TASTE2012_008Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching and Colorado and its neighbors are chock full of events, concerts and specials. That extra day affords you a whole 24 hours more of sightseeing, outdoorsing, jamming, tasting, ballooning or just lazing around. Whether you plan to stay in Denver or make the trek somewhere else , we’ve put together a list of possibilities sure to make anyone’s holiday weekend one to remember.

The Staycation
Staying in Denver? Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty to do. Treat yourself to the delectable offerings of over 50 area restaurants at A Taste of Colorado at Civic Center Park, entrance is free and food tickets cost $10 per strip. Chase your food truck goodies with some tasty tunes courtesy of that man in Hammer Pants (can’t touch that) and English-American folk band America. Or you can get real Phishy at Dicks Sporting Goods Park or join country-crooning Aussie Keith Urban at Red Rocks on Friday night.

Breckenridge

Make the quick drive to Breck for the 36th annual Gathering at the Great Divide Arts Festival, the Summit Foundation’s Great Rubber Duck Race, and a wine festival. Get wined and dined in this mountain town while watching rubber ducks dropped from a bridge into the Blue River race to see whose is fastest. I’d suggest hitting up the wine festival pre-duck races…hello giggles.

Colorado Springsdv818011

Colorado Springs is home to the state’s largest hot air balloon festival. Colorado Balloon Classic spectator admission is free, however if you’d like to get higher (in a balloon), you can do so for less than $300. The event is held at memorial park in CO springs.

Pueblo

The Colorado State Fair will be held over Labor Day in Pueblo. Entrance tickets are $8, rodeo is $10 and some events are free. The fair includes concerts, dance, carnival rides, mechanical bull rides as well as that super-healthy carnie food. Have a corn dog for me. But don’t ride the Gravitron after.

Snowmass – Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival

The Jazz Aspen/ Snowmass Labor Day Festival takes place at Baseball Park in Snowmass and is renowned for its stunning views coupled with melodic background music from some very talented musicians. Acts include: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jason Mraz, Keith Urban, Journey and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Camping 

Been jonesing for some quality time in the greatest of outdoors? With an extra 24 hours you can really immerse yourself in nature’s amazing offerings of colorful rocks, steep hills, elusive beasts and fresh air. These camping sites below won’t disappoint with their stunning views, great amenities (think: toilets, not mints on the pillow) and challenging hiking trails. Labor Day weekend is prime camping time for outdoors aficionados and city-slickers alike, so if the campground reserves spots, I’d highly recommend calling ahead.

Close: Longs Peak Campground at Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re not looking to spend half your day driving, but still want a great camping experience, check out Rocky Mountain National Park. With majestic mountain views, 415-square miles of protected land, hikes and wildlife all in great abundance, you’ll be sure to stimulate your senses with Mother Nature’s finest. And if you need some civilization after your wildlife escape, Estes Park is only a few minutes away.

A little further: Saddlehorn Campground, Colorado National Monument
If you’re not looking spend half your day driving, try out the Saddlehorn Campground From your campsite, you’re surrounded by canyons cut deep into swirling sandstone and crimson-colored rocks piled to the heavens. Hike the 6-mile Monument Canyon Trail to see the spectacular signature rock formations in all of their glory. The campground is located four miles from the west entrance of the monument and is the only established campground within the Monument.

159009498The Haul: Cedar Pass Campground, Badlands National Park
Willing to put some miles on the ole Subaru Outback camper-mobile? Then head on over to Badlands, South Dakota for some serious scenery and crazy rock formations. Pitch your tent right at the interior of Badlands National Park at the Cedar Pass Campground. The fee is $10 per night. There are plenty of hikes to choose from; beginners will love the Door Trail which is an easy .75 mile stretch through “The Door”—the famous break in the Badlands Wall. More experienced hikers can try the Notch trail, which winds through a canyon and soars up a ladder to a ledge viewing spot (not recommended for those with a fear of heights).

Regardless of your tentative weekend plans, keep in mind all of the nature, music, food, booze and balloons that Colorado has to offer and use your extra day of freedom to do something really rad.

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