We’re all guilty of not taking enough vacation, especially this year. Even if we are able to travel for vacation, it flies by far too quickly. One of the perks for living in the great state of Colorado – especially in Northern Colorado – is the enormous amount of land and experiences available for new adventures and weekend staycations.
Instead of traveling elsewhere, stay local this weekend with a few of our favorite must-do’s experiences in Northern Colorado.
One of our favorite and not-so-secret Northern Colorado destinations is Estes Park, CO. Home and basecamp of the northern gate into Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a small town about 6,300 people. Estes Park is famous for the resident elk who reside in the park and meander throughout the historic downtown area as if they run the place. While the elk rule the town, the Big Thompson and Fall Rivers converge downtown and lead to the appropriately named Lake Estes where visitors can fish, paddle board and kayak.
Bonus local tip: Do something a bit off the beaten path. Literally. Have a local guide take your thrill-seeking family on a tour with jeeps, ATV’s, white water rafting, horseback riding or even a mountain climbing trip. The park itself is designated as by the federal government as “wilderness,” meaning absolutely no motorized vehicles, but the land surrounding the park will keep the motorheads busy.
Greeley, CO is the largest municipality in Weld County of Northern Colorado, located east of I-25 from Loveland. Entire centrally-located homes are available for short-term rentals for around $50 per night – an incredible price for anywhere in the Front Range. A few of the top activities in Greeley are the hiking the Poudre River Trail, the Pawnee National Grasslands, and WeldWerks Brewing Co., one of Colorado’s most talked about breweries. WeldWerks recently made headlines for canning the once-blasphemous idea of a low-calorie hazy IPA. While the beer fanatics may argue sacrilege, it’s a delicious alternative for those of us not wanting to drink 200 calories per beer and other brewers are racing to produce their own.
Directly west of Greeley and just south of Fort Collins is Loveland, CO. At the base of the Rocky Mountain Front Range, Loveland is a beautiful town with tons of restaurants and outdoor shopping at The Promenade Shops, a gorgeous hike to the nearby natural Dakota sandstone arch known as Devil’s Backbone, a thriving downtown district at Foundry Plaza with winter events, lights and sculptures, as well as local craft breweries. In normal years, September in Loveland sees the ‘Thunder in the Rockies’ for Harley-Davidson fans, the ‘Good Guys Car Show’ where antique auto drivers bring their treasures from across the country, a Loveland Oktoberfest, and so much more.
Fun fact: Did you know two of the largest love lock sculptures are in Loveland, CO? Think of the touristy love locks on the Pont des Arts bridge – which were recently removed by French authorities – but with a mountain background.
People often think of taking a vacation at far-away, tropical beaches or giant, city metropolises, but completely forget about the local treasures available here in Northern Colorado. Book a room, pack light, and drive up to the unforgettable towns that make Northern Colorado so special.