Where to Stay in Colorado: 12 Best Places to Vacation

by Flora
Here are 12 of the best places to stay in Colorado, CO.
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Wondering where to stay in Colorado? Here are 12 of Colorado’s most beautiful areas that will guarantee a memorable vacation.

Colorado effortlessly captures the hearts of travelers with its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities. From the soaring peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the bustling streets of Denver, there’s no shortage of beautiful places to stay in CO. If you’re planning a trip to this picturesque state and wondering where to go in Colorado, you’re in for a treat. This guide will delve deep into the best areas, neighborhoods, and towns, ensuring you find the perfect spot to rest your head.

For adrenaline junkies eager to hit the ski slopes or those seeking a tranquil retreat amidst nature, Colorado has something special. And if it’s your first time exploring this gem, fret not! We’ve curated a list of the best places to stay in Colorado for the first time, ensuring you experience the essence of what this state has to offer. From bustling urban centers to serene mountain towns, our comprehensive guide will walk you through the top spots, insider tips, and hidden gems.

Aside from the well-trodden paths, Colorado boasts a wide range of lesser-known locales that promise unique experiences. From quaint towns echoing with history to vibrant neighborhoods pulsating with modern energy, there’s a myriad of experiences awaiting every traveler. So, buckle up, and let’s embark on a journey through Colorado’s coolest destinations, ensuring your trip is nothing short of unforgettable. Here are 12 of the best places to stay in Colorado, Denver.

The best places to stay in Colorado right now
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Where to Stay in Colorado

Are you ready to discover where to stay in Colorado? As noted earlier, there’s no shortage of incredible neighborhoods in Colorado. From Denver’s bustling streets to Telluride’s serene mountain vistas, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to stay in CO.

Are you looking for the vibrant arts scene of Boulder? Or would you prefer the tranquil hot springs of Steamboat Springs? Whatever you’re planning, our guide is here to spotlight Colorado’s most beautiful areas. Here are 12 of the best places to stay in Colorado.

1. Denver

Denver is a city that knows how to impress. Standing tall as the “Mile-High City”, it’s a lively mix of city vibes and outdoor adventures. Dive into the artsy side of things with a visit to the Denver Art Museum, or catch a show at one of the city’s buzzing theaters. Families are in for a treat with attractions like the Denver Zoo and the Downtown Aquarium. As such, it’s one of the best places to stay in Colorado for families.

Denver’s magic doesn’t stop at its city limits. A quick drive and you’re at the mesmerizing Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, where nature and music come together in harmony. And if you’re curious about Colorado’s past, the nearby town of Golden gives you a taste of the gold rush days, minus the Coors Brewery tour, which is a whole different kind of golden experience.

Denver, known as the "Mile-High City," offers a dynamic blend of urban energy and outdoor adventures.
Denver, known as the “Mile-High City,” offers a dynamic blend of urban energy and outdoor adventures.

Finding a place to crash in Denver? There’s something for every taste and budget. Swanky hotels with rooftop bars, cozy Airbnbs in charming neighborhoods, you name it. And food? Oh, the food! From trendy cafes to local diners, every meal is an adventure.

Remember, Denver’s higher altitude can catch newcomers off guard. Drink lots of water, take it easy, and you’ll be just fine. And if you’re wondering where to stay in Colorado on a budget, Denver’s got some great wallet-friendly options, plus it’s a fantastic starting point for exploring the rest of the state.

2. Colorado Springs

For some of the most fun things to do in Colorado, look no further. Situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is a city that effortlessly marries natural beauty with urban charm. Here, you can start your morning with a hike through the Garden of the Gods, marveling at the red rock formations, and end your day dining downtown with views of Pikes Peak in the distance.

For travelers who love a good adventure, the Manitou Incline is a challenging trail that rewards you with panoramic views of the city. If you’re traveling with kids, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers a unique experience, being one of the only mountain zoos in the US.

Colorado Springs effortlessly combines natural beauty with urban charm.
Colorado Springs effortlessly combines natural beauty with urban charm.

Aside from its outdoor attractions, the city’s downtown area is vibrant, with local shops, art galleries, and restaurants that showcase the spirit of Colorado. The Broadmoor, one of Colorado’s best hotels, offers a touch of luxury with its world-class amenities and stunning architecture.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, the Cave of the Winds offers lantern-lit tours that take you deep into the heart of the mountain. And for those pondering where to stay in Colorado off the beaten path, the surrounding areas of Colorado Springs have some hidden gems worth exploring.

Wondering where to stay in CO for a mix of nature and city life? Colorado Springs strikes that perfect balance. It’s a top choice for many travelers when visiting Colorado.

