The season of summer vacations is about to begin. If you happen to find yourself in or near Colorado, you’ll be in luck because it has some of the best places to visit in an RV during summer. Whether you fancy iconic mountains, national forests, or quaint alpine towns, summer driving in Colorado has a bit of it all.
Summer vacation spots in Colorado are best accessed via RV because you can get close to nature while still finding cheap vacation spots. Not only that, but you can also engage in some cheap family vacation ideas when you’re able to make camp wherever you park your rig.
What follows are a few of our favorite places to visit in an RV in Colorado during the summer. We’ll also share a few cheap family vacation ideas that’ll keep your whole crew affordably entertained in Colorado.
RV travel in Colorado during summer
Colorado sometimes has a reputation for being a somewhat expensive place to take a vacation. By traveling in an RV, you’ll be able to get into the cheap vacation spots that are just as wonderful as an expensive cabin or a resort-style hotel. Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy cheap vacation ideas like s’more building, fire crafting, and outdoor dinners with the family.
If you don’t have an RV right now, renting one is a cheap vacation idea that’ll deeply connect you with Colorado’s nature. Outdoorsy owners have affordable RV rentals in places like Denver, Grand Junction, and Boulder. Our owners are passionate about RVing and would love to help you navigate RV travel in Colorado during the summer.
The best places to visit in an RV in Colorado during the summer
Cheap vacation spots in Colorado are yours for the taking when traveling in an RV. Like many other southwestern states, Colorado has loads of land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service. Many of these lands allow for cheap or free RV camping, meaning they can be your base for cheap vacation ideas like family picnics, hikes, and fly-fishing.
The San Isabel National Forest — The Forest Service manages over 3 million acres of the Rocky Mountain Region, and San Isabel has the majority of Colorado’s 14ers (what locals call peaks over 14,000 feet high). You can start your visit with a summer drive in your RV along one of Colorado’s scenic passes. After that, you can find cheap or free camping at one of the three RV campgrounds located within the forest. Once you’re parked, indulge in more nature-inspired cheap family vacation activities, like fishing, geocaching, and — for the more adventurous families — mountain climbing.
Bear Lake Campground — Located in the south-central region of Colorado and managed by the Forest Service, this rustic camping spot has access to amazing hiking, fishing, and views. The Spanish Peaks Wilderness is miles from the campground, and the Forest Service has even provided a list of cheap vacation ideas near Bear Lake. At $23 per night, this is one cheap vacation spot in Colorado that will give you far more than you pay for.
Pagosa Springs — Nestled in the San Juan National Forest, Pagosa Springs is a vibrant little mountain town that also offers cheap vacation ideas. For example, you could take a scenic summer drive in your RV by going up and over the continental divide along Wolf Creek Pass, or you could spend a day in town walking along the river, soaking in the hot springs, or checking out one of Pagosa’s four waterfalls.
From Pagosa, head west on Highway 160 toward Durango. Along the way, you can check out spots like Chimney Rock – an archeological site dating back to 1084 AD. You can also discover the indigenous communities that built Southern Colorado at the Southern Ute Museum in Ignacio.
The route along Highway 160 also gives you the chance to swing into Bayfield Riverside RV Park if you’d like to take a camping break from public lands to refresh your RV tanks (and yourselves) with full hookups. Bayfield even offers glamping options (e.g. luxury tents) so you and the family can try a new experience.
Continuing to follow Highway 160 West will lead you into Durango where you’ll want to take Highway 550 North. Known as ‘The Million Dollar Highway’, this route takes you through the San Juan Mountains into the rad little town of Silverton. From there, the 550 continues its journey through the peaks in spectacular fashion, ultimately culminating at one of the coolest towns we’ve ever seen, Ouray, CO.
Ouray — Known as the Switzerland of America, Ouray is known for off-roading, hiking, and sightseeing. Cheap family vacation ideas in the area include things like visiting the Bear Creek National Recreation Trail or taking a family walk along Ouray’s historic main street. For a unique and affordable vacation activity, be sure to check out Ouray’s Alchemist museum to learn how a pharmacy worked in the wild west. You’ll discover how snake-oil salesmen sold their quasi-medicine and see how drug stores looked on the frontier.
Colorado is packed with great places to go in an RV during the summer. In fact, with so much natural beauty, it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose between the many places to go. The above will help you narrow your search with some off-the-beaten-path places to see in Colorado in your RV during the summer.