Published: March 21, 2019

Whether you're looking for adventure, or places to kick back and relax, here are some getaway tips for your spring break, without leaving the state.

The great outdoors

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve | CC photo by NPS/Patrick Myers

Rocky Mountain National Park

Located just outside beautiful Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most breathtaking locations in Colorado. At more than 400 square miles, the park offers a bounty of outdoor recreation opportunities. There are over 300 miles of hiking trails, as well as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing opportunities.

If you do intend to try your hand at snowshoeing or other winter sports, remember the park does not rent gear; this must be obtained beforehand either in the town of Estes Park or back in Boulder. (Don't forget: You can rent gear from the Rec Center.) 

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

The tallest sand dunes in North America are one of the more unique experiences Colorado has to offer. Located southwest of Pueblo, the great sand dunes are literally a huge collection of sand dunes that facilitate many different outdoor options. Things to do range from hiking and backpacking to sandboarding and even horseback riding.

Do be aware that spring in Colorado can create unpredictable and potentially tumultuous weather conditions, so some facilities are currently closed. This is also more likely to be a multi-day visit, so plan your stay and resources accordingly. Campsites and other lodging information can be found here.

Garden of the Gods

Located on the west side of Colorado Springs and at the foot of the snow-capped Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods is a dramatic representation of Colorado’s diverse beauty. If you simply want to explore nature without the hassle of major physical exertion, Garden of the Gods is your go-to nature experience, where 300-foot sandstone rock formations accompany the dramatic backdrop of Colorado’s Front Range.

If the weather holds out, this day trip can be one of your most memorable spring break excursions.

Museums, galleries and tours

Visitors look at planes at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

While museums may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they do offer a rich experience for many. The Air and Space Museum has an extensive collection of both aircraft and military exhibits that educate and inspire people of all ages to discover the wonders of past and present aviation endeavors.

Campus museums and galleries 

Maybe you've always wanted to check out the campus museums, galleries and other attractions but haven't gotten around to it. Now's your chance!

  • The CU Art Museum, centrally located in the state-of-the-art Visual Arts Complex, organizes year-round exhibitions of major international, national and regional art in addition to showing contemporary exhibits by CU Boulder graduate students.
  • CU Heritage Center, home to the Hit the Bricks exhibit (a Lego model of campus) among others, is the campus history museum. The collection includes CU in space, Ralphie and Glenn Miller memorabilia, and more.
  • CU Museum of Natural History, just steps from the UMC, houses the largest natural history collection in the Rocky Mountains. The collections include ancient dinosaur fossils, the world's oldest documented Navajo textile, the Aiken bird collection and Colorado's largest collection of bees.

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

Check out the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and find your inner creativity by exploring significant art of our time. There are several unique exhibits on display, such as Grasslands, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The Migrant Series.

Celestial Seasonings factory tour

Celestial Seasonings, one of Boulder’s most renowned businesses, offers free factory tours. If you are looking for something to occupy your time in Boulder but don’t want to overspend or don’t have the resources to travel too far, this is a great opportunity to spend your time exploring the business and products of one of Colorado’s most successful startups.

Tours last 45 minutes and take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. 

Walking tour of Denver

You may not realize it, but Denver has a very storied and interesting past. From underground tunnels to a haunted Capitol Hill, this two-hour tour will detail all of Denver’s history in an accessible and enjoyable format. Multiple types of tours can be arranged; simply organize and reserve your spot through Denver History Tour’s website.

Be aware that Denver, like any city, has a rich cultural history. As such, some tours highlight the darker side of Denver, possibly not appropriate if you are taking young children. The website’s descriptions offer insight into the content of the tours, so be sure to read up before you book.

Other things to do

Woman peruses books at a library

Stock photo

Colorado Skies: The Spring Equinox

In this seasonal talk series, Fiske Planetarium explore the stars, planets, constellations and deep-sky objects using their analog star projector, which produces a stunning night sky with 10 million stars. On March 23, leave with the tools to go outside, look up and enjoy our amazing Colorado skies.

The Connection

The Connection has special hours over spring break. Stop by for bowling, billiards and more!

The Rec

The Rec's got you covered with plenty of free fitness classes and free activities from Saturday, March 23, to Sunday, March 31.

CU women’s lacrosse team

Show your Buff pride and head on over to Kittredge Field for two home games.

Eat local

Hungry? Go check out some favorites on The Hill, and take advantage of the short lines and waits with fewer students around.