The Native American founders of Manitou Springs couldn't have picked a happier home, tucked between the Garden of the Gods and majestic Pikes Peak. Still bubbling with drinkable mineral water, this now-bohemian enclave boasts whimsical shops, a slew of really good restaurants, and miles of nature trails.
Spend the morning hiking or exploring a 19th-century castle before whiling away the afternoon ― just like the old days ― at one of the country's last penny arcades.
The Cliff House Dining Room.
What: Fireside dining in Victorian grandeur. Feast on contemporary global fare made from regionally grown ingredients. When: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily; reservations recommended. How much: $$$$. Where: 306 Cañon Ave.; 719/785-2415.
Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail.
What: A low-key 2.5-miler along the trail's eastern section, lined with killer views. When: Open daily. Where: From Manitou Ave., go west under U.S. 24. Turn left onto Crystal Park Rd., then drive about 1 mile. www.intemanntrail.com or 719/473-4143.
What: Mean and massive margaritas. A fave is the Fruit Loop, made with Sauza Silver, Cointreau and Chambord. When: Lunch and dinner daily. How much: $. Where: 965 Manitou Ave.; 719/685-9344.