Spring break is right away the corner and if you call Denver home, you don’t have to book a flight to have a killer spring break trip. Whether you’re traveling with college pals or taking the whole family on a trip, there are plenty of spring break destinations just a few hours outside the city. From local ski resorts to a mild outdoor excursion in Utah, we’ve got a few spring break destinations that you can reach by car in under ten hours.
Aspen is a four-hour drive from Denver and great for snow bunnies who pretty much just want to ski the entire vacation. Aspen has four distinct ski areas all within the same lift ticket, so there is something for everyone regardless of skill level. This legendary ski town has plenty of snow this spring and nothing beats skiing in March when the sun is out. Plus, Aspen Snowmass is hosting free concerts all of March as part of their Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series.
Colorado Springs, Co
It only takes two hours (or less) to get to Colorado Springs from Denver, though we’d suggest taking the four-wheel drive on this trip because vacationing in Colorado Springs is all about outdoor activities. Pack up and take a drive through Pikes Peak Highway — which is a safe mountain climb that lets you view the city’s beauty from up high. Colorado Springs is also home to Garden of the Gods and its breathtaking red rock formations, which is a popular destination for rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking. If you’re feeling fancy, stay at the historic Broadmoor resort and check out nearby Seven Falls, a series of waterfalls with nearby hiking trails that have been dubbed “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado.”
Steamboat Springs, Co
Steamboat Springs is a quick three-hour jaunt from downtown Denver, making it the perfect ski getaway — even for a weekend. Steamboat Springs has a hidden attraction that the other ski towns like Telluride and Aspen don’t — geothermal hot springs. Hot springs are said to have therapeutic properties, so a long soak does a body good after a full day on the slopes. The popular Old Town Hot Springs has eight pools, including water slides.
Telluride is further out than most ski towns, but the six-hour drive is worth it. Telluride feels like taking a step back in time to the Wild West and many consider it to be the best Colorado ski resort. Downtown Telluride is the best spot for soaking up history and partying at night, but if you’re traveling with little ones, Telluride’s next door neighbor Mountain Village is newly developed, safe, and close to tons of child-friendly slopes, sledding hills, and the ice rink.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you want to ditch the snow, Santa Fe, New Mexico might be where it’s at. Crossing state lines takes six hours by car and it’s worth it to experience this unique melting pot of Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American cultures. Southwest food, the art scene, and Pueblo-style architecture reign supreme in Santa Fe, plus the city has the 3rd largest State Museum system in the country.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota is a great place to stay if a visit to nearby Mt. Rushmore is on the itinerary. Though most people visit the national monument in the summer, spring is a great off-peak time to visit and beat the crowds. Cruise down the U.S. Highway 385's scenic drive through the Black Hills and Badlands as you pass waterfalls, canyons, and creeks. As for Rapid City itself, you can experience the downtown art and culture scene or head to the outskirts and get up close and personal with nature at Reptile Gardens or Bear Country USA. The entire drive from Denver is a little over six hours.
Moab, Utah is situated just outside Arches National Park and its more than 2000 natural arch-shaped rock formations. Though Arches is the real draw here, Moab, Utah is also home to sites like Bull Canyon Overlook and Copper Ridge, where you can see authentic dinosaur tracks. Early spring is the best time to visit Moab, as the weather is cool but mild and it’s just outside peak season. It takes a little over five hours to drive here from Denver.