Best Day Trips from Colorado Springs

Colorado is a beautiful state with so much to see and do, and Colorado Springs is a great area to have as a home base if you’re planning a trip to the state (check out my ultimate guide to Colorado Springs here). I’ve already shared recommendations on day trips from Seattle, Washington and Atlanta, Georgia, so now it’s time to share my favorite day trips from Colorado Springs!

Boulder – 1 hour 30 minutes

Image courtesy of Unofficial Networks

Boulder is well-known for being the home of the University of Colorado Boulder campus, and the whole town has a very laidback, college-town feel. Pearl Street Mall is a popular destination in the city for shopping and eating, encompassing four whole blocks in the heart of the city. The Flatirons, an iconic formation of rocks, is a short drive from downtown, and offers a number of hiking areas and rock-climbing routes. The world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater is also only about 30-40 minutes from Boulder, making it an easy side trip as well.

Breckenridge – 2 hours

Breckenridge is one of my favorite towns in Colorado, and it’s only a 2-hour drive from Colorado Springs. During the winter, Breckenridge is known for awesome skiing/snowboarding, and the town is truly magical around the holidays. Summer, meanwhile, is a great time to visit if you’d like to try some hiking or mountain biking. Breckenridge is full of shops and restaurants and the whole area is incredibly beautiful, so I always bring friends and family when they visit from out of town. For more recommendations, check out my guide to Breckenridge right here!

Mount Princeton Hot Springs – 2 hours

It wouldn’t be a proper visit to Colorado without taking a dip in one of the state’s many hot springs. Mount Princeton Hot Springs is a great option because it’s only 2 hours from Colorado Springs, and the resort is simply gorgeous. There are a few options for enjoying the hot springs, ranging from soaking pools to a waterslide and creekside pools as well. We visited over the summer and had an amazing time, but I’d love to do a winter visit as well.

Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park – 2 hours 15 minutes

Estes Park is a fantastic day trip with lots of activities for visitors of all ages. Estes Park is known as a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is well-worth a visit itself. Rocky Mountain National Park is stunning and offers all kinds of hikes ranging in difficulty and length. If you’d prefer to stay in town, Estes Park is full of shopping and dining options, making it a great place to wander around and explore. For any horror fans out there, Estes Park is also home to the Stanley Hotel, the infamous setting for Stephen King’s The Shining. You can stay at the hotel, book a tour, or just visit the lobby area and grounds for free.

Have you visited any of these areas yourself? What’s your favorite day trip from Colorado Springs?

The Ultimate Guide to Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs is an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with countless activities and restaurants to enjoy. I’ve called Colorado Springs home for the past year now, and I love discovering new areas in the city to explore. If you find yourself in Colorado, you must take the time to visit this mountain town and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Where to Stay

Staying in an Airbnb is always a great to way to explore a new city, and I recommend looking in the Old Colorado City and downtown areas. Old Colorado City is a very charming part of town with lots of little shops and restaurants, making it very walkable and great for families. Staying in downtown, meanwhile, will put you near a lot of activities and nightlife, which may appeal to younger crowds and couples.

Another option is to stay in the nearby town of Manitou Springs, a quaint mountain town nestled among the foothills of Pike’s Peak. Manitou Springs is very artsy and quirky, offering lots of art galleries and cafes. If you love history and unique shopping/dining experiences, Manitou Springs is the way to go.

What to Eat

– Breakfast –

Denver Biscuit Company is a decadent breakfast option with all kinds of biscuit sandwiches and platters, ranging from savory to sweet. I highly recommend The Lola or The Beeler! They also have great cocktails, making it an awesome option for brunch.

For those seeking vegan/vegetarian breakfast options, Adam’s Mountain Cafe is the way to go. They offer an extensive menu of classic breakfast dishes and allergy-friendly versions as well.

Although it’s a chain in the midwest, Urban Egg is well-known for offering up one of the most delicious breakfasts in town. From rich pancakes to hearty hashes, Urban Egg has a great variety that everyone is sure to enjoy.

– Lunch –

It’s no secret Colorado Springs is full of amazing Mexican restaurants, but one of my favorites for lunch is Vaqueros. The menu is extensive and everything I’ve tried there has been fresh and delicious. Plus, they make excellent margaritas!

Although I’m including an entire section on breweries since there are so many awesome ones in town, Trinity Brewing stands out as a lunch option thanks to their delicious food menu. From pizzas to sandwiches and massive salads, everything at Trinity Brewing is delicious, and they have lots of vegan options as well!

Alchemy Pub is an awesome lunch spot in the heart of Old Colorado City. The pub features classic Irish offerings, like fish and chips and beer cheese soup, and a wide variety of drink options. The atmosphere is very rustic and casual, and it’s a great spot to grab a bite to eat during a day of shopping and exploring.

