AS OUR RENTAL CAR ascended the winding roads of Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park (RMNP), which towers as much as 14,259 ft, our household of 4 shortly pulled over. The majestic mountains delivered jaw-dropping surroundings, however that’s not what warranted a pitstop. We discovered ourselves within the midst of a well-timed snowstorm—a primary for our grownup sons (ages 23 and 26) who had by no means touched snow. It was magical!
Although we visited in Might, the upper elevations have been nonetheless susceptible to snowfalls. The truth is, Path Ridge Street—the park’s highest driving path at 12,183 ft and the nation’s highest steady paved street—was closed as a consequence of three ft of snow blocking the trail. Fortuitously, loads of white stuff nonetheless lined the grounds all through the park, offering the proper probability to have interaction in a snowball battle, really feel snow crunching beneath our ill-equipped ft, and discover a snow- fringed lake.
With the final title of Seaside (yep, actually), it’s a contented coincidence that we love taking seashore holidays. And residing in Florida the previous 25 years has allowed us to discover coastal areas from Jacksonville to Key West. However my household yearned for one thing totally different. So, all of us agreed on a visit to Colorado. It proved to be one among our most memorable household holidays.
Feeding Our Nature Cravings
Our primary cause for touring—mountains! rock formations!—put a number of must-see spots on our itinerary. We ventured to Pink Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, half-hour west of Denver, to expertise this breathtaking marvel of cinnamon-colored sandstone. Designated a Nationwide Historic Landmark, Pink Rocks garners a worldwide popularity as a one-of-a- form out of doors live performance venue. Whereas we didn’t time our go to to see a present, the vacation spot was buzzing with exercise—hikers, vacationers, photographers, and out of doors fans swarmed each stage of the amphitheater.
Then we fell in love with the picturesque Boulder Falls, tucked inside Boulder Canyon. (We unknowingly drove proper by and needed to do a U-turn.) After strolling a short-but-uneven path, the path opened as much as showcase the beautiful 70-foot waterfall— one thing I’ve by no means seen (but!) in Florida, although I do know they exist.
Subsequent up: the Flatirons. Shaped roughly 300 million years in the past, these sandstone formations lie at Boulder’s foothills. Whereas this iconic landmark lures critical hikers, we opted for the simpler two-mile Flatiron Loop Path. It’s deceivingly sloped, which made the downhill trek extra pleasing.
To cap off our peak experiences, we headed north to Estes Park—the gateway to the incomparable Rocky Mountains. Nicely definitely worth the one-hour drive from Boulder, this postcard-perfect area beckoned us to discover mountains, lakes, and forests. We lucked out by visiting in early Might—RMNP requires a timed-entry allow reservation to go to between Might 26-October 22.
Whereas we beloved strolling alongside the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Road in historic downtown Boulder, we bought our tradition repair in Denver. Nicknamed The Mile-Excessive Metropolis (with an elevation of 5,280 ft), Denver bursts with museums, historic websites, eating places, craft breweries, and outlets.
Not wanting to remain within the bustling enterprise district, we selected The ART Lodge Denver within the metropolis’s Golden Triangle neighborhood. Nestled inside the arts district, this put us inside strolling distance of a number of museums, the U.S. Mint, and the State Capitol. Plus, the lodge’s rooftop bar and restaurant supplied beautiful metropolis views, particularly once we curled up by the firepit at night time.
For an incredible worth, we purchased the 3-Day Mile Excessive Tradition Cross ($37/individual), giving us entry into seven sights. Sooner or later we visited Historical past Colorado Heart, immersing ourselves in Native American tradition, adopted by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to discover three ranges of displays. Afterwards, we meandered via the attractive Denver Botanic Gardens, stumbling upon a marriage celebration photograph session close to the Water Gardens.
One other day we took a free tour of the U.S. Mint (make advance reservations!), then headed downtown to see the legendary Union Station brimming with eateries and boutiques. We skipped the favored sixteenth Road Mall (a lot of it beneath building) and as an alternative roamed the streets, snapping pics in entrance of Coors Discipline, strolling via McGregor Sq., buying in Tattered Cowl Ebook Retailer, and soaking within the architectural wonders round Larimer Sq.. We waited till night to discover the Denver Artwork Museum, which meant fewer crowds and 0 college discipline journeys.
Lastly, Denver’s culinary and craft beer scene didn’t disappoint. Within the mornings, we walked to Cherry Bean Espresso, glimpsing colourful murals alongside the way in which. Whereas downtown, we lingered over lunch on the historic Wynkoop Brewing Firm, choosing a Roasted Chestnut Brown Ale. In between museum-hopping, we popped into Alpine Canine Brewery, sporting an incredible vibe of brick partitions, lovely arches, and comfortable couches. For dinners, we noshed on brick-oven pizza at LowDown Brewery, indulged in a wonderful Vietnamese dinner at Anise, and bought our road taco repair at 100% de Agave.
After every week stuffed with “peak experiences” in Colorado, we vowed to return quickly. It’s official—the Seashores love the mountains.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO MAKE PL ANNING YOUR COLORADO TRIP EASIER:
• You may get direct flights (roughly 4 hours) from Orlando to Denver, making Boulder accessible too. It’s simply 35 miles northwest of Denver Worldwide Airport.
• Watch out on this increased elevation. Load up on sunscreen, improve your water consumption, and drink alcohol carefully as your physique adjusts.
• Whenever you go to Colorado impacts what you are able to do there. When you’ll discover loads of year-round actions (suppose museum-hopping, eating, and buying), visiting in late fall, winter and early spring opens up extra wintery experiences (like snowboarding, ice skating, and snowmobiling). Plus, with dozens of occasions on the calendar, you would possibly wish to plan your go to throughout one of many space’s common meals festivals, live shows, marathons, artwork festivals, beer fests, and vacation markets.
• At no cost customer’s guides that will help you plan your journey, go to denver.org and bouldercoloradousa.com.