It’s summer, and we’re craving adventure – especially after years of limited travel and lockdowns.
But now, we’re hitting new hurdles. Airfare prices are skyrocketing, along with the price of, well, generally existing. Gas prices hit a record high since 2008. Thousands of flights continue to get canceled. And Covid-related restrictions make overseas vacations risky and unpredictable; you never know when rules will change, or a ban will fall into place that diverts your plans.
It’s tempting to shrug it all off and keep hiding out in your basement with trusty Netflix.
But adventure keeps knocking. There’s got to be a way to find some novelty and excitement, without all the stress.
Enter: Staycations. A road trip close to Boulder.
More than 90 percent of people say they plan on taking a road trip this year, according to Outdoorsy.com – and they’re onto something. Road trips are the trips for 2022. But with the price of gas, you may want to keep those trips close to home.
So here are some staycations a short drive from Boulder so you can scratch that travel itch and make the summer of 2022 count.
CAMPING – ANYWHERE!
What brings so many people to Colorado to begin with is nature. Lean into the excitement and beauty right outside your door and plan a camping trip. You can find a ton of incredible camping spots close to Boulder, or venture a bit deeper into the Rockies.
Wherever you go, however, do it in comfort and style. Fun fact: You can rent RVs, campers, vans, pop-ups and every kind of adventure-fueling vehicle you can dream of on Outdoorsy.com – and there are hundreds of options to choose from in and around Boulder. It’s basically the Airbnb of RVs. You rent a vehicle from another person, which keeps the costs low and the flexibility high.
Take out a van equipped with a shower and Nespresso machine, a solar-powered trailer, and even trailers light enough to tow behind an electric vehicle to avoid gas costs entirely. Watch the stars from inside a VW Bus camper van, take a Jeep into the foothills and sleep in a pop-up tent on its roof, or live for a week in a tiny home on wheels. Some rentals rival even the most gorgeous hotel room.
Here are a few local highlights to consider:
- Ram 3500 Wooden Truck Camper: This custom-built, wooden camper is perched atop a Ram 3500 Dually with a Cummins diesel engine. This rig can do it all.
- 2020 Ram Promaster 1500: Rustic meets chic in this custom-built van. It’s the perfect balance between roughing it and relaxing. Sleep soundly on a memory foam bed. Not a bed of rocks.
Swallow your Buff allegiance and venture north into Ram territory. Really, it won’t kill you. But for reals, if you haven’t been to Fort Collins lately, check it out again. This city continues to grow and offers more fun just a short drive away.
FoCo hotels know the pain of filling up your tank, too. That’s why The Elizabeth Hotel is helping encourage you to hit the road with its new Driver’s Dream package. Get accommodations, free parking, and a $25 gas card for each night of your stay.
The Elizabeth is ideally located in Old Town, too, so you can walk to all the action – although there’s plenty of excitement right in the hotel, too. This unique hotel offers an Instrument Lending Library, where you can check out (for free) ukuleles, guitars, and other instruments to go play in your room. Listen to live music at the Magic Rat lounge. Grab a coffee at Bowerbird Coffee. Enjoy one of Fort Collins’ best brunches at The Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market.
And make sure you set aside plenty of time to sip a craft cocktail in the open-air, outdoor space, the Sunset Lounge rooftop. Here, you can enjoy live jazz every Wednesday through Saturday and high tea services on Sunday.
Cherry Creek has always been an elevated escape, but this Denver Metro neighborhood has raised the bar again. The Hotel Clio recently opened up in the heart of Cherry Creek, after a huge, multi-million-dollar renovation. You’ll be greeted by top-of-the-line service in a thoughtfully designed hotel with plenty of historical and Colorado inspiration. You’ll see gold accents throughout, a nod to the Gold Rush history, and brass lamps were designed to emulate the look of a gold miner’s lamp. The flooring was inspired by the flow of a river.
Make sure to book brunch at TORO Latin Kitchen and Bar, with an innovative, Pan Latin menu featuring small plates and family-style dishes. Another unique highlight is a full ceviche bar designed to pair with hand-muddled cocktails.
