Travel in Colorado is a rewarding experience. The Centennial State has a love-affair with Mother Nature, and it’s easy to see why. From wide open plains to crystal rivers and snow-covered peaks, Colorado is a outdoor adventure lover’s paradise.

What is the Best Part of Colorado to Visit?

That depends on what you like to do. If you like being outdoors, then head into the high country. If you like dining out, concerts and fun festivals, our small towns and cities are well worth exploring, from the hip capital of Denver to towns like Telluride, tucked deep in mountain canyons.

Square dancing in Crested Butte. Photo by Denise Chambers/Miles
Square dancing in Crested Butte. Photo by Denise Chambers/Miles

And if you want to learn more about our ranching roots and western past, towns in the high plains of eastern Colorado or our high-country dude ranches offer an authentic western experience.

What to Do in Colorado

Whether you’re planning a vacation to Colorado or are a new resident getting to know the lay of the land, here’s our list of top things to do in Colorado. (And we should know, this is our home!)

Colorado is a top ski destination. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles
Colorado is a top ski destination. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles
  1. Go Skiing in Colorado

Colorado is home to some of the most renowned ski and snowboard resorts in the world. Family-friendly slopes, cozy lodging, and charming mountain towns make this a must-do on your trip. There are a total of 26 ski resorts across Colorado. However, Breckenridge, Aspen and Vail are among the top-rated resorts to visit. A day on the slopes costs an average of $100-$200 a day,  which includes access to the entire mountain, gear rental and food.

Getting ready for a One Republic concert at Red Rocks in Colorado. Photo by Janna Graber
Getting ready for a One Republic concert at Red Rocks in Colorado. Photo by Janna Graber
  1. Attend a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater

Imagine being in one of the most-stunning outdoor concert venues, under the stars and surrounded by thousands of smiling music fans, all while listening to your favorite artist. This is what one can experience at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO. Red Rocks welcomes singers, bands and DJs from every single genre imaginable, which draws people from all cultures.

Hiking in the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles
Hiking in the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles
  1. Go Hiking in Great Sand Dunes National Park

Located in the southern part of Colorado, approximately a four-hour drive from Denver, the Great Sand Dunes National Park houses the tallest dunes in North America. It has become a popular destination for travelers because of the unique and unexpected environment of sandy, rolling hills in Colorado. Camping, sledding and riding sand dune buggies — and, yes, even skiing — are a few of the most popular activities. The sand dunes are certainly an Instagram-able destination.

  1. Adventure in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Black Canyon has a way of making you feel small, enhancing the surreal feeling of the experience in nature it brings. Ginormous cliffs, reaching 2,700 feet above the rhythmic flow of the Gunnison River, are sure to leave a long-lasting impression on anyone who visits the Black Canyon. Visitors are encouraged to camp here and enjoy nights under the crystal-clear stars, free from any city lights.

  1. Take in a Game at Empower Field at Mile High

Located in the heart of Denver, Empower Field at Mile High is a multi-purpose outdoor stadium and the home of the three-time national Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos football team. Join Mile High Stadium on game day and feel the rumble of thousands of passionate fans gathered together. Concerts, foodie events and other exciting happenings also take place here.

Hiking is a popular activity in Colorado. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles

  1. Go Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park

Although Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s most popular national parks, its extensive size — 265,769 acres — allows millions of people a year to visit without ever feeling overcrowded. Rocky Mountain National Park is the quintessential place for someone looking to explore natural wonders and find a new sense of self. Situated on the continental divide, the park boasts extremely diverse ecosystems and wildlife. The best place to stay during your Rocky Mountain adventure is the town of Estes Park, which is a fun destination all its own.

Dining at Union Station in Denver. Photo by Janna Graber
Dining at Union Station in Denver. Photo by Janna Graber
  1. Enjoy Dinner and Drinks at Union Station

Union Station, lying in the heart of LoDo, or lower downtown Denver, has a way of pulling you in with its rustic aesthetic. While this is a 100+year-old train station, its vibrant vibes are popular with crowds of all age ranges. Union Station is dotted with small restaurants, bars and boutiques that make for an intimate experience. Amtrak’s California Zephyr pulls into Denver on its route from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area.

  1. Visit the Animals at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

If you are looking for a more family-friendly day of fun, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is the ideal venture. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is more interactive than an average zoo. Here, visitors can feed the giraffes, ride on a chairlift overlooking Cheyenne Mountain and take educational tours of the zoo, among other activities. There are also many shows that are put on by the zookeepers, where guests can get up close and personal with the animals.

Soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Photo by Jack Affleck
Soaking at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Photo by Jack Affleck
  1. Soak in the Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs

Hot springs in Colorado are a time-honored tradition. One top hot springs destination in Colorado is Glenwood Springs, where you can channel your inner Zen with a soak in one of its many hot springs. These warm waters, open year round, are sure to provide soothing reliefs to any aches and pains. Glenwood is located along the Colorado River in a beautiful canyon about 120 miles from Denver. The town offers a variety of restaurants, plus shops for some retail therapy as well.

10. Tube Down the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs

Hot spring waters feed the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, a popular mountain town also known for its healing springs. During the summer, you can rent inner tubes and take a leisurely float down the river, which winds through town past riverfront restaurants and fishing and kayaking shops, then through rich pastures and ranch land.  After your river adventure, take in a summer rodeo or hike to Fish Creek Falls.

 

Author Bio: Joslyn Allen is an editorial assistant at Go World Travel Magazine and a Colorado native.