Put aside your busy weekday routines and get away from Denver, Colorado for a romantic weekend with your special someone. Explore the endless mountain landscapes, soak up the sun, and take in deep breaths of the crisp mountain air. Choose a vacation rental in Denver to be in proximity to one of these beautiful towns.
In the 1800s, the stagecoach stopped in Fraser, on the west side of Berthoud Pass, so passengers could get a bite to eat at the Cozens Ranch. Located an hour-and-a-half from Denver and northwest of the popular Winter Park ski resort, Fraser is a quiet retreat where you can view wildlife in their mountain habitat right outside your door. You can hike or bike among the incredible natural landscapes on the Fraser River Trail, an easy five-mile round trip. This dirt trail is well-maintained and accessible in all seasons. Take to the skies on a Grand Adventure hot air balloon tour while enjoying the champagne breakfast, or stop by for local wine tasting at Winter Park Winery. Dine on steak and homemade pasta at the quaint and romantic Volario’s.
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2. Idaho Springs
The 1800s Colorado Gold Rush began in Idaho Springs, and there are fascinating remnants of history to explore at this exciting vacation destination. This relaxing mountain town is 39 miles west of Denver, and it’s not hard to find a couple-cozy log cabin to rent on the creek. Bring your skis or snowboard and head to Echo Mountain for some winter fun, then unwind and warm up with a visit to the town’s geothermal springs and caves. Take a leisurely hike at St. Mary’s Glacier, then picnic by the lake. The Da Rivuh is a modern, Southern-style eatery that features Cajun cooking you can eat al fresco on the patio while enjoying delightful scenery.
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3. Estes Park
Rent a bicycle built for two and pedal your way along miles of well-maintained trails in the Rocky Mountain National Forest. Take a drive over Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the nation at an elevation of 12,183 feet, and be sure to bring your camera because the views are unbelievably breathtaking. While your camera is handy, be sure to stop by the stunning Stanley Hotel, the setting for Stephen Kings’ book and movie “The Shining.” Celebrate the popular local wildlife residents at the July Elk Fest, or sway to some sultry music in a natural amphitheater during the Jazz Fest. The Twin Oaks Steakhouse is ideal for lovers, as is a shared meal of Cajun shrimp and tasty homemade pasta at Mama Rose’s, accompanied by a specially selected local wine.
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4. Steamboat Springs
Enjoy a relaxing and awe-inspiring three-hour drive through two gorgeous national parks on your way from Denver to Steamboat Springs. This quiet mountain town is ideal for nature lovers, and you can ramble through three nearby state parks. Soak in the relaxing mineral waters at Strawberry Hot Springs, then spend a quiet evening at the Steamboat Symphony, or stroll through the art museum. Climb aboard the Mount Werner gondola for a splendid, heart-stopping, and panoramic view of the majestic mountains that surround this mountain oasis. Dine French-style at Harwigs or riverside at the Aurum Food and Wine for upscale American fare.
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Georgetown is a charming mining town one hour west of Denver. In 1884, when the town serviced the silver mines, it was the third largest city in the state. Step aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad to Silver Plume to experience life when railroads ruled, mining was a way of life, and outlaws hid behind rocks along the stagecoach road. Bring your camera when you take a drive over picturesque Guanella Pass, or stroll Main Street with its Victoria-era homes and shops. Eat a romantic dinner on the patio at Coopers on the Creek, or have a leisurely breakfast at the Happy Cooker.
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6. Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs is renowned for its mineral hot springs and therefore quite popular with locals and visitors. Bypass the crowds and stay near the Strawberry Hot Springs just outside of downtown Glenwood. The naturally fed, 104-degree waters soothe your soul and wash away your cares, and clothing is completely optional after dark. The Native Americans sought healing at the Yampah Vapor Caves, where natural rooms are filled with healing steam that melts stress away, and it’s also a great alternative to Glenwood proper. You can ski or hike at the nearby Sunlight Mountain ski area, or take a challenging trek along the Hanging Lake Trail. Enjoy an entree made for two at the five-star, family-owned Fawn Brook Inn.
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7. Grand Lake
Perched on the western edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park, two hours northwest of Denver, is Grand Lake. Rent a boat or paddle board at the picturesque marina, or spread out a blanket for some Rocky Mountain-high beach time. Enjoy some bird watching or hiking along the nearby trails, or head to Winter Park or Granby Ranch for snowshoeing, skiing, or skating. Depart on a drive over the scenic 12,193-foot altitude Trail Ridge Road to nearby Estes Park and photograph the views on the journey, then have a romantic dinner at the quaint and cozy O-A Bistro or the Rapids Lodge Inn.
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