Colorado is a widely loved destination for winter sports thanks to its number of ski lodges and resorts, but this beautiful state offers year-round fun! Here are 10 off-the-beaten-path things to do in the state this summer.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
If you find yourself near Calhan, Colorado, check out Paint Mines Interpretive Park! This gorgeous area features stunning, brightly colored geological formations. Paint Mines received its name thanks to the clays that are present in the area, which were historically used to make paint. This day-use park is open year-round and features four miles of trails as well as interpretive signs detailing the area’s history.
2. The UFO Watch Tower
Head north of Hooper, Colorado to see a quirky roadside attraction called the UFO Watchtower. The Watchtower features a large observation platform and a campground. Even if you don’t believe in aliens, it’s still an amazing area to go stargazing thanks to the lack of light pollution in the area.
3. Interlaken Ghost Resort
Visit an abandoned resort with this beautiful and unique hike! Interlaken Resort sits on the shores of Twin Lakes and was once one of the most popular resorts in Colorado. Now empty, a 4.7-mile, mostly level hike leads to the historic site, and can make for a memorable day trip!
4. Tiny Town And Railroad
Located in Morrison, Colorado, Tiny Town lives up to its name! This unique attraction features over a hundred miniature buildings making up an equally small village. In addition to the miniature village, Tiny Town also features train rides and a gift shop.
5. Bear Creek Lake Park
If you end up near Lakewood, Colorado, head over to Bear Creek Lake Park to enjoy an afternoon at one of the park’s three lakes. The lakes are popular with kayakers and boaters, and Bear Creek Lake also features a swim beach. The smallest of the lakes, Little Soda Lake, is only open to private boats with the Water Ski School, which offers a variety of lessons as well as camps. If you’re looking to turn a day trip into a weekend trip, camp spots are also available for a nightly fee.
6. St. Elmo Ghost Town
Located about 40 minutes from Buena Vista, Colorado, St. Elmo has been called one of the west’s best-preserved ghost towns. Once a mining town, the population slowly dwindled down after train service to the area was closed. Nowadays, there are 43 buildings left standing, including a general store which is operational and open seasonally.
7. Grand Lake Colorado
The Grand Lake area is known as the “snowmobiling capital of Colorado”, but there’s plenty to do here in the summer as well! The largest naturally occurring lake in Colorado, Grand Lake is a great spot for those looking to boat, canoe, or go for a swim.
8. Canyons Of The Ancients
Canyons Of The Ancients National Monument is a sprawling region that’s home to countless archeological sites, from villages to cliff dwellings, and has been inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years. This is a great option for those looking to not only enjoy the outdoors but also see some unique historical sites. The Visitor Center and Museum is an excellent place to not only learn more about the area but also make sure you have any needed information about your excursion into the outdoors!
9. Paradise Cove
Looking to cool off outdoors this summer? Check out Paradise Cove! Located about an hour from Colorado Springs, this gorgeous swimming hole makes a great day trip. The area has become a little more popular in recent years, but visiting on a weekday is a great way to cut down on some of the people you may have to share the area with. It should be noted that this is a natural swimming area, meaning there aren’t any lifeguards present. Because of this, it’s best to be cautious and not swim alone.
10. Devil’s Punchbowl
There are actually several swimming holes called Devil’s Punchbowl – two of which are in Colorado alone, but this particular spot is located near Aspen. The area is popular with photographers, as well as those looking to take a dip in the scenic waters. Like Paradise Cove, though, there are no lifeguards – this can be a fun way to cool off on a hot day, but make sure you’re using good water safety.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com