Ancient inhabitants carved petroglyphs into the ruddy cliffs at Red Rock Canyon in modern-day Colorado Springs, where the desert landscape is studded with curious rock formations. Just down the street from the canyon, Hotel San Ayre is ideally situated for vacationers looking to take in the rugged landscape or browse boutiques in Gold Rush–era buildings.
Distance from Red Rock Canyon: less than 1 mile
Guest rooms and suites are trimmed with rich wood accents; some look out onto the surrounding mountains.
Eat-in kitchen and patio garden make you feel at home in the gingerbread-style cottage, which was built in 1895.
Stay connected with free WiFi and DirecTV.
Have a cookout on one of the outdoor barbecue grills.
Notable nod: 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Highlights of Colorado Springs
Cultured college town and the second-biggest city in Colorado
Rocky Mountain scenery: 14,000-foot Pikes Peak dominates the landscape (it's just 10 miles from the city).
Take a scenic drive along the 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway.
Reach the summit of Pikes Peak via the Cog Railway, a three-hour train ride that makes a steep climb past boulders, streams, and trees that are roughly 2,000 years old.