Colorado Springs

Any trip to Colorado Springs gives you another chance to reconnect with nature — watch the red sandstone formations glow like coals during sunrise or sunset in the Garden of the Gods to remember what spectacular means. The famous Balanced Rock and Kissing Camels stand out for photo opportunities, and if you’ve got the time (and endurance), you can hike eight hours up to the top of Pikes Peak to see out from the top of the world’s second-most-visited mountain. You won’t need to work out for years to score an Olympic medal; at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, you can to buy a replica in the gift shop after touring the gyms, pools and velodrome. Though if you’re into sports, you can’t beat the rock climbing, cycling and horseback riding opportunities the area offers; take advantage of the tempestuous Arkansas River on a guided whitewater rafting trip to experience the awesome power of nature, first-hand. Colorado Springs mixes those remote pockets of nature with a city of more than 400,000 people and all the trappings that come with it; in one day, you can scale a stunning peak, fill up your shopping bags at the Promenade Shops at Briargate and relax those weary arms and legs at the Five-Star Spa at the Broadmoor. You won’t be able to find a mix of creature-comforts and creature habitats quite like this anywhere else.