Trip Ideas for Colorado’s Top Attractions


Colorado, a state known for its diverse landscapes and endless outdoor adventures, attracts millions of visitors each year. With a land area of 104,094 square miles, Colorado offers activities and attractions for travelers of all ages and interests. Whether you’re seeking breathtaking mountain vistas, serene lakes and rivers, urban exploration, or historical and cultural experiences, Colorado has something for everyone.

Keep reading as we share trip ideas for Colorado’s top attractions.


  • Colorado offers diverse landscapes, from the Rocky Mountains to lakes, rivers, and urban centers
  • Accommodations range from hotels and resorts to vacation rentals, camping, and RV parks
  • Seasonal considerations are important when planning your Colorado adventure

Discovering Colorado’s Natural Wonders

The Majestic Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains are the crown jewel of Colorado’s natural wonders. With over 50 peaks exceeding 14,000 feet, the Rockies offer countless hiking, camping, and wildlife-watching opportunities. Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the United States, features over 300 miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, and abundant wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, and moose.

Pikes Peak, a 14er near Colorado Springs, is a popular destination visitors flock to for scenic views and wildlife viewing. You can either drive or take the Broadmoor Manitou Pikes Peak Cog Railway. If you prefer to stay at lower elevations, you can explore the Manitou Cliff Dwellings in Manitou Springs. Near Denver, the red rock formations of Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater are a must-see.

Natural wonders beckon in western Colorado. Take a road trip to enjoy the great outdoors in Gunnison National Park and the San Juan National Forest. The Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction and Dinosaur National Monument farther north are some of the state’s best places to visit.

National Parks and Scenic Byways

In addition to Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado has three other national parks: Mesa Verde National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. These parks showcase the state’s diverse landscapes, from ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings to the tallest sand dunes in North America. Colorado’s scenic byways, such as the San Juan Skyway and the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, offer breathtaking drives through the state’s most stunning landscapes.

The Serenity of Colorado’s Lakes and Rivers

Boating, Fishing, and Water Sports

Colorado’s numerous lakes and rivers provide ample boating, fishing, and water sports opportunities. Popular destinations include Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water, and the Arkansas River, known for its world-class whitewater rafting. Anglers can enjoy fishing for trout, bass, and other species in the state’s pristine waters.

Lakeside Retreats and Riverside Campgrounds

Colorado’s lakeside retreats and riverside campgrounds offer the perfect escape for those seeking a more relaxed pace. Many state parks, such as Eleven Mile State Park and Steamboat Lake State Park, provide campgrounds and cabins along the water’s edge. You’ll also find no shortage of campgrounds along to Colorado River. These tranquil settings allow visitors to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Colorado’s natural surroundings.

Urban Exploration and Cultural Highlights

Denver: The Mile High City

Denver, Colorado’s capital and largest city, offers a vibrant urban experience. Known as the Mile High City due to its elevation of 5,280 feet, Denver boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, diverse dining options, and a variety of shopping and nightlife destinations. Must-visit attractions include the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the historic Larimer Square.

Historical Towns and Cultural Heritage

Colorado’s rich history is evident in its charming towns and cultural heritage sites. Mining towns like Leadville and Cripple Creek offer a glimpse into the state’s Gold Rush legacy with preserved historic buildings and museums. Local festivals and cultural events, such as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Aspen Music Festival, showcase Colorado’s vibrant arts and music scene.

Adventure and Outdoor Activities

Winter Sports and Ski Resorts

Colorado is renowned for its world-class ski resorts and winter sports opportunities. With over 25 ski resorts, including Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge, the state offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country. Off-the-beaten-path winter activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and dog sledding provide unique ways to explore Colorado’s winter wonderland.

Summer and Fall Outdoor Pursuits

Colorado’s mountains and valleys come alive with summer and fall activities when the snow melts. Mountain biking enthusiasts can tackle challenging trails in destinations like Crested Butte and Fruita. Rock climbing opportunities abound, with popular spots including Eldorado Canyon State Park and the Garden of the Gods. For a truly unique experience, try hot air ballooning or paragliding to take in Colorado’s stunning landscapes from above.

Family-Friendly Trip Ideas

Theme Parks and Family Attractions

Colorado offers a variety of family-friendly attractions, ensuring that travelers of all ages can enjoy their visit. Theme parks like Elitch Gardens in Denver and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs provide thrilling rides and entertainment. Educational experiences and interactive museums, such as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, engage and inspire young minds.

Zoos are a must for family outings! To please your animal lovers, visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, the Pueblo Zoo, or the Denver Zoo. Bear in mind that the animals might be less active and resting in the shade during high summer temperatures.

Outdoor Family Adventures

Families can bond over shared outdoor adventures in Colorado’s natural playgrounds. Kid-friendly hiking trails offer manageable distances and stunning scenery, like the Crater Lake Trail in Maroon Bells and the Bear Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildlife encounters and nature education programs at many state parks and nature centers help children develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

Romantic Getaways and Retreats

Secluded Mountain Escapes

Colorado’s mountains provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway. Secluded couples’ cabins and boutique lodging options, such as the Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park and the Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores, offer privacy and luxury in stunning natural settings. Many of these retreats feature spa services and wellness centers, allowing couples to relax and rejuvenate.

Vineyards and Culinary Experiences

For couples who appreciate fine dining and wine, Colorado’s growing wine industry and culinary scene offer a delightful surprise. The Grand Valley, located in western Colorado, has numerous vineyards and wineries, many of which offer tastings and tours.

Gourmet dining experiences can be found throughout the state, from the farm-to-table restaurants of Boulder to the innovative eateries of Aspen. Cooking classes and food tours provide a hands-on way to explore Colorado’s culinary delights.

Planning Your Trip: Logistics and Tips

Choosing the Right Accommodation

Colorado offers accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Hotels and resorts can be found in most major cities and tourist destinations, while vacation rentals, such as cabins and condos, offer a more home-like experience. For those seeking a closer connection to nature, campgrounds and RV parks are abundant throughout the state, particularly in and around national parks and forests.

Transportation and Getting Around

Colorado is well-connected by air, with major airports in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction. Car rentals are readily available at these airports, allowing visitors to explore the state at their own pace. For those who prefer not to drive, public transportation options, such as buses and trains, connect many of Colorado’s major cities and towns. Scenic drives, like the Mount Evans Scenic Byway and the Trail Ridge Road, offer breathtaking views and the opportunity to explore Colorado’s diverse landscapes.


What is the best time of year to visit Colorado for outdoor activities?

The best time to visit Colorado depends on your preferred activities. December through March offers the best snow conditions for skiing and winter sports. Summer months (June-August) are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and water activities, while fall (September-October) provides stunning foliage and mild weather for outdoor pursuits.

Can you recommend family-friendly accommodations in Colorado?

Many Colorado resorts and hotels offer family-friendly amenities, like pools, game rooms, and children’s programs. Some popular options include Snow Mountain Ranch (the YMCA of the Rockies) in Estes Park, the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, and the Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs.

What are some must-visit attractions in Denver for first-time visitors?

Must-visit attractions in Denver include the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the historic Larimer Square. Sports fans should also consider catching a game at Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies) or Empower Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Broncos).

Where can I find the best ski resorts in Colorado?

Colorado has numerous world-class ski resorts, including Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge, Telluride, Winter Park, and Steamboat Springs. Each resort offers a unique experience, with varying terrain, amenities, and village atmospheres.

Are there any unique cultural experiences specific to Colorado?

Colorado offers a variety of unique cultural experiences, such as attending the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, exploring the ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park or Manitou Springs, or visiting the historic mining towns of Leadville and Cripple Creek. The state also boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.