It’s the most wonderful time of the week, Colorado: It’s time to relax and enjoy the weekend. If you don’t have plans this beautiful Saturday and/or Sunday, take one of these 11 easy (and inexpensive) road trips. If you do have plans, break them so you can hit the road and discover new places that you’ll never forget:
1. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Florissant)
Whether you live on the Eastern Plains, Front Range, or Western Slope, make it a point to visit this little known monument, which houses impressive 34 million-year-old insect and plant fossils.
Never visited the Eastern Plains before? You're not the only one... but by not visiting this often overlooked part of the state, you are missing out on several surprising gems, like the town of Limon and its gorgeous (and surprising) Heritage and Railroad Museum!.
Real original, I know... but think about it; our state's capital is chock-full of fun and FREE things to do, including tours of the Denver Mint, Hammond's Candy Factory, and even the Colorado State Capitol.
4. Estes Park
History, various outdoor activities, unique shopping, and delicious cuisine await you in this charming mountain town, which is located a mere hour and a half from Downtown Denver.
Why go to Vegas when the lovely casino town of Blackhawk is located right in our own backyard? (My favorite part of Blackhawk? The last time we went, we drank free the entire day, ate free---since it was our first time at that casino---and came out ahead on the surprisingly affordable tables.)
6. Dinosaur National Monument (Dinosaur)
This day trip is for you, western Colorado. Dinosaur National Monument consists of a stunning 210,844 acres and a whopping 800 paleontological sites.
7. La Junta
Located in the southeast corner of the state, La Junta is home to a number of historic attractions, including Bent's Old Fort (pictured), Purgatoire River/Picketwire Canyonlands, and Otero Junior College's Koshare Indian Museum.
8. Colorado Gators Reptile Park (Mosca)
"What did you do this weekend?"
"Nothing much... just wrestled an alligator and held a bunch of snakes... so the usual."
You too can have this epic of a weekend when you visit the Colorado Gators Reptile Park.
Once nicknamed the "Silver Queen of Colorado," the small town of Georgetown continues to live up to its jewel (err, mineral) of a name with the popular Georgetown Loop Railroad, museums, and various outdoor offerings.
I have three words for you: Coors. Brewery. Tours. Need I say more? (Traveling with the kids? Don't worry; there are ample family activities as well, including the exciting Colorado Railroad Museum.)
11. The Wild Animal Sanctuary (Keenesburg)
Last but certainly not least is this hidden Colorado gem; a 720-acre sanctuary that houses more than 430 tigers, bears, lions, and other large carnivores. (In fact, it is the largest carnivore sanctuary in the world.)