Nestled in the Southern Rocky Mountains at the Four Corners of Wild West, Colorado is the nation’s eighth largest state and arguable the most magical place in the United States. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, adrenaline junkie, history nerd, urban dweller, mountain climber, sports lover, marijuana consumer, or ski bum, it is guaranteed that Colorado has something great to offer you. If you are not already convinced, read on to learn our top 8 reasons why Colorado rocks and why we believe it is the best state in America.
1. Endless Thrilling Outdoor Activities
As home to 4 large national parks, 42 state parks, 15 national forests, 11 national monuments, and around 8,000 miles of rivers, it’s hard to not be outdoorsy in Colorado. In fact, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country for outdoorsmen seeking endless recreational activities while surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Coloradans and visitors alike can enjoy mountain climbing, biking, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, white water rafting, fishing, or just kicking back in one of the many natural hot springs.
2. Country’s Highest Average Elevation
Colorado is largely dominated by majestic mountains that provide it with the highest average elevation of any state in the United States. Featuring seven different mountain ranges, Colorado has an average altitude of 6,800 feet above sea level and a highest point on Mount Elbert at 14,433 feet. With 56 mountains rising above 14,000 feet in its borders, it is no surprise that Colorado is home to the nation’s highest tunnel, highest continuous road, and highest pizza parlor. At an elevation of 5,280 feet, Denver has rightly earned the nickname of “Mile High City” and named one of the America’s highest major cities.
3. Epic Natural Wonders
While we may talk about mountains the most, Colorado is actually home to diverse natural landscapes from beautiful rolling plains in the east to vast deserts in the southwest. In the southern part of the state, the Great Sand Dunes National Park features the largest sand dunes on the entire continent. Another must-see is the Garden of the Gods, a national natural landmark where visitors can spend heavenly time viewing awe-inspiring rock formations. Pikes Peak is also famous for inspiring “America the Beautiful” with its tremendous natural beauty.
4. Sun! Sun! Sun!
Each year, Colorado has an average of 300 days of sunshine. Colorado’s beautiful sunny weather adds beauty to every season by making the wildflowers bloom in spring, the leaves turn breathtaking shades in autumn, and the fresh snow sparkle in winter. In comparison, Florida reports a highest average of just 266 days of sunshine, so which is the real Sunshine State? In our opinion, more days of sunshine beats hurricane season and drenching humidity every time.
5. Legal Medical and Recreational Marijuana
In a ground-breaking move in 2012, Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize both the medical and recreational use of marijuana. Now, there is a good reason “Rocky Mountain High” is among official state songs for Colorado. With nearly as many pot stores as public schools, it is perfectly legal for Coloradans and visitors over the age of 21 years old to purchase marijuana without fear of criminal offense. Even more importantly, Colorado was recognized by High Times magazine for having the best medical pot in America.
6. Beer Lover’s Paradise
In the “Centennial State,” we sure know our beer. In addition to being home to Coors, Colorado served as the location of more than 200 beer breweries, including 130 microbreweries, as of 2013. In fact, Colorado is home to the most breweries per capita in the United States and is consistently named among the top craft beer states. With many new breweries being planned statewide, there are estimates that the Colorado could hit the 300 mark by the end of the year. We are hands down the #1 spot to knock back a tall one as cold as the Rockies, and the high elevation will help you potentially get drunk faster.
7. Vibrant City Atmospheres
Despite its abundance of outdoor adventure, urbanites can still find their own slice of heaven in the state’s vibrant cityscapes. As the state’s capital and largest city, Denver is an incredible spread out and uncongested city at the foothills of the Rockies. Renowned for being named among the cleanest cities in the U.S., Denver has the largest park system in the nation, historic museums, and a great foodie scene that won’t leave you broke. In close proximity to nature and with a colorful hippy culture, Boulder has been named the #1 happiest city in America. Also, don’t forget Aurora and its more than 400 ethnic restaurants.
8. The People!
Finally, one of the main reasons Colorado rocks is simply the people that live there. Well-known for advocating healthier and more relaxed lifestyles, Coloradans have been named the healthiest Americans multiple times by Gallup Poll. By living in such a beautiful and inspiring place, Coloradans are generally outdoorsy kind-hearted people who love exploring the state’s countless wonders, enjoying the world-famous sunsets, and spending an evening around the bonfire with friendly conversation. Of course, when there is always another trail to follow and a supply of legal marijuana, how could you ever become unhappy?
9. Vast Selection of Food You Must Try
As the birthplace of Chipotle Mexican Grill, it is no shocker that Colorado is well-known throughout culinary history for offering visitors an eclectic blend of ethnic foods. From Pikes Peak hot rolls and fried mountain turkey to ranch-style pan bread and trapper’s fruit, Colorado offers a wide selection of traditional foods that are sure to please even the pickiest taste buds. Among the most popular choices is the Smashburger, born and bred right in the heart of Denver. For those a bit more adventurous, Colorado is also famous for Rocky Mountain Oysters. Hint: these are not your typical oysters!