Whether you live in the Centennial State or are planning a visit, we’ve collected the best of unique and unusual things to do in Colorado. We’ve searched high and low for the most interesting sights, experiences, and family activities in Colorado.
From the Front Range to the mountains and the Western Slope, we have all the best things to put on your Colorado itinerary.
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- Plan Your Itinerary: A Map of All the Best Things to Do in Colorado
- Unique Things to Do in Colorado: The Front Range
- Fun and Unique Things to Do in Southern Colorado
- Sights & Activities on Colorado's Western Slope and the Rocky Mountains
Plan Your Itinerary: A Map of All the Best Things to Do in Colorado
Use this map to plan your trip and find the unique things to do in Colorado you want to hit during your visit. Click on any of the icons to get more information on the site or activity. Many of the points have links to open in Google Maps to see reviews and save them to your itinerary.
Unique Things to Do in Colorado: The Front Range
The area of Colorado that sits east of the Rockies is the Front Range. This includes Denver and neighboring cities to the north, including Boulder, Estes Park, and Fort Collins. It’s also an ideal area to acclimate to the elevation before heading into the mountains.
Sights and Activities From Denver to Golden
- Red Rocks Amphitheater
Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison is a popular destination for concerts. The massive red rocks create natural acoustics (plus those incredible views!). Visitors also flock here for morning Yoga on the Rocks, movies under the stars, the Red Rocks Hall of Fame, and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Note that access may be limited during events.
18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison
- Visit Buffalo Bill’s Grave
The grave of William F. Cody is just a short drive from Denver. Buffalo Bill, named for his buffalo hunting skills, is said to have chosen the spot for his burial because he was so in love with the views from Lookout Mountain. There is also a gift shop, restaurant, and museum onsite.
987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Road, Golden
- Hang Out with Dinosaurs
Get up close and personal with the dinosaurs that once roamed nearby. Friends of Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado, was initially founded to preserve fossils discovered in the surrounding area. Expansion efforts since then have allowed visitors to see dinosaur tracks, explore the dig sites, and learn about the history of dinosaurs.
16831 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison
Dinosaur enthusiasts looking for things to do in Colorado might have their eye on Dinosaur National Monument for their visit. That stop is best planned for a trip to Utah, however. Even though the park spans both states, there are no dinosaur fossils on the Colorado side.
- Tiny Town
This 1/6-scale replica of a Western town has roots that go back more than 100 years. George Turner started Turnerville in 1915 as a hobby. Over the years, Turnerville became Tiny Town, changing hands and undergoing several restorations. Today, Tiny Town is run by a non-profit, which cares for more than 90 buildings, and operates three trains for visitors to ride.
6249 S Turkey Creek Rd, Morrison
- Ice Skate on a Frozen Lake in Evergreen
Why it’s unique: The popular spot for ice skating, surrounded by beautiful scenery, is the world’s largest Zamboni-groomed outdoor ice rink. Evergreen Lake is large enough to accommodate sectioned-off skating, ice hockey, and ice fishing areas. Come back in the summer months for SUPs and kayaks on the lake.
29612 Upper Bear Creek Road, Evergreen
- Street Mural Walking Tour
Why to put this on your list of things to do in Colorado: Denver is filled with fantastic art museums, but finding street murals hidden (often in plain sight) is an excellent way to experience local art while exploring every corner of Denver’s neighborhoods. One to try: River North Art District, using this map of 90 murals in the RiNo neighborhood.
- Play Throughout Clear Creek Canyon
We often head towards Golden on any one of Colorado’s bluebird-sky days to a playground of outdoor activities. Clear Creek Canyon Park has over 4,000 acres of fun for every interest.
- enjoy the paved paths for biking, walking, and running
- the canyon walls are dotted with hundreds of designated rock-climbing spots
- the upper Welch Ditch Trail is a unique area for hiking, as well as access to additional climbing access
- kayak or tube in Clear Creek, with multiple water access points along the creek
- the creek is a popular spot for fishing (primarily brown trout, with some rainbow trout)
- horseback riding trails are found in some areas of the park
- the age-old Colorado tradition of gold prospecting is also allowed in the park
- Windy Saddle Park, adjacent to Clear Creek Canyon Park, has a launch spot for paragliding and hang gliding
The Plains to Peak Trail throughout the park is a work in progress. Completed segments include the lower 1.75-mile Gateway Segment and 4-mile Up Canyon Segment (the connecting portion should be completed in 2025).
