U niversity of Colorado students have less than a week of classes standing between books and break.

However, with the surge of midterms and papers in early March, planning an escape from campus hasn't been students' first priority. However, if recent weeks have been spent worried about where to study, rather than where to vacation, there are still options for great getaways from the daily grind.

Stuck in Boulder working during spring break? Fret not, there are still local adventures around Colorado for a nice day away. The state's different cities and towns offer plenty of activities to distract from life's responsibilities, if only for a day.

Estes Park

Sophomore Heidi Wicklund said she didn't feel the need to plan a big trip to Cancun or Hawaii for her freshman spring break last year. Instead of spending money on plane tickets, she drove up to Estes Park for a few days to explore the town.

"I didn't want to go anywhere, but I wanted to get out of town," she said.

Wicklund said that Groupon has deals on horseback riding, which she indulged in last year. She said she also enjoyed walking through the town's quaint Main Street during her visit.

Other spots to check out: The Stanley Hotel, made famous by Stephen King's "The Shining," still has many of its original buildings available to explore on the 55-acre grounds.


Estes Park also is the main entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.


The first city you'll hit after leaving Boulder on Highway 93 is Golden, Colorado's original capital.

Climbing enthusiasts can find Golden Gate Canyon Park off the highway, just north of the city. The park includes granite rocks from 50 to 450-feet high and they vary from traditional to sport climbs.

Within the city, Coors Brewery offers free self-guided tours daily. At the end of the tour, guests can sample three -- yes, three -- tall glasses of the beer of choice.

Walk off the beer buzz on Tenth Street, Golden's main street downtown. After browsing shops, cross the Tenth Street bridge over Clear Creek and visit Lions Park. If you want more visions of grandeur, take a short drive down Sixth Avenue and Heritage Road to visit Red Rocks Ampitheatre.

If the view of Denver isn't inspiring for you, maybe the red monoliths will be.


Denver is a great place to get a culture fix.

Denver is full of museums -- including the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Nature and Science -- and for the most part, whatever the cultural interest, Denver's art scene can help fill the void.

If you prefer sports to culture, Denver is also the hub of Colorado professional sports teams. Catch a game at the Pepsi Center, where both weekends of spring break it will host the Nuggets, Avalanche and even Colorado's lacrosse team, the Mammoth. Broncos fans can tour Sports Authority Field Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the hour.

Or try blowing off some school stress at Laser Quest, where CU freshman Haleema Mian said she and her family turn the sport into friendly competition.

Fort Collins

Yes, Fort Collins is home to CU's rivals, the Colorado State Rams, but that doesn't mean the town itself is bad.

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space has hiking and biking trails for nature enthusiasts. Horsetooth Reservoir is surrounded by cliffs and rolling hills and is a great destination this time of year for daredevils brave enough to jump in the chilly water.

There are many breweries throughout Fort Collins to tour and relax at after a day outdoors. The Foam on the Range Tour includes award-winning breweries Budweiser, Fort Collins Brewery, Odell's, New Belgium, Patero's Creek, Equinox and CooperSmith's Pub and Brewing.

For minors, Old Town Fort Collins has restaurants perfect for people watching. CU freshman and Fort Collins native Alexis Aaeng recommended local coffee shops like The Bean Cycle and Starry Night Espresso Cafe in Old Town for its atmosphere.

"I prefer hanging out in Old Town over Pearl Street," Aaeng said. She also said that the Lyric Cinema Cafe, an art house theater, is another good place to visit in Old Town.

Colorado road trips

Every corner of Colorado is different. Take extra time over break to explore the state.

Go through south central Colorado and visit Colorado Springs' Garden of the Gods, Mt. Princeton and its hot springs, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Drive through the Rocky Mountains to Grand Junction and the western slope and check out the Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa and Glenwood Springs -- along with the many ski towns along 1-70.

Black Hawk and Central City are known as Colorado's mini-Vegas -- take a pit stop for some gambling on the way back to Boulder.