Your Guide to the Perfect Mini-Moon in Grand Junction, CO

For many couples, taking a long honeymoon isn’t possible after the wedding. But spending some alone time with your new spouse is essential, even if only for a few days. Enter the concept of a mini-moon: a shorter romantic getaway for some well-deserved relaxation after all the wedding festivities. Whether your style is spending the weekend enjoying the outdoors, immersing yourselves in local art and culture, or just a long weekend with no set itinerary, Grand Junction is the perfect spot for a romantic trip to Colorado’s Western Slope. You’ll find breathtaking scenery in every direction, adorable B&Bs, delicious farm-to-table restaurants, and convenient access to a variety of in-town and out-in-nature activities.

Of course, you don’t need a wedding as an excuse to visit this scenic part of Colorado—Grand Junction is the perfect destination any time you both need some time away together. Here, find some inspiration for your trip.

Where to Stay

 
 
 
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Grand Junction offers many lodging options to choose from, including several chain hotels off I-70 near the Grand Junction airport. But for a truly memorable and intimate experience, consider some of the town’s more unique lodgings.

The Chateau at Two Rivers is a family-owned and -operated winery on 15 acres in the beautiful Redlands area. The owners, who are from the Western Slope, love chatting with guests and sharing their recommendations for local restaurants and things to do. Meanwhile, the country-chic Wine Country Inn evokes a chateau lifted right from the French countryside, with 10 upscale rooms that offer a distinctly European vibe.

 
 
 
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Closer to downtown, the Historic Melrose Hotel is loaded with Victorian charm. The 18 rooms are outfitted with hand-picked antiques, giving each one a different personality. The back patio is just the spot to soak up the afternoon sun with views of the Colorado Monument in the distance.

For a wonderfully relaxing weekend in a lovingly restored farmhouse, try Willow Pond Bed & Breakfast, a four-room property just minutes from town that features a pond and beautiful willow tree on the grounds—a must-do for a photo. And two beloved staples of a romantic getaway—a cozy fireplace and two-person jetted bathtub, anyone?—are standard features at Castle Creek Bed & Breakfast, a five-room b&b that opened in 2004.

What to Do

 
 
 
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Maybe your idea of the perfect mini-moon means three straight days of ordering room service and snuggling with your betrothed—which is perfectly acceptable. But if you’re up for making some fun memories together, Grand Junction is just the spot, no matter how active you’re feeling. Here are a few recommended options.

Visit a Winery: Home to more than 25 wineries and vineyards, the Western Slope has become a hub for award winning wineries. Spend an afternoon wine tasting, book a wine tour, or plan your trip during the annual Colorado Mountain Winefest in September.

Go for a Hike or Bike Ride: One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Colorado National Monument, with hiking trails ranging in distance from a quarter mile to 14 miles. Whichever route you choose, make sure you stop for a picture at the Kissing Couple rock formation.

 
 
 
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There are also hiking trails weaving through the Grand Mesa, where temperatures can be up to 20 degrees cooler than in town on a toasty summer day.

If cycling is more your speed, there are plenty of options as well. Biking isn’t permitted on the trails at the Colorado National Monument, but Rim Rock Drive is a popular road cycling route. To explore on your mountain bikes, try the 23-plus miles at the Lunch Loops, where you’ll find something for most levels of riders.

Explore Downtown (Hand-in-Hand Optional): Downtown Grand Junction is filled with interesting shops that are perfect for leisurely browsing together. Sweet-toothed types shouldn’t miss a stop at The Candy Time Shoppe, which is overflowing with old-fashioned treats like saltwater taffy as well as hand-made Colorado chocolates. Board Fox Games & Coffee is a quirky shop/community gathering place for the board game lovers—and the perfect place to pick out a game you’ll be playing together for years. Finally, Crafts & More is the best place to pick up a unique souvenir to remember this special time in your shared lives.

Get Your Art Fix: While exploring downtown, you can also get a taste of Grand Junction’s thriving arts scene. One especially notable initiative is a year-round outdoor sculpture exhibit, Art on the Corner, one of the first of its kind in the country. Established in 1984, the free display includes more than 100 sculptures in a variety of mediums and styles and has been recognized and replicated all over the world. Grand Junction’s art community also is showcased the First Friday of every month, when many galleries stay open late and offer food, drinks, and special events like live demos.

You can also check out the Art Center, which houses exhibits from Western Slope art and artists, including Native American artifacts, or the Avalon Theatre, which has been a Main Street mainstay since 1923.

Take a Step Back in Time: History buffs will love the Dinosaur Journey Museum and the Museum of the West. The Dinosaur Journey Museum displays regional artifacts from the heart of dinosaur country and has more than 15,000 specimens. The Museum of the West focuses on the human history of the area, with exhibits that include pottery from Ancestral Puebloans and an old stagecoach.

Where to Eat

 
 
 
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After a day of exploring—or relaxing—you’re bound to get hungry. Luckily, Grand Junction has some wonderful dining options, many of which feature a hyper-local focus. For a true farm-to-table meal, book a table at 626 on Rood, where Chef Theo Otte incorporates flavors from Southern Europe, Latin American, and Asia to make tasty modern dishes. Another scrumptious choice: Bin 707 Foodbar, whose philosophy is “local first, Colorado second, domestic third,” and it shows in every meal.

You can’t find more authentic Italian than at il Bistro Italiano, where traditional family recipes from Northern Italy make up the menu. Located in a 100-year-old building that was once a horse-drawn fire station, The Winery offers a deliciously romantic setting, with a wood and brick interior featuring stained-glass windows. Walk hand-in-hand through a gas lamp-lighted alleyway and take in the unique history of this restaurant.

Craving a more casual setting? Kannah Creek Brewing Company or Pufferbelly Station Restaurant both fit the bill. Kannah Creek features 15 award-winning craft beers from their own brewery, complemented by unfussy fare like salads, pizzas, and sandwiches. At the Pufferbelly Station Restaurant, most dishes are made from scratch, and their gooey cinnamon rolls, which many locals claim are the best in town, are perfect for sharing.

There’s no wrong way to spend your mini-moon in Grand Junction—this list includes just a few suggestions to inspire your getaway. To get started planning your trip, download or request our full Visitors Guide to learn more about all the Western Slope has to offer.

Written by Abbie Mood for Matcha in partnership with City of Grand Junction.