3. Aspen

When you think of a quintessential mountain town, Aspen probably comes to mind. Famous for its world-class ski resorts, Aspen is a winter wonderland that attracts snow enthusiasts from all over. But beyond the snowy slopes, this town offers so much more throughout the year. Summer hikes amidst wildflower meadows, vibrant fall foliage, and a lively arts scene make it a top Colorado destination for all seasons.

Downtown Aspen is a blend of luxury boutiques, local eateries, and historic landmarks. The Wheeler Opera House, with its rich history, hosts a variety of performances, from music to theater. For families, the Aspen Recreation Center is a hit, offering everything from ice skating to swimming pools.

Renowned for its world-class ski resorts, Aspen is a snowy paradise drawing snow enthusiasts worldwide.
Renowned for its world-class ski resorts, Aspen is a snowy paradise drawing snow enthusiasts worldwide.

Accommodation in Aspen ranges from upscale resorts to charming bed and breakfasts. The St. Regis Aspen Resort provides a lavish stay with views of the surrounding mountains, while numerous Airbnbs offer a more intimate experience.

Seeking a romantic getaway in Colorado? Aspen’s scenic beauty and cozy accommodations make it one of the top choices. Whether you’re cuddling up in a luxurious resort like The St. Regis Aspen or exploring the picturesque Maroon Bells, often considered the crown jewels of the Rockies, Aspen ensures every moment is memorable. So, if you’re ever looking for the best places to stay in Colorado for couples, let Aspen’s charm sweep you off your feet.

4. Boulder

Boulder effortlessly captures the essence of Colorado’s diverse appeal. Situated at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this city is a delightful blend of cultural vibrancy and natural beauty. Stroll through the bustling Pearl Street Mall, and you’ll be treated to an array of shops, eateries, and spontaneous street performances, showcasing the city’s lively spirit.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the iconic Flatirons, beckoning adventurers with their majestic presence. Chautauqua Park, with its trails and panoramic views, showcases Boulder’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty. With the University of Colorado at its core, the city buzzes with youthful energy, evident in its arts, innovation, and events.

Boulder seamlessly encapsulates the diverse charm of Colorado.
Boulder seamlessly encapsulates the diverse charm of Colorado.

Boulder’s food scene is a celebration of local produce, with farm-to-table restaurants offering dishes that tantalize the taste buds. The Boulder Farmers Market, held every Saturday, is a chance to mingle with locals and savor authentic Colorado flavors.

Ending a day in Boulder often means watching the sunset over the mountains, perhaps with a locally brewed craft beer in hand. For those seeking the best neighborhoods in Colorado that balance urban thrills with nature’s calm, Boulder promises a memorable stay.

5. Fort Collins

Fort Collins is often overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, but those in the know recognize its unique allure. Located in northern Colorado, it’s a city that seamlessly blends its historical roots with a modern, innovative spirit. The Old Town Historic District, with its beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings, offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Yet, just a few blocks away, you’ll find cutting-edge breweries and vibrant music venues, showcasing the city’s contemporary edge.

One of Fort Collins’ standout features is its proximity to the Cache la Poudre River. Known as Colorado’s only designated “Wild and Scenic” river, it’s a hotspot for white-water rafting, fishing, and serene riverside hikes. For those keen on exploring the local flora and fauna, the nearby Lory State Park provides diverse ecosystems and trails suitable for all skill levels.

Fort Collins may be overshadowed by its larger neighbors, but those in the know appreciate its distinctive charm.
Fort Collins may be overshadowed by its larger neighbors, but those in the know appreciate its distinctive charm.

If you’re visiting in summer, the Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a must. This free music festival celebrates the best of Colorado’s local talent and attracts visitors from all over the state. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Colorado!

However, like all destinations, Fort Collins has its quirks. While it boasts a lively arts scene and outdoor attractions, it can get crowded during peak university events, given its home to Colorado State University. But for many, this occasional hustle is a small price to pay for the city’s myriad offerings.

For travelers wondering about unique places to stay in Colorado that offer a mix of history, culture, and nature, Fort Collins is a destination that continually surprises and delights. Don’t miss out on your next Colorado vacation!

6. Durango

If you’re looking for where to stay in Colorado for first-timers, look no further than Durango. Nestled in the Animas Valley, Durango offers a captivating blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty. Board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and you’ll journey through the breathtaking San Juan Mountains, witnessing Colorado’s rugged landscapes firsthand.

