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Plan Your Colorado Summer Vacation in 6 Steps

When you are starting to plan a Colorado vacation, the multitude of options from outdoor adventures to hotels and car rentals can feel a bit daunting. Do you stay in Durango so you can visit Mesa Verde National Park? Do you head to Denver for museums and restaurants? Do you road trip across the state? How will you get here? There are so many possible ways to spend the summer in Colorado it can be hard to narrow down your plans.

Here are six simple steps for planning your trip to Colorado:

1. Choose Your Activities

Colorado Summer Activities Mountain BikingStep 1 is the fun, day dreaming step. Gather your family, your friends, or whoever you plan to travel with and start listing off all the things that you are looking forward to for your vacation. Maybe you really want to try whitewater rafting on one of the state’s renowned rivers or test your skills on the many mountain bike trails. Or perhaps you have always wanted to drive to the top of Pikes Peak. Are the kids excited to see snow in June? What about touring a historic gold mine? For this step, the sky is the limit and will help you figure out what gets you the most excited. Once you’ve finished brainstorming, you should be able to narrow the list down to your top 5 Colorado adventures.

2. Settle on a Destination

Colorado Summer DestinationsNow that you know what you want to do, Step 2 is to figure out where to go to do it. If you’ve written down mostly urban excursions, you can research Denver and Colorado Springs as well as the surrounding towns to figure out which locale best fits your plans. If you are thinking about sticking to outdoor adventures like hiking and mountain biking, consider Durango or Buena Vista. Trying to mix in a little of everything? The towns along Interstate 70 like Breckenridge and Vail can provide plenty of access to the Rocky Mountains without taking you too far from the amenities of the Front Range.

3. Finalize Travel Details

Colorado Travel & TransportationOnce you know where you’re going, it’s time to nail down the details. Figure out when you want to visit Colorado and make sure those dates work for the activities that you have planned. If you want to get in some spring skiing before hitting the golf course, you’ll need to plan a trip earlier in the summer whereas if you hope to spend the trip car camping, a vacation in August makes more sense. This will also give you the chance to review prices on flights, car rentals, and other travel basics. Since most activities are available for at least a month, you should have plenty of flexibility to get the best rates on transportation.

4. Reserve Your Lodging

Colorado Lodging and HotelsYou know your flights and your schedule, so your next step is to finalize where you want to stay. Whether you’re seeking a 5 Star hotel or an RV hookup, most Colorado destinations offer a wealth of options when it comes to lodging. Shop around to find the best rates and amenities, but also keep the location in mind. A spot downtown means easy access to restaurants and shops, but a more remote location will give you added privacy and can often mean better access to trails, rivers, and other outdoor fun.

5. Research Local Events

Colorado Summer EventsSure, you’ve figured out the activities that you want to do, but don’t forget that there are often great events happening locally that you might not have been aware of. Whether it’s an art walk, a brew fest, or a concert series, be sure to check out the local events while you’re in town.  Check the chamber of commerce website or visitors’ bureau for an event calendar or ask when you’re booking your hotel.

6. Put together an itinerary

At this point, you’re ready to put together an itinerary. Start with your travel dates, making sure to research how long it will take you to get to your lodging destination from the airport (or from home, if you’ve decided to drive). Add a little extra time in case of delays.  Next, fill in any events that are taking place on specific dates, and finally add all of your activities in the remaining time. You may want to plan a mellow day without any major events for your first full day in town in case you need to adjust to the altitude or run into flight delays.  Now that your itinerary is complete, you can start to make reservations for activities.

Congratulations – you’ve finished planning your Colorado vacation!

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