08/08/2011 06:18 pm ET Updated Oct 08, 2011

Best Denver Day Trips And Quick Colorado Escapes: 7 Summer Getaways

You don’t have to spend a fortune on travel when you have these Colorado destinations in your backyard. Here are seven summer getaways just a short jaunt from Denver.

Pikes Peak Country: Make your way an hour and a half south of Denver to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which will take you on a scenic trip to the magnificent Pikes Peak summit. It’s the most visited mountain on the continent – second in the world; prepare to be in awe of its grandeur as well as its breathtaking summit views.
Open year round, hours vary; $34/adult, $18.50/ages 3 - 12
515 Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs; 719-685-5401

Resort Vacay in the Springs: Swim, boat, golf or lounge on a beach at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs. This family-friendly resort also offers s’mores and live music on the terrace, a Kidz Club with childcare and day camps, and late-night “dive-in” movies.
3225 Broadmoor Valley Road, Colorado Springs; 719-538-4000

Stanley Hotel in Estes Park: Estes is an easy day trip from the metro, but we suggest checking into the hauntingly beautiful Stanley Hotel and participating in a ghost tour. With a rich supernatural history, this grand hotel is often recognized as the inspiration of Stephen King’s The Shining. Bonus: Colorado residents receive 15 percent off regular room rates.
333 Wonderview Ave. Estes Park; 800-976-1377

Hike, Swing & Soak in Glenwood Springs: Head to Glenwood Springs for a morning hike to Hanging Lake, then really get the heart pumping with an afternoon of ziplining, bungee jumping and canyon swinging at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Parks. Before heading back down the hill, soothe aching muscles with a soak at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool – or the clothing-optional Hippy Hot Springs for the free spirits in the crowd.
Adventure Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs; 800-530-1635 or 970-945-4228
Hot Springs, 415 E. Sixth St., Glenwood Springs; 970-947-2955

Garden of the Gods: If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if God were to dip large quantities of massive red Nilla Wafers into the earth, hit up the Garden of the Gods in northern Colorado Springs. Be sure to take the traditional touristy photo of yourself “holding up” the easily recognized Balanced Rock.
Open Daily, May 1 - Oct. 31, 5am - 11pm, Nov. 1 - April 30, 5am - 9pm; free
1805 N. 30th, Colorado Springs; 719.634.6666

Party All the Time in Telluride: This cozy boxed canyon town in the San Juans boasts renowned festivals nearly every weekend including film fests, arts fests, music fests – even “Shroomfest” (different kind of shrooms, people). This scenic drive will take about six hours from Denver, so plan on staying overnight at a local hotel or mountain lodge in Telluride Village.

A Night in Breck: Off-season in Breckenridge means a plethora of condos, hotels and B&Bs just begging to charm you into a night’s stay with ridiculously discounted rates in this quaint Summit County town. Take your pick of local lodging, then venture down Peak 8’s Alpine Slide, golf a Jack Nicklaus-designed course, or shop picturesque Main Street’s eclectic boutiques.