– Dinner –

The Rabbit Hole is a super unique dining experience themed after Alice in Wonderland. The restaurant is located underground, accessed via a fake subway station entrance in downtown Colorado Springs. The food is delicious and their drink menu offers some whimsical cocktails that make Rabbit Hole a fun, more upscale option.

For all my pizza-lovers out there, Fat Sully’s is a must-visit spot. You can order by the slice or take on the challenge of a 26″ pie which is so large it’s only available for dine-in! Their NY-style pizza is straight up delicious and Fat Sully’s is an awesome spot to hit at the end of the night after enjoying some drinks downtown.

Don’t let the name deceive you – Colorado Mountain Brewery is an excellent restaurant as well as a fantastic brewery. Even if you’re not a fan of beer, their food menu is delicious enough to warrant a visit. You have to try their bison queso appetizer (seriously life-changing) and you can’t go wrong with any of their burgers or sandwiches.

– Breweries –

For more brewery recommendations, check out my guide to the best breweries in Colorado Springs!

A visit to Bristol Brewing Company is unlike any other: the brewery is located inside Ivywild, an old elementary school that has since been converted into a food and drink hall! Grab a few beers from Bristol and some food from one of their four in-house restaurants and you’ve got everything you need for an awesome experience.

Cerberus Brewing Co. is a popular brewery in town thanks to its delicious food and beer menu and dog-friendly outdoor space. Cerberus has a very welcoming and laidback atmosphere, making it a well-loved spot by locals and tourists alike.

Phantom Canyon Brewing is another great option that combines delicious beer and food, making it an awesome lunch or dinner spot. Phantom Canyon Brewing is located in a historic building in downtown Colorado Springs, and even features a billiards hall if you want to shoot some pool.

What to Do

A visit to Colorado Springs wouldn’t be complete without exploring Garden of the Gods. The garden is a beautiful spot year-round and features some incredibly striking rock formations. Whether you choose to just drive through or stop and do some hiking, biking, or horseback-riding, you’re sure to be amazed by the natural wonder of Garden of the Gods.

Depending on the time of year you plan your trip, you may also be able to pay Pike’s Peak a visit. Though hiking to the summit is an option, driving or taking the iconic Cog Railway are also great ways to experience the mountain. A new visitor’s center recently opened at the summit, educating visitors on the history of the mountain and surrounding areas, and make sure to grab some fresh donuts!

A visit to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings is a great way to learn firsthand about some of the first Native American tribes who called this area home. The ruins are reconstructions of authentic cliff dwellings, and there’s also a small museum to explore as well. As a bonus, dogs are welcome to visit, too!

North Cheyenne Cañon Park is a popular hiking destination in Colorado Springs, offering lots of trails ranging in length and difficulty. Seven Bridges Trail is a well-known option rated moderate in difficulty.

Did you know Colorado Springs is called the Olympic City USA? The city is home to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committees and Training Center, and you can learn more about these organizations and their history by visiting the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. Located in the heart of the city, the museum is huge, offering a variety of exhibits and interactive experiences.

The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is a quirky spot that offers fun for both kids and adults. The arcade is home to hundreds of old games, like pinball and skeeball; some of them date as far back as the 1930’s! Manitou Springs in general is a must-visit destination, and the Penny Arcade is just one of the unique offerings you’ll find strolling through town.

Truthfully, there is so much more that Colorado Springs has to offer, but my list would be a mile long if I tried to write it all out. Let me know in the comments what activities or restaurants I may have missed, and thanks for reading!

Exploring Pikes Peak + Garden of the Gods

Hello friends! My parents recently came in town for a visit and we decided to check out some iconic Colorado Springs sights: Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. If you find yourself in Colorado Springs, these are two beautiful spots well worth a visit.

First up was Pikes Peak, also known as America’s Mountain. My dad and I actually hiked Pikes Peak via the Barr Trail several years ago, which was quite the adventure. This time around we decided to take the easy route and just drive up. There are lots of pull-off and viewpoint areas along the drive up so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Pro tip: pay for your tickets online in advance for a small discount! It’s also helpful to call before making the drive over to ensure entire road up is open, as they sometimes close it for poor weather or high winds.

Pikes Peak recently opened a brand new visitors center which is super nice and modern. You must try the famous fresh donuts and coffee, and make sure you take a stroll through their small museum as well. The visitor center is also a great opportunity to take a seat and drink some water which will help you avoid getting altitude sickness. It’s super common to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous when you gain elevation so quickly, so it’s really important to listen to your body and stay hydrated.

Pro tip: it is typically very cold and windy at the summit, even if the weather in the city of Colorado Springs is mild. Make sure you bring layers!

