience. Grand Junction is the largest city in the area and is often referred to as a city with a small-town feel. This high plains region is rich in agriculture, canyonlands, and warmer weather. Offering up a distinctively unique variety of Colorado destinations.

Northwest Colorado, or The Great West

Features of this area are the national parks such as Dinosaur National Park, the remote Brown’s Park, and the wild horses of the Sand Wash Basin. This area is popular with outdoor enthusiasts offering a variety of camping, RV parks, off-road vehicles, horseback riding, rafting, cycling and exploring in general. While the mountains are melting down, northwest Colorado is in full bloom.

Southwest Colorado, or The Mountain Mesas

Another very diverse region of Colorado with a mix of Colorado destinations and ski resort towns such as Telluride, and Durango. Complemented by Montrose, a very agricultural community but also rich with adventure. In the very southwest corner of Colorado is Cortez. Surrounded by big attractions such as  Mesa Verde National Park, Monument Valley . Cortez is also the gateway to the Four Corners and the Canyonlands of Utah

 

 

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Activities & Attractions

Fun Activities in Colorado

Colorado is a favorite place because of its various fun activities. The list is long and includes suitable things to do for groups, and individuals, high-action fun, relaxing, or mentally stimulating activities. Here are some favorites for you to consider:

Fun Group Activities

Request FREE Visitor Guides or receive email about your favorite activities.

fun activities

Relaxing Activities 

  • Health & Wellness Spas – some of the best spas with a complete selection of services are easily found in resort towns.
  • Natural Hot Springs – are found throughout the state. Some are complete with spa services, lodging, and more. Others are more out of the way and completely natural.
  • Swimming Pools – found throughout Colorado.
  • Marijuana Dispensaries – really take the edge off and enjoy your vacation time.
  • Nature Walks, Sightseeing, Wildflowers – enjoy a stroll through the many public parks, gardens, and neighborhood paths.

Interactive Fun Activities

  • Shopping – small town shops, farmers markets, and modern shopping/activity centers.
  • Music & Concerts – various venues exist, such as outdoor concerts, local pubs, and concert halls.
  • Arcades – mostly found on the Front Range.
  • Events – holiday events or events for almost any reason imaginable. Resort towns go all out, as do many of the bigger metropolitan areas.
  • Museum Tours – plenty of museums in Colorado to explore and learn about Western heritage.

Sporting Fun Activities

Choose Your Colorado Fun Activities

Whether you’re looking for a physically challenging activity like skiing, hiking, or whitewater rafting or a more laid-back activity like soaking in hot springs, riding a historic railroad, or visiting a Colorado museum, Colorado will not disappoint. These are just some suggestions; Colorado has even more fun activities, seek, and you shall find.

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Royal Gorge Region

Welcome to the Royal Gorge Region

The Royal Gorge Region, is a great vacation choice among many beautiful and fun Colorado destinations. Base your adventure in Cañon City, the “Climate Capital of Colorado”! Where it is warmer, dryer and sunnier than Colorado Springs and Denver. Close and convenient, but without the crowds and traffic that can overwhelm other popular destinations.

Request a FREE visitors guide or email about the Royal Gorge Region.

AttractionsRoyal Gorge Region

Families and visitors of all ages will find there are loads of options to enjoy the area’s amazing scenery or participate in some real Colorado fun,

Many visitors consider the Royal Gorge and the Arkansas River the finest natural assets. America’s top destination for whitewater rafting and anglers relish the fact that it is the country’s longest stretch of Gold Medal Trout water. The trail networks offer something for every ability level, whether on foot or a bicycle. Up for a challenge? Check out mountain bike trails or world-class rock climbing. Try the exhilarating experience of ziplining across the gorge, plus classic and extreme courses above treetops and canyons.

Downtown Cañon City

Don’t forget to visit the region’s museums, history and heritage sites. Downtown Cañon City and Florence are both hidden gems offering quaint, locally-owned shops, farmer’s markets, restaurants, breweries, and annual festivals. Learn about dinosaurs that roamed this land 150 million years ago through outstanding indoor and outdoor exhibits and interpretive trails. Check out the Royal Gorge Dinosaur experience just north of Canon City. They have all kinds of fun for the kids including interactive exhibits.

Plan more than a day to experience all the Royal Gorge Region has to offer. The recommendation is to spend at least a night, or more. Options include hotels, motels, cabins, B&B’s, full-service and forest campgrounds, or even glamping! Enjoy your visit! Cañon City looks forward to welcoming you to the attractions and activities that await in the Royal Gorge Region. Safe travels.

Fremont County Tourism Council

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Vallecito

Enjoy Vallecito, Colorado

Sheltered in a secluded mountain valley 8,000 feet above sea level, Vallecito Lake is one of the largest and most beautiful bodies of water in Colorado. Vallecito, Spanish for “Little Valley”, and ancestral home to many of Colorado’s Ute Indians, became the name of the sparkling waters of the lake it surrounded. Located in the Southwestern part of the state just 18 miles from Durango, Vallecito provides a perfect base for enjoying the Four Corners area and its many wonders.

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Family-Friendly

Family Friendly Colorado Vacations

Find fun for kids, grown-ups, and everyone in between.  No matter where you travel within Colorado, there is always plenty of things for kids to do.  The wide selection of activities range from natural attractions and wildlife to amusement parks and museums.

If nature rankes highly on your family vacation, Colorado’s natural beauty will really impress as well as keep the kids entertained.  Explore the Historic Fairy Caves in Glenwood Springs, hike Rocky Mountain National Park and admire the wildlife in Estes Park, or enjoy the Childeren’s Playland at the beautiful Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Cañon City.

Looking to include a little enducation on your trip? Fort Collins Museum of Discovery offers many programs for kids of all ages including musical performances and hands-on science labs, or visit Keystone Science School and learn about Colorado waterways.

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