Have you visited Salida, Colorado lately? If you haven't, start making plans right now.

I was born in Grand Junction, and until last weekend, have never been to Salida. It's not that far down the road. Let me tell you, the town is magnificent. It's all there - rafting, music festivals, awesome downtown fun, everything you can think of.

The extended weekend warranted a trip to visit a buddy of mine from Colorado Springs. We decided to meet halfway in Salida. The town's Rotary hosted an incredible two-day music festival, Bluegrass on the Arkansas, on Saturday and Sunday. In this case, Arkansas refers to the Arkansas River, which is right on the edge of downtown.

Waylon Jordan

The festival was amazing. The town is amazing. The river is amazing. Are you starting to notice a certain sameness here?

Waylon Jordan

Seriously, you can park downtown, visit numerous restaurants and bars, and then walk a few feet to the river for the river walk, rafting, kayaking, the park, and music. Seriously, there's a boat launch located downtown.

Waylon Jordan

There are two things you'll notice right away: an abundance of people with dogs, and a shortage of bras. I would estimate half the population of Salida have dogs they take with them everywhere, and half of the female population goes bra-less. What I'm delicately trying to say is.... the town has a certain "hippie" vibe about it.

Here are my top five reasons why you should visit Salida right now.

  • The river walk itself is worth the trip
  • If you want to spend time on the river, this is the perfect place to go
  • Locally owned restaurants abound with well-above-par cuisine using local ingredients
  • You can park once, and enjoy everything. These features are all within a short walking distance of one another
  • You can have fun on a budget - prices are extremely reasonable

I don't want to create a commercial, but there are a few places I would like for you to visit. One would be Quincy's. This restaurant is open only a few hours of the day, and offer precisely one entree per day. During my visit, it was filet mignon. It came with a salad, bread, and baked potato. You could get the steak in several different sizes. In my case, the bill came to $10.99. Margaritas, which were huge, were $3.50. Seriously, where food was concerned, it's like visiting Las Vegas back in the 80's, before it went down the tubes.

Motels are of the "Motel 6" caliber, and can run a bit pricey during festivals. Book ahead; motels can definitely fill up during events.

Google Maps puts the drive at 188 miles, coming in at roughly three-and-a-half hours travel time. I made the drive in three hours, and that's driving like a little old lady. If you're leaving from Grand Junction, simply set a course for Montrose, turn to stay on 50 and head to Gunnison, and keep going until you hid Salida.

Salida is the perfect getaway. It's fairly close, inexpensive, and loaded with fun. You won't need a week. The next time a weekend rolls around, even if it's just two days, try to make this trip.