Set beside the Colorado River and the rugged landscape of Colorado National Monument, Fruita is an under-the-radar mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you and your family are avid backcountry bikers or enjoy casual kid-friendly hikes, tubing and stargazing, the expansive trails and picturesque views of this funky Colorado town are major selling points.

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Just outside the city is the Rabbit Valley Trail Through Time, which leads visitors on an exploration of 140-million-year-old fossils. The historic Rim Rock Drive — a 23-mile long drive with breath-taking views of red rock canyons — lets you take in the scenery without breaking a sweat. And don’t overlook Highline Lake State Park — a popular camping spot with two lakes — or Dinosaur Hill where kids can learn about the giant Brontosaurus recovered there in 1901.

Part of the Grand Junction metro area, Fruita has plenty to do indoors as well. The Orbit Art Space features paintings, sculptures and photography from local artists while the Fruita Community Center houses a climbing wall, swimming pool with a slide, spa and more. The downtown is full of locally-owned shops and restaurants, like the Lithic Bookstore and Gallery, which regularly hosts literary readings and live music, and The Hot Tomato, an East Coast style pizzeria. With easy access to the outdoors and a lively community, it’s no surprise that Fruita is primed for growth: The city is expected to see a 5% jump in its job market over the next few years, while Fruita’s poverty level remains among the lowest on our list.

Outdoor music festival in Fruita
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