Adventure enthusiasts will appreciate the Animas River, which winds its way through the city, providing thrilling white-water rapids and tranquil spots for fishing or picnicking. Durango’s mountain biking trails cater to families seeking an active vacation, with routes suitable for all skill levels.

If you're seeking accommodations in Colorado for first-time visitors, Durango is an excellent choice.
If you’re seeking accommodations in Colorado for first-time visitors, Durango is an excellent choice.

Downtown Durango buzzes with energy. Artisan shops, local eateries, and vibrant venues set the stage for memorable evenings filled with music and performances.

Insider Tip: Winter visitors should consider a trip to Purgatory Resort, a short drive from Durango, known for its exceptional skiing and snowboarding terrains.

Durango stands out as one of the coolest places in Colorado to stay, capturing the essence of the West. If you’re exploring the state for the first time, this city offers a genuine Colorado experience, from its historical charm to modern amenities.

7. Telluride

High in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is a hidden gem in Colorado that sparkles with alpine beauty and cultural depth. Originally a mining town, it has transformed into a premier mountain destination, drawing visitors with its scenic landscapes and vibrant festivals.

In winter, Telluride Ski Resort becomes a snowy playground, attracting skiers and snowboarders from around the globe. The town’s allure isn’t limited to cold weather, though. Summer in Telluride is equally enchanting, with hiking trails that offer panoramic mountain views and fields dotted with wildflowers.

Telluride is a hidden Colorado gem, radiating alpine beauty and cultural richness.
Telluride is a hidden Colorado gem, radiating alpine beauty and cultural richness.

The town’s historic district, with its Victorian-era architecture, provides a glimpse into Telluride’s rich past. Here, boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants line the streets, offering a mix of local and international flavors.

If you’re visiting in September, the Telluride Film Festival is an event not to be missed. It’s a celebration of cinema in one of the most picturesque settings imaginable.

For travelers searching for unique areas in CO that offer both outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, Telluride is a top pick. It’s also a fantastic place to stay in Colorado on a budget, with a range of accommodation options to suit different needs.

8. Estes Park

Perched at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is often seen as the welcoming committee to Colorado’s famed mountain range. This charming town is surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Rockies, which makes it one of the best places to stay in Colorado for nature lovers.

One of the main draws here is the proximity to the national park. With over 300 miles of hiking trails, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, Rocky Mountain National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. And after a day of exploration, the serene Lake Estes offers a perfect spot to relax and soak in the mountain views.

Estes Park is frequently regarded as the gateway to Colorado's renowned mountain range.
Estes Park is frequently regarded as the gateway to Colorado’s renowned mountain range.

There’s more to Estes Park than its natural wonders. The town itself is bustling with activity. The Stanley Hotel, known for its inspiration to Stephen King’s “The Shining,” offers both history and a touch of the supernatural. Meanwhile, the Estes Park Aerial Tramway provides panoramic views of the town and its surrounding beauty.

Thinking about where to stay in Colorado off the beaten path? Estes Park is your answer! With its mix of wild beauty and cozy town vibes, it’s the perfect base for all your mountain escapades. And if you’re on a quest to uncover all of Colorado’s best areas, starting here is a brilliant move.

9. Steamboat Springs

Ah, Steamboat Springs! This isn’t your typical ski town. Sure, it’s got world-class slopes that snow enthusiasts rave about, but there’s a whole other side to this place that’s just waiting to be explored. Located in the Yampa Valley, Steamboat is as famous for its natural hot springs as it is for its powdery snow.

Imagine this: after a thrilling day on the slopes, you dip into a steamy, natural hot spring surrounded by snow. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s the Steamboat experience. And if skiing or snowboarding isn’t your thing, the Yampa River Core Trail offers a scenic route for biking or walking, winding its way through the heart of the town.

Steamboat is renowned not only for its powdery snow but also for its natural hot springs.
Steamboat is renowned not only for its powdery snow but also for its natural hot springs.

Downtown Steamboat is a delightful surprise. It’s got that authentic Western vibe with a modern twist. Boutiques, cafes, and even a rodeo in the summer. For the foodies, the town’s dining scene is a delightful mix of gourmet experiences and hearty mountain meals.

Don’t miss out on Fish Creek Falls, a stunning 280-foot waterfall that’s just a short drive from town.

Looking for the best places to stay in Colorado for couples? Steamboat Springs offers romance with its hot springs and snowy backdrops. And if you’re all about finding unique places to stay in Colorado, this town’s blend of adventure and relaxation is hard to beat.

10. Breckenridge

When you’re wondering where to stay in Colorado and dream of a place where alpine beauty meets a lively town spirit, Breckenridge should be at the top of your list. Often called “Breck” by the locals, this town is a year-round mountain paradise.

