Estes Park with Rocky Mountain National Park in the distance (credit: CBS)[/caption]
There are still a few weeks of summer left to enjoy, so why not take a long weekend and get away for a few days with the whole family? Take a personal day or a vacation day from work and use your three-day weekend to enjoy any of these wonderful long weekend ideas in Colorado. You’ll get a chance to unwind and enjoy some of the fantastic beauty that Colorado has to offer, plus you may even get to discover some new favorites and learn a little something about this beautiful state. Here are a few fun and inexpensive suggestions for a long weekend getaway.
Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
927 Moraine Ave.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Estes Park is the closest place to enjoy a long weekend away from home. It’s only about an hour and a half outside of Denver, but once you are there, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled several hours. There are lots of ways to spend some time, with the stunning Rocky Mountain National Park right there, and lots of fun shopping and dining in the area. You can also tour the historic (and spooky) Stanley Hotel for a look at the famous location that was the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining.” You can stay at the Stanley but for a less expensive option, check out the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, located near the Beaver Meadows
entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a wonderfully cozy hotel with lots of great amenities and a spectacular view.
Rabbit Ears Motel
201 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
During the winter, Steamboat Springs is very busy and filled with skiers and snowboarders all ready to hit the slopes. In the summer, however, the city transforms into a beautiful, and much quieter, mountain town. If you enjoy any type of outdoor activity, then this is the place to visit. With more than 500 miles of track, you’ll want to bring along your bicycle for one of the most beautiful bike rides in the state. There is also plenty of hiking, fishing, horseback riding and even the Romick Rodeo Pro Rodeo Series every Friday and Saturday from June through August. While you are there, stay at the Rabbit Ears Motel for an inexpensive yet very conveniently located option.
Salida Inn and Monarch Suites
7310 W. US Highway 50
Salida, CO 81201
Salida is the beautiful mountain town that you haven’t seen yet. It has so many fun and historic ways to spend a long weekend with the family that you’ll want to make this visit again and again. Make sure to take the Monarch Scenic Tram and you’ll be treated to the most breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains. You can also go for a dip in the Salida Hot Springs, browse the local history and culture at the Salida Museum or just enjoy some beautiful hiking and fishing in the area. While you are visiting Salida, try the Salida Inn and Monarch Suites for a comfortable, clean and friendly place to rest for the night. It’s located less than a mile from the downtown area of Salida and you can take a tip in the outdoor heated pool or hot tub.
Hotel Chateau Chamonix
1414 Argentine St.
Georgetown, CO 80444
Georgetown is a great glimpse into the history of Colorado. It’s a beautiful little Victorian mining town located just west of Denver. You can get there quickly but you’ll want to spend plenty of time here. Check out the Hotel de Paris, a stunning old hotel that is now a museum, or the Hamill House Museum for a glimpse into the life of one of the most famous silver barons in history. Take a truly scenic drive along the Guanella Pass; it’s a long drive, but the views are worth every minute. Of course, no visit to Georgetown is complete without a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, built in 1884 to service the silver mines. For a wonderful place to stay in the area, check out the Hotel Chateau Chamonix. This beautiful little hotel is surprisingly affordable with lots of luxurious rooms with private hot tubs, fireplaces, espresso machines and more. You’ll even get a complimentary glass of wine when you check in and a continental breakfast delivered to your room each morning.
699 Main Ave.
Durango, CO 81301
A trip to Durango is pushing it for a long weekend, as the drive can take up to six hours so if you have an extra day or two, this is a great option. Durango is a beautiful little town in the southwest corner of Colorado. There is plenty of great hiking, biking, fishing and more to enjoy while you are there. Plus, you can take a ride on the Durango Train to get the best views of the city or even go zip lining on one of the largest zip line courses in the country. If you are going to make the drive to Durango, you’ll want to check out the Strater Hotel. It was built in 1887 and is the perfect way to get a little taste of the Old West. There is a lot to enjoy in the hotel itself, including the Louis L’Amour Room, live music in the Diamond Belle Saloon, taking in a show at the Henry Strater Theatre or enjoying a fancy dinner at the Mahogany Grille.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.