32088 US-6, Golden
Another bike path to try: Denver’s Cherry Creek Trail bike path is a 40-mile route (one-way) accessible from multiple points throughout the Mile High City, from Confluence Park, through Cherry Creek State Park, to Franktown, CO.
Other spots for tubing: Boulder Creek is a fun place to go tubing, especially on the annual Tube to Work Day!
- Stand At Exactly a Mile High
It’s easy to find the spot that marks exactly 5,280 ft above sea level on the step into the Colorado State Capitol building. While there, step inside the Capitol building for a self-guided tour (free guided tours are also available). You may even catch the House or the Senate in action.
200 E Colfax Ave, Denver
- Learn About the Unsinkable Molly Brown
What makes it unique: The Denver home of Molly Brown is now a museum where you can learn more about the colorful life of the “Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a nickname earned from her heroic acts during and after the tragedy.
1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver
- The Dikeou Collection: The “Hidden” Art Gallery
It’s common to walk right past this unassuming art collection in Denver. The Dikeou Collection offers free tours (reservations are required), artist talks, and family events and is open to the public.
1615 California St, Suite 515, Denver
- Tour Some of Denver’s Iconic Spots
Why it’s unique: It’s one thing to go to a game, buy the local candy, or see a coin with a Denver stamp, but seeing it behind the scenes is way more interesting!
- Hammonds Candy (5735 Washington St) for a free tour of the candy-making facility
- Denver Mint (320 West Colfax Avenue) is a unique opportunity to see behind the scenes of making coins
- Mile High Stadium (1701 Bryant St) and Coors Field (2001 Blake St)
- Climb to the Last Manned Fire Lookout
Devil’s Head Lookout Tower in Pike National Forest is the last staffed fire tower operated by the U.S. Forest Service, accessed by a moderate, 3-mile hike. Billy Ellis does the daily climb to the lookout five months out of the year to watch for and report any sign of fires burning in the area.
>> Update: After 35 years on the job, Billy Ellis announced his retirement in 2019.
- Brave the Road at THE Highest Elevation
Reaching an elevation of 14,130 ft above sea level, Mount Evans is the highest paved road in the US (narrowly beating the peak elevation of Pikes Peak Highway). Through hairpin curves and steep drop-offs, this drive is not for the faint of heart, but those who drive Mount Evans Scenic Byway are rewarded with the most stunning Colorado views.
There is no cost to drive to Mount Evans, but reservations are required.
Clear Creek County, CO
- SAME: The Restaurant That Supports the Community
While dining on fresh, local produce for lunch at the SAME (So All May Eat) Cafe, you also support the community. Everyone is welcome: those unable to pay may trade 30 minutes of their time working in the kitchen in exchange for their meal. Not only does this restaurant do good for the community, but the food is also delicious!
2023 E Colfax Ave, Denver
- The Legendary Casa Bonita
While the cliff divers steal the show, there are many other activities throughout Casa Bonita, the restaurant featured in several episodes of South Park. So many that purchasing a meal is required to enter. Any review you read will make it very clear that the food isn’t great, but the delicious house-made sopaipillas with local honey make up for it.
6715 W Colfax Ave, Lakewood
>> Update: Colorado natives and creators of the show South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are the proud new owners of Casa Bonita, which is currently undergoing renovations.
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- The Eddy Taproom & Hotel
One of the newest spots in Golden, the Eddy Taproom & Hotel is quintessential Colorado. The taproom is stocked with local Colorado beer and serves dishes made with local ingredients.
The decor in the rooms is also locally-inspired, including the family-friendly Haystack Junior Suite that sleeps 8. The Eddy completes the experience by hosting hikes, climbs, tours, and more.
1640 8th St, Golden
- the Curtis Denver
A hotel the kids will never forget: the Curtis Denver (part of Hilton brands) is filled with themed rooms. Select from pop culture themes like Star Trek and “fun and games.” Of course, DoubleTree’s famous cookies are always a hit with the kids!
The central location makes it easy to get to many of Denver’s highlights during your stay.
1405 Curtis Street, Denver
Boulder and Nederland
- Camp at High Elevations
Colorado has a very active camping community, with all the natural landscapes and sweeping views across the state. One favorite spot is Pawnee Campground at the Brainard Lake Recreation Area because of its proximity to town. Spend the day hiking, paddling on Brainard Lake, and catching glimpses of moose in their natural habitat.
