Four Colorado destinations rank among the top 15 best small towns in the America, according to the latest U.S News and World Report. With our favorite Colorado vacation hubs topping the list, we couldn’t help but take a closer look at what keeps these resort towns booming.
Ranked the second-best small town in America just behind Sonoma, Calif., Breckenridge offers a world-class ski resort with small town charm dating back to the Gold Rush. What Breckenridge lacks in size — the town has a 5.3-square-mile boundary — it makes up in big-time amenities, including an active outdoor lifestyle filled with skiing, snowboarding, fishing, hiking, biking, and golf. The town is located 9,603 feet above sea level in a U-shaped valley on the western slope of the Continental Divide, providing a picturesque mountain setting with dramatic panoramas and nature-filled views at every turn. Also ranked the sixth-best ski destination in the U.S., and 13th-best place overall to visit in the U.S., it’s no wonder homes here are snapped up faster than you can say “goldmine.”
The town also affords a burgeoning Arts District and popular Main Street, delivering a culturally rich atmosphere with art galleries, yoga studios, performance spaces, upscale boutiques, breweries, and eateries. Perhaps Breckenridge Real Estate Associates said it best in a recent blog post stating, “National press continues to laud Summit County for quality of life considerations. Add our healthy market and it’s tough to find a better, more enjoyable investment.” From secluded ski-in/ski-out retreats, to luxury penthouses, and Victorians charmers, there is something for everyone in Breckenridge. If you’re considering Breckenridge, take a look at this newly built Modern Masterpiece that puts you minutes from the slopes.
Clocking in at seventh on the list is Steamboat Springs, a bustling city in northern Colorado’s Yampa Valley. It’s home to the Howelsen Hill ski area and family-oriented Steamboat ski resort, offering six peaks including the famed Mount Werner. Steamboat’s geothermal hot springs are a big draw, recognized for their therapeutic properties, and enjoyed by both Coloradoans and visitors worldwide.
Near the city’s center is the long-standing Old Town Hot Springs, popular for its swimming and soaking pools, and yes, even water slides to dial up the family fun. Its origins are rooted in both Ute and Arapahoe Indian tribes, who used the land for summer hunting grounds, and were attracted to the area for its spiritual healing springs. From well-appointed town homes, to ski-in/ski-out chalets, and mountain contemporaries, Steamboat is an appealing second home option that is often more affordable than its counterparts.
According to Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty: “Demand for Steamboat Ski Town USA’s extraordinary lifestyle continues to be a driving factor for visitors and locals alike. Steamboat — the Ultimate Colorado Resort – has all the charm and splendor of Aspen, Vail, and Telluride at a fraction of the price. This is the perfect place for a vacation or retirement home if you want to be in a ski resort village. We are lower in elevation than the other resorts, so you acclimate quicker and your getaway gets going quicker. Most importantly, price of entry is dramatically lower than the other world-class resorts we are pegged against. In all facets: land, condominium, townhome, single-family house or luxury property, Steamboat still represents one of the most affordable resort real estate opportunities in the country.”
Tenth-best on the latest U.S. News and World Report is Aspen – beautiful, exquisite, sophisticated Aspen. The town is a well-known vacation spot for celebrities like Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn, as well as Kevin Costner, who owns a 165-acre ranch just outside of Aspen and reportedly claims, “he loves it so much he wants to be buried there.”
This Rocky Mountain playground for the rich and famous may be pricey but for good reason – it’s a world-renown ski destination nestled in the heart of the White River National Forest surrounded by Elk Mountain peaks. It’s home to the most photographed place in Colorado, the picturesque Maroon Bells, wildly famous for its series of distinctively bell-shaped, wine-colored peaks towering 14,000 feet above the pristine, glacial Maroon Valley.
The town is also a mecca for fine dining, and exclusive experiences only Aspen can provide. From its abundance of adventure sports like kayaking, paragliding, and ice climbing, to its dazzling world of Michelin-star chefs, charity galas, shopping, and seasonal events, Aspen is one of the most luxurious mountain getaways you can find. Wondering what it would be like to live near the heart of town? This summer sanctuary in Aspen Golf Club had us at “hello.”
Last but not least, Vail ranks 14th on the list of best small towns in America, with a resort market that is hot, hot, hot! Topping $1 billion in real estate sales for the first half of 2017, Eagle County, which encompasses Vail Valley and Beaver Creek, is on par for a record year. Low inventory and increased demand continues to push home values, which are now rising by 10 percent year-over-year. We recently happened upon one of the area’s most exclusive ski-in/ski-out residences at 373 Strawberry Park – it’s worth a look if you’re in the market for turnkey luxury.
LIV Sotheby’s International Realty specializes in the area and says: “Vail Valley is an iconic example of luxurious alpine villages among the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. Located in Eagle County, a two-hour drive west of Denver, the Vail Valley is comprised of Vail, Beaver Creek, Edwards, Bachelor Gulch, Cordillera, and Avon. One of the largest ski resorts in North America, Vail Mountain boasts one of the most popular and prestigious ski destination resorts. Vail’s dramatic Rocky peaks and 5,000 skiable acres are surrounded by 350,000 federally protected acres of the White River National Forest. Limits on development have contributed to keeping residential real estate values stable.”
Increasing home values and a vibrant mountain lifestyle keep second home buyers coming to these four distinctive Colorado towns. Which one is right for you? We foresee a mountain getaway in your future to find out. Happy hunting!