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Thinking about taking a vacation day? Good for you! Not only does science tell us that vacations are good for our mental and physical health, but as Coloradans, we’re lucky to have some of the best vacation spots in the country—nay, world—right in our backyards. Really, there’s no reason not to take a day off.
Apparently, Coloradans agree. According to Project: Time Off, an initiative created by the U.S. Travel Association, workers across our fair state took the most time off than any other state in the U.S., with an average of 20.3 days, compared to the national average of 17.2 days in 2017. Out of the 20.3 days, 11.7 of them were spent traveling, which leaves about eight-and-a-half days to explore the mountains closer to home.
“Our own research shows that Coloradans take 2.4 vacations a year on average, with 1.3 of those overnight experiences taking place right here in Colorado,” said Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office, in a press release.
Project: Time Off launched in 2014 to prove the benefit and necessity of taking time off from the workplace. The initiative works to promote wellness and research how much vacation time goes unused each year. The initiative found that in the last 40 years, unused vacation days among American is decreasing. This trend, however, seems to have no effect in Colorado.
“Coloradans prioritize vacation as a benefit, earn more time off, and have a generally supportive work culture. Combine all this with the great parks and outdoor activities in your backyard and it’s no surprise that Colorado takes the vacation crown.” says Cait DeBraun, director of communications for Project: Time Off.
Still have some unused vacation days? Make use of them before the summer melts away. Here are some last-minute travel options to check out across Colorado.
Make the most of your time off by visiting the Four Corners. Home to Mesa Verde National Park and Canyons of Ancients National Monument, a trip to the Four Corners makes it easy to see Colorado’s unique southeastern terrain, with Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico just a stop away.
Distance from Denver: 420 miles one-way
Sitting 9,000 feet in the southern San Juan Mountains, Silverton offers day hikes for both families and those looking to break a sweat. Sections of the Colorado Trail near Molas Pass are known to attract mountain bikers, while the Alpine Loop is ideal for some four-wheeling adventures. But the best part might be the drive. The famous Million Dollar Highway features sharp turns and gut-wrenching drop-offs—plus picturesque scenery that will have you falling in love with the Centennial State all over again.
Distance from Denver: 323 miles one-way
Every summer, thousands of wildflowers pop up all around Colorado. From Aspen to Estes Park, the flowers create a spectacle that must be seen in person. Dillon’s Herman Gulch Trail—part of the Continental Divide Trail— is a 6.6 mile route that features blooming fields and an alpine lake. We recommend spending a full day exploring the trail and reenergizing in nearby Idaho Springs.
Distance from Denver: 54 miles one-way
On your next weekend getaway, allot enough time to visit Gunnison. The small mountain town features boutique shops along Gunnison’s Main Street and local beer at High Alpine Brewing with the Blue Mesa Reservoir—Colorado’s largest body of water—only 15 miles away. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is only 60 miles west of town and home to one of the steepest (2,700 feet) canyons in the country.
Distance from Denver: 194 miles one-way