Denver-area weekend getaway suggestions?

I’m going to Denver for Thanksgiving this year and my future in-laws have offered to take us somewhere fun for the weekend. They suggested Santa Fe, which sounds cool, but I’m wondering if y’all have any more obscure suggestions. Favorite spots within a 4-5 hour drive of Denver?

It’s a bit away, and not that obscure, but if you can see a show at Red Rocks, it’s way worth it. I saw Bjork there once, and it was great.


Good call! Still haven’t been there, I will check the calendar.

Rocky Mountain National Park is incredibly beautiful. A very underrated national park. You could even spend a little time in Boulder on your way. Neither are that far, but worth it if you haven’t been to either. Estes Park is around RMNP, too, where you can check out the Stanley Hotel from The Shining.


Great Sand Dunes National Park is easily one of my favorite places to get away from the Denver Metro. It’s a super unique national park with its sand dunes positioned right next to the mountains, and it’s never as busy as some of Colorado’s other national parks, especially in the fall/winter. It has some of the darkest skies in the US for stargazing, and it’s also open 24 hours. Just about a 40 min drive from Alamosa if you’d want a hotel there. If you’re there, I’d recommend the San Luis Valley Brewing Co for some deliciously unique Southern CO food and a really interesting green chile lager. If you’re looking for something obscure, the Alamosa/GSDNP area is definitely one to consider.


Awesome, thank you hayleyknoph!

I have so many ideas!

Bishop Castle (one of the largest structures created by one man) is incredible! It’s whimsical, odd, and a little scary (he built the whole things without ever making blueprints). If you end up going down to the sand dunes, it would be a good stop along the way.

Also in Southern Colorado, I’m a huge fan of Mesa Verde.

My favorite mountain town is Leadville. It’s small and kind of magical. They have the National Museum of Mining. They also have a lovely hike that goes to Interlaken, once home to a popular luxury resort during the late 1800’s.


Boulder has tremendous charm. This place is very special:


Colorado is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and Boulder maybe the most charming city therein.

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Thanks so much, everyone! I unfortunately didn’t make it as far as Sand Dunes or Bishop Castle, but those are definitely on my list for future trips.

The tea house is gorgeous, @Shin_Yu_Pai! I also visited the International Church of Cannabis, which is a fun trip (pun intended).

I think the highlight of the week, though, was the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland. My mother-in-law has lived in Denver all her life and never heard of it, but she’s a huge carousel fan and this one is really something special. It’s very aptly named!

Here I am on the camel: