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Growing up in North Carolina, my summers were spent by the sea. Almost every weekend, we loaded up the car with beach chairs and headed east. Days were spent searching for shells, building sand castles, chasing fiddler crabs, and body surfing until the sun set in a fiery blaze over the Atlantic.
Moving west was a big adjustment in the recreation department. Here, it’s all about winter fun (which ski pass to invest in is a major life decision). Like many transplants, I’ve fallen in love with Colorado’s mighty mountains and active lifestyle, but one thing I do miss—almost daily—is the ocean.
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So what’s an East Coast girl to do for a water fix? We’re landlocked, but, luckily, Colorado still has some water-y getaways. Here, five of our favorite spots to be in and on the water.
1. Blue Mesa Reservoir: Located in Western Colorado between Gunnison and Montrose, Blue Mesa is the largest body of water in Colorado. The 20-mile-long reservoir offers 96 miles of shoreline for your boating pleasure and a few lounge-worthy beaches (check out Dry Creek, Old Highway 50 beach and Bay of Chickens).
2. Lake Dillon: You’ve seen its clear-blue waters en route to Summit County’s ski resorts. During the summer, Lake Dillon (pictured) is—of all things—a sailing Mecca. And though motorboats are permitted on the lake, we like this spot for kayaking, canoeing, and paddle-boating, since it’s on the smaller side.
3. Boulder Creek: No vessel needed here—it’s all about wading, tubing, and fly-fishing. Plus, it’s Boulder, so the people-watching is top-notch.
4. Sloan’s Lake Park: Sloan’s Lake is great for water skiing, and we love the fact that we can simultaneously enjoy the water and the downtown Denver skyline. Don’t miss the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, a celebration of Asian culture, here on July 28 and 29.
5. John Martin Reservoir State Park: It’s a bit of a drive from Denver to the southeastern town of Hasty (about three and a half hours), but if you’re looking for seclusion, this is a good choice. You might spot a bald eagle from your jet ski.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.