Story originally appeared on Fidelity.
Colorado is best known for its snowy slopes, ski-in and ski-out resorts as well as majestic Rocky Mountain vistas. But there’s a lot to experience even when the snow melts. The pristine alpine location makes for a fantastic vacation destination, especially in the summer. No matter what type of vacation you’d like to plan, it’s possible in Colorado. We’ve researched everything from the best mountain view golf course to a roundup of Colorado summer festivals. Find out the top things to do and places to stay for a phenomenal Colorado summer vacation.
Things To Do With The Family
If you are planning a Colorado vacation with the kids in tow, you can rest assured there will be plenty of ways to have fun throughout the state.
Best Family Summer Vacations in Colorado
Just three hours outside of Denver, kids and parents will rejoice in the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center . Here families can learn about Snowmastodon, mammoths, and over forty species of small vertebrate animals at one of the best high-elevation fossil sites in the world.
Also in Snowmass, the Snowmass Rodeo gives kids a chance to use all that energy in a fun way. Check out the kids only events like the Calf Scramble and Mutton Bustin’ where kids can interact with the animals.
In the scenic town of Pagosa Springs, families can enjoy the unforgettable hot air balloon festival in September. Colorfest typically sells out fast, so make sure to buy your tickets early. Enjoy a lovely breakfast served by local vendors while dozens of balloons ascend into the sky. With plenty to do, the best family summer vacations in Colorado are a breeze for parents making plans.
Best Colorado Summer Festivals
Colorado’s summer makes for a fantastic time to enjoy outdoor festivals. Luckily, the locals know this! There are dozens of Colorado summer festivals throughout the state, but these are only a few highlights.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival
The Telluride Bluegrass Festival takes place every June in Telluride, a scenic former-mining town founded in the Victorian period. The festival features bands from all over southwestern Colorado at over 8,500 feet in elevation.
Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival
Just outside of Colorado Springs, the Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival shakes things up every year in early June. Feast on local food and wine while live local music played by the Flatirons Jazz Orchestra and the Tenderfoot Bluegrass ensemble.
Colorado Brewers Festival
Near the end of June, visitors can head to the town of Fort Collins to indulge in the Colorado Brewers Festival. The festival offers a chance to experience different local breweries each day make sure to check which days are ideal for you.
Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails and Nature
Of course, the main draw of Colorado summer vacations is fantastic opportunities to explore the great outdoors. The summer proves to be an excellent time to explore the Rocky Mountain hiking trails and nature throughout the state.
Fish Creek Falls
Though there are near endless options for hikes and camping locations, a few rise above the rest. Fish Creek Falls , near Steamboat Springs, is a 280-foot tall waterfall that sits at the end of a super short, quarter-mile hike. Hikers also have the option to continue their hike for another couple of miles and see a second waterfall.
Ice Lake Basin
A tougher but no less scenic hike sits in the western part of the state at Ice Lake Basin . The steep eight-mile hike leads to a series of pristine, alpine lakes.
Some parks offer moonlight hikes, which can be an exciting change of scenery. Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers full moon hikes along the Rocky Mountain peaks. Hikers can discover the nocturnal activities of owls and other critters. These are group-only, guided events so plan ahead! They fill up quickly.
Tee Time At A Mountain View Golf Course
Golfing might not be the first vacation activity you think of when it comes to Colorado, but teeing off in the Centennial state can be a real treat. Who wouldn’t love a sweeping landscape view while putting on the green? We’ve rounded up the best Colorado mountain golf courses.
Telluride Ski & Golf Resort
Telluride Ski & Golf Resort might be the most beautiful place you’ll ever play. Featuring an 18-hole, par-70 course, this fairway is tucked away behind 13,000 and 14,000 mountain peaks. It’s a natural beauty as well as challenging course landscapes make for a great game.
Fossil Trace Golf Club
If you’re looking for a course that is entirely unique, challenging and scenic, head to Fossil Trace Golf Club . Make your way between walls of rock formations within the course that are as old as the dinosaurs that once roamed between holes 11 and 15. After a great game, make sure to view the triceratops footprints and other fossils adjacent to the course’s 12th green. There’s, even more, to learn about in the clubhouse.
In a landlocked state, you might be surprised to learn that boating in Colorado is a popular outdoor pastime. Coloradans don’t let anything get in the way of great outdoors fun. Several reservoirs within the state are favorite boating and sailing spots for locals.
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Head to Blue Mesa Reservoir for whatever your interest may be. Boating, fishing or both are perfect activities for Blue Mesa. Tourists can rent a boat or kayaks, and there is also a boat launch as well as a gift shop for all of your water-activity related needs. Fishers will love the gold medal and wild trout waters.
If you’re missing the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean, Colorado summer vacations can even take you to the beach too (sort of). Boyd Lake has a nice sandy beach for laying out in the sun. There is something for everyone here, with ski boats, jet skis and the more mellow sailboats for a relaxing afternoon on the water.
Where to Stay in Colorado in Summer
To make your Colorado summer vacation even better, there are plenty of resorts that offer more activities, excellent accommodations as well as convenience.
If you’re looking to stay in Breckenridge, Grand Colorado Peak 8 is a great option, especially when you’re vacationing with kids. During the summer months, Peak 8 turns into Epic Discovery, a small theme park with big fun. Go on the Gold Runner Alpine Coaster, Alpine SuperSlide, Sky Fly trampoline or take part in other activities like gemstone painting and the Mineshaft Maze.
Hyatt Residence Club owners can enjoy a more low-key resort, the Hyatt Grand Aspen . Luxuriously appointed one, two and three-bedroom condos offer comfortable and elegant accommodations. Head to the outdoor pool to swim with a view of the mountain landscape, or relax in one of the two outdoor hot tubs.