Where To Go in Colorado & What To Do - 7 Top Tourist Tips
7 Tips You Should Know When Deciding Where to Go In Colorado
Are you ready for adventure?
If you want to travel to Colorado, there’s more to it than just simply packing your suitcase and hitting the road. Unless you are just going to stay in Denver, which of course you don't want to do (cause it’s too mainstream).
After all, Colorado is very unique state. Sure it is laid back, but before you can truly enjoy it you will want to do some research first. I’ve been visiting this quirky and incredible state for over 20 years and eventually decided to move here!
Here’s my top 7 tips you should know before you decide where to go in Colorado (plus a bonus tip at the end!).
1. Marijuana in Colorado
Let's talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to Colorado - marijuana!
It is definitely one of the 3 three things you should consider when deciding where to go in Colorado. By now, everybody knows it’s legal to purchase and smoke pot in Colorado if you’re at least 21 years old.
However, what many people don't understand is that smoking it in public is illegal. This includes, but isn't limited to bars, parks, ski resorts, parking lots, buses, cars, etc. Before visiting Colorado, make sure you are familiar with the state's marijuana laws first.
The laws that govern buying and smoking pot in the state of Colorado is something you will want to be aware of before you visit here. However, even though smoking it in public is illegal doesn't mean that everybody knows or follows the law - so you need to be prepared that you will be smelling lots of pot if you visit Colorado in the summer and are planning to go on a popular hike, hit the river, or visit one of the incredible hot springs here.
One more thing, if you happen to be a marijuana tourist, please don't smoke pot around kids - you don't want to be that guy.
2. Colorado Tourists Get Altitude Sickness
Now that we have #1 cleared up, let's discuss #2, something that I didn't know anything about when I first visited Colorado, and that’s altitude sickness. This is another top priority of things you need to think about before you decide where to visit in Colorado.
You might experience Altitude sickness depending where you go in Colorado. Altitude Sickness is real and it’s very important to know how to deal with it. In fact, this tip can save you two whole days of your Colorado vacation if you use it!
Unfortunately, altitude sickness affects quite a few people every year. There are some individuals who don't have any issues with altitude, while others feel the effects instantly as soon as they arrive in Colorado.
Altitude sickness can cause fatigue, unquenchable thirst, headaches, and nausea in rare cases. Symptoms have a tendency to subside usually about the second day. However, you can also do several things to help reduce or even avoid getting symptoms at all.
The first thing that you should do is drink lots of water. Make sure to have a water bottle or camelbak with you all the time, and fill it all the way up with the world's best tap water, well okay maybe the Alps water tastes a bit better.
Second of all, during the first two days of your visit to Colorado don't do anything too strenuous. Be sure to take it easy since many people complain of being lightheaded when they first get here.
The third thing you should do is take Altitude Adjustment. This is an all-natural, 100% preservative-free supplement that has been specially formulated for reducing altitude sickness effects. Our friends and family swear by this supplement!
3. People In Colorado Drive Fast
When visiting Colorado, make sure to obey the speed limits.
Coloradans do drive fast no matter where they are, even when driving in the mountains. However, it isn't necessary for you to try to keep up, and in fact we don't recommend it!
I have a tendency to drive pretty fast, so I'm not fazed by the speed Coloradans get around. However, I haven't noticed that when family and friends visit Colorado they are often surprised and some even scared by it. Especially when speeds can commonly be over 75 miles per hour, even on unfamiliar roads and in the mountains.
Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Just stay over in the right hand lane and go at the speed that you are comfortable with. Obey all of the signs and whenever the speed limit drops down to 40 mph in a turn, that isn't just a suggestion, so pay attention to it.
4. Fire Bans in CO
When visiting Colorado, you need to be aware of potential fire bans.
Before moving to Colorado I didn't know anything about fire bans. I am from back East. We would go camping with our kids and build huge campfires in the middle of August and we never even considered that other areas of the country where forest fires and droughts are a major concern.
Then one day, right after we moved to Colorado, we loaded up our truck and headed out with the kids on a random forest road. We saw a sign that said "Fire Ban in Effect." I didn't even know what that meant. It was in the month of June. We tried camping without a fire but only lasted one night. To this day, after 18 years, just the mere thought of not having a campfire puts a big damper on the entire camping experience.
I included this warning for the people who love to camp for the ghost stories, Smores, and camaraderie around the campfire. Just beware that you will probably encounter fire bans when visiting Colorado, which may effect where you may go in Colorado.
5. Nature Is A Very Serious Business in Colorado
Take note, city dwellers! Coloradans take all forms of nature very seriously.
If you see a sign that says "stay on trail," obey it. Also, if you see a sign that prohibits swimming, don’t swim. If you decide to go rogue and mess around with the near-pristine wilderness of Colorado, your face might end up being featured on a shame campaign on social media. They don't mess around here.
But when deciding where to go in colorado, make sure to plan for several hikes if you can. Just be aware that when you do hike or camp, you are expected to hike without leaving a trace. This means don’t litter and try to leave your space better than you found it (pick up garbage other people left behind).
Colorado has an unlimited number of hikes that are simply out of this world, and the people of Colorado take great pride in making sure our natural beauty is kept pristine.
One of the most critical things that you should know before visiting Colorado is to respect nature while you are here.
If you need hiking/camping gear, check out our gear reviews here.
6. CO Weather is Bi-Polar: Pack Accordingly
When you are planning to visit Colorado and where to go, be aware that the weather changes constantly, so pack layers of clothes. It’s warmer in the valley areas and cooler in the mountains.
According to Travel Visa Pro, the top question everyone has when planning to visit Colorado is what they should pack. For example today, it was freezing this morning but it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit by 2 pm. It is supposed to snow tomorrow and then the next day it will be a balmy 49 degrees, which Coloradans consider to be shorts weather :)
So what should you pack? Nobody really know. That is why the key here is pack layers! Bring an under shirt, an over shirt, a flannel, an under jacket, and an over (rain) jacket. The weather is a lot cooler in the mountains than it is in the valleys in the summer, with many of the mountains staying snow-capped all year long.
Also, don't forget your sunscreen since Colorado has sun more than 300 days out of the year!
7. Colorado Craft Beer
Don't expect to just see mediocre beers on tap when visiting Colorado.
Colorado is definitely craft beer country! If you are looking for Michelob or Bud Light on tap, you won't find it in more than just a few restaurants and bars. Since Coors is brewed in the city of Golden, Colorado, it is popular, but that’s about it. If you love craft beer then you will definitely love Colorado.
Bonus Tip: Eat Rocky Mountain Oysters While in CO
This is the food that Colorado is most famous for. People come from all over the country (and world) to taste Rocky Mountain Oysters. It’s definitely a cult favorite thing to do in colorado.
My first experience with them was at a local restaurant called Rivers in Glenwood Springs, CO. Tasty food for foodies. However, I'm more of a burger and fries girl. Their brunch is also to die for.
Anyway we went out to dinner with some new friends of ours, and I was looking through the menu to find something to order. I chose a salad. The friends we were with ordered Rocky Mountain Oysters. My husband and I realized we didn't know what those were.
So what's the big deal? What are Rocky Mountain Oysters exactly?
Rocky mountain oysters are actually mammal testicles, and the most common ones come from sheep, pigs, bison, and bulls. I’m totally serious.
So when you are visiting Colorado, just be aware that people visit Colorado from all around the world to taste this delicacy.
Are you visiting Colorado Soon?
We hope you enjoyed reading our top tips for visiting colorado and that my tips help you decide where to go in colorado and what to do!
If you have any questions or would like to leave a review about your trip to CO, feel free to leave a comment below.