Free Range Tourism


Agriculture abounds on the plains of Colorado. In agriculture, "free-range" is a method of farming husbandry where the animals can roam freely outdoors in the open space, under the stars, with an opportunity for extensive exploration. For visitors, "free-range tourism" is exploring wide-open spaces, safe activities, and outdoor fun like birding, boating and more.

northsterling 94 verdon tomajko with cpw

Road Trip Colorado Vacation Ideas

If you are looking for Colorado vacation ideas in the open space with room to roam, come on a Northeast Colorado road trip where you can roam freely and set your own pace. While we’re certainly not saying that travelers are anything like a bunch of livestock, visitors to Logan County can indeed enjoy the concept of free-range just as much.

roping at fair 2

In fact, we want you to experience the wide-open, the big sky, the quiet roadways, the slower way of life, all on your own. You won’t have to wait in a long line or sit in a traffic jam. You’ll be able to escape and explore as you see fit, without any expectations other than going back home with a truly authentic free-range experience.

Whether you’re planning a Colorado road trip to Sterling or are just passing through Logan County, there is plenty to see and do if you want to roam freely.


birding binoculars1. Go Birding. Look for more than 340 bird species, including the unusual sightings of the Eastern Towhee, Least Tern, or Red Crossbill, when birding on the plains. Eagles are pretty popular along the South Platte River and other bodies of water. BONUS: Enjoy many unspoiled walking and hiking trails in the various high-quality birding spots for other wildlife viewing or peaceful thought-gathering.

herman global giraffes downtown

2. Discover Imagination. From an ample supply of fine art in prominent galleries and numerous murals in both Sterling and Merino, to a self-guided tour of 14 tree sculptures by renowned artist Bradford Rhea (making Sterling the “City of Living Trees”) and metal art creations popping up in several parks and other public spaces, Logan County is the art and culture center for northeast Colorado. BONUS: Pick up a guide and walk to view some of the 26 historical buildings in downtown and residential Sterling.

girl lake

3. Get Outside. North Sterling State Park reservoir is a prime warm-water fishery best known for the excellent wiper, walleye and catfish, while the 3,000-acres of surface water provides a fascinating array of flats and coves to explore, whether it be by speed boat, rented pedal boat or a moonlight pontoon cruise. The park’s majestic bluffs backdrop the many camping sites and a tucked-away swim beach. BONUS: Located 15 miles from everywhere, the park serves up extraordinary star gazing in peaceful silence.

p l

4. Make Connections. Make Sterling’s charming town square the starting point to connect with your roots or connect with the locals as you discover the quaint gems that ooze small-town Americana. Sample local flavors (including a craft beer made with locally grown wheat at the brewery or hand-blended seasonings at the spice shop) and events (such as summer concerts and festivals on the grass) before leisurely walking to retire at a boutique motel. BONUS: Step around the block to visit the Sterling Creatives/Artist Coop where you just might see a potter at work on her wheel.

sterling cc 130426 hardin dsc3522

5. Time Travel. Recording the greatest migration of people our country has ever experienced, the massive museum complex in Sterling presents the history of the Overland Trail. Visitors will enjoy a stroll back to a simpler time as they walk through the shady courtyard and bask in the ambiance of the turn-of-the-century village with its 15 buildings. BONUS: Don’t miss seeing the two-headed calf in the 1910 big red barn, then hop across the road to the Logan County Visitor Center to find more things to do and see!


1.     Catch a movie and popcorn at the Fox 5 Theater

2.     Breathe in our fresh air and wide-open spaces

little girl w ice cream

3.     Feel like a kid with a double scoop at Simkins Parlour

4.     Park under the stars

5.     Arrange a tour at one of the country’s few carnival ride factories

6.     Get on the Pawnee Pioneer Trails Scenic & Historic Byway

boys fishing on pond 2

7.     Drop a line at the Overland Trail Recreation Area

8.     Look for the pronghorn antelope racing across the prairie

9.     Eat with the locals at J & L Cafe

10.   Schedule a visit to Bradford Rhea’s studio where he created the walking stick gifted to Pope John Paul II by President Bill Clinton

fort morgan 160827 hardin dsc4833

11.   Head out for some road cycling and gravel riding

12.   Be a picker at some of the antique shops and markets in the area

13.   Splash in the outdoor water park and swimming pool

14.   Order a specialty burger at Hootenannie’s Pub

15.   Quiet down in a comfy chair at the spacious Sterling Public Library

north sterling sp 130518 hardin dsc0300

16.   Venture out to see a wind farm in operation

17.   Count your steps around one of  Sterling’s many beautiful parks

18.   Swig a local brew at the Parts & Labor Brewing Company

19.   Watch one of our beautiful sunrises

20.   Get a strike at Ice Lanes Bowling Alley

cute kids eating cookie at fair

21.   Kick up your boots - or eat a blue-ribbon cookie! - at the county fair

22.   Test your skills at the Logan County Shooting Sports Complex

23.   Grab a Frito pie at the beloved Baja Tacos

24.   Hit the links at one of our three golf courses (Yes, even in February!)

25.   Enjoy a scenic drive through the Chimney Canyons territory

disc golf 3 2

26.   Catch a game of disc golf at Pioneer Park

27.   Learn about the historical country schools that dotted the once barren landscape (monuments mark the locations)

28.   Get physical at the Sterling Recreation Center

29.   Sit on the shore of Prewitt Reservoir and watch hundreds of pelicans gather

30.   Lick your fingers at the Hot Spot Smokehouse

north sterling state park boat slips at sunset

(Photo Courtesy North Sterling State Park)

WHERE TO EAT Logan County's culinary culture includes down-home favorites at local diners, and unique cuisine and signature specialties at our restaurants.

WHERE TO STAY Accommodations in Sterling range from a quaint boutique motel to modern hotels in beautiful settings. Travelers who prefer recreational vehicles or tent camping will feel right at “home” at our campsite facilities.

STAY IN TOUCH Want to keep up with everything that Sterling has to offer? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get the latest news, deals and more delivered right to your inbox!

Sterling Newsletter Signup

Want to keep up with everything that Sterling has to offer? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and get the latest news, deals and more delivered right to your inbox!

We respect your privacy and you can easily unsubscribe at any time

Powered by ChronoForms -

Follow us on Facebook

Explore Sterling on Twitter

Find us on Instagram