Winter in Breck is the stuff of legends. Snow-covered peaks, world-class ski runs, and that cozy mountain town vibe that makes you want to sip hot cocoa by the fireplace. But as the snow melts, Breckenridge transforms. Lush green trails emerge, perfect for hiking and mountain biking, and the Blue River becomes a hotspot for fly fishing.

For a blend of alpine beauty and lively town spirit, choose Breckenridge when considering where to stay in Colorado.
For a blend of alpine beauty and lively town spirit, choose Breckenridge when considering where to stay in Colorado.

The town’s Main Street is a delightful stroll down history lane, with its preserved buildings from the gold rush era. But don’t let the historic facades fool you; inside, you’ll find trendy boutiques, craft breweries, and a vibrant arts scene.

The Breckenridge International Festival of Arts in August is a must-visit. It’s a celebration of art, music, and nature, all set against the backdrop of the Tenmile Range.

If you’re on the hunt for Colorado’s best neighborhoods that offer a mix of adventure and culture, Breck’s got you covered. From its snowy slopes to its artsy core, there’s always something happening here.

11. Vail

If there’s one place in Colorado that epitomizes alpine luxury, it’s Vail. Known worldwide for its pristine ski slopes, Vail isn’t just a winter wonderland – it’s a destination that dazzles in every season.

Come winter, the Vail Ski Resort beckons with its vast terrains, catering to both novice skiers and seasoned pros. But when the snow gives way to summer, Vail’s mountainsides burst into a riot of wildflowers. Hiking trails, like the Booth Falls Trail, offer breathtaking vistas and the chance to spot local wildlife.

When it comes to alpine luxury, Vail epitomizes the pinnacle in Colorado.
When it comes to alpine luxury, Vail epitomizes the pinnacle in Colorado.

Beyond the great outdoors, Vail Village awaits. With its cobblestone streets and Tyrolean-style architecture, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into a European alpine town. Upscale boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and lively bars create an ambiance that’s both sophisticated and relaxed.

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, nestled in the heart of Vail, is a serene spot worth visiting. As the highest botanical garden in the U.S., it showcases an array of alpine plants and stunning landscapes.

For travelers eager to discover the best places to stay in Colorado, Vail offers a blend of adventure and luxury that’s hard to match. And if you’re seeking a spot that’s both scenic and vibrant, Vail is a Colorado hidden gem that never disappoints.

12. Grand Junction

Ever thought of finding a desert and vineyards in the same place? Welcome to Grand Junction, Colorado’s wine country and a gateway to stunning red rock landscapes. Situated on the Western Slope, this city is a delightful contrast of terrains and experiences.

The Colorado National Monument, just a stone’s throw from the city, offers dramatic canyons and towering monoliths. It’s a dream for hikers and photographers. Drive along the Rim Rock Drive, and you’ll be treated to views that seem straight out of a postcard.

Welcome to Grand Junction, the wine country gateway to breathtaking red rock landscapes.
Welcome to Grand Junction, the wine country gateway to breathtaking red rock landscapes.

Grand Junction is also home to Colorado’s wine country. Meander through the vineyards, sample local wines, and enjoy the laid-back ambiance of the wineries. The annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in September is a celebration of the region’s finest vintages and a treat for wine enthusiasts.

Downtown Grand Junction adds another layer to the experience. Art on the Corner, an outdoor sculpture exhibit, adds a touch of creativity to the streets, while local eateries serve up dishes inspired by the region’s produce.

The nearby town of Palisade is a peach lover’s paradise. If you’re in the area during August, the Palisade Peach Festival is a sweet experience you won’t want to miss.

If you’re wondering where to go in Colorado for a mix of outdoor adventures and culinary delights, Grand Junction is a top contender. It’s one of those unique places to stay in Colorado where every day offers a new discovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Where to Stay in Colorado

Searching for more information to help you decide where to stay in Colorado? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Colorado’s most beautiful places.

Is it better to stay in Colorado Springs or Denver?

Both Colorado Springs and Denver have their unique charms. Denver, the state’s capital, is a bustling urban hub with a vibrant arts scene, numerous museums, and a dynamic nightlife. It’s the place to be if you’re looking for a cosmopolitan experience with a mountain backdrop. On the other hand, Colorado Springs offers a more laid-back vibe, with natural wonders like the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak right at its doorstep. If you’re keen on exploring Colorado’s best areas for outdoor activities, Colorado Springs might be your pick. Ultimately, the choice depends on your travel preferences.

