If you are one of the nearly 700,000 people who live in Denver, it may just feel like a good place to live. You have beautiful surroundings, top of the line shopping, and there is something to do year round. 

Photo credit: Owen CL

The homes are lovely, the Denver neighborhoods are beautiful and the school systems rank highly. Another attraction Medical care is readily available with doctors, hospitals, and every kind of specialist you need is at your disposal. The location of Denver makes it easily accessible if an expert is needed.

If you ask someone who lives here, what the draw to Denver is, you will probably hear skiing, hiking, fishing, and they could go on and on. But the locals know this is just the tip of the iceberg. What visitors fail to understand is there are fantastic weekend road trips from Denver. You will have a completely unique experience visiting cities, 8 hours from Denver.

Weekend Road Trips from Denver

We are going to list our opinions of the best road trip out of Denver, but we encourage you to do your own research. You will notice we have added a few locations much closer than 8 hours away. This is to show that even if you only have an extra day to set out on an adventure, You still have many options.

Short-timers

Below you will find a very few of the cities that are 8 hours (or less) from Denver.

  • Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs is only about 156 miles from Denver. While it doesn’t exactly fit in our 8 hours away point, it is worth mentioning. 

Steamboat Springs has family and private ski lodges. Steamboat Springs is known for their natural hot springs with soaking pools as well as pools with slides. This city features mountain and wall climbing,  There are bike parks, gondola rides, mini-golf, and a whole lot more.

Food – There are dozens of restaurants to select from and the majority are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free friendly. 

Our favorites are:

I Egg & I Restaurant for breakfast

Johnny B. Goods for lunch or dinner

Winona’s for a great lunch and upper-level family meal

Cafe Diva’s is the place to go for an elegant dinner and fine dining.

  • Aspen

Aspen is only 158.5 miles from Denver, but it is a year-round destination. It is ski resort all year. You have a very good chance of seeing a celebrity or two, since several own vacation homes there. 

Aspen has the best high-end shopping in the area. If you are looking for class and elegance, then this is the best road trip out of Denver, for sure. Learn more about this famous city here.

Food

Aspen caters to the rich and famous. This means there are great places to ship and excellent restaurants, with excellent service. But, let’s not forget the celebrities that are in Aspen are vacationing. They want to wear their jeans and let their hair down. This is where they want rest, relaxation and recovery. So, even though Aspen is fit for a king, if you see one, he will probably be kicked back with a beer in front of a roaring fire. 

 Aspen has the most beautiful mountain areas in the world. You will be able to get from place to place via ski lift. There are more than 150 miles of trails and Snowmass is a mountain that has been a skiers dream site since 1947.

Hickory House They also have great lunch and dinner. Good atmosphere

Poppycocks Actually, Poppycocks is famous for their breakfast, brunch,and             lunch. It is a tiny place and always packed so get there early – It’s worth it.

The Red Onion You simply must eat at The Red Onion. This establishment was built in 1892. It is still as good now as it was then. This is good food, moderately priced, eaten in a historical landmark. 

You said 8-hour day trips!

Yes, we did. The above-mentioned towns were just too good to pass up. So let’s head 8 hours away from Denver. There is no bad time to go. This beautiful and sunny area is a year-round playground.

Salt Lake City 

The first adventure that we recommend is Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake is 8-hours by car from Denver. Along the way, you will see some fantastic scenery. It is almost like crossing into another country instead of another state. 

You will notice a lot of tour companies in Salt Lake. This is because, there is so much to see, you can rarely see everything from just one tour. For the mild at heart, there are museums, art galleries, historical sites, and first-class shopping. If you are a bit bolder than that, try a river rafting tour. There is one river rafting excursion that lasts ½ a day! If that doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, stick around for an after dark Ghost Tour.

Food

A quick search online can bring up pages of restaurants. If you are watching you money, there are plenty of fast food places that are actually good. If money is no object, you will find the finest restaurants, with famous chefs. But we are going to give you our favorite middle of the road restaurant. These are family-friendly places that will not break the bank.

  • Bruges Waffles & Frites
    • Great waffles
    • Belgian fries
    • Fantastic sandwiches.

Conclusion

This is just a small sample of the wonderful places people within a few hours from Denver. There are many more. To name a few, look for:

  • Santa Fe
  • Moab
  • Rapid City, SD

There are many more cities and towns that you can experience on your way. The natural evolution of the earth makes this part of the country unique and beautiful. The people make it welcoming and fun. Just try this once, and you will be hooked. We will see you there!