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Family travel: Enjoy home on the range in this unexplored corner of Colorado

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Do you long for home on the range?

Sure, Coloradoans love their mountains but families itching to get back on the road this summer can experience northeast Colorado’s wide-open spaces, outdoor adventures and unique events. Visitors can set their own speed with heart-pumping activities like speedway races or watersports, have fun at the disc golf capital of Colorado, giddy-up at a tractor pull or a buckling battle or take it easy by bird watching at a natural area or shopping on one of the region’s charming main streets. And, visitors and locals can gather safely once again at the many quintessential summertime events.

Want more family vacation ideas in Colorado? Scroll to the bottom for our comprehensive guide. 

Upcoming Summer Events

Visitors can experience a variety of unique community events this summer in northeastern Colorado including music festivals, farmers markets, rodeos, Independence Day celebrations and more.

  • Memorial Day Weekend Motocross, Brush, May 29-31, 2021:  This annual Memorial Day Race Weekend takes place at Sweney Cycle Park, a premier motocross track. This popular event opens its gates on Saturday night, with practice on Sunday and racing on Monday. 

  • High Plains Outdoor Tractor and Truck Pull, Sterling, June 20, 2021 – Experience the roar of engines at the High Plains Outdoor Tractor and Truck Pull at the Logan County Fairgrounds in Sterling. Tractor pulling is known as “the world’s heaviest motorsport,” where the goal is to determine the strongest machine and the best driver. This perfect outdoor grandstand event for fans is held every year on Father’s Day Weekend.

  • Bobstock Music Festival, Fort Morgan, July 9 – 10, 2021: Bobstock’s goal? Make “big city” entertainment accessible to anyone that likes awesome music! This free, two-day event is held outdoors at Fort Morgan’s City Park and features live music, food trucks, a beer garden, kids’ games and rides, and 16 different music acts on three stages. 

  • Logan County Fair and Rodeo, Sterling, July 29 – Aug. 8, 2021: The Logan County Fair & Rodeo is one of the premier county fairs in Colorado, blending the best in entertainment, great food, fun rides and the excitement of competition. With a particular emphasis on the accomplishments of youth in their various 4-H projects, this highlight of the summer features many events and activities tailored to kids – and kids of all ages! Grandstand events include something for everyone, from the high-action NextEra Energy Professional Bull Riding and two nights of PRCA Rodeo, to some foot-stompin’ country music entertainment on the main stage – this year see Travis Tritt and Braydon Zink (who grew up in tiny Iliff, CO). Plus, there’s the Junior Rodeo, Tractor Pull (featured image) and Demolition Derby to round out the nights and the week is loaded with activities such as carnival, vendors, games and parade.

  • The Building by Design No Credit Bucking Battle, Brush, Aug. 1 – 5, 2021:  The Building by Design No Credit Bucking Battle is a fast-growing, annual bucking bull event and is part of the 2021 Morgan County Fair. Last year, not only were there 100+ of the rankest bucking bulls brought to the Building by Design No Credit Bucking Battle, but the evening bull ride drew a standing-room-only crowd. The fair also offers live music, a cajun boil and beer garden is open on the grounds. 

  • Independence Day Celebrations: Fireworks displays dazzle visitors and locals alike on Colorado’s eastern plains. Sterling hosts its annual fireworks show off the beaten path at Pioneer Park on July 4, 2021. This display is preceded by live music with the first firework launching at dusk. Just 13 miles north, visitors can enjoy a fireworks display at North Sterling State Park the weekend prior to July 4 this year. This annual fireworks show stuns over the 2,880-acre reservoir, situated above the Sterling Boat Club boat dock. Spectators can place a blanket or lawn chair out along the reservoir’s shores or even take a boat out on the water to enjoy the display under the park’s dark skies – far from any city lights. Visitors can experience 20 miles of Fireworks and Freedom along I-76 this summer with multiple celebrations taking place over the holiday weekend. The Brush Rodeo is an Independence Day staple in northeast Colorado and is July 2-4, 2021. Held at the Morgan County Fairgrounds, this family-friendly event is capped off by a fireworks display at dusk. The I-76 Speedway will host races during the day and a fireworks show in the evening, and fireworks can also be seen in the town of Log Lane Village.

  • Weekly Live Music: Thursday Night Live returns to downtown Fort Morgan this summer with weekly concerts, the Main Street Market, CACE Art Walk, and performing art and activities on Main Street and City Park. This series runs from June 3 through Aug. 19 and features homegrown, Colorado talent, including Lauren Frihauf, a recent contestant on NBC’s The Voice, and 3-D chalk artist Chris Carlson. In Sterling, visitors can get their groove on every Friday evening in July to a variety of music, from country to jazz to rockabilly and blues. July Jamz takes place on the lawn of the Historical Logan County Courthouse, plus, the Logan County Arts League (LOCAL) features local musical artists on the last two Saturdays in June at the same place.

  • Sterling Farmers Market: When you’re roaming around some summer weekend, look for a farmer’s market in downtown Sterling, beginning in mid-July. Enjoy the authentic farm-to-table experience with some freshly grown tomatoes, homemade goodies, or still-warm-from-the-field sweet corn to take home. The Sterling Farmers Market is open for business on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. 

