After saving and saving for our wedding, Ryan and I (mainly me…) vowed to put aside a little time and money to explore new places. I’m not too high maintenance about it, even a day trip to somewhere new would suffice! But when Southwest had their summer sale, I spotted ridiculously great deals on flights to Denver and… why not? We reached out to our great friends Dylan and Amber and they were on board! Traveling with friends is so much fun, especially when they are as easy going and go with the flow as you are.
For those interested in a quick trip to the Rocky Mountains, here are some activities to consider:
Where We Stayed
We flew into Denver, but wanted adventure and lots of mountain views. We decided to rent a car for our trip and drive to Breckenridge, a town typically known for their amazing ski runs! We stayed in a studio condo with Great Western Lodging. We mainly price-shopped, knowing we would not be spending much time inside, but we were pleasantly surprised at how adorable the condo was and what a great location it was! HIGHLY recommended!
The best part about planning a jam-packed trip to Colorado is if you have to drive an hour and a half to your next activity, lucky you. The drive to and from our adventures was spectacular, unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Coffee – First stop was a local coffee shop, Cuppa Joe. I heart coffee shops for their local flare and chilled atmosphere. Plus, I am an early riser so my husband and I grabbed some coffee before our pals woke up!
Horseback riding – We went on a half-day horseback ride on Mount Princeton in Buena Vista, which was about a 90 minute drive from Breckenridge. This ride surpassed all of my expectations! We legitimately went up the mountain for a few hours, saw the most breathtaking views, and stopped at a waterfall for a late lunch. We then had an hour or so to just explore the area and waterfall, then headed back down the mountain! This was my favorite part of the whole trip. I am an experienced rider, but my husband has never ridden a horse before and was great… if you want the best views of Colorado, do it by horseback. We loved our guide, CJ!
Nightlife – We ate and drank at a little local pub, the Mother Loaded Tavern, which had a great atmosphere. I recommend the Western Burger. Everything is in walking distance in Breck!
White water rafting – Day two was full. In the morning, we headed back out to the Buena Vista area for white water rafting, although the river was so low that we couldn’t do a “numbers” ride. However, this allowed us to really sight see in between the few rough patches! It was mind blowing to see the different landscapes of this state… from mountain views the day before via horseback to insane rocky formations and canyons via raft. So awesome! We loved our guide, Pauly!
Lunch – If you find yourself in Buena Vista, CO for anything, you have to eat at House Rock Kitchen. Everything is locally sourced, fresh, and healthy. Have a honey lemonade, too….
Coffee – Best iced coffee I’ve ever had….
Mountain hike – The second half of the day was quite the adventure. We hiked up McCullough Gulch. Mistakenly, we hiked up this mountain FROM THE BOTTOM and never even made it to the very top after hours… once we got to where we thought was the top, exhausted and short of breath (damn you altitude sickness), we realized that there was road you could drive up and hike from there. It was getting dark so we basically ran down the mountain to avoid the scaries. STUNNING views, from where we hiked ha!
Dinner – We headed back out on the town in Breck and ate at the Blue Stag Saloon. Super trendy, awesome atmosphere, and a REALLY good Moscow Mule!
Denver – We took our time waking up, packing up, and heading out of our beloved Breck. I love that town. My only regret was that we didn’t plan some time to explore the town during the daytime! We headed back over to Denver for some walking around and sight seeing! We landed at the World of Beer in LoDo for a short time. We flew out on the first flight the next morning, end of Colorado trip!
I hate to admit it, but I am not a fan of skiing and snowboarding. Nor am I good at either. I fully enjoyed Colorado in the summer and highly recommend it to anyone! We had a blast and wish we planned a longer trip, honestly. Until next time, CO….
I was able to cram everything into just a carry-on bag:
- Hiking shoes or tennis shoes with a GOOD tread on them (I took a little tumble in my Nike Frees, ha!)
- For a summer trip: layers, layers, layers. It was 80+ degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night. Plus, the towns like Breck that are up in the mountains are significantly cooler than towns like Denver.
- Camera, obvi.
- A backpack or something of the like for things you want to bring with you.
- A supplemental batter for your phone if you’re as bad as I am with Snapchatting the heck out of your trip, then running your battery down oops!