Summer Travel Tips for Visiting Boulder

December 28, 2022

June 21 marks the summer solstice and the official start of summer. But many of us celebrate the start of summer on Memorial Day or when the kids get out of school. (I like summer to be as long as possible, so I’m in the Memorial Day camp for the unofficial start of summer.) No matter when summer started for you, you probably have BBQs, day trips, and summer vacations on the horizon. If your summer plans are taking you in and around Boulder, Colorado, we’ve got some hot tips (pun intended!) to make your summer in Boulder as fun and safe as possible.

Boulder Travel Tip #1: Plan in Advance

Summer is a popular time to visit Colorado, so planning ahead is important to book your accommodations and activities. This ensures you have the best options and avoids disappointment due to high demand.

Boulder Travel Tip #2: Pack Lots of Layers

image of person packing a suitcase in a living room | boulder summer travel tips pack layers colorado music festivals

The weather in Colorado can change quickly, so be sure to pack for all types of conditions. Although rare, we have seen snow in June before! But overall, summers in Boulder County mean you can expect hot days, and cool nights, with a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm. So carry an umbrella or poncho with you, just in case!

Boulder Travel Tip #3: Don’t Forget Sunscreen

image of person pouring suncreen | boulder colorado summer travel tips

Boulder is a bit higher in elevation than Colorado’s capital city of Denver. At 5,318 feet above sea level, you can expect many of the same high-altitude conditions. The sun’s rays are stronger, even on cloudy days, so pack lots of sunscreen and apply it regularly.

Boulder Travel Tip #4: Stay Hydrated

image of young man drinking water | boulder summer travel tips colorado music festival stay hydrated

If you’re visiting from a lower elevation, it’s important to acclimate gradually to Colorado’s high altitudes. The air is thinner at higher altitudes, meaning less oxygen is available per breath. To compensate for this, your body tends to increase the rate and depth of breathing, resulting in increased water loss. Stay hydrated, take it easy during the first few days, and be mindful of any symptoms of altitude sickness.

Boulder Travel Tip #5: Respect the Environment

image of a bin of vegetables composting | boulder colorado summer travel tips music festivals environment

Colorado’s water is a precious resource, and Boulderites are conscious of its scarcity. You’ll see water-saving techniques, such as xeriscaping (landscaping with drought-tolerant plants) and efficient irrigation systems throughout the city. Many households and businesses in Boulder practice water conservation, promote energy efficiency and use renewable energy sources. In addition, you will see many programs to reduce waste, such as recycling, composting, and reducing single-use plastics.

Boulder Travel Tip #6: Attend Local Festivals and Events

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Image Credit: Geremy Kornreich

Summer in Boulder is packed with festivals and events catering to various interests. The Colorado Music Festival, the Boulder Fine Art Street Festival, and the Boulder Farmer’s Market are just a handful of the many events. Visit our post on unique summer activities in Boulder for more information on other events around town.

Boulder Travel Tip #7: Take The Scenic Route

image of an empty road through the mountains | boulder colorado summer travel tips

Boulder County boasts some of the most scenic drives in Colorado. Consider driving along the Peak to Peak Highway, which starts just 20 minutes outside Boulder. You’ll take in breathtaking mountain views, picturesque landscapes, and ample opportunities for photography and sightseeing. Alternatively, Boulder Canyon Drive connects Boulder to Nederland. You’ll pass through stunning rock formations and canyon walls. The drive ends in Nederland, a charming mountain town known as the original home of Frozen Dead Guy Days.

Boulder Travel Tip #8: Don’t Skip Chautauqua

image of Colorado Chautauqua | Credit Colorado Music Festival

A Chautauqua is an Iroquois term that refers to an educational and cultural gathering. The name “Chautauqua” comes from Chautauqua Lake in western New York, where the movement began.

Today, Chautauquas have evolved and are often associated with permanent assembly grounds or cultural centers that offer a variety of programming and recreational activities. The Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder is located at the base of the Flatirons and serves as a gathering place for educational programs, concerts, performances, and outdoor activities. It features historic cottages, a dining hall, an auditorium, and extensive outdoor recreation space.

And yes, we’re a little biased about how great The Colorado Chautauqua is, as it’s been home to the Colorado Music Festival for over 40 years!

Boulder Travel Tip #9: Ditch Your Car For A Day (or Two!)

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Boulder, Colorado, regularly appears on lists of the best bike-friendly cities in America. Boulder Valley has more than 300 miles of bikeway, including 96 miles of bike lanes, 84 miles of multi-use paths, and 50 miles of designated bike routes ( The city offers bike shares and e-scooter programs so that residents and visitors can explore the city on two wheels. But with plenty of trails and paths, you can use your two feet too!

Boulder Travel Tip #10: Live Your Best Life!

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Boulder was recognized by National Geographic as “The Happiest City in the United States.” The city is also regularly recognized on lists for being one of the country’s fittest, or best wellness, communities. Whether looking for natural foods and products or one-of-a-kind wellness retreats and experiences, Boulder has something for everyone to live their best life!

Make sure your summer of Boulder music, memories, and mountain magic includes the Colorado Music Festival!

Plan Your Festival Visit


Visiting Boulder

The Festival performs in beautiful Boulder, Colorado — a breathtaking location full of nature, culture, cuisine, art, and more.

Learn About Our Educational Programs


Festival Fellows

Meet the Festival Fellows: eight aspiring professional musicians who receive coaching and performance opportunities through the Festival and its guest artists.

Center for Musical Arts

This excellent community music school is also the educational arm of our organization.