Colorado's Best Summertime Mountain Towns
As someone who once called Colorado home, the allure of the state's mountain towns in the summer holds a special place in my heart. The vibrant bursts of wildflowers create a breathtaking backdrop for exploration and adventure. The lively farmers markets in these towns offer a taste of local culture and a chance to savor the region's fresh produce and unique creations. For me, there's a sense of importance in encouraging people to venture out and experience the wonders of Colorado in the summer, where nature's beauty and charming communities converge in perfect harmony. There is not better place than Colorado in the summer.
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Where to stay in Colorado
The Little Nell
At the base of Ajax Mountain, Aspen’s only ski-in/ski-out hotel is the spot for a lively après scene, top people watching and personalized service.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs
An enchanting, secluded oasis offering rejuvenating thermal springs surrounded by Colorado's spectacular mountainous beauty.
Hotel Parc Beaumont & Spa
A luxurious and rejuvenating oasis nestled in the serene surroundings of Parc Beaumont, offering a perfect blend of comfort and indulgence.
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Things to do in Colorado
This magical mountain town has some of the most vibrant and stunning summertime wild flowers. It’s one of the few popular mountain towns that still had it’s old town charm. Go snag some fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market then hit the mountains for some of the best mountain biking, hiking, and fishing in the state.
Here’s a hot take – go to Ouray instead of Telluride! Yes, go visit Telluride for a day and explore its magic but Ouray, the “Switzerland of America” will make you feel like you are living in a small Swiss town on the mountain side. Explore Box Canyon Falls, go off roading on the famous Alpine Loop and take a dip in all their hot springs. I recommend a sunset dip at Orvis Hot Springs.
Most people know it as a ski town but summer in Steamboat is just as lovely. Most of the hikes up there are less trafficked than the rest of the state plus you can enjoy a float down the Yampa to give your legs a rest. Strawberry Hot Springs is a MUST!
Not far from Ouray is this magical town. Durango, second to Crested Butte, has some of the most stunning wildflowers in the San Juans. Nestled in the Animas River Valley, it offers a mix of outdoor adventures and Old West charm. Explore historic downtown, ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, go river rafting or explore the hundreds of hikes nearby.
Famous for its stunning mountain formations, Aspen offers a blend of adventure, culture and luxury. You can spend your days hiking, biking and rafting or exploring the downtown area with upscale shops and restaurants. Don’t miss the hike up the Maroon Bells. Go the extra mile past the crowds to take in the scenery in a quiet space. Pro tip: the best summer time hike is from Crested Butte to Aspen or vice versa. It’s worth every step!
A second favorite to Crested Butte, Buena Vista is a summertime gem. Hikers know it as the town as the base of the Collegiate Peaks, 4 striking 14,000ft mountains. Its full of outdoor activities with the most popular being a white water rafting experience down the Arkansas River. Hike, bike, float, eat – whatever tickles your fancy – Buena Vista has it all while maintaining an old mining town feel.
Places to eat & drink in Colorado
The White House Tavern: Known for its delicious burgers and cozy atmosphere, this popular spot offers a fantastic selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails.
Eddyline Restaurant at South Main: Situated along the Arkansas River, this brewery and restaurant serves up tasty pub fare and boasts an impressive selection of craft beers brewed on-site.
Steamworks Brewing Co.: A beloved local brewery, Steamworks offers a diverse menu of pub classics paired with their award-winning craft beers. Don't miss their wood-fired pizzas and hearty burgers.
Mouse's Chocolates & Coffee: Indulge your sweet tooth at this delightful chocolatier and café. Treat yourself to handmade chocolates, rich hot chocolate, and specialty coffee drinks.
Aurum Food & Wine: Located along the Yampa River, Aurum offers a sophisticated dining experience with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. Their diverse menu features elevated American cuisine and an extensive wine list. Hit their happy hours for amazing deals — this is one of my favorites!
Secret Stash- A MUST! A funky and vibrant pizzeria, Secret Stash is renowned for its creative and delicious pizzas with unique toppings. It's a must-visit spot for pizza lovers in Crested Butte.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, 4-Days in California Wine Country.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Colorado.