“Hitting the sweet spot” is all-too-familiar expression coveted by aspiring golfers. That same nuance is equally treasured when discovering a scrapbook-savory vacation destination — and for many, the sweetest spot around is Grand County, Colorado.
Bejeweled by historic towns like Fraser, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling and Winter Park, this high-country respite — located about two hours northwest of Denver — is loaded with authentic Americana heritage, sun-splashed adventure and hot weather-defeating heights that exceed 8,000 feet.
That translates to a cool, weekend or weeklong vacation that offers a litany of premium options. Here are five to help maximize your Grand County experience:
- Great golf is a recreational mainstay. The four go-to routings include 27-hole Pole Creek Golf Club in Tabernash (crafted by Denis Griffiths), and Grand Elk Golf Club (Craig Stadler/Tripp Davis), Grand Lake Golf Course (Dick Phelps) and Granby Ranch (Nicklaus Design) in Granby.
BONUS: All four Grand County courses are Golf Passport courses.
- Spectacular Rocky Mountain National Park and the headwaters of the Colorado River define the region’s panoramic landscapes, offering up white water rafting, hiking, single-track biking and supernatural encounters with elk, deer, moose, bighorn sheep and bear. Grand Lake is the state’s largest natural lake and the place for canoeing, water skiing, angling and beachfront relaxation. Winter Park Resort’s summer spice includes a mountain bike park, disc golf, alpine slide, restaurants, horseback riding, live entertainment and slope-side lodging.
- For memorable vacation extras, check these out: Drive majestic Trail Ridge Road, the highest (12,183 feet) continuously paved road in the U.S.; soak in the seven naturally heated, mineral-rich pools of Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa; tour the newly opened Emily Warner Field Aviation Museum with exhibits featuring Charles Lindbergh, Ike Eisenhower and WWII B-29 artist Chuck Orlusky; or ride high in the saddle at Latigo Dude Ranch’s family oriented facilities near Kremmling.
- Remarkable overnights range from rustic to luxurious: Historic Grand Lake Lodge’s many perks include casual dining and unforgettable lake views. Since 1938, 6,000-acre Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash has been spoiling guests with cozy accommodations, delectable fare and premier amenities. And just west of Hot Sulphur Springs is the highly rated Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch and its resplendent, all-inclusive facilities.
- Complement your trip with a Grand County event or celebration: The Middle Park Fair & Rodeo celebrates its centennial in Kremmling Aug. 6-10; the free Winter Park SolShine Music Festival is Aug. 12-13; enjoy free live music during Freeride Fridays in Winter Park through Aug. 26; the Winter Park Music Festival is Aug. 27; and the spine-tingling Alpenglow Zip Tour at Devil’s Thumb Ranch is Sept. 27.
For more about Grand County, go online to visitgrandcounty.com.
Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer.
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