Big winter snows and a long, cool spring have set the stage for a dazzling Colorado summer. With so many world-class diversions and attractions to enjoy in our own backyard — and gasoline costing less than it has in years — why vacation anywhere else?
To be sure, Colorado Springs beckons. This enticing metropolis is rife with five-star memories that come part and parcel from a proven menu of distinguished resorts, eye-candy golf and must-see experiences.
Heading the list is 98-year-old The Broadmoor, the sumptuous 3,000-acre resort that has earned more consecutive Forbes Five Star (55) and AAA Five Diamond (39) awards than any other property in the world. In 2014 Golf magazine hailed it America’s top resort on the strength of three golf courses crafted by Donald Ross, Robert Trent Jones and Nicklaus Design; 43,000-square-foot spa and fitness center; 19 restaurants, cafes and lounges; a breathtaking Cheyenne Mountain locale; plus a recently completed, $120 million property wide enhancement.
For something more intimate, overnight your weekend or weeklong respite at the luxurious Lodge at Flying Horse. Steeped in a distinctive county club vibe, guests are spoiled with Tuscan-styled architecture, lüxe-level accommodations, fine dining, 50,000-square-foot spa and athletic club, four pools, nine indoor clay tennis courts and Tom Weiskopf-designed golf.
Family friendly Cheyenne Mountain Resort is another can’t-miss option. Renovated in 2011, the destination pampers with lavishly appointed guest rooms and suites, exceptional cuisine, spa, indoor and outdoor tennis, beach club, kids camp, Pete Dye golf and sweet stay-and-play packages. Bonus: Kids age 8 and under golf free with a paying adult after 2 p.m.
For an iconic break from the ordinary, go hiking among the celebrated red rock formations of Garden of the Gods. A National Natural Landmark since 1971, the 1,370-acre city park is a head-craning, Nikon-prompting romp through stunning sandstone spires, cathedrals and formations that date back 300 million years. Travel tip: Visit in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun illuminates the formations with crisp shadows and phosphorescent colors.
Colorado Springs’ major events and festivals are equally enticing. Plan your visit around the 8th Annual Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival (June 24-25 in Cañon City); 100th anniversary of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (June 26); 76th Annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo (July 13-16); El Paso County Fair (July 16-23); and the Rocky Mountain State Games (July 22-24 and July 29-31).
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via coloradoavidgolfer.com.