August 2023 – Lake Granby Colorado is ideal for an RV trip, and we met several RVers from hundreds of miles away who were enjoying a summer beach vacation there. Lake Granby is picturesque, great for boating and kayaking, and is lined with small beaches and quiet coves that are perfect for a day in the sun.
We love it when our RV travels take us to places by the water. Although we had just come from a stay at Antero Reservoir and evenings alongside the Blue River, we soon fell in love with Lake Granby.
We often get our travel advice from fellow RVers who have just “been there and done that” at a cool place. And so it was with Lake Granby. I mentioned to an RVer back in Crested Butte that we were aiming for Rocky Mountain National Park, and her instant reaction was, “We always go to Lake Granby!”
I made a mental note and was surprised when the next RVer I mentioned Rocky Mountain National Park to said the same thing: “Don’t miss Lake Granby!”
With two solid recommendations, I started studying the map. In no time, I met a third RVer whose response to “Rocky Mountain National Park?” was a simple, “Lake Granby!”
Lake Granby and Arapaho Bay (a long narrow tail of the lake at the east end) both have several USFS campgrounds on or near the shore. There are also two other similarly sized lakes nearby that have waterfront USFS campgrounds as well: Shadow Mountain Lake and Grand Lake. So, there are all kinds of shoreside RV camping options in the area.
Traveling early in the week, and showing up before 10:00 a.m., we were able to snag a campsite. The name of the game at any of these lakes in the summertime is either to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance, or to show up early in the week AND early in the day for one of the few first-come-first-serve campsites, and start scouting!
Lake Granby is a perfect spot for a summer beach vacation. Not only were there waterskiers flying by at top speed, sailboats tacking placidly in zig-zags and kayaks and paddle boards floating around near the water’s edge, there were fishermen catching dinner from the shore.
One evening, a fellow RVer and new friend knocked on our door holding out a plate full of delicious crappie (pronounced “croppy”). His day of fishing had been so successful, he and his wife couldn’t finish it all! We’d never had crappie before, and it was absolutely delicious!
Human fishermen aren’t the only people reeling in fish at Lake Granby, however. Some resident osprey who have set up housekeeping on top of human-erected nesting poles around the lake were out at dawn each morning catching breakfast for their broods. We heard their piercing calls all around the lake all day long!
Early in the morning, Lake Granby is wonderfully calm. We walked along the thin strip of beach and breathed deeply. The water and air were perfectly still.
Then, a soft zephyr blew across the water’s surface, making ripples of sunlight dance on the sand in the depths.
This reminded me so much of my childhood days spent playing on a very calm beach on Massachusetts’ north shore. The movement of the sun’s rays through the water always fascinated me. I was tickled to capture it with my camera here in Colorado!
Our dear pup, Buddy, was busy making his own special memories on the beach. He trotted happily on the sand.
Faster than a speeding bullet…able to leap tall driftwood in a single bound, he dashed back and forth with sheer delight.
Lake Granby is a very big lake, and at one end we found a pretty sailboat bobbing at anchor in front of a mountainous backdrop. There’s also a marina that has a lot of sailboats lined up at the docks and many more moored out in the bay.
Late in the afternoon, the setting sun peeked through the trees on a trail down to the beach, casting light and shadow through the woods.
The sunsets at Lake Granby were wonderful. We went to a different part of the shore each afternoon, never knowing what kind of sunset might materialize.
Buddy loved these outings and waited patiently while we fussed with our cameras.
What a beautiful lake this is!
I don’t know if it happens every year, but this summer the late afternoon monsoon activity was intense in this part of Colorado. Each afternoon the clouds would build until the sky grew dark. Then the wind would suddenly pick up, and it would pour!
This pattern of calm sunny mornings transforming into stormy wet afternoons was surprisingly consistent. Equally consistent, though, was the sunshine that pierced through the clouds after the rain ended, just before dusk. It often creating a dramatic sunset that began with shades of gold that faded to orange and finally deepened to a rich pink.
Nights along the shores of Lake Granby were magical too. Lights from the homes on the far shore shone across the water, and stars filled the sky above.
We were fortunate to be there during the new moon, and I was determined to see the Milky Way tumbling into the lake. So, I snuck out of the trailer very late one night. Mark wished me well in a muffled voice as he pulled the covers over his head!
When I got to the beach, the scene was ideal. The Milky Way filled the sky and the lake was smooth and calm below it.
I stayed out on the beach for quite a while, and the Milky Way slowly walked across the sky, moving from left to right as it always does.
It was eerie being out on the beach by myself in the pitch dark. Suddenly, the wind began to blow and waves noisily lapped the shore by my feet. A few steps away, a swimming dock creaked and groaned in the growing swell.
I tried to ignore the noises and focus on my photos, telling myself there was nothing to fear. But suddenly I heard a loud bark right behind me! I jumped and felt a shiver of goose bumps ran up my spine. Fumbling for my flashlight, I swung it in the direction of the noise, but there was nothing there. Of course!
I told myself it was okay and turned back to the task at hand even though my hands were shaking.
When I got back to the trailer, I dove under the covers, safe and sound.
Astrophotography always has its thrills and chills and funny stories that come from tromping around in the pitch dark on moonless nights. However, those little frights are always worth it.
My favorite photos of the stars reveal the calmness and certainty of the infinite, something most easily seen in the night sky. It is the true backdrop of our lives.
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More info about Lake Granby:
- Lake Granby Tourist Info – Visit Grand Country website
- More Lake Granby Tourist Info – Destination Granby website
- Camping options near Lake Granby – Uncover Colorado website
- Location of Lake Granby – Google Maps
More places where we’ve found summertime fun:
- A Summer RV Road Trip on Florida’s Northern Gulf Coast
- Cedar Breaks National Monument – Wild Skies & Summer Storms
- Chelan, Washington – Summertime Fun and Great Music!
- How to Beat the Summer Heat in an RV
- McCall, Idaho – Summer Beach Fun on Pretty Payette Lake
- Summer Fun in Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains
- Summer RV Fun in New York and Virginia – in Motorhome Magazine!
Some of the great beaches we’ve visited:
- Costalegre: Casa Maguey – Kindred spirits in a beachfront villa
- Costalegre: Manzanillo’s Santiago & Playa La Boquita – Beach Fun!
- Huatulco’s Santa Cruz Bay – great beaches & a cute harbor village – Paradise!
- Huatulco’s Villa Escondida – A beach bonfire with new friends
- McCall, Idaho – Summer Beach Fun on Pretty Payette Lake
- Northern Florida – Beach, Swamps & Pools
- PV: 2013 Kiteboard World Cup – Here on the beach!
- Sarasota, Florida – Life on the Waterfront
- Sharks and Snakes on the Beach in Florida!
- Surfing the dinghy = Crash landings on the beach!
Our most recent posts:
- 20 Years Later! Hassayampa Inn and The Dells 02/23/24
- Northwest Passage Scenic Byway (US-12) RV Trip 01/12/24
- Christmas Traditions Past and Present – Lebkuchen! 12/24/23
- Sego Canyon, Utah – Hidden Histories of Vanished People! 12/08/23
- 50 RV Gift Ideas for Your Beloved RVer (or RV!) 11/24/23
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