Denver's proximity to the mountains means weekend ski trips are only a short drive away in the winter and the summer calls for camping and hiking. For adventurous souls, out-of-state destinations such as Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Moab, Utah, are also less within a six-hour drive of Denver.
For a destination that's far away enough to satisfy your thirst for adventure, but not so far that it will take you most of the day just to get there by car, these popular vacation spots near Denver might be just what you're looking for.
Just 29 miles from Denver and a half hour drive away, Boulder is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just north of Colorado. The city is home to the University of Colorado and has popular attractions like the Fiske Planetarium and Museum of Natural History. Travelers can also plan to go hiking or rock climbing in the Flatirons Mountains.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is located eastern to the Rocky Mountains. It's 69 miles from Denver and takes a little over an hour to reach by car. Notable attractions in Colorado Springs include the Garden of the Gods Park and the U.S. Olympic training center. Travelers can also visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Red Rock Canyon.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins houses Colorado State University as well as New Belgium Brewing Company, which makes the popular Fat Tire Amber Ale. Visitors who enjoy history can visit the Old Town historic district which has houses from the 1800s, vintage trollies, and unique shops. Fort Collins is 65 miles from Denver and takes just over an hour to drive to.
Estes Park, Colorado
The town of Estes Park serves as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. This place is home to wildlife like elk and bears and has the Trail Ridge Road, which consists of beautiful peaks and forests. Travelers can visit the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway by car, the Riverwalk in Downtown Estes Park for a walk, or take the Aerial Tramway. Seventy miles from Denver, it takes just about an hour to drive here from Denver.
Cheyenne hosts Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo, every summer in July. Attractions that may interest travelers include history museums, like the Wyoming State Museum and Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, along with state parks like Curt Gowdy and Mylar Park. Cheyenne is about 100 miles away from Denver and takes about an hour and 45 minutes to drive to.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Glenwood Hot Springs boasts an outdoor pool over two city blocks long. Glenwood Springs also serves as the last resting place of gunslinger Doc Holliday and is 157 miles from Denver. After a two and a half hour drive, visitors from Denver can also hike the trails at Hanging Lake and ride the rollercoasters at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
Cañon City, Colorado
While the town of Cañon City, which is 119 miles away from Denver, is primarily known for its federal prison, its proximity to the Arkansas River makes it a popular starting point for rafting and tubing trips. It takes about two hours and 30 minutes to reach by car. Adventurers can also take a zip line through the Aerial Adventure Park, hop on the tramway at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and take a helicopter or rail tour.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Over three hours away from Denver by car (166 miles), the Steamboat Ski Resort lies a bit off the beaten path, but its deep powder makes it worth a trip in the winter The nearby Strawberry Hot Springs, which is clothing-optional after dark, also merits a visit.
Aspen's a traveler's best bet for celebrity spotting in Colorado. Skiing and snowboarding at resorts like Steamboat Ski Resort are popular, as is visiting the waterfalls at Fish Creek Falls. Aspen is 159 miles away from Denver and takes a little under four hours to drive to.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Located in the Gunnison National Forest, 228 miles from Denver, in southern Colorado, Crested Butte ski area offers a change of pace from the Front Range ski resorts. Lovers of snow should visit here, where they can explore the scenic drives at Kebler Pass, and ski or snowboard at popular resorts like the Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the Nordic Center. From Denver, Crested Butte is a four hour and 45 minute drive.
Nestled between Canyonlands National Park and Zion National Park, Moab features world-renowned mountain biking trails. Travelers can explore the geologic formations at locations like Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point. In another state and 354 miles from Denver, it will take about five and half hours to reach Moab.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe's numerous art galleries and southwestern food attract many visitors. Visitors can consider going to the Santa Fe Opera House, Meow Wolf art gallery, or Camel Rock Monument. Almost 400 miles away from Denver, it will take five hours and 30 minutes to get to Santa Fe.