Fruita is a town of about 14,000 residents that’s located in west-central Colorado’s Mesa County, just west of Grand Junction along Interstate 70.
The area was home to the Ute Native Americans for generations before it was officially settled in the 1880s, and it’s just a few miles from the neighboring state of Utah to the west.
Fruita and the rugged country nearby are popular with outdoor enthusiasts and all-around lovers of wide-open spaces and the great outdoors.
There is an impressive variety of attractions in Fruita, ranging from historic sites and museums to golf courses and plenty of dining options.
Below are 14 things to do in and around Fruita, Colorado.
1. Adobe Creek National Golf Course
In a world of 18-hole golf courses, Adobe Creek National Golf Course stands out because it offers three distinct 9-hole sections that can be played in a variety of ways.
Adobe Creek has famously inexpensive greens fees. For those who’ll be in the area for a while, it’s possible to buy season passes that are valid from the first to the last day of the year.
The course is known for its well-manicured greens and fairways, stunning views, and reasonably priced carts and items in the pro shop.
Tee times may be booked online; if you’re playing during peak times, it’s the best way to reserve your spot before they reach maximum capacity.
2. Hot Tomato Pizzeria
Located on Mulberry Street in Fruita, Hot Tomato Pizza is much loved for its fresh dough that’s made on-site daily.
In a world of pizza restaurants that have their dough delivered by truck every few days, it’s an expensive and time-consuming way of ensuring the best quality pizzas, but loyal customers agree that it’s well worth it.
Diehard pizza fans have characterized their pizza as a winning mix of traditional and contemporary, but since they make limited amounts of dough every day, they can run out on busy days.
Consider dining before the regular lunch crowd to avoid being left with an empty stomach.
3. James M. Robb Colorado River State Park – Fruita Section
The Colorado River is one of the state’s premier outdoor recreation draws and offers year-round options for kayakers and nature lovers.
The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park in Fruita is comprised of five distinct sections, including islands, treed areas, and more than a few fantastic rock formations.
During the warm months, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming are popular pastimes. The fishing can be good year-round, and often heats up as the temperature drops and inclement weather moves in.
The park’s amenities include abundant multi-use trails, a playground, and a variety of picnic areas.
4. Camilla’s Kaffe
Exhilarating activities in nature have a way of producing big appetites; for those who find themselves in Fruita with empty tanks, Camilla’s Kaffe is the perfect place to dine.
Camilla’s is located on East Aspen Street in town and is open for breakfast and lunch.
Their menu includes lots of traditional favorites, like hearty breakfasts, sandwiches, and Mexican food. They’ve got a variety of options appropriate for vegans and those who are intolerant to gluten.
Camilla’s is also a big hit with lovers of great coffee, and according to east coast visitors, they’ve got bagels that rival those in New York.
5. Museum of Western Colorado – Dinosaur Journey
Much of the Rocky Mountain State is covered with age-old skeletons and fossils of dinosaurs that roamed the area eons ago.
The Museum of Western Colorado – Dinosaur Journey is an inexpensive attraction that gives visitors a unique look into the past that they won’t find elsewhere.
Lifelike robot dinosaurs that move and make authentic noises are big hits with little ones, and the museum sports an impressive collection of genuine bones too.
Most guests end up spending about an hour in the museum, and though it’s not the largest facility in the world, it’s often one of the most memorable attractions on many visitor’s itineraries.
6. McInnis Canyons Conservation Area
Comprised of more than 120,000 acres, McInnis Canyons Conservation Area lies in the state’s high desert along its border with Utah.
The land is characterized by majestic rock formations, stratified rock, and deep canyons that are among the state’s most photographed attractions.
The area has been continuously excavated over the years, yielding both Native American artifacts and fossilized dinosaur bones.
These days, it’s a big draw for outdoorsy types interested in spending quality time with Mother Nature.
The conservation area includes multi-use trails that range from relatively flat and easy to steep and demanding, and there are several petroglyphs scattered throughout the park as well.
7. Rib City
From burgers and steaks to barbecue and brisket, Colorado residents have always been big fans of beef.