Guests can also sign up for fun classes, like wine and tequila tasting and guacamole-making classes. And the hotel partners closely with other nearby businesses. Twice a week, it offers a guided walk around the Cherry Creek neighborhood, and guests can sign up for immersive visits to local art galleries.
Round out your staycation with a healthy visit to the CYL Sauna Studio a few blocks away. CYL features infrared sauna pods in private rooms that cause your body to sweat using infrared heat. You can even book a couples room with two sweat pods and sweat it out together.
Denver’s RiNo District is a worthy destination, in and of itself, and the latest reason is one of Colorado’s most unique hotels. The Catbird hotel is like nowhere else, with multi-functional spaces and loft beds that unfold into a desk/table and full closet. Like a Transformer – as a hotel room.
The Catbird can accommodate longer stays, with in-room kitchens and access to a fully stocked gear room, free laundry services and even a dog run for your fur babies.
While in RiNo, check out the rooftop hangout, The Red Barber, with 360-degree views above the city and Rocky Mountains. While on top of the world, play life-sized games, relax by the fire pits, listen to music and hang out on the lawn. Yes, a rooftop lawn. Take pictures by the topiary sculptures and open-air art installation.
The Red Barber’s craft cocktails are tasty and the menu features handheld bites, many of which are as whimsical as the Catbird. Like Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs (with Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, celery salt, tomato and Old Bay seasoning; pair it with a shot of vodka). Or Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with goat cheese, lemon-infused oil and sourdough bread. The menu centers around locally sourced ingredients.
The Red Barber bills itself as a 3,300-square-foot oasis that “bridges the boundary between familiar and fantastical,” and that description couldn’t be more spot on.
Also while in Denver, make a trip to check out the ever-exciting Adrift Tiki Bar, a tropical-themed bar with cocktails that feel like you’re on an island vacation. Although the drinks tend to be rum-centric, they’re not too sweet.
One memorable way to experience Adrift’s beverage menu is to order a punch bowl to share with two or four people (two different sizes). The Voodoo Witchdoctor Funk blends Appleton Signature, Centenario Seven-Year Rum, housemade grenadine, pineapple, lime juice and absinthe, topped with a champagne split.
The Polynesian/Caribbean food at Adrift is just as incredible. From grilled jerk chicken served with a plantain hash to a 16-ounce flank steak board, the house specialties make clear Adrift is not just a bar. But if you want to make cocktails the focal point of your night, the menu also offers a substantial appetizer and small plate selection, including Spam Musubi (grilled Spam wrapped in sticky rice and seaweed). Don’t knock it until you rock it.
If a mountain getaway is what you’re craving, Estes Park in the summer doesn’t disappoint. As the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park, you can get your fix of Mother Nature – but with a side of luxury and relaxation, when you stay at the new Mountain Village at Lake Estes.
Mountain Village is a log cabin resort right on the banks of beautiful Lake Estes. These 30 residences aren’t what you’d expect from a log cabin. They feature multiple floors, vaulted ceilings with lake and mountain views, air conditioning, private hot tubs next to a stone fireplace and BBQ grill, private decks and elegant detailing. There’s nothing else quite like this in Estes Park.
Enjoy Lake Estes, whether in or on it, or walking the 3.8-mile trail around it. Best of all, these cabins are a short walk to downtown Estes, so you don’t have to try to find parking (the worst part about visiting Estes in the summer).
While in Estes, swing by the new Post Chicken and Beer, located on the iconic Stanley Hotel’s grounds. Post serves up drool-worthy comfort food (it’s even been featured on the Food Network). Fried chicken is the heart of Post, made with humanely raised chickens and fried in gluten-free flour.
Whether for brunch or literally any time of day, try the Chicken and Waffle Supreme, served with pumpkin seed butter, chorizo country gravy, chile-cherry chutney and maple syrup.
And when your belly is full, wander around the Stanley Hotel’s grounds, enjoy the beautiful architecture and look for ghosts. It’s rumored the Stanley is haunted. You can book a guided tour of the hotel to learn more about its history. The Stanley also hosts live entertainment, like famous stand-up comedians and Grammy-winning musicians.