Best Colorado Small Towns to Visit

There is one state in the United States of America that is beautiful year-round, so while many make sure to visit in the winter for its ski slopes or the summer for its hiking trails, the “Centennial State” is still worth the trip in Autumn and Spring, especially if you’re visiting a small town. These lesser-known towns of Colorado are becoming more popular (by word of mouth) due to the lack of crowds at the hot springs, top-of-the-line ski lodges, and hiking trails that are off the beaten path. So check out Travel + Leisure’s article detailing the “10 Best Small Towns in Colorado” for the next time you’re looking to reconnect with peace, quiet, and quaint experiences.

Before diving into the article, it should be advised that due to local regulations, travel restrictions, and COVID-19 surges, it is suggested that travelers properly research all local guidelines and CDC recommendations in order to keep themselves and those they care about as safe and responsible as possible in these unprecedented times.

Silverton, Colorado

Located along a rather remote portion of Colorado’s western San Juan Mountains lies the statutory town of Silverton. The town originated from mining claims made during the final years of Colorado’s Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, and ever since then, Silverton has attracted its fair share of animals, citizens, and adventures. One of the stand-out experiences to take advantage of in Silverton can be enjoyed year-round, as it’s the reason the town is a National Historic Landmark. Silverton is home to the scenic byway US 550, which has also been known as the “Million Dollar Highway” for over a century due to its breath-taking views of the San Juan Mountains that can only be seen from its roads. The Highway is a part of the larger San Juan Skyway, which is a 236-mile road that winds through the San Juan portion of the Rocky Mountains allowing visitors to connect with diverse mountain towns and major landmark attractions along the way.

Outside of the gorgeous views that can be seen from the road, Silverton offers those in the town to participate in canoeing, wildlife watching, paragliding, river rafting, touring gold mines, stargazing, mushroom hunting, and an unforgettable adventure called the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Train, and those are just the summer events! In the winter months, the town can be the perfect place to engage in snowmobiling, snowkiting, hockey, snowshoeing, ice skating, and all sorts of sledding. Consider staying in Silverton the next time you’re feeling adventurous because there are few other places in the United States where you can visit an actual 19th-century ghost town.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

With a name as charmingly warm as Steamboat Springs, you’ll feel comforted and right-at-home in the authentic mountain town that’s brimming with western hospitality. This town offers its residents and visitors authentic experiences such as relaxing in hot springs, fishing for flies or trout along the Yampa River or at Steamboat Lake, and seeing gorgeous nature sights by way of the town’s famous hiking, biking, and walking trails. There’s plenty of engaging activities to take advantage of whether you find yourself visiting in the summer or winter, but don’t rule out the fall visit, as the changing colors of the fall foliage are quite beautiful in this town, and you can view them from the best perspective of all by booking an ariel “foliage flight” from the Zephyr Helicopter Company or a hot-air-balloon ride from Wild West Balloon Adventures.

The other towns can be further explored via Travel + Leisure’s full list, which includes the following stand-outs:

  • Pagosa Springs, Colorado
  • Carbondale, Colorado
  • Estes Park, Colorado
  • Snowmass Village, Colorado
  • Manitou Springs, Colorado
  • Crested Butte, Colorado
  • Paonia, Colorado
  • Salida, Colorado

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Campgrounds to Visit this Upcoming Fall

Each season has its share of travel traditions. Woodland cabins are booked in the winter months, rivers and national parks are well-traversed in spring, and summertime calls for days at the beach and on the open road in an RV. Therefore, with the autumn months about to roll right on in, there’s never been a better time to consider the campground retreat, and thanks to Travel Pulse’s list of “9 Great Campgrounds on which to spend your Autumn Days,” you’re well on your way to a season of isolation and relaxation.

