Like many mountain towns in Colorado, Buena Vista (or “good view” in Spanish) is a hub for the outdoors enthusiast. Located in Chaffee County and founded by settlers and miners in 1864, this town nestled in the Upper Arkansas River Valley has attracted agricultural types since its inception due to its access to ample clean water. In the late 1800s, it became a depot for stagecoaches and trains, the effect of which can still be seen in the town today.
Food is a huge focus in Buena Vista, and not just because residents and visitors need to fuel up after a long day of physical activity. Swing by Deerhammer Distilling Company and grab yourself an American Single Malt Whiskey, fermented locally to create the company’s signature drink. If food is more in your sights, culinary darling The Asian Palate features food from Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Thailand, and the Philippines. Their sesame rice balls and Tom Ka Gai are favorites. Of course, if you’re searching for some classic American food, you can always hunt down The Tattooed Dog food truck.
Health conscious choices include House Rock Kitchen, which serves up kombucha on tap (as well as in all of their mixed drinks) and some seriously tasty morsels that won’t spike your cholesterol. Other select options include Simple Eatery & Spoon It Up, The Evergreen Café, and The Midland Stop. For summer visitors, The Beach House on the riverfront has free live music in July and August.
For an outdoor adventure, Buena Vista is the place to be. Located near Cottonwood Lake, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, and ducking rafting (which is with an inflatable kayak) are very common. Hiking, golfing, and biking are also common sports and the area is very accessible for those who want to rent equipment.
Activities for kids in the area are easy to find. Outdoor activities are a great way for kids to burn off energy. However, everyone needs a day off, and fun, family-friendly attractions like these will give your muscles a rest. Jumpin’ Good Country Store has a large goat herd that they directly source their dairy from. From spreads to curds and in a variety of expected and unexpected flavors, their cheese gets top ratings, and the store offers tours of the facilities (like the “aging cave”) and milking stations. Children can interact with the animals, which are not only limited to goats. Make sure to bring cash!
If your child is an amateur geologist, try taking them to The Rock Doc in Nathrop, just outside Buena Vista. Here you can learn the history of prospecting in the area, buy prospecting equipment, or ask the on-site geologist to see part of “Diane’s Pocket,” an aquamarine gemstone on Mount Antero which is a bluer version of an emerald. If gemstones don’t tickle your fancy, you can try panning for gold or learning about lapidary.
The Buena Vista Heritage Museum has several exhibits on local history, some of which are kid friendly and others of which are not. They have an exhibit on the history of trains in the area which would be wonderful for children, and a large display for a miniature train to travel through replicas of Colorado towns. Performances by local men and women of historical figures in the town feature occasionally in the museum. The Mushroom Fest and Apple Fest have also been hosted in Buena Vista to benefit the museum and are great for children. For more adult fare, they host performances of a historical retrospective called “The Madams of Central Colorado,” which covers the cultural legacy of brothels and prostitution in the area. Former brothel Palace of Joy is less than a block from the museum. Tickets ae $15 and children under 13 are not allowed.
Abutted by San Isabel National Forest and close to Cottonwood Creek, Cottonwood Hot Springs is one of three hot spring facilities in the nearby area but the only one actually located in Buena Vista. The Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn & Spa hosts several gravity-fed geothermal mineral spas for guests or visitors. Previously used by the local Ute tribe as a place for spiritual practices, now it is home to an inn in the old Western style and multiple spa facilities. Open 365 days a year, this is a great place to go after hiking one of the fifteen 14,000-foot-high mountains (known to locals as “Fourteeners”) that are part of the Continental Divide.
Fortunately, Buena Vista isn’t more than three or four hours at most from any of the major cities in Colorado. Denver is around 2 or 2 and a half hours away, and Boulder maybe an hour further than that. World-acclaimed ski towns Vail, Breckenridge, and Aspen are a quick jaunt as well, and Colorado Springs isn’t excessively far to the east.
Tripping.com offers many options for travelers looking for a place to stay. Check out properties on the Arkansas River to make sure you have easy access to adventure sport opportunities and a great view. You might want to prioritize properties in the city center if socializing is a priority.
Buena Vista isn’t exactly close to any airport, but the closest are Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport. Aspen-Pitkin is 67 miles away, and Gunnison is 85 miles away. The best option would be to rent a car for transportation.
Once in town, bike trails are very popular in the community. You can rent bikes from The Trailhead store and ride around The Gentleman’s Loop in the Four Mile Canyon area. The trail is around 4.47 miles.
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For travelers planning for an extended stay, long-term lodging and corporate rentals only cost an average of $25 a month. Save hundreds with Tripping.com and even book instantly with properties marked “Instabook.” Buena Vista has 147 gorgeous homes with 45 pet-friendly rentals to choose from, perfect for your furry friends. Check out our listings now to get the latest deals, and book the right vacation rental for you and the whole family. Feel at home wherever you are and experience an unforgettable vacation with Tripping.com.Search properties from 5 rental sites in Buena Vista where the top providers in that area are HomeAway, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor. There are 92 HomeAway rentals, 28 Booking.com short term rentals and 23 TripAdvisor vacation rentals.