Colorado isn’t famous as a hot springtime vacation destination. And really, the weather just sort of melts from winter into sunny summer, without much of an official pause for spring.
But even after the ski resorts close down and before the reservoirs and rivers are warm enough to enjoy, there’s plenty of reasons to visit Colorado in the spring.
Here are the 10 best ways to celebrate spring in Colorado:
The Denver Day of Rock
The Denver Day of Rock is a free, annual musical fundraiser late May in downtown Denver that transforms the 16th Street mall into a rockin’ block party. Enjoy free music on five different stages throughout the day, while helping raise money for children’s nonprofits. Plus, it’s a good excuse to get out on the walking mall, with its great shops, free tram, delicious restaurants and nightlife destinations.
You can also purchase VIP passes, which give you access to catering and open bars at five different VIP lounges throughout the mall. If you plan on eating, drinking and hanging out for the whole day, this isn't a bad deal. Plus, the tickets raise money for nonprofits.
The colorful tulips that fill Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall draw photographers, artists and travelers every year. They’re the perfect backdrop to a spring family portrait and yet another reason to visit Pearl Street. The walking mall itself is always entertaining, with buskers, live music and great people-watching.
Don’t miss west Pearl, after the walking mall ends. Here, you can find antique jewelry shops, the historical Trident coffee shop and some of the locals' favorite shops.
Touch Dinosaur Tracks
Get close to a piece of ancient history — way, way ancient — at Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, where you can see awe-inspiring traces that dinosaurs used to live here. See dino tracks, fossils and bones, as you explore the so-called Dinosaur Highway.
If you don’t mind venturing farther from Denver, La Junta also has a dinosaur trail in the Picketwire Canyonlands.
Get a taste of the tropics, without leaving the state, during the unique Rainforest Yoga class at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. The class is surrounded by beautiful plants in the warm oasis. If you’re lucky, a butterfly may land on your hand while you hold the warrior pose.
Even if you don’t do yoga, the pavilion is a fascinating home to thousands of critters, gardens and a nature trail — just 15 minutes from Denver.
The museum is also home to a zoo of little creepy crawlers, too, including a friendly tarantula that you can hold. If you're feeling brave.
Get a Taste of the Titanic
For more than 40 years, the Molly Brown House Museum has been one of Colorado’s most visited historic sites, drawing about 50,000 people a year. This is one of the few historic museums dedicated to the Titanic and its famous character, Molly Brown.
One cool way to experience the museum is at the Steerage Class Titanic Shindig, a festive meal set to live music, just like the dinners on the famous ship.
The museum regularly holds special events.
Visit the Children’s Museum
The Children's Museum is a favorite, family-friendly indoor activity in Denver.
Families will be thrilled to learn the fun and educational Children’s Museum of Denver is free on the first Tuesday of every month from 4-8 p.m. Also, don’t miss the museum’s workshops, from pasta-making to outdoor adventures.
Visit a Spa in Mountain Caves
Glenwood Springs is known for the world’s biggest hot springs pool, but it also is home to the Yampah Spa, with its hot springs vapor caves. After getting your massage or pedicure, visit the natural geothermal mineral paths, naturally rich in therapeutic minerals, to fully unwind.
Imagine relaxing in quiet, dim, warm underground rock chambers, filled with natural steam vapor, where hot water trickles through the cave floors. This is a new way to do hot springs, and a new way to do the spa, too.
Colorado is home to dozens of natural mineral hot springs.
Visit Colorado’s Banana Belt
Colorado is far from a beach or rainforest, but it does have its own “banana belt.” At least that’s what Canon City and the surrounding area is known as. This city tends to be warmer than other places, especially in the chillier months, making it a great contender for a springtime destination.
The city is the site of the famous Royal Gorge Bridge, the country’s highest suspension bridge, hovering way above the Arkansas River.
While springtime may be too chilly and muddy for tent camping, it’s a great time to plan a hut trip with the 10th Mountain Division Hut, a respected guiding company. It’s best to set up your hut trip with the guidance of an expert, due to the potentially challenging conditions, even in spring.