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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How to Have a Comfortable Road Trip

This summer, thousands of Americans are choosing the open road in lieu of the open sky when it comes to traveling, and thanks to this set of tips from Southern Living, hours spent in a car seat have never been more pleasant. A comfortable road trip is attainable for anyone.

If you’re a traveler looking to have an adventure while in transit this summer then you’re going to be smart about how you travel. Many travelers hitting the road this summer are doing so because they have some leniency in their arrival time or they simply want to put the money they would otherwise spend on airline tickets to better use. That being said, if you’re taking part in a road trip this summer you’ll want to follow the advice below to ensure that your multiple hours spent in your vehicle are as comfortable as possible.

Prepare a Backseat Pantry

When a storm is set to come into town, people flock to the grocery store for provisions, and while interstate travel isn’t the same as inclement weather, it’s always a good idea to stock up on snacks, protein, and water before setting out on the road. While many drivers and passengers may resist the urge to drink water so that they can reduce the number of pit stops on their journey, you should definitely plan to stay hydrated throughout your journey. This will help you avoid any obstructive headaches that may come at the least opportune moment due to dehydration. This is not to mention that you can avoid temptation by packing an ice chest of fresh fruit or sandwiches ahead of time so that you and your traveling party cut back on the unhealthy junk and fast food found on the road ahead.

Be Reasonable with your Time

Traveling on the various highways across the United States is a lesson in patience, spontaneity, and embracing the unexpected. Therefore, if you’re driving to your destination then you should be somewhat flexible in your arrival and traveling time so that you can partake in the memorable detours and extra pit stop opportunities that you’ll come into contact with while you’re passing mile markers. That’s not to mention that inclement weather, traffic jams, and other inconveniences can often arise to delay your eventual arrival time, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you’re preparing for the journey. Whether you’re driving or referring to the atlas from the passenger seat, it’s important to get plenty of rest the night before your leave and to leave at a reasonable time. If you’re on a multi-day trip, it may be tempting to drive more than you originally planned on your first day, but you should resist this urge as it’s never a good idea to risk driving exhausted later on. And it’s never a good idea to sacrifice road safety for a smaller travel time.

Prepare with Travel Accessories

While you shouldn’t go overboard when purchasing road trip “supplies,” if you’re going to be spending multiple days in the same vehicle you’re going to want to have all of your needs met and within arms reach. Go ahead and take stock of the vehicle you’ll be riding in before the trip and see if you’ll need additional cup holders, a charging adapter for electronic devices, a sun visor, or other accessories that you won’t realize you need until it’s too late. It’s also a good idea to spend a little more on a lower back lumbar pillow to provide you and your party with back support. It may seem like a frivolous expense at first thought, you’ll be thankful you bought that neck pillow when it’s your term to sleep in the passenger seat after a particularly long driving shift.

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Small Towns To Visit this Summer

Bright lights and big cities get all the press, but the often-overlooked prized jewels that are the small towns of the United States are where many are finding their next summer vacationing spot, according to an article from Country Living.  While the complete list details thirty total provincial villages, towns, and boroughs, the following are two particular hidden gems that you should absolutely consider making your summer getaway in the coming months.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Contemplate spending a week in the summer hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains and staying in the nearby mountain resort city of Gatlinburg, TN. Located southeast of Knoxville, this outdoor adventurer’s paradise is the ideal “home base” for those looking to partake in horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and rafting due to the fact that Gatlinburg is located at the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Take a 340 ft. elevator ride upward and observe the breathtaking majesty of the Smokies from atop theGatlinburg Space Needle or take a leisurely ride above the treetops from one of the gondolas, chairlifts, or aerial tram cars that the area has to offer. Once at the top of the town, you and your travel companions can take in a day observing underwater wonders at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the arcades, escape rooms, and mini-golf courses of the Gatlin Fun Center.

One key attraction that is essential to the Gatlinburg experience besides the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or the massive amusement park is an area known as the Village Shops. Filled with floral arrangements, gardens, and landscaping marvels, this collection of small businesses, eateries, and lodgings is perfect for those wanting to get a scaled-down version of the commercialization found up the mountain. One bite into a barbecue sandwich at Tennessee Jed’s will have you forgetting about ever wanting to conquer that advanced-level hiking trail you saw earlier that day. Whether you partake in a Gatlinburg experience outdoors or indoors, it’s safe to say that hidden among the expansive range that is the Great Smoky Mountains is a town with plenty to offer travelers of all types.

Nashville, Indiana

Located only 90 minutes away from Louisville, KY, this might not be the Nashville you’re familiar with, but it is certainly the Nashville that will win your heart. This quaint town is the county seat of Brown County, and it’s home to dozens of locally-owned restaurants and small businesses that will win you and your family over. One particular shop, the Brown County Rock Shop, sells fossils and rocks, but it also has a station where you can pan for gems right outside the front doors.

