Location: Grand Lake, Colorado
Distance from Denver: 102 miles (~2hrs) ♡ ♡
Parking Situation: Plenty of street parking, but can be crowded so you may have to park at the edge of town ♡ ♡
Where We Stayed: Grand Lake Lodge
Where We Ate: Blue Water Bakery | Fat Cat Cafe | Miyauchi's Snack Shop
Sights We Saw: Grand Lake | Adams Falls (follow the wrap around trail as far as you'd like to go! We love hiking to the secret/unnamed waterfalls about 3 miles in) | Rocky Mountain National Park
We absolutely adore Grand Lake! It's this cute little mountain town two hours from Denver that has it all - shoreline, mountains, and charm ♡ Grand Lake is the deepest and largest natural lake in Colorado, created by ancient glaciers. Every single Memorial Day, we pack up our car & drive up to this beautiful little gem. There's so much to do here! Our favorites include hiking, boating, and soaking in the views from Grand Lake lodge's stunning front porch.
I mean what is not to love, you guys?! Our favorite is to walk down to this secret deck near Grand Lake Lodge. Follow the steps for "Nuptial Knoll", but where the railings end, turn left and follow the path to a secluded deck! Most people don't even glance this way, so we love that it can be our secret little spot in town ♡ Grab a drink at the Grand Lake lodge and bring it here if the patio is crowded.
Honestly, we could spend the entire day here! The Lodge is a quick 5 minute drive into town, which is so quaint and alive! We love grabbing an ice cream cone at Miyauchi's Snack Shop (located near the docks) and strolling around the main street. It is lined with cute little boutiques that sell unique, handmade goods. Our favorite is Mine Design Jewelry; Brandon always buys me a cute pair of earrings from here when we go ♡
As far as food goes, we highly recommend Blue Water Bakery for breakfast (our friends also highly rate Fat Cat Cafe's all you can eat brunch buffet. There's usually a line so put your name in & walk around) and Miyauchi's for lunch/ice cream. We have eaten at the other places in town (such as Grand Pizza & Sloopy's), but we find ourselves drawn to back to the bakery and Miyauchi's for their friendly service and no-fuss food.
Hiking is a popular choice, and we love the trails in the area. While we didn't go hiking this year, we have explored the area and our top choices are either Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park (great around Memorial Day due to the snowmelt) or the hike past Adams Falls in the East Inlet Trailhead. Adams Falls itself is pretty crowded, and most people don't hike the trail that snakes around the falls, but we highly recommend it! We love following the path towards Lone Pine Lake, but usually turn around at the secret/unnamed waterfalls halfway to the lake.
The weather was stunning this year, so we spent the majority of our time on or near the water. Grand Lake has affordable boat rentals so you can charter one, take a peddle boat, or go kayaking/stand up paddle boarding. There's just so much to do on the water! We usually bring our lunch to the docks to eat, and then head out onto the water!
The vibe in town can be best described as laid-back. It's a mix of people in maxi dresses, rompers, shorts and/or swim suits. I wore this adorable Alice+Olivia romper (linked below + similar styles), scalloped sandals, and cute hat that I found for $10 on the racks of Wal-Mart of all places! I couldn't find the listing online, but have linked the exact same hat that Francesca's is selling for $30. I'd recommend heading to your closest Wal-Mart to save $20 ;)
If you're still itching for more, Grand Lake lies at the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. For the perfect ending to the day at Grand Lake, drive through Trail Ridge Road which cuts through the park before heading back to Denver ♡
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- Drive to Grand Lake either for the day or the weekend.
- Lunch & ice cream at Miyauchi's. Get your lunch to go and find an empty dock to eat on!
- Go for a hike or rent a boat!
- Grab a drink at Grand Lake Lodge & hang out on the porch / secret deck OR if you're staying here, soak up the views in their stunning hot tub.
- If you want more, drive through Rocky Mountain National Park's Trail Ridge Road (check to make sure it's open!). PSST: there's a fee to enter Rocky Mountain National; we usually purchase the annual pass because of how often we go there!