This was my first time driving myself down the mountain, as I’ve always pawned the task off to my husband or parents in the past. Pikes Peak Highway can be a bit stressful because of how steep and curvy it is, and if you’re not a fan of heights you may be a bit wary of the sheer drop-offs. If you don’t feel like taking on the task of driving yourself, there’s also the option of taking the Cog Railway. I haven’t taken it myself, but I’ve heard it’s another beautiful way to experience the mountain.

Next up was Garden of the Gods, an iconic outdoor area featuring dramatic spires and formations of vibrant red rock. Garden of the Gods offers tons of opportunities for walking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and rock-climbing, so there’s really something for everyone! Even if you just drive through the garden, it’s a stunning area any time of year.

Another perk of visiting Garden of the Gods is how close it is it’s location and proximity to other activities. I would recommend visiting the garden earlier in the day, grabbing lunch at a nearby brewery (I personally recommend Trinity Brewing – we loved it so much we went twice in one week!) and then doing some late afternoon shopping in downtown Colorado Springs or the nearby Manitou Springs.

Colorado Springs is a beautiful town with so many activities and sights to offer. We’ve had a lot of fun hosting friends and family over the past year since moving here, and we’re always discovering new spots. What are some of your favorite things to do in the Colorado Springs area?

Exploring Colorado’s Gold Belt Scenic Byway

Make sure to check out the vlog here!

This past weekend we wanted to get out of the house and do some exploring, but with all the smoke and insanely hot temperatures, we didn’t really feel like hiking. We decided to check out the Gold Belt Scenic Byway, and I’m so glad we took the time to explore it!

Image courtesy of GoldBeltByway.com

The byway covers over 100 miles and goes through a number of unique communities and areas with rich mining histories. We didn’t drive the full byway, but we did see some of the highlights along the route. We left from Colorado Springs and first made our way to Vindicator Valley Trail, a short detour from the town of Victor. This trail takes you through old mining buildings and ruins, and was the perfect way to kickstart our day.

From there, we made our way through Victor and Cripple Creek, and then we took Shelf Road all the way down to Cañon City. This portion of the byway was definitely a highlight, as it took us through some gorgeous scenery. We even ran into a family of sheep along the way!

Cañon City was another cool spot, and the perfect area to grab some lunch and enjoy a walk by the river. All in all, exploring the Gold Belt Scenic Byway was a great way to see some new areas of Colorado without having to sacrifice air conditioning or spend too much time in the smoke!

My Favorite Breweries in Colorado Springs

Happy Sunday! I’m changing it up a bit this week and sharing with you guys some of my favorite breweries in Colorado Springs. Local breweries are a really cool way to experience different cities, and we’ve had a lot of fun checking out various breweries in the past couple months that we’ve lived here.

Trinity Brewing Co.

Trinity Brewing Co. is actually the first brewery we explored in Colorado Springs when we went for my birthday back in January. The staff there are super helpful and friendly and will work with you to recommend a drink that they think you’ll love. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every beer I’ve tried from Trinity (last time I went I tried the Raspberry Kolsch which was delicious) and they even have great food! As a bonus, they also offer some vegan options as well, and their vegan wings are a delicious compliment to their drinks.

Colorado Mountain Brewery

Colorado Mountain Brewery is an awesome option if you want good beer and a great meal. There are two locations and both have a great atmosphere which makes this spot perfect for the whole family, whether you plan on drinking or not. I recommend getting a flight to sample some of their flagship beers, such as the Roller Coaster Red Ale and the Monumental Stout. As far as food goes, you really can’t go wrong, but their bison queso is exceptionally amazing.

Bristol Brewing Company

Bristol Brewing Company is another spot I’d recommend checking out for good beer and an awesome location. This brewery is located in Ivywild School, a former elementary school turned food and event hall that also features a bar-coffeeshop combo and a variety of restaurants (we love Decent Pizza Co.). There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy and the setting is super unique and interesting. Plus, their outside patio is dog-friendly!

Trails End Taproom

Trails End Taproom is a really cool brewery concept: instead of being served specific sizes of drinks, you receive a card that you can scan for a variety of on-tap local beers and pour yourself however much you like. That way, you can try a number of different drinks and you simply pay by the ounce at the end of your visit. This brewery features tons of beers, and even some wine, from local vendors, so it’s a fun way to taste a lot without spending an absurd amount of money.

FH Beerworks

FH Beerworks is the perfect option if you plan to bring your pups with you for a drink. They have a fantastic outdoor patio/garden area with plenty of seating options for you to spread out. This is one of the first breweries we brought our dog Willie Nelson to, and it was a great experience for all of us. More importantly, their beer is amazing as well! We got a flight to sample several different kinds and really enjoyed all of them.