When the mercury rises to triple digit temperatures across the country, Durango, Colorado, offers a reprieve from the heat.  The combination of the area’s stunning natural offerings, like the Animas River, Vallecito Lake and the San Juan Mountains, paired with the booming cultural and culinary scene make it an ideal destination for playing in the summer sun. Beat the heat and enjoy the summer season in Durango, Colorado.
On the Water
Nothing says summer fun like the Animas River, the town’s treasured source of entertainment, activity and ambiance. Stroll the shaded Animas River Trail, a shared-use path that winds along the river. Celebrate in style at Mild to Wild’s 4th of July Rafting Parade, an on-the-water event sure to float anyone’s boat. Cool off and catch a current while you adventure down the Animas with one of the town’s expert white-water rafting companies. Vallecito Lake provides the perfect escape from summer heat with opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming. Dip your toes into a new activity, like kayaking, paddle boarding or fly-fishing.
When it comes to outdoor adventure, Durango guarantees the only thing that will be cooler than the San Juan Mountain weather is the fun you can have on the trails. When the temperatures rise, Durango saddles up for waterfall trail rides on horseback with San Juan Sky Outfitters or Rapp Corral. Whether it’s hiking, mountain biking or off-roading, the quintessential mountain town offers a variety of exciting opportunities that make the most of the sunshine and Durango’s incredible natural offerings. For a summer breeze you’ll never forget, zip line over the San Juan Mountains with Soaring Tree Top Adventures. For family friendly fun, Purgatory Resort features everything from an alpine slide to a tranquil chairlift ride that explores the area’s stunning scenery. For an opportunity that’s “cool,” both in temperature and experience, ride the rails of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a breathtaking trip that takes you into the heart of the Weminuche Wilderness en route to the quaint mining town of Silverton.
If shade just isn’t cutting it to escape the summer sun, duck into one of Durango’s premier cultural establishments for some top-notch art. Discover one of the town’s award-winning art galleries or museums like Toh-Atin Gallery, Sorrel Sky Gallery or the Durango & Silverton Train Museum. When the sun drops, so does the temperature, making it the perfect time to take in live theatre and music on stages and at restaurants around Durango. Take advantage of the mountain’s cooler weather with open-air musical offerings like the Concert Hall @ the Park’s summer series or the rustic and rousing Bar D Chuckwagon. Summer isn’t the only season marked by Durango’s terrific temperatures; festival season has become a staple for Durango good-times, and events like Music in the Mountains, a three-week celebration of orchestral music, are the cream of the crop.
With over 300 days of sunshine, Durango’s culinary scene offers a refreshing and delicious way to relax in the summer rays. Share the shade with a revitalizing summer breeze and a mouthwatering meal from the Harvest Grill at James Ranch, a farm-to-table ranch that features ingredients grown and raised in-house. Outdoor patio dining, like Michel’s Corner Crepes or riverside restaurants like the Edgewater Grille and Lounge, combines Durango’s culinary best with an all-natural atmosphere. Nothing combats the heat like a pint of beer crafted by one of Durango’s six award-winning craft breweries. From ice-cold drinks crafted by community coffee houses to luscious, small-batch ice cream churned by the Cream Bean Berry, the Durango Farmer’s Market showcases the town’s best beat-the-heat treats, all alongside locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and pastries. 
With cool mountain weather and an exciting array of adventure and cultural offerings, Durango provides an escape from high-heat summer temperatures. From floating down the Animas River in a raft or kayak, to sampling the best tastes of the season, to exploring the area’s natural offerings, nothing is better than keeping cool in the charming mountain town of Durango. Whether the sunshine sends you straight to the mountain to soak in some rays or encourages you to find an artistic and engaging indoor activity, there’s something for everyone. This summer, beat the heat in Durango, Colorado.
About the Durango Area Tourism Office
The Durango Area Tourism Office is a not-for-profit organization operating with the mission to promote Durango and La Plata County’s multitude of tourism attractions, events and services.  1-800-525-8855, www.durango.org
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