Remember, just because it isn’t summer doesn’t mean that warm climates are off the table, as many campgrounds are known to experience temperate conditions well after the scorching days of summer. Luckily, many of the following campgrounds have nearby waters on which you can beat the heat with surrounding breathtaking scenery. So conduct your research, pack your bags, and get excited, but please remember to be safe and responsible. As always, due to local regulations, travel restrictions, and COVID-19 surges, it is suggested that travelers properly research all local guidelines and CDC recommendations in order to keep you and those you care about as safe and responsible as possible in these unprecedented times.

Elk Meadow Lodge & RV Park, Colorado

There’s no time quite like autumn to be in the Rocky Mountains. The slight breeze in the air, the smell of pine, and vast mountainside forests make the Elk Meadow Lodge & RV Park the ideal stop if you find yourself in the center of the country. Ideally located adjacent to the Rocky Mountain National Park, visitors and residents are said to have been blessed with the scenery twice, as the majestic Rockies are to be seen once along the nearby horizon and a second time in the reflection of nearby pools and streams. The Elk Meadow Lodge sits on 30 acres, and it’s complete with 169 full-service RV sites, an outdoor swimming pool, seven comfortable cabins, one fully-furnished cabin, several teepees, and much more. Also, the Fall months are the perfect time to visit if you want to spot the lodge’s namesake, the Rocky Mountain elk, in their natural habitat.

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

After summer has come and gone, the colorful leaves of nearby trees aren’t the only thing “falling” at Marion County,Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park; the several waterfalls located at the park are also known to fall and attract visitors. In fact, the 177-foot cascade known as South Falls is quite a spectacle in and over itself, being the most visited waterfall in the park, and it’s only beaten out by the Remote Double Falls as the park’s highest waterfall that plunges into a small tributary within the Silver Creek Canyon at a height of 178 feet. These waterfalls provide a gorgeous backdrop, soundtrack, and centralized spectacle as campers enjoy the 24 miles of walking trails, 4 miles of bike paths, 14 miles of horse trails, and (of course) the 8.7-mile stretch known as “Canyon Trail” or “Trail of Ten Falls” that allows traversers to see the ten waterfalls along the banks of Silver Creek.  This park is the largest state park in the state of Oregon, and its campground offers several secluded cabins, yurts, and other amenities to satisfy many guests’ needs in a location synonymous with beauty.

Zephyr Cove RV & Campground, Nevada

If you are looking for cozy, comfortable campgrounds and cabins in a secluded waterside location, then look no further than Zephyr Cove. This ideal getaway has Lake Tahoe to thank for its breathtaking scenery and natural beauty. The Campground itself is award-winning and offers an outstanding facility within a serenity-laden atmosphere set in a woodland setting. Located on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe, Zephyr Cove RV & Campground includes amenities like an outdoor patio, laundry, complimentary showers, cable connections, and much more for those pitching a tent or enjoying the comfort of their RV.

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Colorado Towns to Visit in Summer 2021

Over the past several decades, tourism in the state of Colorado has increased staggeringly with each passing year, and it’s estimated that 2021 will be no different, especially in the summer months. That being said, if you’re looking to make the most out of a summer trip to the Centennial State this season, then follow the lead of Travel + Leisure and check out these unforgettable Colorado towns that make for a perfect summer vacation destination.

Grand Lake, CO

The charming lakeside Colorado town of Grand Lake is known as the “Western Gateway” to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) as it serves as the western entrance to the famed park, thus making it perfect for anyone looking for outdoor adventure. If you plan on visiting the national park, then take advantage of the town’s quaint collection of cabins and summer homes that line the shores of the state’s largest natural lake. Summer is the perfect time to visit Grand Lake, as residents and tourists alike are often seen hiking, biking, and riding ATVs across the picturesque terrain.

If you’re in need of a knowledgeable guide to the National Park and its encompassing 415 square miles, then you should look no further than Kaiyote Tours, a company that specializes in leading travelers on both hiking and overnight backpacking trips in the summertime. These trips teach participants about the overall history of Rocky Mountain National Park with a particular focus on birding and wildlife. Also, you can rest assured that you’re in expert, knowledgeable hands as the company was founded by Kaiyote Snow, a self-taught naturalist, and award-winning photographer, and  the artist and former instructor for the Rocky Mountain Conservatory.