Brainard Lake Rd, Ward
- Carousel of Happiness
The Carousel of Happiness in Nederland, Colorado (home to the infamous Frozen Dead Guy), is filled with 57 hand-carved animals (visitors can ride 35 of the animals). Nederland resident Scott Harrison began creating animals carved from wood as a therapeutic hobby after his time in the Vietnam War. Take a ride on the carousel for just $3.
20 Lakeview Dr, Nederland
- Tour Local Boulder Businesses
The city of Boulder is home to Celestial Seasonings (4600 Sleepytime Dr) and Leanin’ Tree greeting cards (6055 Longbow Dr). Both are in the Gunbarrel area and offer free tours (with free product samples at the end). Locally owned and operated Glacier Ice Cream (4760 Baseline Rd) offers tours for groups of 15 or more for a fee.
>> Update: Celestial Seasonings has not resumed tours or reopened the gift shop since the pandemic. We hope to see them open soon!
- Taste Local Brews in Boulder
Boulder has one of the highest per capita breweries in the US, making it worth a stop at any of the several (mostly kid-friendly!) breweries in Boulder. Don’t worry if you’re planning things to do in Colorado with kids. Most breweries welcome the kids with board games, outdoor space to run and play, and kid-friendly beverages. Favorites include Sanitas Brewing (3550 Frontier Ave) and Avery Brewing (4910 Nautilus Ct N).
- Run the Bolder Boulder
Boulder’s famous 10k race makes the list of unique things to do in Colorado because it’s a race like no other. The course is lined with bands, slip-n-slides, and neighbors handing out Doritos, marshmallows, and even beer. Join 50,000 other runners for one of the top 10K races in the country: the Bolder Boulder. The race ends at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field with an event honoring those who have served our country.
13th St, Boulder
- Experience the Theater on the Trails
Theater and a hike?? Yes! Hike the trails at Chautauqua with the actors, who make stops along the way to act out scenes of classic plays. Buy tickets early – this tops the list of things to do in Boulder, and shows sell out quickly. See the schedule and buy tickets at http://www.artsintheopen.org.
Baseline Rd & 9th St, Boulder
- National Center for Atmospheric Research
Learn how art connects with science and how the atmosphere affects our daily lives at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The research center, nestled in the Flatirons of Boulder, offers free guided tours during the week – and an interactive cloud maker.
1850 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder
- Swim in Mineral Springs
Eldorado Springs Resort & Pool is a one-of-a-kind swimming experience nestled in Eldorado Canyon near Boulder. The artisan springs that feed the pool give the 76-degree water a bright blue hue.
294 Artesian Dr, Eldorado Springs
- The Butterfly Pavilion
A school field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion was the highlight of the year when our daughter was in second grade. The first stand-alone invertebrate zoo in the world has hands-on learning opportunities, 1,600 butterflies, and is home to Rosie the Tarantula. Check the Butterfly Pavilion website for daily programming, information on special exhibits, and events.
6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster
- Feast on Farm-Grown Local Produce
Fresh farm produce is abundant in Colorado, with many local farms offering dinners featuring locally grown ingredients. Three Leaf Farms (445 S 112th St, Lafayette) is one of many farms offering farm dinners in summer. The farm also supplies produce to its 6 Boulder-area restaurants, including the Chautauqua Dining Hall (900 Baseline Rd, Boulder) and Dushanbe Tea House (1770 13th St, Boulder). See their website for the schedule and to reserve your spot at the table: threeleaffarm.com/farm-dinners/
Another one to try: Black Cat Farms in Longmont (9889 N 51st St, Longmont).
- Adventure Lodge
Just two miles from downtown Boulder, A-Lodge offers an escape to nature with all the comforts. Just two miles from downtown Boulder, Adventure Lodge offers an escape to nature with all the comforts. Guests can choose from the budget-friendly hostel, traditional hotel rooms, a cabin, or a tent site for camping (the only place in Boulder to pitch a tent for the night legally).
During your stay, socialize in the Community Room, test your strength and balance at the Slackline park, take a dip in the hot tub and pool, or relax by Fourmile Creek.
