Tucked into the petticoats of Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs has been the quintessential tourist town since the 1870s, when visitors discovered the healing waters the Ute Indians had been drinking for years. Many of the town's mineral springs still function today and the water is free.
Besides healing waters, the cool mountain air was thought to be good for tuberculosis sufferers. Today, visitors still come for their mental health, as well as physical.
It's a laid-back kind of place where attitudes and clothes are casual, and the hottest thing going is Arcade Amusements, where you can still play pinball for a dime. Fun shops line the downtown main street and there are some great little restaurants. Look for locally made arts and crafts as you walk the town.
Lodging ranges from historic motels that served those first weary visitors, to fully restored and grand, elegant buildings. Historic mansion, Miramont Castle, is a must-see.
Of course, the overshadowing attraction is Pikes Peak itself, and in Manitou you can catch the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which slowly winds its way up the mountain to the 14,000-foot summit.
It's said the word Manitou means “great spirit,” and you'll certainly find that here.