Outside of the park, the town proper is equally as fulfilling with its historic boardwalk and its assembly of over 60 restaurants, shops, and galleries. Consider taking in a show at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre for memorable surveying of the arts. With excitement to be found all over the town of Grand Lake and with the RMNP in close, accessible proximity, this is one of the state’s best options for summer fun and relaxation.

Fort Collins, CO

Often overlooked by residents who ignore the Colorado town for the mass appeal of Denver, the town of Fort Collins stands out as one of the “best-kept secrets” in the state. Home to Colorado State University, this college town carries with it an alluring atmosphere of outdoor recreation, a vibrant music scene, and eclectic design.

In fact, the historic downtown area of Fort Collins was the literal inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA, making it an understandably magical location. The downtown area is called “Old Town” by the local residents, and it stands as the absolute nexus of nightlife with its attractive art scene, dining experiences, and unique storefronts and boutiques. Take for example the Colorado Shoe School where one can design and create their own custom shoes from repurposed leather that was once destined to be thrown in a landfill. The soles of the leather shoes are made up of recycled materials from discarded tennis balls and bike tires. Leave with a practical souvenir that embodies the adage, “reduce, reuse, recycle.”

Classic Colorado town attractions in Fort Collins include the hiking and mountain biking trails to be found at Horsetooth Reservoir, the federally-designated Wild & Scenic River, and the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area. The entire town is connected through and through by over 285 miles of bike trails and lanes, which has resulted in a vibrant, friendly community of residents who tend to populate the area with post-work mountain bike rides throughout the summer. So, if you’re in search of a biking oasis of scenic views, fresh air, and clean spirits, then look no further than Fort Collins, or as the locals call it: “FoCo.”

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Best Places to Watch Flowers Bloom

Have you ever thought about taking a vacation just to Watch Flowers Bloom? Well, you should. We go to see the mountains and the sand so why not the flowers? There are places all over the world, but some are right in our backyard. Travel+ Leisure recently posted an article showcasing the top places to visit to see the flowers bloom, here are 8 of those spots.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Have you ever heard of a Wildflower Festival? Crested Butte, Colorado offers its visitors many different activities to enjoy; hikes/walks, garden tours, art workshops and more! It is the 33rd year that the festival is held. July 5tht o the 14th trails open for an unbelievable sight of wildflowers. Not only will you experience the flowers but because it is up in the West Elk mountains the view itself will be quite stunning.  

Kauai, Hawaii

The best part about Kauai, Hawaii is the McBryde Garden Biodiversity Trail. The trail offers guided and unguided tours. Endangered and rare plants are conserved here and you can even see how movies like Jurassic Park were made.  Make sure to visit their visitor information before making the trip so you have everything you need.

And the best part? Because the area is so wet all of the time, there is always something blooming.

Arizona-Sonora Desert, Arizona

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is over 90 acres of multiple attractions including; a botanical garden, natural history museum, zoo, art gallery, aquarium, and a zoo! On top of that the Museum’s mission is to help conserve the Sonoran Desert region. The Museum is also often named on the top ten zoological parks in the world. The unique thing about this Museum is that 85% of it is outside.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Every year in Chiang Mai (also known as the “rose of the north) there is a Flower Festival that is three days long. It is in February when the season is being to warm up. There are flower floats and Thai women, younger women, carry baskets around while wearing floor length gowns, and usually a band after. Much like our own parades. You can pick your own bundle of lilies.

Furano, Japan

Have you ever seen a lavender field? Furano, Japan’s mild summers make it one of the best places to grow lavender. Farm Tomita offers an unbelievable views, creating a rainbow that appears to look fake. July is the perfect time to go, they even have a lavender themed gift shop. They even have soft-serve that is lavender flavored.

