If you’re not from Colorado, it’s hard to imagine just how exciting a 4th of July celebration in the mountains really is. In the south, you’ve been experiencing summer weather for months already. Even up in New England, 80 degree days are common in June. By the time the 4th of July rolls around in these parts, it already feels like mid-summer.
Not in Colorado. Up here in the mountains, high-elevation activities like hiking, 4x4 offroading, and climbing can’t even begin until the snow completely melts, which after a great year of snow, will be well into June. So when we have the chance to get outside on a day off from work for truly warm sunshine in some of the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous locations in the country, we get excited to say the least. It's what makes our state one of the best places for 4th of July anywhere in the country, and why in 2019, AAA expected record-breaking 4th of July travel all over Colorado.
And that’s why so many mountain towns go all out for their 4th of July celebrations. Parades, races, fireworks (conditions permitting, more on that later), food, drinks, and camaraderie fill the streets for several days all over the state. So where can you find the best 4th of July Colorado celebrations? Read on to find out.
Breckenridge already tops our list as one of the best Colorado mountain towns for families, so it’s no wonder it has one of the most celebrated 4th of July parties, too. For four days, this quaint Victorian town hosts a series of family-friendly events that bring out locals and visitors alike. (photo above courtesy of gobreck.com)
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect from Breck’s 2019 Independence Day festival.
Dates: July 4-8, 2019
Don't let its name fool you. It may be a hideaway, but it's still only 5 minutes from downtown Breckenridge. Enjoy ample space, including 7 bedrooms and a sleeping area, with enough room for 24 guests. Sprawl out in the large living spaces, or get together in the private hot tub, big enough for eight people. To learn more about this perfect family home and see booking information, click here.
Moose Ridge Cabin was the inspiration for our list of the 15 best luxury log cabins in Colorado, and still stands as our flagship cabin in Breck. Beautifully decorated inside and out, this home is set on a quiet plot of land surrounded by pines, and features a fire pit, private outdoor hot tub, and multiple decks and balconies. Check out all the photos and inquire about booking here.
Celebrating the 4th of July in Telluride is a totally different experience than in Breckenridge. Telluride is known as the summer festival capital of Colorado for good reason -- it has something going on virtually every weekend for 3 straight months. So while Breckenridge gets the most it can out of the celebration, Telluride knows there’s another celebration right around the corner.
In 2019, the 4th of July is sandwiched in between the Telluride Yoga Festival and the Telluride Plein Air Festival. In fact, it lands smack in the middle of the Plein Air Festival. This isn’t to say the celebration is any less exciting. In true Telluride fashion, they make it count, if even for just one day.
Here’s what you can expect from a Telluride 4th of July celebration:
Whereas Breckenridge is easily accessible from Denver, Telluride is a bit more remote. For this reason, you’ll get a more local feel from the town (even with the throngs of visitors that attend), which can be a truly memorable experience. (Photo on right courtesy of Telluride.com)
Sophia Highlands is just a 5-minute walk away from Mountain Village Core, where you can hop on the gondola directly into town. Back at the townhome, you'll have your own outdoor hot tub, a large living area, and a spacious deck with incredible views of the San Sophia ridgeline. With 4 bedrooms this townhome sleeps eight guests. Click here for photos and booking information.
With free dial-a-ride shuttle service to Mountain Village Core and excellent views of the resort mountains, Snow Day Hideaway at the Terraces provides a cozy alpine retreat in the San Juans that's still convenient for everything going on in town. With two bedrooms and an additional sleeping area, this condo can accommodate up to eight guests.
The mountain views from The Westerly at Pine Meadows are truly stunning, whether you're relaxing in the cozy living area or grilling on the back deck. When you want to head into town, you're just a 5-minute walk from Mountain Village Core, where the gondola picks up. This home is especially popular for large groups of friends, as the king beds can be split into twins, effectively creating nine individual beds. Click here for more photos and information.
One of the best parts of Vail’s 4th of July celebration is that it perfectly complements all the other summer activities going on in the valley. It’s similar to Breckenridge in many ways, but because the parade and activities are contained within Vail Village, it has a slightly more intimate feel. The highlight of the day is undoubtedly the parade, which starts at the base of Golden Peak at 10am and ends in Lionshead Village at around noon.
Here are a few things to know about Vail America Days:
Parking in Vail Village is free all day, however, it’s first come, first serve. Once the 2,500 spots fill (typically by 10am), the town will start directing cars to free overflow parking further from the action. The town does encourage participants and festival-goers to either stay in town, ride their bike, or use public transportation to relieve traffic congestion.
In the afternoon, the town will put on its annual concert, and at 9:30pm, visitors will be treated to the annual Vail America Days fireworks display. However, if conditions are extremely dry, the fireworks may be canceled for fire safety reasons.
Come summer, this ski retreat transforms into a quiet getaway tucked into the trees near the slopes of Beaver Creek. Beautifully designed throughout with amazing amenities, you'll also have access to the free shuttle that transports you into the village. Click here to see more of this townhome.
Located just 30 minutes from the New Mexico border, Durango backs up to the San Juan National Forest and is home to Fort Lewis College, which gives it a great university-town vibe. 4th of July celebrations include the All-American Gourmet Breakfast, a 5K, free concerts, a BBQ picnic, and a parade in the afternoon. Once the parade passes, the town’s Main Street turns into one giant dance party with live music.
You’d be forgiven for not knowing where Palisade is. Overshadowed by nearby Grand Junction and known mostly for peaches sold on the side of the highway, Palisade often gets passed over.
However, this beautiful Western Slope town is all about hospitality, and welcomes visitors from all over. After the morning parade, free barbecue, and live music, you can head to any of the wineries, meaderies, distilleries, or breweries in the area.
Grand Lake, CO
Grand Lake is less of a town and more of a beautiful attraction, but that doesn’t take away from its famous 4th of July party. Known as the Grand Lake 4th of July Extravaganza, visitors can eat and drink their way through town all day before heading to the lake -- the largest and deepest natural lake in Colorado -- for a famous fireworks show. This event can get very crowded, so plan accordingly.
4th of July in Colorado is an incredible time. It means summer is truly here, from the Front Range to the Continental Divide and out to the Western Slope. Come celebrate this fantastic season with us in any of our exquisite mountain destinations.