Over Father's Day weekend, I decided to surprise my dad and join him and the rest of my family on their annual vacation to Fort Collins, Colorado! While I was only there for half of their trip, I was still able to enjoy some fresh mountain air and cooler temperatures. It was a much-needed getaway and I had such a great time.
Since I'm no stranger to the Centennial State, I decided it was finally time to highlight my weekend in case any of my followers were looking for some new areas to discover in Colorado. Fort Collins, Colorado is a great place to stay when you want to be in a central location for the areas I've highlighted below.
Places to Visit and Scenic Drives
Estes Park - Estes Park is a town located in Northern Colorado that serves as the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It's about an hour from Fort Collins, but it's definitely a spot you should include in your itinerary. From gift shops and restaurant to attractions and family activities, this town has it all. Did you know the historic Stanley Hotel that inspired the movie The Shining is located in Estes Park? You can even take a tour!
In addition to shopping, Estes Park has a dozen of trails that are filled with wildlife. I highly recommend taking the Estes Park Aerial Tramway, which gives you breathtaking views of Estes Parkes and over the valley. Heading back to Fort Collins, Highway 34 East is filled with beautiful areas that serve as great backdrops for photos.
Rocky Mountain National Park - This national park is located in Northern Colorado and spans the Continental Divide. The entire park is over 400 square miles, and is filled with beautiful overlooks and breathtaking views. Enjoy a scenic drive up Trail Ridge Road where you'll be met with beautiful greenery, dozens of wildlife and vibrant colors. At the top, you can visit the Trail Ridge Store for gifts or lunch, then finish the day exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.
Cache La Poudre - If you're looking for a scenic drive and a spot to enjoy a picnic, you'll want to check Cache La Poudre out. Along the way, you can pull over to watch the rapids from the Cache la Poudre that pushes kayakers and rafters along.
Old Town - One of my favorite spots in Fort Collins is Old Town, which is basically the area's downtown district. Old Town is filled with dozens of shops and restaurants, and also has a number of concerts, free events and festivals throughout the year. If you're a Disney fan, one exciting fact about Old Town is that Disneyland’s Main Street USA was actually modeled after Downtown Fort Collins! Pretty cool, right?
Food, Drinks and more
Sweetheart Winery - This winery is actually located in Loveland, but it's fairly close to Fort Collins and definitely worth the short drive! The eight-acre winery and event center is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while looking at views of the Rocky Mountains. From lighter whites to bolder reds, there's a little something for everyone at Sweetheart Winery. They also have delicious cheese plates and charcuterie boards to pair with your wine, making it the perfect ending to a long day.
Glen Haven General Store - If you're headed up to Estes Park and you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you'll definitely want to make a stop at the Glen Haven General Store. The moment you open your door in the gravel parking lot, you'll smell the sweet aroma of their homemade cinnamon rolls. I highly recommend buying an extra for another day because while they might seem large, they disappear quickly!
Ginger and Baker - In addition to their amazing food, one of the best things about Ginger and Baker is its history. The original building has been a part of Fort Collins for over 100 years! After an afternoon of exploring the shops of Old Town, unwind with a twist on some of your favorite comfort classics and their delicious fresh-baked pies and pastries!
Budweiser - At the Fort Collins brewery location, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the scenic foothills while you learn about the brewing process of a variety of Anheuser-Busch beers. One of my favorite parts about this tour experience is that it's home to the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales where you're able to get up close and personal.
New Belgium - If you didn't know New Belgium was located in Fort Collins, now you do! Their brewery tour is probably one of the best I have ever been on and has actually been voted previously as a No. 1 Best Brewery Tour in the USA. However, you'll have to make a reservation months in advance, so don't forget!
If you're planning a trip to Colorado in the near future and have any questions or want additional tips, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!