Summer’s Best Weekend Getaways from Denver

Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

Whether you’ve already explored Denver’s best summer spots, or are flying into the area for a weekend or longer, there are a plethora of weekend getaway destinations within easy driving distance of Denver, Colorado. Here are some of our favorite Colorado destinations to explore on your next summer weekend (or longer) trip! With a MileMarker Van Rental, it will be easy to make it with your entire group to any of the places on this list!


Drive time from Denver: About 1 hour 

Georgetown, Colorado is a quaint small town just an hour from Denver, making for a convenient weekend or day trip. Georgetown is known for the Georgetown Loop Railroad, a historic railway that takes visitors in the mountains and over Clear Creek.  Dating to 1872, this railway offers a glimpse into Colorado’s mining gold rush history.  

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Just outside of Georgetown, visitors can drive Guanella Pass Byway to enjoy a scenic drive or to access hiking trails, including 14,000-foot peak Mt. Bierstadt.  

Georgetown is also just 15 minutes away from world-class rafting on Clear Creek and zipline and Via Ferrata experiences in Idaho Springs. These quintessential Colorado activities are a fun way to experience Colorado’s great outdoors. 

Buena Vista 

Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 15 min. 

Buena Vista, Colorado is a historic town, nicknamed “Buena Vista” (Spanish for “good view”) by locals, with stunning scenery and a friendly community. Located in the Arkansas River Valley and surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks Mountain Range, this area in Chaffee County is a quintessential mountain town with western roots.  

sunset on mount princeton

Buena Vista is a mecca for outdoor adventure throughout the seasons, and in the summer, adventurers can experience rafting, Via Ferrata, ziplining, hiking, mountain biking, and fly-fishing.  

rafting on the Arkansas River

The Arkansas River hosts some of the best rafting in the state, and the Pine Creek section just outside Buena Vista is the steepest section on this iconic river.

Buena Vista and the Arkansas River are also home to Colorado’s largest whitewater park, with waves for kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders, and tubers to take on. 

Buena Vista’s downtown offers breweries and restaurants to explore before or after an outdoor adventure, with the Arkansas River running directly through downtown. Stop by the Mount Princeton Hot Springs to relax in this scenic area! 

Learn more about Colorado’s western slope and other towns in this area. 

Estes Park 

Drive Time from Denver: 1 hour 20 min. 

Estes Park, Colorado is known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. This national park hosts 350 miles of trails, with opportunities from scenic drives to intense hikes. Wildlife also abounds in the park, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, marmots, and more. 

Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park also operates on a timed-entry permit system per vehicle, so riding with your entire group will help smooth this entry system.  

In Estes Park, visitors can also enjoy a 4×4 tour, ride the Estes Park Mountain Coaster, and rent a pontoon, paddle boat, fishing boat, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard on the Lake Estes Marina.  


Telluride Colorado

Drive time from Denver: 6 hours 

Ouray, Colorado is a bit longer of a trip from Denver, but worth it for a long weekend trip! Known as the “Switzerland of America” and the “Outdoor Recreation Capitol of Colorado,” this beautiful mountain town is located in a valley beneath 12,000- and 13,000-foot peaks in the San Juan Mountain Range. 

Ouray offers outdoor adventure opportunities throughout the year, and summer is a perfect time to explore these majestic mountains. Several waterfalls can be found throughout Ouray, including Bear Creek Falls, Box Cañon Falls, and Cascade Falls.

Ouray also offers three unique Via Ferrata courses for novice through experienced adventures to explore the area’s cliffsides. From ice climbing to canyoning, learn more about all the climbing opportunities in Ouray. 

ouray water falls

For those looking to explore by van or car, The Million Dollar Highway offers an opportunity to gain breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. This narrow, 25-mile byway travels between Ouray and Silverton, passing through historic mining towns and areas; with its hairpin turns and steep drops, it is not for the faint of heart! 

Steamboat Springs 

Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 45 min. 

steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs, Colorado may be known as a quintessential Colorado resort town and known as Ski Town, USA, but the summer offers plenty of opportunities to explore this area in the Yampa Valley.

Steamboat is a mountain town with a legacy of ranching, encompassing the best of Colorado’s history and landscape. 

In the summer, there are plenty of water activities in the area. The Yampa River runs directly through the town of Steamboat, offering opportunities to tube right through town. Bring your own tube or rent one from an outfitter in town.

Steamboat Lake State Park is also a short drive from Steamboat, and visitors can boat, water ski, fish, or try out other water sports on this gorgeous lake.

At Steamboat Ski Resort, mountain bikers can also explore the downhill riding trails with more than 2,000 feet of vertical terrain. Steamboat Springs is additionally near Hahn’s Peak, an inactive volcano, with hiking trails offering access to this unique landmark.  

Read even more about activities in and around Steamboat Springs. 


Drive time from Denver: 2 hours 

Leadville, Colorado is a high alpine, mountain community with mining roots and makes for an easy weekend trip from Denver. The Leadville and nearby Twin Lakes area hosts both popular and off the beaten path areas for camping—all of them in some of Colorado’s most natural areas. A MileMarker van rental makes it easy to load up all your camping or other gear. 

Nearby hiking trails range from easy to Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert at 14, 437 feet. Leadville is additionally only about 15 minutes from Buena Vista, with easy access to this area’s outdoor recreation opportunities.  

Lake near Leadville, CO

The town of Leadville is home to Colorado’s Melanzana store that requires an appointment to purchase one of their famous hoodies. In town, visitors can also tour the 140-year-old Tabor Opera House and try the famous pizza at High Mountain Pies.  

The town of Leadville also comes alive in the summer for the Leadville Race Series, running and mountain bike races from a 5k to 100 miles, all in Leadville’s high alpine environment, with many ultra runners hoping to gain a coveted spot in the Leadville 100.  

Great Sand Dunes National Park 

Drive time from Denver: 3 hours 45 min. 

woman looking at camera on sand dunes

Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is another unique natural area in this great state and perfect for a longer weekend trip. Try out sand sledding or boarding on the dunes, cool off in Medano Creek, or take a 4WD vehicle off roading on Medano Pass Primitive Road.  

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is also an International Dark Sky Park, where light pollution is limited or nonexistent. This makes the park one of the best areas for star gazing and night photography.  

Grab your family, team, or other group and enjoy a weekend getaway from the city. A MileMarker van rental offers room for up to 14 passengers and plenty of room for camping or other adventure gear. 

Our van rentals are the perfect option for those flying into DIA, as we offer easy transportation to and from our depot and the airport. You will be able to get your trip started as soon as you land! 

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