While I do live for a good halfway around the world culture shock, some of my most cherished travel memories are from US roadtrips. I’ve done two cross-country excursions with my dad in a camper (read about it here!), and a zillion other smaller roadtrips with my husband or friends. This September, I’ve got a trip planned to Aspen, CO for a wedding.. and I’ve found myself endlessly daydreaming about the trip. Colorado is such a special place, one with oodles of crunchy charm, a plethora of outdoor activities, and an out of this world backdrop.
<<|| COLORADO ||>>
Aspen is the perfect blend of quaint and boujee. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a hidden gem and it also happens to be one of the most expensive places to visit. All. Year. Long. Sure, my favorite hotel, The Jerome goes from $2000+ a night to $1000+ in the ‘off season’, but I’d hardly call that a bargain. What I suggest is flying into Denver early (preferably not on the world’s worst airline Spirit) and renting an RV there. Take the incredibly scenic I-70 West through Vail, stopping for lunch at my favorite spot Mountain Standard.
Don’t waste much time in Vail, as you’ll want to take in the beautiful winding drive during daylight. Curving around bends of rock, along the rushing Colorado river, keep your eyes peeeeeeled for wildlife.
There are quite a few campgrounds to choose from in the Aspen & Snowmass area for under $30/night. Plan on spending 2 nights here, taking advantage of the hiking, horseback riding, white water rafting, and, well, eating. Aspen is home to some world class chefs and creative cuisines utilizing the local Colorado flavor. I suggest not missing the heaven-sent truffled grilled cheese from Eight K at The Viceroy Snowmass.
With all that money you saved on hotels, maybe you’ll even partake in a Spa day at The Little Nell, I don’t know. 🙂
After you’ve got your fill of Aspen, it’s time to head on to Redstone, Colorado for the night. In Redstone, there’s a special little spot called Avalanche Campground, where the stars are extremely bright. If you stay at Avalanche Ranch for lodging you get 24 hour access to multiple outdoor hot spring pools. Soaking in the natural hot water under the bright stripe of the Milky Way? Yes please.
Early the next morning, you’ll take off back-tracking on the I-70, this time, maybe stopping at Glenwood Springs on the way?
Instead of spending your last night in Denver, drive north-east to Boulder, where you can party like a true Colorado-ian with a craft beer pub crawl. Again, there’s plenty of RV camping options, all ridiculously affordable. You can check out this guide to best camping in Colorado too, it was a great resource for us in planning our trip.
On your last day drop back off your RV at B&B RV rental and head to the airport for your flight home!
…but one more thing.
Sure, staying in hotels and renting a car is an option, but when your mission is to maximize your vacation time on a road trip, an RV is the way to go. Money aside, checking in and out of multiple hotels is a hassle. It’s so lovely to pull over and stop for a swim in the hot springs… then go back to your camper to change into dry clothes. An RV just gives you the freedom and flexibility you need in a short duration roadtrip.
….actually one last thing.
Curious to hear about my top picks for Aspen in winter? Read here
….Really, this is it.
If you’ve got a favorite restaurant, activity, hotel or campground along the I-70, leave a comment below, I’ll check it out when I return in September!