Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

We’ve got a few relatives and friends visiting us in Colorado this summer, and we want to make sure they have a great time. So I compiled a list of activities and sightseeing within an hour or less from our hometown. I couldn’t believe all the stuff there is to do right out our front door! Granted, we do live North of Denver, a large city with some great attractions, and near Boulder and Fort Collins, both of which have their own charms.

But even in a less populated area, I imagine you could find something to see or do for a week or two like:

  • Go to the local pool or rec center.
  • Hike, bike or fish in a nearby recreation area.
  • Go to the park with your kids or dogs.
  • Go window shopping (maybe even buy something).
  • Go out for lunch (and have a beer or glass of wine!).
  • Go to dinner and a movie.
  • Take pictures of your city or nearby towns, just for the fun of it.
  • Sit in your backyard and watch the sunset.

From what I’m reading, with the price of gas and the poor economy, more people are taking advantage of what their home towns have to offer. They’ve even coined a term for it: staycation. Think about it – no airfare, no hotel bill, no car rental, no restaurant bills (unless you choose to dine out); just the cost of entertaining yourself with what will probably be moderately inexpensive or even free outings.

I love to travel as much as anyone, but I also love to save money, so I’m seriously considering a staycation later this year. Of course, the hard part for me would be to NOT do chores while I’m hanging around the house. But wasting a vacation on housework and gotta do’s is a lot different than wasting the weekend on that stuff, so I bet I could pull it off.

How about you? Are you considering a staycation this year? Have you ever taken one? I’d love to hear all about it!

Oh, and for those of you in the Denver area, here’s some fun stuff you can do near home – I’m sure it’s missing a lot of great activities, so feel free to add to the list!

Rockies Game (Denver)


          Tickets $4 – $52


Denver Aquarium & Lunch in Aquarium restaurant


          Open 10 am (restaurant opens at 11 am)

          Adults $13.75, Kids (3-11) $8.25


Denver Zoo


          Open 9 am

          Adults $12, Kids (3-11) $7


Wild Animal Sanctuary (Keenesburg)


          Sanctuary (not a zoo) for rescued wild animals (tigers, lions, leopards, bears, wolves)

          Open 9 am

          Adults $10, Kids $5


Elitch Gardens Theme Park & water park (Denver)


          Open 10 am

          Everyone $30 (online), $35 at the park


Water World (Thornton)


          Open 10 am

          Adults $30 online / $34 at the park, Kids (under 47”) $25 online, $29 at park


Boondocks Fun Park (Northglenn)


          Go-Karts, Rookie Go-Karts, Bumper Boats, Miniature Golf, Batting Cages, Laser Tag, Kiddie Cove, Max Flight Simulator, Huge Arcade

          Open 10 am

          Adults $25, Kids (under 60”) $17


Gateway Park (Boulder)


          Mini golf, go karts, human maze, batting cages, golf practice range, arcade

          Open 10 am

          Per activity (golf $6, go karts $6.25-7.25, maze $4)


Denver Art Museum


          Open 10 am (noon on Sunday)

          Adults $13, Kids $3, College Students $8


Denver Museum of Nature & Science with IMAX and planetarium


          Open 9 am

          Museum = Adults $11, Kids & Students $6

          IMAX = Adults $8, Kids & Students $6


Hiking at Red Rocks Park & Ampitheater (Lakewood)


          Open 5 am

          Free admission

          Pets allowed on leash


Central City & Black Hawk (Mountains)



          Small stakes gambling in historic mountain towns


Rocky Mtn Natl Park & Trail Ridge Road

http://www.nps.gov/romo/    http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/trail_ridge_road.htm

          Scenic drive on one of the highest roads in Colorado


New Belgium Brewery Tour (Ft. Collins)


          Home of Fat Tire beer

          Tu-Sat, 10 am


Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour & Clydesdale hamlet (Ft. Collins)


          Open 9:30 am

          Free tours


Outlet Stores at Loveland & Movie Theater



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If you’re 9-5’ers like us, you live for the weekends. Even so, it’s hard to get out of town in only two days. That’s why there’s nothing better than a long, relaxing three-day respite from reality (especially when it doesn’t decrement your PTO balance!). We took advantage of Memorial Day weekend to visit an old haunt – Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Just a scenic 2.5 hours from Denver, Glenwood features the world’s largest natural hot springs pool, in addition to a bevy of accessible hiking trails, a 16-mile long bike path that runs along the Colorado river, a family-oriented ski resort, and a cozy downtown area that you could just snuggle up with!

Although we used to visit Glenwood a couple times a year, it had been awhile since we’d made the trip. We usually stay at the Best Western Antlers, but this time we decided to take our two boxers, so the first task was to find a place where they would be welcome. Although there are quite a few motels, hotels, cabins and campgrounds that accept pets in Glenwood, we chose the Red Mountain Inn, in part because of their affordable rates (accommodations are a bit more pricey during the summer season in Glenwood). As it turned out, our room was clean and spacious enough for two large dogs and two good-sized people. It even had a mini-fridge and a microwave – bonus!

During our stay, we discovered that Glenwood had grown a bit since our last visit. A brand new shopping area, Glenwood Meadows, now graces the foothills of the stunning red mountain that overlooks town. In addition to stores the locals must be loving (Lowe’s, Target, PetCo, Pier One, and more),  the two-block “market shops” area features a pedestrian-like mall with smaller local and chain establishments.

We also discovered several new restaurants on this trip. Typically, we make sure to visit Pepponino’s for home-cooked Italian meals, Juicy Lucy’s for mouth-watering steaks, The Bayou for “food so good you’ll slap yo mama,” and the Daily Bread cafe for breakfast that’s worth the wait. This time, we were eager to try a few new places.

As luck would have it, our motel was right next door to the Charcoalburger Drive-in. Imagine our surprise (and delight) when we discovered buffalo burgers on the menu (our favorite!), in addition to single and double hamburgers and even elk burgers. We actually ate there twice it was so good. A word of warning, though – if you order the chili cheese fries, bring a friend, or three, to help you with the huge portion!

We also had a fantastic dinner at Fin’s Grille. The food and service were comparable to experiences we’ve had in Denver and Boulder. The bread came with a whole roasted garlic – heaven! The assorted cheeses with jalapeno jelly appetizer was an experience in itself, and big enough to share. The trout was wonderful, but we accidentally ordered the angel hair pasta with “fritti misto” (fried seafood), which was a bit bland and heavy on the palate. When we shared our lack of enthusiam with our attentive server, she happily replaced it with a lighter dish at no charge. It’s too bad we didn’t save room for dessert, but we’ll definitely pace ourselves better next time!

One other honorable mention is the Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse that allows dogs both inside and on their sidewalk patio. They even offer complimentary dog biscuits! For two-legged clients, they have a wide selection of bagel sandwiches, pastries, smoothies, and, of course, great coffee.

Just so you know, we did do more than eat (although I’m pretty sure I gained a couple of pounds!). We also had some great adventures with our pups, but I’ll save that for another post.

If you’ve been to Glenwood, leave a comment and let us know your favorite spots to stay or eat. If you’ve never been, check out the new Glenwood Chamber website and see if it’s for you!

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