91 Fourmile Canyon Dr, Boulder
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From Estes Park to Steamboat Springs
- Explore Sculpture Parks
Artistic talent runs through many Colorado communities, and we always think of Loveland for its sculpture gardens. Kids can run, play, and climb on the sculptures around the park. Stop by Benson Sculpture Garden & Park (2908 Aspen Drive, Loveland), Chapungu Sculpture Park (Sky Pond Dr, Loveland), or McWhinney-Hahn Sculpture Park (5400 Stone Creek Cir, Loveland).
- Catch a Concert in the Canyon
The Mishawaka concert venue is hidden in the mountains and sits on the Cache la Poudre River. Catch one of the live events or stop by the restaurant for lunch or dinner with beautiful canyon views and the calming sound of the river. In the summer months, watch whitewater rafters rushing by.
13714 Poudre Canyon Rd, Bellvue
- Hang Out on Top of Kruger Rock
Colorado vacations aren’t complete without a hike or two and are a perfect addition to family activities in Colorado itineraries.
Reach sweeping views of Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains while perched upon Kruger Rock. This moderate hike brings you to the summit, less than 2 miles from the trailhead. The trail, located within the Hermit Park Open Space, is the perfect hike when camping at Hermit’s Hollow Campground, also located in the park.
17 Hermit Park Rd, Estes Park
- The Chapel on the Rock
St. Catherine of Siena Chapel still stands tall after surviving floods and fires. Perched upon a rock in Allenspark, just outside Estes Park, visitors can explore the area and inside the church. No masses are held at the church anymore, but the building is open to visitors.
10758 CO-7, Allenspark
- Watch a Movie in a Historic Theatre
Movie and history buffs will love visiting the country’s oldest operating movie theater. Located right in the heart of Estes Park, catch new releases at The Historic Park Theater. The theater also hosts live events.
130 Moraine Ave, Estes Park
- Historic and Haunted: The Stanley Hotel
No visit to Estes Park is complete without a stop – better yet, a stay – at The Stanley Hotel. This historic hotel stands tall against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and overlooks the town of Estes Park. Spend an afternoon touring the grounds of the notoriously haunted hotel on your own or a guided tour.
333 E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park
- Drive Above the Treeline
Colorado is home to the highest paved road in the National Park system. Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park reaches altitudes as high as 12,183 ft over the 48-mile stretch that connects Grand Lake and Estes Park. While you’re there, check out these amazing hikes in Rocky Mountain NP.
Rocky Mountain National Park
- Drive a Snow Course
Winter driving can be a nerve-wracking experience, but this course in Steamboat Springs makes it fun on the ice and snow course at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School. Whether a beginner or a well-seasoned winter driver, there is a lesson for all skill levels.
2300 Mt Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs
- Stay in Comfort in the Rockies
YMCA of the Rockies has two locations, one right near the Estes Park entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park Center) and one near the Grand Lake entrance (Snow Mountain Ranch). The cabins, yurts, and houses offer an inexpensive lodging option for groups or families spending a few days of adventure in the National Park.
2515 Tunnel Road, Estes Park; 1101 Co Rd 53, Granby
- Bird & Jim for Sunset and Cocktails
Bird & Jim quickly became our favorite place to grab dinner in Estes Park. Not only do they craft delicious cocktails and dishes featuring locally-sourced ingredients, but it’s also the perfect spot to catch spectacular sunsets over the Rocky Mountains. The oranges, pinks, and yellow are so incredible that we’ve seen the restaurant staff sneaking off to the parking lot to snap a pic.
915 Moraine Ave, Estes Park
Fort Collins and Greely
- See The Inspiration For Disneyland’s Main St USA
Downtown Fort Collins is undoubtedly home to one of the most iconic main streets. Some say that Walt Disney modeled Main Street USA in Disneyland after downtown Fort Collins. Highlighted buildings include the Firehouse Book Store, the Old Linden Hotel, and the city hall. Spend the afternoon shopping, dining, and playing a tune on one of the pianos around town.
19 Old Town Square, Fort Collins
- See How Flowers are Studied
In Fort Collins, researchers at Colorado State University study how flowers grow in the Colorado climate, helping Coloradans know what to grow, when, and where. The 3-acre park, with 20,000 square feet of flower beds, is at the Flower Trial Gardens in Fort Collins and is open to the public.
1401 Remington St, Fort Collins
- Dearfield Ghost Town
Colorado has its fair share of ghost towns, but the one near Greely, CO, is more unique than others. The area was settled by Oliver Toussaint Jackson, who sought to create a community for African Americans. After years of agricultural success, the Great Depression hit, and residents found better opportunities elsewhere.
Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, only three buildings remain in Dearfield. The Black American West Museum started restoration efforts in the late ’90s.
42468 US-34, Orchard
- Fort Collins Brewery Scene
Boulder isn’t the only city in Colorado with a thriving brewery scene. The northern part of the state is home to more family-friendly breweries. And Fort Collins is home to 21 of them, including New Belgium and Odell Brewing. Looking for something more mainstream? Budweiser is also in Fort Collins and is the home location of the Budweiser Clydesdales.
New Belgium Brewing (500 Linden St)
Odell Brewing (800 East Lincoln Ave)
Budweiser (2351 Busch Drive)
- German-Russian Cuisine: Krautburgers
The state’s northeastern region has a rich and unique history of Germans living in Russia who emigrated to Colorado (read more about Colorado’s German-Russian community here). Krautburgers are one of the traditional foods they brought with them, and it’s still a popular menu item in the area today—one to try: Schwartz’s Krautburger Kitchen.
820 39th St, Evans
- Stay in a Historic Cabin from 1871
Sleep in this backcountry oasis in Red Feather Lakes is full of history but just modern enough to make your stay comfortable. The cabin, built in 1871, was restored in 2007 with all the necessary amenities, plus acres to explore—lots of fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching on a 600-acre working ranch.
Red Feather Lakes, CO
Fun and Unique Things to Do in Southern Colorado
South central and eastern Colorado is filled with fun family adventures. Here are a few of our favorites.
Things to Do in Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Area
The Garden of the Gods often gets all the attention, but there are more interesting things to do in Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas.
- The United States Air Force Academy
Spend an afternoon on the campus of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Free, guided tours are available to the public. There are also hiking trails, the Visitor Center with a short film about the Academy, and a gift shop. The crowning feature, however, is the magnificent Cadet Chapel, which is also open to the public. During the academic year, you may also get the chance to observe the cadet wing marching to lunch.
2346 Academy Dr, US Air Force Academy
>> Update: Cadet Chapel is undergoing a multi-year renovation to repair leaks within the building, with plans to reopen in 2027.
- Glen Eyrie Castle: The Estate of a Railroad Tycoon
The Glen Eyrie Castle and Estate was once the home of Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War general and railroad tycoon. In the warmer months, stay for Summer Tea at the castle. Want to extend the experience? Glen Eyrie Castle also offers overnight accommodations.
3820 North 30th Street, Colorado Springs
- Explore Underground at Cave of the Winds
The family-friendly Discovery Tour at Cave of the Winds is appropriate for all ages. Other tours are available for older guests. Learn about the history and geology of the caves in the 45-60 minute guided tour. There is a restaurant, gift shop, and other attractions onsite, making spending the entire day here easy.
100 Cave of the Winds Rd, Manitou Springs
- Test Your Strength and Endurance on the Manitou Incline
Ready for the workout of a lifetime? The Manitou Incline is not for the faint of heart and is a challenge for even the most athletic. These stairs rise 1,400 ft in elevation over just 0.9 miles. The descent is along the Barr Trail (also accessible from the Incline’s halfway point for those not wanting to go to the top).
7 Hydro St, Manitou Springs
- US Olympic & Paralympic Museum
The US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center has always been one of the many highlights of Colorado Springs. Now, the newly opened museum is the perfect complement to experiencing the US teams in a whole new way. See everything from the science and technology behind an athlete’s training to the collection of medals earned by the US teams.
200 S Sierra Madre St, Colorado Springs
- Meet the Cripple Creek Donkeys
Imagine strolling downtown and walking by a donkey or two. While most might find this an unusual sight, it’s not uncommon in Cripple Creek, where donkeys are free to roam around town. You can feed and pet (but please don’t ride) the animals. Learn more about when and where to find the Cripple Creek donkeys at http://www.cripplecreektoday.com/cripple-creek-donkeys/
Bennett Ave, Cripple Creek
- Walk Across the Highest Suspension Bridge in America
Head to Cañon City, Colorado, for a day full of adventure, including a walk across the highest suspension bridge in the US. The Royal Gorge Bridge spans nearly a quarter-mile over the Royal Gorge — almost 1,000 feet over the gorge! Make your return trip over the narrow canyon in the gondola.
