Colorado is known for winter sports in the snow covered Rocky Mountains, the mile high city and ice cold beer. Often regarded as a great place to live and work, Colorado has its draw for the outdoor enthusiast, the beer connoisseur, and everything in between. In addition to a vibrant and active culture, the world famous state is also one of the healthiest places to live. With so many positive attributes the state has its fair share of localism and pride, but does not deter friendly visitors.
As a new resident of Colorado this summer, I have put together the 3 places in Colorado I want to visit this summer:
1. New Belgium Brewery
If you haven’t tasted a New Belgium beer, you should. The Fort Collins brewery is responsible for a line of different and exceptional craft beers, most notably Fat Tire. With over 20 seasonal and year round beers to choose from, you can satisfy the moustache twirling IPA lover as well as the beginning taster in your group.
New Belgium offers free brewery tours, open to all ages. Included in the tour is live story-telling, beer sampling and a walk through the halls of where the brewing happens. The tour guide takes you through the special process of making Belgium beer from the beginning steps to when the beer touches your lips.
Make sure to book ahead of time, as reservations fill fast especially during the summer months.
2. The Great Sand Dunes
Dwelling in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado, The Great Sand Dunes sit as North America’s highest sand dunes. With over 440,000 years of history, the Great Sand Dunes provide a unique contrast to the snow covered peaks of the Rockies in the background. Covering about 19,000 acres, the Sand Dunes are so vast and resilient that the public is encouraged to climb, hike and sled on them, unlike many other sand dunes you may be familiar with.
Rent a sandboard or sled for the day and take off down the .7 mile trail to get to the sand slopes. Plan ahead to get to the dunes in early morning or early afternoon in the summer; you do not want to be out on the sand during mid-afternoon when it can reach 150° F.
The Great Sand Dunes are a 3 hour drive from Colorado Springs and 4 hours from Denver, so you may want to plan your visit as a weekend trip. Besides the dunes, there is much to do if you plan on staying a weekend. Nearby Zapata Falls is a great way to cool off while the mid-afternoon sand is too hot. The Zapata Falls trail requires you to traverse cold streams and slippery rocks, providing a cooling and exciting mid-day adventure. For those hoping to stay dry, check out the 7 mile round trip Mosca Pass Trail that offers bird-watching and hiking in the lush evergreen and aspen forest.
Whichever way you decide to spend your trip at the Great Sand Dunes, don’t forget your sunscreen and your Pugs sunglasses. Nothing ruins a fun day in the sand like a harsh sun burn and tired eyes from the bright sunlight reflected off of the sand.
3. Rockies Game at Coors Field
Whether you are an avid baseball fan or can only stand a few innings, a game at Coors Field is a must for any Denver visitor. Located at a mile above sea level, Coors Field is perhaps the most exhilarating baseball park in the MLB. Compared to the sea level residing Yankee Stadium, Coors Field is a mile ahead when it comes to unique and exciting baseball venues. Estimates say that when hit, the baseball travels 9 percent farther at 5,280 feet than at sea level.
Additionally, the thinner altitude may have an effect on pitching. Thinner air means less resistance and faster fastballs.
These conditions make for an fast-moving game that you cannot find in any other baseball park. A game at Coors will surely beat your average baseball game, so make sure to pack your glove and Pugs ball cap to take advantage of the action-packed atmosphere.
With vibrant cities, over 200 breweries and the Rocky Mountains stretching the length of the state, Colorado has more than enough to keep one occupied for a lifetime. If you have the opportunity, do not miss the chance to visit these three places in Coloardo this summer.