Though it's often overshadowed by world-renowned Vail, 8 miles away, and, to a lesser extent, Denver, 106 miles to the east, Avon, which sits at the base of Beaver Creek Ski Resort, holds its own as a destination unto itself.

This ski town in the Eagle River Valley has a full-time population of just more than 6,000 people, many of them employed at Vail and Beaver Creek. The land, part of the great legacy of the Rocky Mountains, was first inhabited by the Utes (Native American horsemen); starting in the 1880s, American settlers moved in and took control of the land. Among these settlers was George A. Townsend, who maintained a significant ranch, with agriculture and livestock, by which he was able to feed most of the mining industry in nearby Red Cliff. Avon was incorporated as an official town in 1982.

For modern-day visitors, a great amount of outdoor recreation opportunities exist, including skiing, hiking, kayaking, rafting, ice skating, pond hockey, and many more. At the 48-acre Harry A. Nottingham Park, you can rent a paddleboat with which to cruise the lake. The city's new Whitewater Park provides surfing and kayaking opportunities for water lovers of all skill levels; even landlubbers can enjoy this experience, since there's a viewing area from which to take it all in. If you're here strictly to ski, take the free Gondola Express shuttle bus to Avon Station, where you'll catch the high-speed gondola to Beaver Creek.

In addition to all of its outdoor allures, Avon offers some cultural niceties as well. Its town center is currently undergoing renovation to make it an even more pedestrian-friendly destination for shopping and dining. The May Gallery at Avon's Vilar Center for the Arts puts on excellent art shows of all media and genres. Tourists often notice Avon's plethora of public art on its streets and in its library, including the bronze statues on display throughout town.

To boot, a variety of other mountain towns are within an easy commute, including Aspen, Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs, and Steamboat Springs.