4218 County Road 3A, Cañon City
- Soak in the Hot Springs
Soak in the warm waters of the many hot springs resorts across the state. We are partial to the incredible views from Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort (15870 Co Rd 162, Nathrop). Hot springs found around Steamboat Springs, Pagosa Springs, and Glenwood Springs also have excellent spots for soaking:
- Strawberry Hot Springs (44200 County Road 36, Steamboat Springs)
- Overlook Hot Springs (432 Pagosa St, Pagosa Springs)
- Glenwood Springs (415 East 6th Street, Glenwood Springs)
There are also several locations hidden in the solitude of the backcountry. If visiting with the kids, be aware that many, like Rainbow Hot Springs in Pagosa Springs, are clothing-optional!
- Dine in an Airplane – an Actual Airplane
Get a table in a Boeing KC-97 at Solo’s Restaurant, aka the Airplane Restaurant. Part restaurant, part unofficial aviation museum, kids (or anyone, really) with a fascination with airplanes can’t miss this Colorado Springs restaurant.
1665 Newport Rd, Colorado Springs
- “Camp” at Kinship Landing
This uniquely-decorated boutique hotel in the Springs accommodates any size group with its bunk rooms and family suites. They also bring glamping to a whole new level with Kinship Landing’s Camp Deck room. Bring your camping gear and set up camp on the 4th-floor open balcony with epic views of snow-capped mountains. The overhang protects the elements, and the space has access to a private full bath.
415 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs
Unique Colorado Experiences in the San Luis Valley
- Sandboard (or Sled) on the Dunes
Sandboarding and sledding down the massive dunes at The Great Sand Dunes National Park is a fun experience for all ages. Rent gear from local outfitters near the park entrance or nearby Alamosa, or go DIY with sleds from home.
11999 CO-150, Mosca (Visitor Center)
- Hiking with Alpacas
Not only are alpacas super cute, but they also produce fibers that are even warmer than wool. Alpaca ranches are widespread in Colorado, giving lots of opportunities to spend an afternoon with this llama cousin. Want to get really up close? Hit the hiking trails with an alpaca at Lookin’ Up Outfitters on one of their guided treks.
- Explore Bishop Castle
Jim Bishop has been constructing an impressive castle all on his own for the past 60 years. Visitors can climb, play, and explore throughout the castle on the edge of the San Isabel National Forest. Bishop Castle is open to the public to explore year-round, free of charge (though donations are accepted and appreciated).
12705 State Highway 165, Rye
- See the Annual Tarantula Migration
Watch the furry, 8-legged creatures as they go on their annual mating expedition on Colorado’s eastern plains. Spot the Oklahoma Brown Tarantula and other species as tarantulas trek across the Comanche National Grassland from early September to late October. Get into the spirit by timing your visit for the Annual La Junta Tarantula Fest in early October.
La Junta CO
- Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Explore the adobe trading post from the 1800s that sits on the Arkansas River in eastern Colorado. The fort served as a way to protect the goods traded (primarily trading buffalo robes with Native Americans) at the location along the Santa Fe Trail. Visit the events and programs page for a schedule of activities like Evening Candlelight Tours, Old Fashioned 4th of July festivities, and guided Santa Fe Trail tours complete with covered wagons.
35110 CO-194, La Junta
- The Friar’s Fork / The Sanctuary
Dine on upscale Italian fare at the restored St. Thomas Episcopal Church. In the adjacent space, sip on cocktails or coffee at The Sanctuary, which served as the chapel of the 1926 structure. The restaurant is new to the Alamosa dining scene, opening in July 2022, but is already a hit with locals and visitors alike.
607 Fourth St, Alamosa
- Sleep at the Drive-In
One of the most fantastic Best Westerns ever is found in Colorado. The Movie Manor in southwestern Colorado has a drive-in movie theater! Watch movies from your room or car while parked in front of the screen.
2830 US Highway 160 W, Monte Vista
- Swing Over the Mountains
Mountain landscapes add even more thrills to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, located between Aspen and Vail. Drop 110 ft into the underground on the Haunted Mine Drop. Soar over the Colorado River in the Giant Canyon Swing. Or take in the views from the Mine Wheel.
51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs
Sights & Activities on Colorado’s Western Slope and the Rocky Mountains
The Western Slope and southwestern Colorado are filled with quaint mountain towns and beautiful Colorado scenery. Don’t miss these fun stops when visiting the area.
