If you are planning on having a really dynamic trip in which you can get the chance to visit the most important objectives in Colorado rather than to travel to a mountain resort and stay there for a week, then it is crucial to have your personal transport (not that other options are excluded, but it would be way more troublesome to plan your trip and you would have much less flexibility).
First thing first, if you are living far from Denver, taking a plane to the city and renting a car might be a much more reasonable option than spending days on the road to Denver. You should spend at least a day (for instance, your first or last one) in this place to visit the 16th Street Mall, the Denver Mint (to see how coins are made and learn some history), the Union Station. There are many more attractions for a traveling family – visiting the Downtown Aquarium, the Zoo, Children’s Museum, the Museum of Nature and Science, Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park.
At only three-hour drive through the Glenwood Canyon, Glenwood Springs is the world’s largest hot springs pool. Besides taking a hot bath outdoors any time of the year, there are many other activities depending on the time of the year:
- horseback riding;
- visiting amusement parks (visit the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park for a combination of the last two).
From here, drive west via the Grand Junction city to Colorado National Museum, with its gorgeous and awe-inspiring red-rock formations and steep cliffs. Speaking for its beautiful and unique, scenery, the nearby Rimrock Drive has been nicknamed “The Tour of the Moon”.
Driving Southeast from here will take you to the Black Canyon, which is part of the Gunnison National Park. Named so due to its black rocks, this deep canyon will definitely fill you with awe for the majesty and beauty of nature. This is also a perfect place to go camping with your family (for a day or two) somewhere amongst the beautiful scenery.
The next recommended destination lies south from here – the Mesa Verde National Park is one of the twenty World Heritage sites in the US due to the ancient cliff dwellings found here. The landscapes will also not leave you disappointed. Traveling east and then north from here, you’ll reach the Great Sand Dunes National Park, offering a desert-like scenery surrounded by mountains. Trending activities here include dune skiing/snowboarding.
As the last destination before returning to Denver, you could visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and the nearby wildlife park – the suspension bridge is one of the world’s highest and largest, offering a magnificent view of the surroundings.