A few years ago, my cousin worked for an international embassy's office located in Washington DC. During her time there, she was amazed at how often the expats traveled while assigned to the US for work. She said, "They have seen more of America than I have!"
Hearing that immediately challenged me to always be on the lookout for local adventures. Yes, I hope to galavant around Europe one of these days (sooner rather than later!), but waiting for that BIG trip should not stop me from traveling in my own backyard.
One of the things I've disliked about living in Colorado is how far away it is from other cities, as I've come to realize I am way more of a city girl than a beach or mountain girl. Growing up in the Washington DC suburbs, there were so many places to visit for day trips and weekends. My youth group and school took trips all up and down the east coast, from New York City and Philadelphia, to Myrtle Beach and Orlando.
In Colorado, I've felt a little stuck. There are some trips that are 6 hours away, but in general you are way less connected to other cities and places than the east coast. You know, because of all the mountains and open space there is here.... (hence why people love it)
I've had to reframe my local travel expectations, to not try and visit new cities, but instead visit new mountains and mountain towns. To chase after new hikes and nature time instead of bustling sidewalks and skylines.
There is SO much to see and do in Colorado, and I do want to take advantage of our time here.
So all that to say, I'm remembering that even though we're committed here for the moment, our time in Colorado may still be limited. So I want to get out there and do more. I have a long list going of places I'd like to visit, including a list of dreamy places to stay! I thought I would share with you my top list in case you are planning a Colorado getaway or staycation for yourself and needed recommendations. Enjoy!
This is my number one spot to visit. An old motel that was transformed into maybe the most Instagrammable hotel ever. I love their Sante Fe meets midcentury modern design, and all the quirky bits and pieces around the property. We need to get here ASAP.
Here are some more photos posted from a blog I found on the internet.
Perfect for: Hiking trips, couples getaway, probably skiing?
Driving Distance from Denver: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Rooms Starting At: $105 weeknights / $145 weekends
2. Milston Well Farm's Honeymoon House Airbnb, Longmont
I stumbled upon Milston Well where you find all the greatest local gems, on Instagram. Milston Well Farm is a passion project created my Margaret and Chris, a power couple to say the least. She is an interior designer for luxury hotels, he is a custom furniture maker. Together they bought this beautiful property in Longmont and turned it into a wedding venue and killer Airbnb spot. I had the luxury of touring the property as I reached out to them about their wedding business. Their Honeymoon House is an adorable dreamy cottage perfect for visiting Colorado, as you get the remote feel of being on a farm, with mountain views, but you're still accessible to Boulder, Denver, Estes Park.
Perfect for: A hub between Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Estes Park.. Also perfect for visiting me, because this property is very closer to my apartment in Gunbarrel ;)
Driving Distance from Denver: 35-40 minutes
Rooms Starting At: $150/night
Ugh. What a freaking dream. I think I will be content just to visit and walk around this resort style property, but staying there would be even better. The Broadmoor is located in Colorado Springs, near Garden of the Gods. It appears to be its own oasis of luxury. The architecture looks Mediterranean, and it towers over a beautiful lake. There are 779 guest rooms (WhAT) and EIGHTEEN RESTAURANTS. So yeah, the place is huge. You can rent bikes and paddleboats on the property, but if you get a little stir-crazy, you can visit their 16-acre ranch for horseback riding and other outdoorsy things.
Perfect for: Feeling Fancy. Spa trips, eating fancy foods, pretending like you're in Europe
Driving Distance from Denver: about an hour and a half
Rooms Starting At: $210 (but most I've found are way more than that)
Okay so this is if you want a summer mountain adventure, but you're on a budget. Estes Park is basically the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which hits its peak in the summer. At the YMCA of the Rockies, you can rent cabins for as little as $139 a day! There are a variety of cabin sizes to choose from, and also have a lodge if you wanted an individual room. Perfect for a hiking focused trip. I'll be honest, there's not much else to do in Estes Park, as far as I'm concerned. I have not found impressive restaurants, and the only shopping is dedicated tourist shops. Of course with all the tourists, that makes great people watching! This also makes it easy to stay home, cook out, bring home sampler packs of local beer to drink by a fire before getting up early the next day to explore the national park.
Perfect for: Groups, Trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, Budgets
Driving Distance from Denver: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Rooms Starting At: $139
Okay, I had to put ONE Denver hotel on here, which honestly is hard to choose because there are so many cool spots that I'd love to visit. But this one takes the cake because of it's location. Situated in/above Union Station is the Crawford Hotel, which makes its lobby the coolest hotel lobby in Denver. It plays off the train station by decorating rooms in the style of luxury sleeper cars. You're smack-dab in the middle of Denver, ready to take on the city, but technically you'd never need to leave the property to experience some of Denver's best bars and restaurants, like The Terminal Bar, Mercantile, Snooze, Ultreia.... According to online reviews, the staff here is friendly and professional, it is the premier place to stay.
Perfect for: Trips to eat/drink in Denver, couples
Driving Distance from Denver: you're right downtown!
Rooms Starting At: $188
Of course there are a MILLION cool places you could stay, and if you want to see more, check out:
Wee Casa in Lyons, CO - for the tiny home fan
This Secluded Yurt on Airbnb in Creede. But be warned, it really is secluded!
Dram Apothacary's Poor Farm in Salida (rent one room or the entire house on Airbnb)
I didn't even mention any place in the western mountain regions... Crested Butte, Telluride, Aspen, Breckenridge... I haven't found anything to add to my list in those areas yet, so if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!
Thanks for reading! Let's plan a trip together ;)