February is officially “Staycation Month” in La Plata County.
With a lower number of visitors in town, affordable rates for staycation activities and plentiful powder, February is the perfect month for you and your crew to indulge in the ultimate exploration of your own backyard.
Have you ever taken a true staycation? A staycation, a colloquial combination of the words “stay” and “vacation,” is a period of time in which an individual, family or another group, stays close to home but participates in leisure activities that are normally frequented by tourists.
A key component of any dream staycation is unique accommodation. All La Plata County residents have that special hotel, motel, vacation rental or cabin they recommend to their out-of-town friends and family. We envy them for their incredible experiences in those places. Because we’ve been confined to our homes during the pandemic, a night or two at one of Durango’s new or long-standing hotels can offer a fun break from the monotony and cabin fever.
The Strater Hotel offers a unique opportunity for immersing yourself in Colorado’s historic past combined with a convenient downtown Main Avenue location. If you’re looking to get slightly out of town, check out the oh-so-charming O-Bar-O Cabins off Florida Road. Or, if you want to get all the way out of town, head over to Vallecito Reservoir. The lakeshore is home to a number of unique accommodation options including lodges and cabins. Check out the full list at vallecitolakechamber.com. The well-equipped can make their home base a camping spot to enjoy the stunning scenery with a blanket of snow. Those who are active can even embark on a hut trip into the backcountry. Other accommodation options include ranches, lodges, bed and breakfasts and, of course, vacation rentals. Many of these spots even allow your furry friends to join in with your staycation, so no need to get a dog-sitter for your getaway.
You may think that the current COVID-19 restrictions would limit opportunities for fun in the county, but there are still plenty of safe, family-friendly activities to take advantage of in the off-season. Head to durango.org/blog for a list of 50 things to do during your staycation.
As you would imagine, some of the highlights for a winter staycation involve snow-play in its many forms including dog sledding, snow biking, hikes in search of frozen waterfalls, snowmobile rentals and skiing. If skiing is your passion, consider a staycation base camp at Purgatory Resort’s lodging. The resort offers traditional rooms, condos and townhomes. By staying a night or two on-site, you’ll be able to avoid parking hassles and be first in line at the lift. If an after-ski brew is on your agenda, check out the literary-themed cabins at The Nugget Mountain Bar.
Some other activity highlights include a happy hour at The Diamond Belle Saloon, a train ride on the Cascade Canyon Express or Sunday brunch at one of Durango’s greasy-spoon diners. To indulge your sweet side, head to Honeyville and say hi to the bees or spend a leisurely afternoon at Animas Chocolate or another café sipping on hot cocoa.
If you would like to beef-up on your local history, consider a self-guided historic tour of downtown Durango or take a driving tour of Mesa Verde National Park while there’s hardly a soul in sight.
No winter in Durango is complete without a soak at the new Durango Hot Springs & Spa resort.
If you are a photo buff, pick up a Winter Photography Guide online or at the Durango Welcome Center. Your Instagram followers will be envious of the scenic shots you capture during your close-to-home holiday.
By exploring La Plata County this February on your staycation, you will not only become better acquainted with your backyard, but you’ll also be supporting local businesses and helping restaurants, hotels, attractions and other businesses bounce back from the devastating blow of COVID-19 and 2020’s economic downturn. Have fun and feel good for helping our community!
Rachel Brown is executive director of Visit Durango. She can be reached at 261-1052 or [email protected]