People and traffic move along the downtown Main Street of the historic old mining town in Telluride, Colorado, via Pgiam /

7 Friendliest Towns to Visit in Colorado in 2024

An important cultural and economic hub of the Western United States, the “Centennial State” of Colorado continues to be a fascinating and alluring destination. Full of stunning geographic features and charming frontier history, Colorado is indeed a jewel that visitors of all ages can appreciate. While major cities like Denver and Boulder still attract the most attention, the State is home to a number of smaller towns that are equally deserving of a visit. From majestic mountain vistas to fascinating histories of the Old West, these friendly and inviting Colorado towns are great places to explore the West and gain a greater appreciation for the “Centennial State”. So come see Colorado and explore these awesome and friendly towns, that the entire family can surely enjoy!


 A general view of atmosphere at the Opening Night Feed at the Telluride Film Festival
A general view of atmosphere at the Opening Night Feed at the Telluride Film Festival, via YaskoCreative /

A former silver mining town, the historic Telluride was established in the 1870s along the San Miguel River in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Today, this seat of San Miguel County is home to a modest population of just over 2,600 residents, and splendid Rocky Mountain vistas and historic intrigue delight visitors of all kinds. A great destination for those looking to experience small-town USA in a most breathtaking setting, Telluride’s mix of historic character and natural splendor have made it a popular tourist spot for decades. For the outdoors lover, visiting the town’s famed alpine slopes is a must, while in the summer time these trails are transformed into awesome biking and hiking routes with some of the most breathtaking panoramas in all of Colorado.

Meanwhile, back in town, Telluride’s 19th-century past can be appreciated through marveling at several Victorian-style buildings and other landmarks. Indeed, the Historic District has been listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places! Add in pleasant local restaurants, galleries, shops, and other businesses and this is one Colorado town that will surely not be forgotten. And finally, cinema lovers cannot miss the annual Telluride Film Festival, where actors and filmmakers from across the world descend on the town every September.


Old Town Square in Silverton, Colorado
Old Town Square in Silverton, CO. Image credit Christophe KLEBERT via Shutterstock.

Silverton was established in the 1870s, and today, this historic town maintains a most humble population of just 600 residents! A former mining centre, this seat of San Juan County is a wonderfully charming destination full of natural splendor and loads of historic allure. Surrounded by the San Juan Mountains (a part of the larger Rocky Mountain chain), picturesque panoramas await any visitor here where warm summers and cool winters are the norm. Meanwhile, as a 19th century town, the unique character of Silverton is not difficult to miss. The town which is listed in its entirety as a National Historic Landmark, features many landmarks and buildings from the 1800s, perfect for a modern day exploration. Including the Silverton Depot (1882) and the Teller House (1896, amongst many others, a true feeling of the Old West can be felt when strolling through Silverton’s streets. And with a great array of local eateries, shops, boutiques, and other local businesses, the charming ambiance of Silverton truly is hard to beat.

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs, Colorado Hot Springs
Glenwood Springs, Colorado Hot Springs. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via

Situated where the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers meet, the beautiful town of Glenwood Springs is a great place to relax and enjoy scenic surroundings. Seat of Garfield County and home to just under 10,000 inhabitants, this modest community was established in the 1880s and it remains a popular tourist stopover, particularly for its natural hot springs. Indeed, with several resort and spa destinations to choose from, accessing these geothermal delights is easy. Meanwhile, with the town’s location along the two previously mentioned rivers, opportunities to go fishing, boating, swimming, and even rafting provide quite the outdoor adventure. Finally, when visiting Glenwood Springs in the summer, make sure not to miss the awesome Strawberry Days Festival. At this oldest continuous operating fair in Colorado (it was first held in 1898), loads of delicious berries and other fruits fill many hungry bellies while live music and other entertainment delight the young and old alike.