- Coke Ovens
We discovered the coke ovens on one of our Colorado road trips as we mindlessly flew past the ovens that line Hwy 133 in Carbondale. Intrigued, we found they were once used to produce coke from the coal mined in the area. After exploring the Redstone Historic Coke Oven District, stroll shops and restaurants downtown, making sure not to miss the historic Redstone Castle.
17807-17949, CO-133, Carbondale
- Watch Wild Horses Roam at Little Book Cliffs
Horses roam in their natural habitat at the Little Book Cliffs. Hike or drive (4-wheel drive is required) through the reserve to see any of the 124 wild horses in the area. There is a map of where to find the wild horses here.
- Celebrate Mike the Headless Chicken
Mike might just be a chicken, but he is a local icon in the town of Fruita. When Mike was about to turn into the family dinner one day in 1945, the now headless chicken survived – for 18 months! The chicken with perseverance is celebrated the first weekend in June each year in downtown Fruita, complete with a 5k Run and a Disc Golf tournament. Learn more at https://www.miketheheadlesschicken.org/.
212-218 E Aspen Ave, Fruita
- Raft on a Camping Trip – or Camp on a Rafting Trip
Camping or rafting? Why not do both? Camp along the banks of the Colorado River on this multi-day adventure of a lifetime. Rimrock Adventures offers guided trips that range from family-friendly float trips to exhilarating whitewater rapids.
13 Rd, Fruita
- Visit Colorado’s 4th National Park
Many visitors opt for The Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain NP, or Mesa Verde National Park but overlook Colorado’s 4th park. While the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has fewer visitors than the other three, it is just as impressive. Enjoy the solitude of this southwestern Colorado National Park, known for the awe-inspiring gorge carved by the Gunnison River.
10346 Colorado 347, Montrose (South Rim Visitor Center)
- Climb Ice (Instead of Rocks)
Rock climbers looking for a new challenge or anyone looking for a unique winter adventure will find their answer at the Ouray Ice Park. Use of the park is free, with gear rentals and lessons available through independent outfitters and guides (see website for a list of recommendations).
280 Co Rd 361, Ouray
- Take One of Colorado’s Scenic Drives
Colorado has more designated scenic byways than any other state, offering many opportunities to get off the highway for seemingly endless panoramic views and photo ops. Try the San Juan Skyway and brace yourself for the mesmerizing views on the aptly named Million Dollar Highway segment (a drive so amazing it landed a spot on our Colorado bucket list).
- Ride Historic Railways
Nothing says Colorado more than trains through the Rocky Mountains. Ride the rails, dine, and take in the views from the historic trains. Try the famous Georgetown Loop Railroad (646 Loop Dr, Georgetown) or the Durango-Silverton Railroad (479 Main Ave, Durango).
- Explore Ancient Cliff Dwellings
Explore the ancient cliff dwellings of Ancestral Pueblos, who constructed these structures nearly 1,000 years ago. Mesa Verde National Park offers guided tours of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House dwellings (check the NPS website for tour schedules) and self-guided tours of other ancient residences.
35853 Rd H.5, Mancos (Visitor Center)
- Dine in the Old West
Stepping into the Strater Hotel in Durango is like taking a step back in history. This historic hotel is a living museum with roots in the late 1800s. Stop by the hotel for lunch or dinner at the Diamond Belle Saloon for that old-west experience.
699 Main Avenue, Durango
- Spend the Night in an Archaeological Preserve
Explore ancient Indian ruins, red-rock canyons, and orchards in Cortez, CO. Kelly Place Bed & Breakfast is located on an archaeological preserve that offers tent / RV campsites, cabins, and rooms in the main lodge. Accommodations include a full country-style breakfast.
14537 Road G, Cortez
The Rockies: Fun and Interesting Things to Do in Colorado Mountains
The Rockies are a popular destination for skiing, but the mountains are a summer playground, too, so we’ve included outdoor activities for both seasons.
- Sleep in the Backcountry
Whether you embark on a summer hiking adventure or cross-country skiing in the winter, trek through the backcountry with nightly stopovers at the hut-to-hut system. Choose from one of the huts, cabins, and yurts managed by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. Family-friendly trip plans are available.
Most hut locations are between Aspen and Vail, CO.
- Hike to Breckenridge’s Troll
Isak Heartstone is the world’s 40th troll. built by artist Thomas Dambo. The Danish artist was commissioned by the town of Breckenridge to create a troll close to town. They didn’t anticipate the popularity of the 15-foot troll built from recycled wood, and the foot traffic became a nuisance to residents. The town brought Dambo back to Colorado to disassemble the troll and rebuild in another (nearby) location.
