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4 Ways to See Colorado on a Shoestring

Trying to plan a Colorado vacation and worried that you won’t be able to afford it? If you’re looking at $300-a-night hotels and activities that start at $100 per person, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by sticker shock. Whether you’ve thrown up your hands in despair or you’re torn about where to cut back, it might be time to rethink what you imagine your summer vacation in Colorado will look like. There are plenty of travel options that won’t strain your wallet – you might even find you’ve got some cash left over for a nice dinner, some fun souvenirs or even a day to splurge on the luxury hotel and activities. Here are four vacation themes that will allow you to avoid breaking the bank:

1. The Colorado Art Vacation:

Art Festivals and First Fridays ColoradoIf you’re planning on visiting Colorado’s cities, one of the best ways to stay within your budget is to take in the local art scene. First Fridays occur throughout the state, offering free access to art exhibits and museums. If your schedule is flexible, book your trip to Colorado during a nearby art festival and you’ll get to peruse dozens or even hundreds of top artists displaying their works without the price of admission. Hoping to try your own hand at art? Look into local classes…or go completely free and head to the nearest scenic overlook to snap photos of the stunning Rocky Mountains. If you have your own supplies, you could also try your hand at painting the mountains, alpine meadows, and local wildlife.

2. The Colorado Culture Vacation: 

Colorado Culture VacationWant to see the best of what makes Colorado truly unique? There’s no shortage of affordable or free cultural activities that will let you see the best of the state on your vacation. Look up breweries that are located close to your Colorado destination and find out if they offer tours. Many brewery tours are free or provide free samples or pints. Not a beer drinker? Check out Colorado’s wineries or the up-and-coming distilleries across the state. For a trip back in time, head to nearby historic sites, downtown historical districts, or consider taking a historical walking tour. You’ll leave with a whole new perspective. After a day of exploring, head to nearby hot springs - while establishments with amenities will charge for use, some rural hot springs are free to access so be sure to ask at your local visitor center.

3. The Colorado Nature Vacation: 

Colorado Vistas and NatureOne of the top reasons visitors flock to Colorado is to experience the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Fortunately, much of the wilds of Colorado are free to access with many areas also free for camping. A little advance research can help you put together a low budget trip through some of the most beautiful regions in the country for no more than the cost of getting there. Consider planning several days of hikes – tackle a 14er, head to that spot known for abundant wildlife or “splurge” and spend a few dollars to access a state or national park. At the end of the day, retire to a nearby campsite and enjoy the clear, cool Colorado air as the sun sets.

4. The Colorado Road Trip Vacation:

Colorado Road TripWant to explore all of the different environments that Colorado has to offer? There’s nothing like a cross-state road trip to make you feel like you’ve lived it up without spending a ton. Check out Colorado’s scenic byways for some of the best views of the Rockies, then swing through Boulder’s Pearl Street or Main Street Breckenridge for a change of scenery. To truly minimize your expenses, grab a bike instead of climbing into the car. Colorado is a cyclist’s Mecca, and you’ll have no problem seeing some of the best sights in the state.

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