Play on at indoor or outdoor sports facilities 

This region of Colorado is a haven for active sports folk of all ages and offers activities including race spectating, shooting, disc golf and more. 

  • Fort Morgan Fieldhouse will host its first-ever open house on Saturday, May 29 with general admission beginning on Sunday, May 30. This brand new sports complex offers visitors 40,000 feet of recreation space. This facility is ADA-friendly and features a splash pad, basketball courts, pickleball, weight rooms and more. The Sterling Recreation Center gives visitors a chance to beat the heat with a large outdoor pool and water park that includes a Multi-Play 5, three slides, beach entry, wading pool and mini water dome. The facility also provides a picnic area, playground, sand volleyball and horseshoes onsite. 

  • The Logan County Shooting Sports Complex provides an opportunity for shooting enthusiasts of multiple disciplines to enjoy their sport. This 300-acre site features trapshooting, archery and rifle/pistol ranges that include 1,000-yard and 600-yard ranges, as well as shorter yardage ranges with numerous seat shooting benches.

  • The I-76 Speedway is a quarter-mile high-banked dirt oval race track located on the west side of Fort Morgan. Summer season racing is held April through October and is fun for the whole family. 

  • In Fort Morgan, the Optimist and Pessimist disc golf courses were home to the 2020 Colorado State Disc Golf Championships and the courses attract disc golfers from all over the U.S. The recently developed Watrous Park features the city of Brush’s first golf course with nine holes and new trees from the Arbor Day Celebration, and is open and free to the public. Plus, its disc golf tourneys are great events for anyone no matter the age or skill level. The Pioneer Park Disc Golf Course in Sterling challenges players with a variety of open and very tight technical wooded holes. 

  • Traditional golfers can find the fairway at the nine-hole course at Petteys Park in Brush or 18-hole course at Fort Morgan’s Quail Dunes Golf Course. Sterling is home to three golf courses and all are open to the public. 

Explore the great outdoors in Northeast Colorado

Northeast Colorado has a long summer season with consistent warm days and mild nights lasting from May through October, creating ample opportunities for campers, boaters, fishers and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. 

  • Boaters, watersports lovers and sun-worshippers can enjoy Jackson Lake State Park, an “oasis on the plains.” With a 2,700 surface acre lake, 260 campsites and seven campgrounds, many recreational opportunities exist including boating, camping, swimming, fishing, hunting, OHV riding (the track is open year-round), and more. Plus, Jackson Lake State Park is an International Dark Sky Park, giving visitors a view of a thousand points of light.

  • North Sterling State Park is another boater’s paradise with a 3,000-acre lake. PJ Marina opens in early May and visitors can rent a pontoon, paddleboat, kayak, canoe fishing boat or even paddleboard to beat the heat on the reservoir. The park’s wide-open spaces support a variety of on-land recreational activities. The park has 141 campgrounds on three sites, and all are pet-friendly. Birdwatchers, pack your binoculars – herons, turkey vultures, pelicans, hawks, falcons, and eagles call the park home this time of year, in addition to a variety of waterfowl. 

  • Visitors can take a stroll at the Overland Trail Recreation Area in Sterling. The multi-use trails are open to walkers, joggers, skaters and bicyclists of all ages and abilities. Dogs are welcome too, and often enjoy a swim in the fishing pond. Or, visitors can walk across the water on the 11-arch Rainbow Bridge that spans the South Platte River in Fort Morgan, the starting point of the Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic Byway. This iconic bridge was rededicated for pedestrians in the 1960s, who also enjoy Riverside Park on its south side. 

  • Birdwatchers can flock to Brush and take the Pawnee Grasslands Birding Tour on a smartphone, and follow the two-hour route to spot Ferruginous Hawks, Lark Buntings, Burrowing Owls, and maybe a majestic Golden Eagle. Bobwhite, quail, pheasants, lark buntings, waterfowl, and wild turkeys also inhabit game preserves in Brush, Weldon Valley, and at the Jean K. Tool State Wildlife Area. 

For more information about summer on Colorado’s northeastern plains, please visit exploresterling.com and morgancountytourism.com. Source: Colorado.com.

Colorado Summer Vacation Guide Additional Resources

Colorado Family Vacation Guide 2021

Denver Summer Activity Guide (200+ ideas)

Crested Butte’s Mountain Paradise for Families

Royal Gorge: The Ultimate Colorado Escape for Denver Families (with the coolest lodge in Colorado)

10 Best Places to Camp in Colorado

Kids Guide to Camping in Colorado’s Mountain Towns

Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions

25 great fishing ponds in Denver

15 Fun and Quirky Roadside Attractions in Colorado

Winter Park in the Summertime

Best of Summer – Visit Leadville and Twin Lakes 

Top 10 Summer Adventures for Colorado Families

2019 Summer Vacation in Colorado: 75+ ideas for families

Colorado Summer Vacation Guide

2019 Denver Summer Activity Guide (150+ ideas!)

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

 

 

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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