Southern Wyoming may not be the first place that comes to mind for an unforgettable weekend retreat, but its close proximity to the Denver Metro area, hidden nooks of adventure, and surprisingly sophisticated lodgings provide a memorable and easy experience for anyone on the Front Range.

EAT | The best dining experience in the area can be had at The Bunkhouse. Perfect for the carnivore, the Bunkhouse serves up delicious steaks, burgers, and for the more adventurous eater, Rocky Mountain oysters. Ranked number 4 of 157 restaurants in Cheyenne on Trip Advisor, The Bunkhouse offers a fun and truly Western style ambiance with wagon wheels, flags, kerosene lanterns, guns, game trophies and more covering the walls and ceiling. Despite the name, technically, the restaurant doesn’t actually offer any lodging—but with a band stage, dance floor, booze and beer flowing liberally, there’ve been more than a few occasions when inebriated patrons were stashed in the sheep trailer parked out front in the interest of public safety. RVs are welcome to dry camp for a few nights. j.mp/BunkhouseBar

SLEEP | Just off of Happy Jack Rd., between Cheyenne and Laramie, sits Windy Hills Guest House. Blink, and you might miss the turn, but do not miss it. This gem, nestled right beside Curt Gowdy State Park (see below), is a unique bed-and-breakfast experience, offering laid back luxury amidst Wyoming’s vast prairie landscape. Book the spa house and gaze at the stars in your own private hot tub (clothing optional) or, for a more familial experience, bring your friends and share the Log House. Cooki, the inn’s owner, who greets you with fierce blue eyes and the warmest heart, has been serving up country hospitality here for over 20 years. The Windy Hills of Wyoming are ideal for a weekend getaway, retreat, or family reunion. windyhillsguesthouse.com

PLAY | We know, it’s December and you’re expecting some epic winter wonderland playground to be featured here while not quite sure how southern Wyoming is going to pull it off. Well, it’s not. Get this: n average December and January get less than half an inch of precipitation each and the highs hit around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool and dry? That’s perfect mountain biking weather and the aforementioned Curt Gowdy State Park is laced with an intricate web of spectacular trails that are suitable for all levels of riders. And if by chance the ground is covered in snow and the temps stay cool enough, you’re looking at a fat-bike haven. j.mp/CurtGowdySP

—Cameron Martindell