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Mount Crested Butte, Colorado village in summer with colorful sunrise by wooden lodging houses on hills with green trees

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It’s not difficult to see what makes Colorado a year-round haven for vacationers. Home to 32 ski resorts, four national parks (including the majestic Rocky Mountain National Park), 42 state parks, and 15 national forests, the Centennial State offers endless possibilities for outdoor adventures and adrenaline-inducing activities. And let’s not forget the 26 scenic byways that transform an ordinary drive into an awe-inspiring sightseeing experience.

Even those who like to take it slowly have plenty to look forward to — with several hundred breweries, 130 wineries, and dozens of craft distilleries, Colorado will certainly leave you in high spirits. So it’s no wonder that the market for second homes in the state is booming.

“There’s been a lifestyle shift in the mentality of consumers. People want to spend more time living where they want to be rather than where they work, which is why we’ve seen a migration to the mountains and an influx of vacation home and second homeowners in the Vail Valley and Colorado in general,” Malia Cox Nobrega, real estate broker at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty, told Travel + Leisure via email.

Thinking about investing in your own slice of Colorado heaven? Read on for a list of the seven best places to buy a vacation home in the Centennial State.

Vail

Mountain Resort Village of Vail, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains

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The Vail Valley is home to two beloved ski resorts — Vail and Beaver Creek — with the former known for its world-class ski slopes and facilities, luxury accommodations, shopping, fine dining, and diverse cultural scene. Vacationers flock to Vail Valley for its golf courses, fly fishing opportunities, and hiking trails in the summer, too. And thanks to Eagle County Airport, located about 35 miles from Vail’s downtown, this small Colorado town is easily accessible from every corner of the country.

“The Vail Valley has historically been a place where people want to vacation — it’s the complete package, a getaway to the mountains in a rural setting that also provides high-level amenities from the nearby resorts and towns,” Nobrega added.

In the first three quarters of 2021, the average sold price for a home in the town of Vail was over $2.6 million, with the most expensive property going for a whopping $34 million, according to a report from LIV Sotheby’s International Realty.

Breckenridge

Houses In Breckenridge during the winter

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This historic mining town in Summit County is a beautiful vacation destination bustling with activity during all four seasons. Breckenridge Resort, which spans 3,000 acres, attracts adrenaline seekers with its skiing and snowboarding facilities in the winter. The town is also home to North America’s highest chairlift, offering stunning mountain views. And in the summer, enjoy biking, scenic lift rides, fishing, and exploring the iconic Rocky Mountain Tenmile Range.

But if you’d like to make Breckenridge your second home, be ready to act fast, as properties in August 2021 (peak season for real estate deals in the area) sold 62 percent faster than the previous year and remained on the market for an average of 32 days. The median sale price for a single-family home for the same period jumped 36 percent to a little over $1.7 million as the number of available properties decreased.

Telluride

A look down Main Street in Telluride during Peak Autumn Color from the Aspens with a mountain backdrop

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Nestled in the beautiful San Juan Mountains, town of Telluride is just eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long — but there’s plenty to do. Skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, dog sledding, fly fishing, and horseback riding are just some of the activities residents and visitors of Telluride enjoy throughout the year. The town is also known for its diverse cultural offerings, from great food to live music and annual festivals.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that the real estate market is sizzling hot. The average sold price for a single-family home in the first three quarters of 2021 increased 39 percent to almost $4.4 million.

Crested Butte

Homes on a mountain in Crested Butte

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For winter sports enthusiasts, this small mining town in Gunnison County is the real deal. With an average of 300 inches of snow per season, Crested Butte is a skier’s paradise.

Together with the neighboring Crested Butte, the town is home to about 2,300 year-round residents, making it the ideal place to unwind and take in the quiet scenery. In the summer, more than 50 types of flowers bloom in this area, putting on a spectacular display of color, earning Crested Butte the nickname “Colorado’s wildflower capital.” And with Gunnison/Crested Butte Airport only 30 miles away, investing in a property in this quaint town also means plenty of rental potential.

Winter Park

View of base village in Winter Park, Colorado

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Whether you’re into water or winter sports, Winter Park has it all. That’s because the town has truly hit the location jackpot. Situated just 60 miles from downtown Denver, Winter Park is near Rocky Mountain National Park. That means you get to enjoy year-round activities such as boating, hiking, and biking in one of America’s most-visited national parks.

On top of this, Winter Park Resort is a family-friendly alpine resort that offers 3,000 acres of skiable acres divided into seven territories fit for skiers of every level.

Steamboat Springs

Aerial view of the village in Steamboat springs, colorado

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While this Northern Colorado town is pretty popular with vacationers, real estate value in the area hasn’t yet reached Vail or Aspen numbers. And you can still find a large variety of properties — from several-hundred-thousand-dollar condos to multimillion-dollar mansions.

But that may soon change. Steamboat Ski Resort is undergoing a major expansion to make it the second-largest resort in Colorado. A new gondola, an ice rink, and more après-ski restaurants, bars, and shops will pop up in the next three years, certainly driving property prices up and making Steamboat Springs an even more desirable place to vacation.

Colorado Springs

Aerial View of Colorado Springs at Dusk

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Another spot that offers excellent outdoor activities and properties at a much lower price than other, better-known cities in the state is Colorado Springs. But if you’d like to invest in this beautiful town, you may want to expedite your search. The Springs is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation; its population has increased 37 percent since 2000.

Located at the foot of Pike Peaks, Colorado Springs certainly doesn’t lack Instagram-worthy mountain vistas in addition to its rich cultural and entertainment scene and a plethora of outdoor adventures.

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