Colorado is far from the largest state in America, but it’s developed a big reputation as a prime destination for vacationers from across the nation – and around the world, especially those looking for a weekend getaway. Most visitors are eager to flock to well-known spots like Denver, Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen. While you really can’t go wrong with one of these world-renowned vacation spots, you might be surprised to see just how much some of Colorado’s hidden gems – those lesser-known destinations – have to offer.
Not sure which hidden gems deserve a spot on your next itinerary? Here are a few I’d recommend:
Just north of Boulder, the little town of Lyons is loved by locals and visitors alike. This artsy, bohemian-inspired community is known for its quirk and charm and is home to several locally-owned shops, eateries, breweries, and distilleries. It’s also a haven for outdoor-lovers, serving as a gateway to the mountains – it’s the last stop for many travelers before they wind their way along mountain roads to Rocky Mountain National Park. On a warm summer day, you can sit back and watch kayakers and mountain-bikers navigate the city’s waterways and streets.
Royal Gorge isn’t a city – it’s a canyon, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. This southern Colorado attraction boasts America’s highest suspension bridge and zipline, making it a must-do for anyone who isn’t afraid of heights! Not an adrenaline junkie? You’ll still appreciate the sweeping vistas of Royal Gorge, either from the aerial tram or from one of the many scenic vantage points. Stay in nearby Canon City to enjoy this well-loved Colorado spot.
GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
When most people think of Colorado, they visualize the Rocky Mountains. Few people realize Colorado is home to another impressively large natural wonder – the Great Sand Dunes. Reaching as high as 750 feet tall, these dunes are the tallest in America, and you certainly won’t find anything like them elsewhere!
Hike to the top of a dune, then sled to the bottom – it sounds simple, but it’s surprisingly fun! Aside from sledding down the dunes, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is an excellent place for hiking, horseback riding, and especially camping. Its remote location makes it an ideal spot for stargazing and nighttime photography.
When it comes to drinking, Colorado is a very beer-oriented state, with more breweries per capita than almost any other. That’s common knowledge. What most people don’t know, however, is Colorado has its very own wine country.
That’s right. If you’re looking for wine, the hidden gem of Palisade, CO, has you covered. This city on the Western Slope is home to the aptly-named Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway, this part of Colorado is a lesser-known spot to visit but has plenty to offer! Aside from touring the various wineries, vineyards, and orchards, the area is home to a number of tasty restaurants, shops, and galleries, as well as annual events like the Colorado Mountain Winefest.
Add one of these hidden gems to your Colorado itinerary, and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve left the well-worn path to experience something special.
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