Summer's Ending: 8 Great Weekend Roadtrips You Need to Take Now

Categories: Travel

National Park Service
​It's the first week of August, so it's likely that many of you are experiencing Endofsummeritis. You may think there's nothing you can do but watch the slow creep to winter, and before you know it, you will be shoveling your car out of six feet of snow while icicle tears form on your cheeks. But there are several good weekends left in the summer, and Denver is luckily situated between dozens of unique cultural and geographic landscapes. Here are eight great road trips that, in about six hours, will take you somewhere that feels a world away from the Mile High City.

Canyon Wind Cellars
Colorado Wine Country
Are We There Yet: Approx. 4 hours to Palisade, CO
Pit Stops: Silverthorne Factory Outlets; Glenwood Springs, CO; Hanging Lake
What to Do: The major draw here is the wineries. Make a B&B your home base. Then rent a bike and hit a few tasting rooms in one afternoon. If you prefer doing things in a more orderly fashion, take one of many guided tours. Besides vineyards, the area boasts hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. This road trip is good for anniversaries and other romantic weekends.

Michael Blazewicz
Moab, UT
Are We There Yet: Approx. 5.5 hours
Pit Stops: Fruita, CO (Home of the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival)
What to Do: Moab is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, so go if you love mountain biking, climbing, or river rafting. But the gorgeous red-rock backdrop is enough of a draw, even if you're no mountain man or woman. Visit nearby Canyonlands National Park to see the crevice where Aron Ralston famously amputated his arm. This road trip is for you if you want to escape civilization against a strangely beautiful and stark backdrop.

RTsantafe-Richard Khanlian.jpg
Richard Khanlian
Santa Fe, NM
Are We There Yet: Approx. 6 hours
Pit Stops: Pueblo, CO (Home of the Pueblo Levee Mural Project, the world's longest mural); Taos, NM
What to Do: Santa Fe holds its own as a major art center in the U.S. Besides hundreds of galleries, you can find several major museums and a few mean craft fairs. Camp nearby, crash at a motel or sleep in style at a world-class resort. Bandelier National Monument was damaged in recent wildfires, but parts are still open to the public. Road trip to Santa Fe if you want to get your art on in a laid-back, outdoorsy atmosphere.

National Park Service
Mount Rushmore
Are We There Yet: Approx. 6 hours
Pit Stops: Wall Drug
What to Do: Camp in Custer State Park or the Badlands, or sleep in a bed in Rapid City. Wherever your base is, hike on one of the world's richest fossil beds in the Badlands; swim, hike, or fish in Custer; and visit four of our most iconic presidents. Don't forget to check out the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial, a rival in size and audacity to Mount Rushmore itself. Make sure to stop by the Corn Exchange for some fine-dining in the heart of in Rapid City. Explore South Dakota by car if you want an education in U.S. history and some old-school summer fun.

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This is a great article and timely.  We are taking a week long 'staycation' next week to discover everything our own backyard has to offer.  Thanks for the information.

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