The Centennial State is known for its moderate summer temps, but there are some days where we find ourselves seeking refuge from particularly hot, dry heat and intense UV rays. And although we’re landlocked, there are many ways to beat the heat without planning a seaside vacation. Here, five ways you can stay cool this summer.

Escape the Sun

Where: Rifle Falls State Park
When the sun’s rays get to be too much, you may want to seek some shelter. Within the boundaries of Rifle Falls State Park is an oasis packed with lush vegetation, waterfalls, and caves—yes, caves. Two limestone caverns, located off of Coyote Trail, offer an escape from the heat and a glimpse of Colorado’s complex geological makeup.

Try a Watersport

Where: Blue Mesa Reservoir
What we lack in beaches—unless you count the infamous beach at A-Basin—we make up for in freshwater lakes. Outside of Gunnison, Colorado’s largest body of water offers aquatic enthusiasts windsurfing, boating, waterskiing, and swimming (in designated areas). The Elk Creek and Lake Fork Marinas have hourly, half-day, and full-day rentals for pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards, allowing visitors to fully take advantage of the cool waters of Blue Mesa.

Take an Ice Cream Tour

Ice cream is synonymous with summertime. And on those hotter days, nothing sounds more refreshing or delicious than a triple-scoop cone or cup. Instead of digging into the same carton of mint chocolate chip stashed in your freezer, why not venture out (safely and following local COVID-19 restrictions) for a tour of ice cream across Colorado? Here are some of our favorite spots and flavors:

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Take a Hike (and Jump in an Alpine Lake!)

Where: Loch Lomond
Located in Arapaho National Forest, just down the road from St. Mary’s Glacier trailhead, is a moderate 4.5-mile trail to Loch Lomond—a stunning, glacier-fed lake. While the hike might make you work up a sweat, the icy waters will surely cool you off. Adventurers can also enjoy biking, fishing, and kayaking in and around the pristine waters. (There is no lifeguard, so enter the water at your own risk.)

Photo courtesy of Barrels & Bottles

Grab a Wine Slushy

Where: Barrels and Bottles Brewery, Golden
For a grown-up version of a classic kid’s summertime treat, try a wine slushy from Barrels & Bottles Brewery. The brewery, which recently opened a second location off of South Golden Road, has served its wine slushies to Golden residents for seven years. This frozen beverage—strictly for those 21 years or older—comes in red, white, and swirl.

Make Your Own at Home

If you can’t make it out to Golden anytime soon, Barrels and Bottles’ owners Abbey and Zach George created a refreshing wine and margarita drink that rivals the wine slushy.
Makes one WineRita

2 to 3 ounces blanco tequlia
2 to 3 ounces Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup (1 cup sugar melted in 1 cup water)
Lime and coarse salt, for glass rim (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, wine, lime juice, and simple syrup. Cover and shake. Rim a glass with lime juice and dip into salt. Strain the WineRita into the glass and enjoy!

Victoria Carodine
Victoria Carodine
Victoria Carodine is a Denver-based writer and a former editor on 5280's digital team.