People hailing from every region of the country swear their sunny seasons reign supreme. Coloradans, however, have a persuasive argument. Warm days, cool nights. Bluebird skies. Fresh mountain breezes. Altitude-enhanced sunshine. Zero humidity. And not a bug in sight.

And after six months of snow and cold, the warm days of summer in the Centennial State feel like a much-deserved reprieve. It’s that contrast, maybe, that makes summer feel so magical here. Set against a backdrop of still-snow-capped peaks, the 85-degree days of June, July, and August play host to a season full of outdoor activities: dayhiking, backcountry camping, kayaking, white-water rafting, fly-fishing, and festival-going. But Colorado’s summer is so much more than just a calendar of events, a to-do list of activities. It’s a feeling, an atmosphere, a creature with a personality all its own.

Here, our editors and writers share their very favorite rituals, trips, recipes, destinations, and tips to make the most of the sweet days of summer.