10 Colorado Vacation Bucket List Ideas

From its remote and mountainous backcountry to downtown Denver, the state of Colorado offers an endless number of activities. If you are feeling overwhelmed by planning your trip to Colorado, then today is your lucky day! 

Whether you are seeking an adrenaline-packed adventure or a relaxing weekend exploring the mountains or city, we’ve created a list of ten items to add to your Colorado bucket list.

1. Experience Winter… In the Summer

Grab your skis or snowboard and head to one of the many spots throughout Colorado with year-round snow. Specifically, Arapahoe Basin Ski area is consistently open through June! 

If you’re in for a days hike, there’s plenty of other consistent snowfields and glaciers throughout the state. Located just 2 hours from Denver, St. Mary’s Glacier is one of many popular spots for skiers and snowboarders to catch some mid-summer turns.

2. Glamp it Up

Get your glamp on and check out some luxurious cabin and tent rentals just outside of Cañon City, Colorado. There are rentals just a short drive from attractions and activities. Take a rafting trip with Echo Canyon River Expeditions and hike or bike in Royal Gorge Park. Finish off your day at 8 Mile Bar and Grill featuring fresh food, 16 craft brews on tap, and a large dining patio with beautiful mountain views.  

3. Play In the Sand

Head to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to experience one of the most interesting parts of Colorado’s diverse landscape. Hike around the dunes and take in views of the surrounding Sango De Cristo mountain range or head to Oasis Store and rent a sandboard or sled for a heart-pumping ride down a dune.

Looking for a day at the beach? Fluctuating water levels and small waves allow Medano Creek to be a fun spot for beach activities including skimboarding, tubing, and castle building!

4. Mountain Jams

It’s hard to beat live music in the mountains. Spend a long weekend at one of Colorado’s many summer music festivals like Telluride Bluegrass Festival or Arise Festival in Loveland, CO.

Colorado is also home to the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks hosts a variety of renowned artists and musicians at one of the most scenic music venues in the world.

5. Grab a Beer… Or 2,678

Well maybe not that many, but with over 2,678 craft breweries in Colorado, it’s certainly not out of the question! Beer lovers could easily spend a week-long vacation visiting the many microbreweries throughout the state. 

New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Breckenridge Brewing Companies are all located in the state and consistently ranked in the top 50 craft breweries by the Brewers Association. Don’t miss out on the Great American Beer Festival hosted in Downtown Denver to sample from a selection of over 4,000 different craft beers.

6. Find Some Fossils

A short half-hour drive from Denver, Dinosaur Ridge is the site of many dinosaur excavations and fossil discoveries. Take a self-guided tour through the area where the first-ever Stegosaurus was found and be amongst over 300 dinosaur tracks!

Head further northwest for more exciting dino discoveries in Dinosaur National Monument. Check out the Quarry Exhibit Hall to witness around 1,500 dinosaur fossils. Hike around other areas of the park or take a guided tour to see even more signs of jurassic life.

7. Try Out the Local Cuisine

There are a few food items that are certainly unique to Colorado. For example, Palisade, CO is famous for its Palisade Peaches due to an extended growing season in the area. 

Other interesting foods to try out include green chile and the infamous rocky mountain oysters. Rocky mountain oysters and other game-based foods can be enjoyed at the landmark Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant.

8. Get Artsy

If you’re looking to bring out your inner artist or art critic, Denver and the many mountain towns throughout Colorado are great destinations to do just this. 

Denver alone has both a museum of contemporary art and the Denver Art Museum, which holds over 70,000 sculptures, paintings and more. Interested in the local art scene? Check out the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive and walk through local artists’ open galleries.

9. Hunt For a Ghost!

Once part of the wild-wild west, Colorado is no stranger to ghost towns. Colorado has multiple preserved ghost towns reminiscent of a set of an old western movie. 

A couple of ghost towns accessible by car include Vicksburg and St. Elmo. Both towns are popular amongst tourists and still seasonally inhabited. Feeling more adventurous? Hike, bike or take a 4 wheeler to Carson or Animas Fork for a true ghost town experience.

10. Visit The Mountain Bike Capital

Colorado is a mountain bikers heaven. Head to Winter Park, Colorado, also known as Mountain Bike Capital USA, to find some of the best riding in the state. Winter Park is popular for Trestle Bike Park, a lift-accessed downhill mountain bike park and an endless network of cross country trails. 

Even if you aren’t a mountain biker, head up to Winter Park to watch the pros at the Mountain Bike Capital USA Weekend or the U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships.

Colorado Has Something For Everyone

Whether you’re headed to Colorado with family, friends, or for business, there is something for everyone. You can have a fun-filled weekend getaway, or take a tour around the state with a longer vacation. So get your bag packed and head to the mile-high state for sights that inspire and beers that satisfy!

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