What is the nicest part of Colorado?

Colorado is filled with stunning regions, each offering its distinct beauty. Places like Aspen and Vail are renowned for their luxurious ski resorts and alpine charm. Boulder and Fort Collins provide a mix of cultural vibrancy and natural beauty. Meanwhile, towns like Telluride and Durango offer a blend of historical charm and scenic landscapes. It’s hard to pinpoint the “nicest” part, as each area has its unique allure.

What part of Colorado has the most things to do?

The Front Range, which includes cities like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, boasts a plethora of activities. From urban attractions like museums and theaters to natural wonders like Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Rocky Mountain National Park, there’s no shortage of things to do. Whether you’re into hiking, arts, or exploring unique places in Colorado, the Front Range has something for everyone.

Discover these 12 prime neighborhoods to consider for your stay in Colorado.
Discover these 12 prime neighborhoods to consider for your stay in Colorado.

Is Colorado a good place to stay?

Colorado is often considered a great place to live and visit for a variety of reasons, but whether it’s a good fit for you depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and what you’re looking for in a place to stay. Here are some of the pros and cons of living in Colorado:

Pros of staying in Colorado:

  1. Outdoor Activities: Colorado is renowned for its outdoor recreational opportunities. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing in the summer, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The state boasts diverse landscapes, from the majestic Rocky Mountains to vast plains, dense forests, and high deserts.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle: Colorado often ranks as one of the healthiest states in the U.S., with a plethora of outdoor activities and a culture that promotes wellness.
  4. Cultural Activities: Cities like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs offer a range of cultural activities, including theaters, museums, music festivals, and more.
  5. Economic Opportunities: Colorado has a robust economy with strong sectors in technology, aerospace, renewable energy, and tourism.
  6. Education: The state is home to several reputable universities and research institutions.

Cons:

  1. Cost of Living: Some areas, especially around Denver and Boulder, have seen a significant rise in the cost of living, including housing prices.
  2. Traffic: As the population has grown, traffic congestion, especially in and around Denver, has become an issue.
  3. Altitude: The higher altitude can be challenging for some people, leading to altitude sickness or exacerbating certain health conditions.
  4. Weather: While many enjoy the state’s 300+ days of sunshine, Colorado’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden temperature drops and snowstorms, even outside of winter.
  5. Tourism Crowds: Popular areas, especially mountain towns and ski resorts, can get crowded during peak tourist seasons.

What time of year is best for Colorado?

Colorado shines year-round! Winter is perfect for skiing and snowboarding in places like Breckenridge and Aspen. Spring sees the wildflowers bloom, especially in areas like Crested Butte. Summer is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and festivals, while fall offers stunning foliage, particularly in the San Juan Mountains. Depending on your interests, there’s always a good time to visit Colorado.

Where should I go for the first time in Colorado?

If you’re wondering where to stay in Colorado for the first time, here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Denver: Dive into the urban scene, explore museums, and enjoy the culinary delights.
  2. Colorado Springs: Visit the Garden of the Gods and take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
  3. Boulder: Experience the vibrant Pearl Street Mall and hike the Flatirons.
  4. Estes Park: The gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s a nature lover’s paradise.
  5. Aspen: Renowned for its ski slopes and summer festivals, it’s a destination for all seasons.

What city in Colorado has the most attractions?

Denver takes the crown when it comes to the sheer number of attractions. As the state’s capital and largest city, it offers a mix of cultural institutions, historic landmarks, sports venues, and recreational areas. From the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Zoo to the historic LoDo district and the nearby Red Rocks Amphitheatre, there’s a multitude of attractions catering to diverse interests.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Colorado

Colorado is a state of endless variety. From the urban allure of Denver and the historic charm of Manitou Springs to the alpine elegance of Vail and the desert-meets-vineyard vibe of Grand Junction, there’s a corner of this state to captivate every traveler. Each destination we’ve explored offers its unique blend of attractions, activities, and ambiance.

For the adventure seekers, places like Breckenridge and Telluride beckon with their snowy slopes and summer trails. Those looking for a more relaxed pace might find solace in the vineyards of Grand Junction or the mineral springs of Manitou. And let’s not forget the cultural enthusiasts, for whom cities like Denver and Boulder provide a rich tapestry of arts, history, and culinary delights.

The beauty of Colorado lies in its diversity. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with family, there’s a destination tailored to your interests and budget. And the best part? This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Colorado is a state that keeps on giving, and each visit unveils new wonders.

Colorado invites exploration, promising memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s to your next adventure in the Centennial State!

The best places to stay in Colorado for all types of travelers
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