Mainau Island, Germany

Mainau Island, Germany, also known as “Flower Island”. This island has over 110 acres of paths, flower beds, and sweeping lawns. There are two waves a blooming, one in late March and then the next one starting in late May. The island also offers places to eat and of course places to shop.

Bowral, New South Wales, Australia

Because Australia’s season are flopped from ours, it’s a perfect getaway during the colder months here in the states. There is an annual Tulip Time Festival.Corbett Gardens has been having the festival since 1911. It is also the center of the Spring Garden Festival, over 30,000 people visit the festival. The garden is usually free unless you are going during the Tulip Time Festival, so make sure you check so you don’t show up empty handed.

Giverny, France

Giverny, France  is known as the village where the painter Claude Monet lived for over 40 years. Giverny is home to his house as well as his garden, which reopened on March 22nd. You can even book a private tour to be guided thru Monet’s beautiful garden. Visit their website for all of your booking information.

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Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center Now Open

GMarriott recently announced that the newest premier American resort, Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, has had its Grand Opening. This resort, and the Gaylord name, has a long and rich history making them experts in the hospitality industry.

The Gaylord and Dickinson families began the Oklahoma Publishing Company, which would become the Gaylord Entertainment Company, in Oklahoma in 1903, before Oklahoma was even recognized as a state.  There was an increasing demand for news in the area and the families recognized that need and decided to capitalize on it.  Soon, radio would enter the lives of every American. The two families saw potential in this field and added on a broadcasting agency to their business.  It was the 2nd radio station in the United States. As the two entrepreneurial families recognized more and more potential during a time of major industrial growth in the US, they continued to expand their businesses to meet those needs.  The radio venture eventually led them to Nashville, the home of country music. One of their radio announcers, George D. Hay, gave birth to the renowned Grand Ole Opry with his country music radio show.

The business venture that would bring Gaylord the greatest amount of success and would thrust his company into the national spotlight was his 1983 purchase of Nashville-based Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel.  The Opryland Hotel ballooned in size during the 1980s and early 1990s to almost 2,000 rooms, making it one of the largest and most successful hotels in the world.

The success of the Opryland Hotel was in part a reflection of the ability of its managers.  With newfound success, money to invest, and a top-notch management team, Gaylord Entertainment announced two new hotel-development projects:  a 1,500-room Opryland Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, and a 1,400-room Opryland Hotel in Osceola County, near Orlando, Florida. The Texas and Florida Opryland Hotels were the first of several hotels the company planned to establish in the future. While construction was still underway at the two sites, the company announced plans for the $500 million Opryland Hotel Potomac, a 2,000-room hotel and convention center in National Harbor.

Gaylord Rockies Resort Photo
Marriott recently announced that the newest premier American destination, Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, has had its Grand Opening.

Gaylord’s newest enterprise offers and experience like no other previous Gaylord property.  Offering diverse convention, entertainment and lifestyle experiences, it truly celebrates the geographic heritage of the Rockies with regional themes and attractions designed exclusively for the resort.   The resort’s interior design has everything from waterfalls, boulders, native landscaping and even elevators designed to look like old mine shafts, a nod to Colorado’s gold rush history. Guest rooms boast carpets with Aspens and lumberjack plaid print pillows. In the Convention Center, one will find Colorado-inspired details throughout such as ski tracks and snow drifts. “For the past three years, a dedicated group of more than 1,500 individuals has worked tirelessly to bring this massive project to life.  We couldn’t be more excited to officially open our doors and welcome guests to experience all that’s offered at this magnificent property; a destination experience in its own that authentically captures Colorado’s adventurous spirit,” said Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center General Manager Rick Medwedeff.

The resort features 1,501 guest rooms, including 114 upscale suites, and more than 486,000-square-feet of meeting and convention space. Businesses can bring their conference, convention or meeting to life in one of the property’s new indoor or outdoor event rooms, including the 20,000-square-foot Aurora Patio and the 175,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall. The resort also offers eight dining options, a luxurious spa and salon, indoor and outdoor pools, a communal 75-foot TV, and picture-perfect views of the gorgeous landscape.  

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