Grand Lake is America's Most Authentic Town

Wood-planked sidewalks, funky Western restaurants, and friendly folks with wide smiles and cowboy hats pushed Grand Lake to the top of the list.

The most authentic town in America as rated by the World Property Journal in 2014 is on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Grand Lake, Colo., won the distinction because of its rustic downtown, natural beauty, and its residents.

"Imagine a tiny town of a few hundred, sitting on the shore of a huge alpine lake surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Then, imagine that this town has wood-planked sidewalks, funky Western restaurants, friendly folks with wide smiles and cowboy hats, fresh mountain air, craftspeople in colorful old studios, quaint bookshops and galleries, first-class live theater, and, oh, yes - the [western] entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park," writes the Journal. "If you're lucky, you might even see a 2,000-pound bull moose on shore."

We at agree. And yes, we have the moose video to prove that last bit.

Above: Grand Lake Colorado in autumn courtesy of Below: Downtown Grand Lake.

What towns did Grand Lake, Colo., beat out? Here's the line-up.

1. Grand Lake, Colo.
2. Wallace, Idaho
3. Cody, Wyo. (Another national park gateway town)
4. Floyd, Va.
5. Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
6. Winter Park, Colo. (just down the road from Grand Lake)
7. Elkhart Lake, Wis.
8. Bryson City, N.C.
9. Fredericksburg,Texas
10. Woodstock, N.Y.


Sunrise reflection at Grand Lake, Colo.

Grand Lake at the West Entrance Town to Rocky Mountain National Park

Grand Lake, Colo. is located just one mile from the West Entrance of the park and is home to the largest and deepest natural alpine lake in the state.

Kids boating in Grand Lake, Colo.

Fun on the Water in Grand Lake, Colorado

Surrounded by the historic town and Rocky Mountains that tumble to its shores, Grand Lake offers a ton of lake activities during the summer.

Sunset at Lily Lake

Lily Lake High-hazard Dam Receiving Repairs

Lily Lake, a popular hiking and fishing destination on Colorado's Highway 7 (part of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway), is beginning repair on a dam this week that was rated "high-hazard" by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Western Riviera in Grand Lake

Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging in Grand Lake, Colorado

The only lakeside hotel and cabins overlooking Grand Lake, Colorado. Five styles of lodging to choose from including two private vacation homes.


Fallen Wolverine Traveled to Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks

A wolverine was killed in April 2016 after traveling hundreds of miles from Grand Teton to Rocky Mountain National Park and finally to North Dakota.

Kayaking on Grand Lake in Grand County Colorado

Grand Adventures in Grand County, Colorado

Leaning up against the national park's west side, Grand County offers unparalleled outdoor opportunities without the crowds most ski towns have.

Sunset at Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Lakes Inside Rocky Mountain National Park

The park is chocked-full of lakes due to the large glaciers that carved out deep canyons and cirques, while leaving teardrops behind.

Chasm Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park and sunset at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Win a Colorado Road Trip Vacation

Go from guided hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park to sandboarding the drifts in Great Sand Dunes National Park, with stops for hot springs, lakes and river rafting.

Christmas lights downtown

Rocky Mountain Winter Holiday Activities

Estes Park, Grand Lake, and Denver, Colorado glow with Christmas and New Year cheer.