189 Boreas Pass Rd, Breckenridge
- Explore Ice Castles
Dillon CO is one of (currently) six Ice Castle locations in the US and Canada. Crews build massive ice structures and ice slides for families to explore and play on in the winter months.
120 Buffalo St, Dillon
>> Update: the Colorado Ice Castles are currently closed for the second season in a row as they search for a new Colorado location.
- An Old-Fashioned Mountain Christmas
The setting of John Denver’s The Christmas Gift is filled with the holiday spirit each year. The Georgetown Christmas Market, complete with chestnuts roasting on an open fire. This free event is held during the first two weekends of December.
- Ski in Shoulder Season
We put this unique experience in Colorado on the list because of one local ski area: Arapahoe Basin (or A-Basin to the locals). A-Basin, as it’s known to the locals, is always the first to open and last to close. Hit the slopes before Halloween and ski into mid-June most years. Colorado in the winter is to spend a day skiing at any of the world-famous ski resorts.
28194 US 6, Keystone
- Winter Adventures for Non-Skiers at Colorado Adventure Park
There is more winter fun than skiing in Colorado. Colorado Adventure Park is a fun alternative to the slopes with snow tubing, fat biking, and snowshoeing.
566 County Rd #721, Fraser
- High-Altitude Sailing on Lake Dillon
The world’s highest deep-water marina is right here in Colorado. Experience sailing and boating at an elevation of 9,017 feet in Dillon, CO. Boat rentals and lessons are available. Watch world-class sailing at the Dillon Open Regatta, held each summer on Lake Dillon.
Lake Dillon Drive, Dillon
- Interactive Art Experience at WAVE
The yearly WAVE: Light + Water + Sound in the ski and mining town of Breckenridge brings interactive art installations that feature – you guessed it – light, water, and sound. The 4-day festival celebrating the arts is held each year in early June. The exhibits change each year, bringing something new to this mountain art festival.
- Coast Down the Mountain on an Alpine Slide
Descend the mountain on one of the longest alpine slides in North America. Copper Mountain’s Rocky Mountain Coaster is a top pick for things to do in Colorado with kids. The 3,000 ft long, bobsled-like ride at one of Colorado’s top ski resorts is the most exhilarating of the many summer activities on the mountain.
209 Ten Mile Cir, Frisco
- Hit the Ski Resorts – in the Summer
Biking, hiking, dining, and mountain viewing are just a few summertime family activities at the Colorado ski resorts. Once the snow has melted, many ski areas reopen for warm-weather mountain activities. Our favorite: Winter Park Resort. Spend a day (or two) hiking, biking, playing mini-golf, and more.
85 Parsenn Rd, Winter Park
- Stay in a Yurt
Insulated tent-like structures often come with electricity for the ultimate glamping experience. Yurts are open for summer stays, but it’s especially magical in the winter. After a day exploring the cross-country ski trails at Tennessee Pass, spend the night in a warm and cozy yurt. In the evenings, put the skis back on for the one-mile trek to the Cook House, where you’ll enjoy fine dining in the backcountry. Pets are not allowed in the yurts at Tennessee Pass.
E Tennessee Rd, Leadville
- Stay at Mestaa’Ėhehe Mountain Fire Lookout
Does it get any more unique in Colorado than staying the night in a fire lookout? Get unobstructed 360° from the tower that sits at 11,000 feet in elevation. With only one accommodation, reservations for Mestaa’Ėhehe Mountain Fire Lookout go quickly, so plan well ahead for a stay here.
Forest Service 192.1, Idaho Springs
- Sleighride (or Chuckwagon) Dinner
Two Below Zero in Keystone makes an event out of dinner (almost) year-round. The ultimate winter dining experience is via a 20-minute sleigh ride in the snow-covered mountains to a heated tent. Once summer hits, dinner is accompanied by a Wild West Show, where you will be escorted to dinner by a mule-drawn wagon.
100 Dercum Square, Keystone
Colorado is a state that offers countless sights and activities. Whether you are looking to enjoy the great outdoors, explore the history and culture of the area, or relax at a mountain resort, there is no shortage of unique things to do in Colorado. Make sure to add these destinations to your itinerary the next time you’re exploring Colorado.
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