Photo of two friends looking at a road map while parked in a car at sunset.

Need something to do over the summer? Here are a few unique things to check out in Colorado.

Catch a drive-in movie

Most of Colorado’s drive-in movie theaters are open seasonally, which means summer is a great time to catch a flick on the big screen.

If it’s your first time attending a drive-in movie, be sure to follow instructions from attendants. Vehicles are typically organized based on size, so smaller cars are closest to the screen and larger trucks and SUVs are farther back. You will need to tune your radio to a specific station to listen to the sound. If you have any questions about what to expect, call the theater before your visit!

Holiday Twin

 Fort Collins, CO

  • Movies: Adult and kids, two movies per ticket
  • Concessions: Burgers, hot dogs, nachos, snacks, sides, popcorn
  • Tickets: $9/adult

88 Drive-In Theatre

 Commerce City, CO

  • Movies: Adult and kids, one movie per ticket
  • Concessions: Burgers, pizza, sides, snacks, desserts, soft drinks, popcorn
  • Tickets: $10/adult

Mesa Drive-In

 Pueblo, CO

  • Movies: Adult only, two movies per ticket
  • Concessions: Burgers, sides, soft drinks, hot dogs, desserts, popcorn
  • Tickets: $11/adult

Visit a national park

Colorado is home to four national parks. Only a handful of other states have more national parks than Colorado, including Alaska, California and Utah.

If you don’t have an annual parks pass, you can check one out using your local library card or pay for daily admission. Be sure to check out park sites in advance, as some may still require reservations. You can also visit Outdoor Pursuits at the Rec Center for maps, trip planning, tips and equipment rentals. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

 Estes, CO

Rocky Mountain National Park is the fourth most-visited park in the U.S.

It offers a variety of hiking, biking, camping and other recreational opportunities.

The park is best known for its stunning alpine lakes, waterfalls, mountainous terrain and unbeatable views.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

 Mosca, CO

The Great Sand Dunes is one of the most geologically unique parks in Colorado.

It offers a variety of hiking, camping, horseback riding and other recreational activities.

The park is best known for its large sand dunes, remote location, seasonal river flow and beautiful mountain backdrop.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

 Montrose, CO

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of Colorado.

While the park has more limited options, visitors can still enjoy scenic drives, short hikes, fishing and kayaking (with permits) and more.

The park is best known for its steep canyon walls and striking rock features.

Mesa Verde National Park

 Cortez, CO

With over 4,000 archaeological sites, Mesa Verde will teleport you back to Ancestral Puebloan life.

It offers self-guided driving tours, interactive displays and dig sites, as well as camping and hiking trails.

The park is best known for its ancient cliff dwellings and archeological wonders.

Attend seasonal festivals

Whether you enjoy food, music, parades or live entertainment, there’s bound to be an annual festival for you in Colorado this summer. Here are just a few fan favorites you should check out.

Shakespeare Festival

 Boulder, CO
 June 5-August 7

Since 1958, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival has taken center stage for multiple performances of some of Shakespeare’s best plays. It’s held on varying days on the CU Boulder campus. Ticket information is available online.

Colorado Renaissance Festival

 Larkspur, CO
 June 18-August 7

The Renaissance Festival is held over eight weekends throughout the summer in Larkspur (between Denver and Colorado Springs). Take a trip back to medieval times with elaborate costumes, artisan crafts, food and more. Ticket information is available online.

Greeley Stampede

 Greeley, CO
 June 24-July 4

The Greeley Stampede is an annual summer event that boasts concerts, rodeos, demolition derbies, carnivals, fireworks and much more. Event parking and ticket information is available online. 

Denver PrideFest

 Denver, CO
 June 25-26

PrideFest is a free two-day festival that celebrates LGBTQ+ communities across Colorado. The celebration includes a 5K, pride parade, food and beverage vendors, local businesses and fun activities for all.

Stop by a roadside attraction

While Colorado may not be known for having the largest potato or ball of yarn, there are plenty of fun roadside attractions to visit this summer. Plan some time to visit these weird and wonderful creations or make them a pitstop on your next road trip.

Bishop Castle

 Rye, CO

Located south of Pueblo, Bishop Castle is an impressive structure that took almost 60 years to complete. The design includes bridges, towers and a fire-breathing dragon to boot.

Swetsville Zoo

 Fort Collins, CO

If you’re a fan of folk art, Swetsville Zoo is a must-stop roadside attraction. This art exhibit features nearly 180 metal sculptures made from scraps, car parts and machinery and is open all year round.

Tiny Town

 Morrison, CO

This quirky attraction showcases over 100 buildings that make up Tiny Town. It’s a great detour for anyone heading to or from the mountains and has been open to the public since 1920.

Seasonal reminders

Keep in mind that Colorado summers can be hot, dry and unpredictable. Help keep yourself and our communities safe by following these general guidelines.

Fire dangers

Wildfires have become common in Colorado, and the summer season is especially high risk. You can help protect natural lands, neighborhoods and more by following a few simple tips.


High elevation and dry weather can lead to dehydration, especially in the mountains. Follow these tips to stay safe and hydrated this summer.

  • Drink 32 ounces of water every 2 hours.
  • Opt to exercise or recreate in shady areas or go earlier in the day to avoid high sun.
  • Only drink potable water (bring your own or use a filtering system).
  • Ensure you have enough water for you and any pets.

Sun protection

300 days of sunshine combined with high altitude makes Colorado a great spot to catch a sunburn. Minimize your risks with these tips.

  • Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside (available at the Apothecary Pharmacy).
  • Reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours.
  • Wear protective clothing (sunglasses, hat, long-sleeved shirts) while outdoors.

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace principles help minimize our impact on the outdoors. Here are some ways you can help protect our parks and wildlife this summer.

  • Read posted signs and follow all current regulations and restrictions.
  • Stay off of trails that are closed or under construction.
  • Pick up trash you see and avoid leaving litter behind (including dog waste bags).
  • Keep dogs on-leash.