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5 things to do in Fort Collins before classes start

Whether or not you spent your summer abroad on the beaches of Fiji or working a sophisticated summer internship, the last weeks of the break shouldn’t be wasted. Classes are soon to start up again, and if you’re in Fort Collins, there’s still a list of things to do before returning back to your regular schedule. 

Here are five things to do in or near Fort Collins before classes start.


  1. Go on a last-minute camping trip

You don’t have to travel five hours away to experience time off the grid; in fact, there are several campgrounds less than an hour away, such as Mishawaka and Lory State Park. Camping with friends is a great way to blow off steam, get some time in nature and find some great hikes. If you plan a trip on a cloudless night, you’ll also get a firsthand glimpse of the Colorado starry sky. 

  1. Do some water sports 

Water sports aren’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, there are many local places that offer white water rafting or tubing adventures. Mountain Whitewater and Rocky Mountain Adventures offer both equipment and guides for rafting down the Poudre River, so you can gather a group and participate in the fun. For the more water-acquainted folks, you can DIY your own trip down the river and just buy or rent inner tubes. If you do decide to plan a trip on your own, make sure you bring two cars to park above and below the river so you don’t have to walk all the way back up the riverside. 

  1. Take a trip to the beach

Though there aren’t any beaches in Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir has the closest thing to a seashore. A daily parking fee is $9 for the entire day, so bring some friends, towels and a swimsuit, hike down to the bank and get that tan you’ve been wanting all summer. 

  1. Picnic and a movie 

The Holiday Twin Drive-In and the Lyric Cinema both offer the outdoor movie experience, but you won’t have the opportunity to watch a sunset and a movie at the same time for much longer. This is one of those seasonal opportunities that can’t be missed, and the Colorado warm summer nights are the perfect atmosphere for a picnic and a movie. If large crowds aren’t for you, outdoor projectors are a great investment for your patio or backyard for you, your friends and your family to enjoy your favorite films. 

  1. Get a new look

After a three-month break, there’s nothing better than coming back to classes with an updated wardrobe. Online shopping has been known to drain people’s bank accounts, so your best bet is to look no further than Fort Collins’ thrift and consignment shops. Repeat Boutique and Flamingo Boutique are just a couple of examples of some of the local recycled clothing stores that cater to all kinds of styles. For people who aren’t as interested in thrifting, there are several clothing stores and boutiques in Old Town Square that you can spend your summer paycheck on. 

Elena Waldman can be reached at or on Twitter @WaldmanElena. 

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