The most notable destination inside the city limits of Nashville, IN is assuredly the Zoo’Opolis Exotic Petting Zoo and Bird Park. The petting zoo element of Zoo’Opolisis one of its biggest draws, as it has three levels of tickets that can be purchased for participants to interact with the animals. At the beginner ($15) and advanced ($45) levels, zoo visitors can feed fawns, goats, ostrich chicks, and zebu calves; pet wallaby, muntjac deer, and tortoises; and interact with leopard Bengal kittens, hedgehogs, chinchillas, snakes, and iguana. It’s the ambassador ticket level ($85) that has tourists visiting this small town from all over the eastern United States, as this level allows for a more interactive approach with participants observing and sometimes entering the animal enclosures of timber wolves, red foxes, raccoons, coatimundi, zebras, and lemurs.

Ideally, this town is visited in the autumn as the changing colors of the leaves is the type of picturesque iconography that’s present across the town’s tourism pamphlets. The scenery can be best observed along Main Street (Van Buren Street) within the courtyard of the Iris Garden Cottage and Suites, or in the forests of Brown County State Park. So, pack up the car and become better acquainted with a town that is one of the more unforgettable treasures of Indiana, the not-as-famous but just-as-musical, Nashville.

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Southern Day Trips to Take in Summer 2021

If you live in the American South, then you’re familiar with the majesty of the surrounding area, and due to the close proximity of the interesting attractions, you might not always feel inclined to spend multiple nights or days visiting what’s practically in your backyard. If that is true, then consider taking a southern day trip to a spectacular, nearby state, and it’s easy thanks to Southern Living’s list of suggested day trips to take in the Southern United States.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park; Gatlinburg, Tennessee

While this park isn’t for the faint of heart, it is for those who are unafraid of incredible heights and breath-taking sights. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park that gives you the perfect vantage point from which to see the majesty of the expansive Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re looking down at Crockett Mountainfrom 500 ft. above, taking a breather at the SkyDeck atop the mountain, or braving a stroll down SkyBridge, the longest suspension bridge in the United States, your adventurous side will no doubt be satisfied. After taking the SkyLift to the top of Crockett Mountain or walking down the 680 ft. SkyBridge, you can stop by the SkyCenter to check out the gift shop, grab your professionally-taken photo of you atop the Skylift, or just relax with delicious concessions while looking at the greatest view imaginable.

The United States Naval Academy; Annapolis, Maryland

Since 1845 the United States Naval Academy has been rigorously training officers for the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps in Annapolis Maryland, and the campus is available for public visitation. Once you’re at the academy, there’s plenty of history to uncover about the prestigious entity that is the nation’s Naval and Marine forces. Visitors stopping by on a day trip might be attending a raucous sporting event at the Brigade Sports Complex or the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, where recruits are often engaged in a Navy game of football, lacrosse, or hockey. Those more inclined to learn about the history of the United States Navy or its academy might want to take in an exhibit at the Naval Academy Museum, see what academy life is like for a midshipman by booking a guided tour, or pay resorts at the crypt of naval hero John Paul Jones. The Naval Academy is located on the northeastern coast of Annapolis, Maryland, and while many residents have grown up with training officers jogging or marching down the streets of the city’s downtown area, many go their whole lives without visiting the Naval Academy, so book a day trip and learn about the history of the famed branch of the U.S military.

Everglades National Park; Florida Everglades

It’s not every day that you can visit a near-mythological landscape that emcompasses 1.5 million acrees of wetlands.Book a day trip to Southern Florida and see the truly unforgettable sights of Everglades National Park, where anything is possible. One popular entry point to the Everglades is located deep in the heart of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and it has a 2.1 mile-long boardwalk from which you can see the towering sights of the cyprus trees above. Not only are some of the trees 135 ft. in height, but the Sanctuary is the single-largest stand of old-growth cypress trees in the world. While visiting, you can also check out the hundreds of alligators that line the canal banks of the 720,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve. Many want to experience the Everglades first-hand and fast-paced, so if that sounds like you, then you’d be well-off booking an airboat adventure ride at the Sawgrass Recreation Park. Once aboard, you’ll be able to hear authentic, Florida-specific stories and see over 100 mammals and reptiles that have been adopted and rescued over the past few decades.

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Unforgettable Southern Lakes

The ideal southerner loves iced tea, preferably a little sweet and sipped on the dock of a gorgeous summer lake, spending full days barefoot unless dinner calls for flip-flops, and they happily live life at a slower pace. Collected by Southern Living Magazine, here are a handful of can’t-miss southern lake visits to brighten up your year. Whether you crave the speed of water sports, prefer the solitude of a mountain lake, or count down the moments to the daily floating hour, you’ll find a place to dive right into some of summer’s greatest pleasures.

