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Taking The Road Less Traveled


Having a difficult time deciding where to go this summer and don’t want to deal with crowds of tube sock-wearing tourists? Stick with us, my friend. From lesser-known attractions to off-the-wall destinations, there are plenty of places to explore. Here, a few must-see regional locations that will keep you entertained without the aggravation of rubbing shoulders with the masses.

Zip lining with Soaring Tree Tops
Durango, soaringcolorado.com, 970.769.2357
If you want to feel like Tarzan and swing from branch to branch (without the branches), these zip lines are fun and safe “air travel.”

Orient Mine Bat Viewing
Near Villa Grove, olt.org, 719.256.4315
Sometimes we crave something a little, um, batty. Hike to this abandoned mine and see nearly 250,000 Mexican freetailed bats emerge from mid-June to mid-September.

Sweetwater County
Green River, Wyo., co.sweet.wy.us, 307.872.3732
You’ll never run out of things to do in Sweetwater County. Hiking, horseback riding and an off-highway vehicle play area are open on the Killpecker Sand Dunes. If that isn’t your thing, you can also tube at Green River or fish at Flaming Gorge.

Kayak lessons with Renaissance Adventure Guides
Golden and other locations, raguides.com, 303.988.2943
Find a new way to get wet this summer and try kayak lessons. For the beginner, start off with lessons in a local lake and then try handling the whitewaters of the Colorado River.

Old Homestead Museum
Cripple Creek, visitcripplecreek.com, 877.858.4653
The only brothel museum in the United States and it’s apparently kid friendly (though, you’ll likely need to have the “Daddy, what’s a brothel?” conversation). Intriguing and unusual, this nicely restored house gives you a peep at the sexier history of Cripple Creek.

Cano’s Castle
Corner of 10th and State streets, Antonito
Once upon a time, a castle was made out of old beer cans and other miscellaneous metals. It was the home to the metal king. It’s an odd little attraction in southern Colorado but it’s kind of miraculous. Similar sites include Bishop’s Castle in Beulah and Wonder Tower in Genoa.

Wyoming Territorial Prison
Laramie, Wyo., wyomingterritorialpark.com, 307.745.6161
See where the famous Butch Cassidy was jailed for 18 months in the prime of his outlaw career. And if you’re really not into the “wild West” thing, you can enjoy a play at the Wyoming Territorial Prison Horse Barn Theatre.

Southwestern Colorado Unique Lodging
Cortez, Dolores, Durango, Hesperus, Mancos and Vallecito Lake, swcoloradouniquelodging.com, durango.org, mancoscolorado.com
As the economy betters, the staycation is still a practical option for cash-strapped Coloradans. And southwestern Colorado has everything from mountain biking to historic landmarks to the unforgettable Mesa Verde.

Dude Ranch
Regional, duderanch.org, 307.587.2339
The Dude Ranchers Association can recommend 54 ranches in the region. Whether you want traditional working-style ranch where you can learn to herd and rope cattle or a resort-style with spas and some downtime, they’ll have you reaching for your chaps in no time.

Kanarra Creek
Southern Utah, zionnationalpark.com
Since Kanarra Creek is technically outside of Zion National Park, a park permit isn’t required and the crowds are generally minimal, making this spot perfectly secluded and peaceful for those moments when you need to get away from civilization.

Lyons Outdoor Market
446 Main St. Lyons, lyonsoutdoormarket.com, 303.444.8078
The outdoor market features a variety of artists, gourmet food and unique retailers every Saturday through Oct. 10.

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