Estes Park

Hikers walking cross a tree trunk bridge over Tyndall Creek on Emerald Lake, Estes Park, Colorado
Hikers walking cross a tree trunk bridge over Tyndall Creek on Emerald Lake, Estes Park, Colorado. Image credit Sean Xu via Shutterstock

Estes Park is an inviting and scenic historic town, beautifully situated along the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park and the Big Thompson River. With a modern history dating to the 1850s, today, just under 6,000 residents call the town home, where some of the best mountain vistas in all of Colorado can be found. Enjoy such outdoor activities as jogging, biking, and swimming while charming scenery (including waterfalls and streams) makes for a picture-perfect vacation experience. Meanwhile, guests can also marvel at a number of historic landmarks from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which act as a sort of time machine to the State’s foundational years. Including the Baldpate Inn (1917) and the Stanley Hotel (1909), amongst others listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Estes Park is a nice little slice of yesterday that the whole family can enjoy.


Main Avenue in Durango, featuring the oldest bank building in Colorado
Main Avenue in Durango, featuring the oldest bank building in Colorado. Image credit WorldPictures via Shutterstock

Durango is a historic rail town dating to the 1880s, and today, it maintains a population of just over 19,000. Seat of La Plata County, this charming community is beautifully situated within the San Juan Mountain range, and along with its historic allure, it is a great spot to enjoy the outdoors. Take advantage of great opportunities to go hiking, cycling, and ziplining in the summer, while the Purgatory Resort is a must for awesome alpine sports in the winter. And of course Durango’s historic past and fascinating landmarks can be enjoyed no matter what the season, and a stroll through the Main Avenue Historic District brings any guest back in time. Including the First National Bank (1892) and the Strater Hotel (1887), amongst others listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a real feeling of the 19th century is palpable here.


The scenic town of Carbondale, Colorado
The scenic town of Carbondale, Colorado. Editorial credit: Nick Fox /

Another wonderful Rocky Mountains town, Carbondale is also situated within the Roaring Fork Valley making it a most picturesque destination. With a modest population of just under 6,500 inhabitants, this friendly town offers a great mix of natural beauty and small town charm. Established in the 1880s, visitors can explore the quaint Main Street and its cute shops, restaurants, and other businesses, many of which are housed in 19th century buildings. Meanwhile, for a unique summer cultural experience, make sure to take in the sights of the Wild West Rodeo, which is held weekly from June to August. Full of bull riding displays, calf roping, and old fashioned cowboy entertainment, this is one outing that indeed the young and old can appreciate. And of course with Carbondale’s Valley geography and mountainous landscape, great opportunities for cycling, rock climbing, hiking, and horseback riding await the outdoors adventurist.


Paonia, Colorado, Grand Avenue, looking south.
Paonia, Colorado, Grand Avenue, looking south. Image credit Cobun Keegan, CC BY-SA 3.0, File:Paonia.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

Located in Delta County in Western Colorado, the town of Paonia was founded in the 1880s, where nearly 1,500 reside today. Known for its abundance of peony flowers in the area (indeed the town name reflects the Latin spelling), Paonia is an agriculturally rich community where many local vegetable and fruit farms can be found. For visitors, this charming town is a great place to experience rural America in a mountain setting, and the opportunity to buy fresh locally sourced food is a real treat. And with such fun for the whole family events like the summer Cherry Days Festival and the autumn Mountain Harvest Festival, a delectable outing is sure to be appreciated. In addition, Paonia also has a charming little downtown district with several 19th and early 20th century edifices, while stunning views of the Rockies and the North Fork Valley create a perfect frame for a most friendly Colorado town.

Colorado is a stunning place of geographic beauty that, together with its fascinating history, makes it a true treasure of the Western United States. Indeed the “Centennial State” has much to offer any visitors, and exploring its wonderful and friendly smaller towns, allows one to get better acquainted with the State outside of its major cities. From the historic ambiance of Silverton and Durango to the splendid mountain beauty of Telluride and Glenwood Springs, these and other awesome small Colorado towns are the perfect places to spend a vacation. Whether one is seeking to spend a holiday filled with outdoor activities or cultural attractions, these friendly Colorado towns have it all!

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 7 Friendliest Towns to Visit in Colorado in 2024

More in Places