Colorado, USA | rocky mountain region
Colorado, USA – home of the Rocky Mountains, aspen trees, beautiful red rocks, and some of the friendliest people in America. It is where I call home, the place my heart always wants to return. With so many new folks moving to Colorado, I am proud to call myself a Colorado native.
This mountainous region starts at a 3,315 feet above sea level, capping out at 14,440 feet with Mount Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado. Preparing for your first visit to this beautiful part of the nation is essential – to make sure you have the best Colorado vacation possible, here is a quick guide on How to Act Like a Local!
1. Stay hydrated!
The first thing anyone in Colorado will say to you is, “Welcome to Colorado! Make sure to drink lots of water.” We know how much the steep gains in altitude can effect those from out of town. Listen to the advice – drink tons of water, even before you are thirsty.
Colorado natives will still get dehydrated when they visit the higher mountain towns like Aspen or Vail. Save yourself the headache (literally) and stay hydrated.
There is a chance you could fall prey to Altitude Sickness. Don’t panic, this is treatable. Good cures include drinking more water *duh* and eating potassium.
Avocados and bananas are our go to high-in-potassium snacks that will help you to start feeling normal again.
Not sure what Altitude Sickness is? WebMD’s description of Altitude Sickness symptoms includes: headaches, loss of appetite, feeling sick to your stomach, feeling weak and tired, feeling dizzy and trouble sleeping. It frequently occurs in people who have traveled from a low elevation to a high elevation very rapidly. Stay hydrated, rest when you need to, and eat some potassium.
2. Smile! Look people in the eyes. Say hello!
Coloradans pride themselves on being friendly, down-to-earth people. Please say hello, find out how someone’s day is going, and ask for their favorite local place to eat – there are a million and I am only one wee blogger, ask a local.
Don’t be frightened if we look you in the eyes and smile – it isn’t a ploy, we genuinely like other humans! Ha!
3. Be a polite driver and remember to stop for the scenery.
All too often we see out-of-towners zipping by on the highway without stopping for a photo. Colorado has extraordinary scenery – the Rocky Mountains are indescribable. Take the time to stop. See the aspen trees turning golden yellow in the fall, or smell the crisp breeze blowing through the piney forest. You came all this way, stop and enjoy it.
Please, please, PLEASE be careful driving in the snow. It is very scary and difficult, please do not underestimate mother nature. Four wheel drive means nothing when you’re coming around a corner too fast and there is a shady spot with black ice waiting for you. Always have bottled water & food in the car in case you get stuck somewhere in your car during winter months.
Watch the other cars around you – are they slowing down? You should be too. Your native friends are here to help guide you, pay attention to how we are driving. There’s a good chance we know exactly where the cops are hiding waiting to bust someone for speeding.
4. Eat local. We LOVE local food!
Colorado is known for our juicy peaches, Olathe (O-lay-thuh) sweet corn, and amazing farm-to-table restaurants. Fresh, locally grown produce and fruit is abundant in Colorado – be sure to check out a farmer’s market and local restaurants.
It is my not-so-humble opinion that if you go somewhere and only eat at chain restaurants you are failing at travel. Explore! Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. That’s why you came here in the first place. You’re in good hands with Colorado, give it a go.
5. Be friendly to nature, practice wildlife preparedness.
Colorado is home to a plethora of wildlife, everything from deer to black bears, marmots, and rattle snakes. We love our wildlife and want them to stay happy and healthy.
Know the area before you go. Are there going to be rattle snakes on your hike? Do you know what to do if you are bitten? Does your campground of choice have lots of black bear activity? Take the time to find out what wildlife you may be encountering so you aren’t in an accident and keep food in your car overnight to avoid hungry critters coming to your camp.
Early mornings and twilight just before dusk are the best times to spot wildlife in Colorado. Especially deer and elk! When you’re out in nature, please pick up after yourself – pack it in, pack it out is our motto.
6. Be ready for weather mood swings.
Wear layers. It will be cool in the mornings, hot in the afternoon, and cool again in the evenings with a possible chance of rain showers during summer afternoons. Colorado has 300 days of sunshine a year, so remember to bring a hat, sunscreen, and your sunglasses!
Native Coloradans love to be outdoors, enjoying our mountain views. Because of this our general fashion sense is very laid-back and casual. Sure, if you’re going to the opera downtown you’ll want to wear your black-tie outfits; but as a whole Colorado is fairly relaxed when it comes to fashion.
7. Go Stargazing. Really.
Wide open spaces and crisp mountain air create the perfect stargazing conditions. Take a break from city life and venture into the countryside at night, you will be blown away.
You will need to drive at least 1.5 hours away from the large cities to truly see the Colorado stars. Take a blanket, someone you like to talk to, and enjoy.
8. Go see live music and DANCE!
Colorado is bursting with amazing live music right now. Festivals, local bands, giant tours with big names….we have it all. Whatever genre gets your toes tappin’ and your booty swaying, we have it. Check out some of our incredible local venues while you’re in the state.
If you know for sure you want to see music while you’re here, get your tickets early. Because we love to support live music, tickets do sell out fairly fast.
9. Have fun!
More than anything, what draws people to Colorado is our love of life. We like to spend our days happy, smiling, and adventuring. Take advantage of the beautiful surroundings, great live music, delicious local cuisine, and friendly people to have a fantastic vacation. Welcome to Colorado!