Lady Bird Lake, Texas

Located downstream from the large homes and powerboats of Lake Austin is the quieter, more memorable southern lake named Lady Bird Lake, which allows only non-motorized boats. Imagines as a reflection to this music-loving town, Lady Bird boasts its own venue at Auditorium Shores, a wide riverbank slope that hosts concerts. Discover Lady Bird’s hidden local secret: a side trip on the lake’s famous tributary, Barton Creek. Rent a kayak from Rowing Dock and discover the small dam that holds Barton Springs Pool.

Stonewall Jackson Lake, West Virginia

There’s not enough hours in a single day to contain the amount of fun had at this luxurious state resort set  in the middle of 2,000-acre Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park. Book a room at the lodge on the lake’s shore, cruise the waters of Stonewall Jackson Lake on a pontoon boat, or tee it up on an Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course.

Missouri’s Table Rock Lake at Big Cedar Lodge

Started by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, this heavenly lodge property is located on a nearly 60,000-acre lake just outside Branson, Missouri.Big Cedar Lodge’s gentle call of the wild fills all 81 cabins, 3 lodges, 4 restaurants, and 100 boat slips. Guests can choose between cottages, cabins, and handsome hotel rooms in one of three ridge-side lodges. Access is incredibly easy―the brand-new $140-million Branson airport is just 10 miles from the lodge.

Lake Guntersville, Alabama

This quintessential southern lake experience is known as one of Alabama’s prettiest patches of fresh water―Lake Guntersville. But the small city holds a few shopping and dining surprises that could have easily been plucked from much more urban areas such as Birmingham and Huntsville. Though, you’re here for the lake and its calming qualities will ease you through this relaxing weekend.

Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina

Lake Santeetlah’s 76 miles of shoreline are mostly protected as national forest.Enjoy the silence via canoe, sea kayak or stand up paddleboard. Afterward, head to the lakeside bar and dock at Blue Waters Mountain Lodge. Editor’s tip: For lakeside camping with a few amenities–hot showers and flush toilets–Cheoah Point Campground has car campsites for $20 a night.

Lake Martin, Alabama

Known as a popular second-home lake to Birmingham and Montgomery residents, this southern lake, Lake Martin, holds a population of full-time lakeside dwellers. On the weekends, boats raft up at Chimney Rock, a prominent cliff-jumping spot near the dam, inviting you to partake.

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Looking Ahead to Your Summer Travel

Need something to look forward to in these trying times? Let’s get to planning a summer travel or a summer camping getaway. Once we flatten the curve and life returns to normal for us all, small businesses are going to need us more than ever.  Pack up the coolers and your favorite grilling apron, and check out these great options below, courtesy of GlampingHub.

New York State of Mind

Upstate New York has something for everyone and is the perfect getaway for summer travel 2020. There are vast opportunities to explore – cabins, safari tents, and natural landscapes (including the Hudson River and Niagara Falls), just to name a few.  If you’ve been dreaming of an escape to the wild outdoors, this is the place for you.  What better way to unwind after the last few stressful months than to take in the majestic calm of fresh mountain air in the Catskill Mountains? This is a great option for Fall 2020 too since Upstate New York is also known for its beautiful autumn leaves.

Georgia On My Mind

Looking for a southern camping experience?  Georgia is on our mind. With its gorgeous national parks including Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests and the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains (part of the Appalachian Mountain range), Georgia is the ideal place for a summer camping getaway.  A little known fact is that Georgia is also home to some amazing coastline sights and sounds.  Escape into The Peach State with a stay in a cabin or even a tree house rental.

O Canada

Due north of Seattle, Washington is Vancouver, Canada – a western coastal seaport in the lower mainland of British Columbia.  Although Vancouver is the most populous city in the province, don’t let that distract you from its abundance of gorgeous summer travel and camping opportunities. We can’t wait to check them out!  From Banff National Park with its many trails (including pet friendly options) to countless cabins in their majestic mountains and even beach rentals along their sprawling coastline, you just cannot go wrong taking a camping trip into The Great White North of Vancouver, Canada.  You deserve to treat yourself to the forests, mountains, and rivers of Vancouver this summer!

Down & Out? Let’s Go Down Under

If you’ve never visited the outback, you should know there’s more to it than the kangaroos, koalas and “throw a shrimp on the barbie” (although there are definitely plenty of grilling opportunities exploring the outdoors there). Sydney, Australia – in New South Wales – is the perfect destination for your post-quarantine getaway.  Escape the humdrum and spread your wings exploring this beautiful country. Check out all that their great outdoors have to offer, including the Blue Mountains National Park on the outskirts of the city suburbs, or lay claim to your own personal piece of paradise at one of their over 10,000 distinct beaches.  Australia is rife with natural beauty, and Aussies pride themselves in being laid back and fun people, so be sure you plan to stay a while and take in all they have to offer.  You won’t regret how many “g’days” you’ll experience down under, mate.

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