Rib City is located on Kokopelli Boulevard in Fruita and is well-known as a comfortable and family-friendly restaurant that offers hefty portions of country-style barbecue at prices that won’t break the bank.
Their menu includes all the traditional barbecue favorites you’d expect, like pulled pork and their namesake baby back ribs, but they also have non-barbecue options like fried fish and salads.
There are a number of homemade sauce options available on each table, and many visitors find themselves eating at Rib City over and over while visiting the area.
8. Colorado National Monument
Located on Rim Rock Drive in Fruita, the Colorado National Monument is one of the state’s most iconic natural attractions. For amateur photographers looking to capture the essence of Colorado, there’s no better place to do it.
The monument is famous for its spire-like rock formations that tower over the ground below, and there is an abundance of deep gorges, narrow canyons, and stunning vistas of the surrounding country as well.
For those who’d rather take it in from the comfort of a car, Rim Rock Drive runs for more than 20 miles through the park, and there are some pullouts that offer spectacular views.
9. Kokopelli’s Trail
Running for nearly 150 miles through a unique collection of stunning natural environments in both Colorado and Utah, Kokopelli’s Trail is one of the American west’s largest and most memorable trails. It starts in Loma, Colorado, just a short drive from Fruita.
The trail is used by mountain bikers, backpackers, and wildlife enthusiasts. It’s open year-round and offers camping areas for those whose treks will last multiple days.
It’s common to see elk, fox, and even the occasional bear along the trail, especially in the lowlight morning and afternoon hours when they’re usually most active.
10. Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial
The Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial is free to visit and conveniently located. Though it won’t take long to soak it all in, it’s often one of the most poignant sites visited by those traveling through the Fruita area.
The site’s centerpiece is the massive Vietnam-era Huey helicopter that’s perched in front of the memorial as if frozen in time.
The memorial commemorates those who served during the conflict, including many who were killed, went missing in action, and spent years in harsh POW camps before being freed.
All branches of the armed forces are represented, and most guests spend about a half-hour on-site.
11. Cavalcade Performing Arts Center
Cavalcade Performing Arts Center is located on East Aspen Avenue in Fruita. It is one of the area’s premier live entertainment venues and offers dramatic theater, music, comedy, and recitals throughout the year.
The center is a not-for-profit organization that’s largely staffed by local volunteer production staff and performers. It’s an inexpensive option for those who’ve had their fill of the state’s natural attractions and often harsh weather.
The center is located in the historic downtown area, and there are a number of nearby restaurants and bars that are the perfect places to relax and dine before or after a show.
12. Rattlesnake Canyon
Colorado is full of mysterious and majestic canyons of all shapes and sizes, and for diehard explorers and fearless backcountry hikers, Rattlesnake Canyon is one of the most accessible.
It’s located inside the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and is just a stone’s throw from one of the state’s largest clusters of natural arches.
For those who’d rather not hike for miles to reach the canyon, there are access roads just outside town. For fit and surefooted hikers, there’s a moderately difficult seven-mile trail that can get slick and treacherous during periods of snow and ice.
13. Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area
Many visitors from other parts of the country are surprised to learn that herds of wild horses still roam the Colorado countryside. For travelers who’d like to get a look at the impressive animals, there’s no better place to do it than Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area.
The viewing area is just a ten-minute drive from Grand Junction and is comprised of nearly 40,000 acres of rugged, undeveloped land, including canyons, prairies, and plateaus.
There are many trails leading to different areas from where sightings are relatively common, but the roads are only open seasonally, so consider visiting between May and November.
14. Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
Despite having a short growing season and rocky soil, Colorado is home to some unique botanical gardens.
The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens are located on Struthers Avenue in Grand Junction and includes 15 idyllic acres. You’ll find a number of distinctly themed areas that feature both native and exotic species of flowers, plants, and trees.
Each area is connected by well-marked paths, and there are shaded seating areas along the way.
The cactus and succulent gardens and koi pond are among the favorite attractions, and the staff hosts a variety of special programs throughout the year as well.