What To Do In Estes Park On A Budget


If you follow me on Patreon, you would know by my weekly recaps that I recently went on vacation to Estes Park, Colorado. Technically, it wasn't a vacation but a two-week course my boyfriend was taking to become a wilderness first responder. However, I decided to tag along because, well, it's Colorado. While a few hurdles crossed our path during these two weeks, we mostly had a fantastic time enjoying the beautiful mountains and taking in everything this small town has to offer.

One thing we did have to be wary of was our budget. With Christmas around the corner and all the expenses that went into the class, we didn't have as much money to play around with that we would have liked to have had. That being said, we still did everything on our list (and more) without breaking the bank. If you are thinking of taking a trip to Estes Park (seriously, you should be thinking about it), then I have a budget-friendly guide for you to follow.


Lodging
There is hotels, cabins, and houses that you can rent out almost everywhere you turn in this town. Being a tourist trap of a place (located in the mountains, ski resort, and much more), they don't fall short of places to hang your hat. Most people know Estes Park for the infamous hotel that is The Stanley (the hotel that inspired the movie The Shining). However, their cheap rooms are still too expensive for most.

We stayed at the Coyote Mountain Lodge. Since we were there for two weeks, we went for cheap over everything else. While it might not be a five-star hotel, it gave us everything we needed. The rooms are incredibly cheap, it is a mile away from everything you need, and it comes with all the needs (fridge, wifi, coffee pot). You might not be living in luxury, but most people would rather spend money on other things than where they spend the night.

Food and Drink
My boyfriend and I always get coffee and breakfast wherever we go. We have found that different coffee spots and diners never disappoint when you are on the road. When it comes to coffee, I would highly suggest going to Kind Coffee. The store is small and adorable, the view is spectacular, the drinks are delicious, and the service is outstanding. If you are a sweet gal/pal, I would also suggest ordering the avalanche (you will not be disappointed).

When it comes to food, we mostly ate breakfast/lunch while staying in Estes Park. Everything else we bought at Safeway (the local grocery store). If you are trying to save money, this is a smart move to make. That way you can eat out every now and again, but you don't have to waste all your dollars on food. Two diners that I would want to shout out include The Egg & I and Mountain Home Cafe. Both of these had friendly service and out of this world food.

Are you gluten intolerant? These are also incredible places for people with an intolerance to specific things. At home, it is hard for me to find a restaurant with a decent gluten-free menu. Colorado was the complete opposite of this. Almost every place we went to had items for me and were incredibly inexpensive.

The Stanley Hotel

What to Do
Since it is technically off season for Estes Park right now, there wasn't much we could do that we would have liked. It didn't help either that my boyfriend was in class for eight hours a day. However, that does not mean you can't find fun things to do (and most of them are entirely free). One major thing you can do is walk or drive around the town. Being in the middle of the Rocky Mountains give you a 360-degree view of beauty. They also have an incredible downtown to walk around. At night they light up all the trees in this area, and it looks like a place right out of Whoville. Each shop is unique and contains beautiful gems to bring back home.

For hiking areas, you are in luck. You are within driving distance of some of the best hiking trails in Colorado. They also have a beautiful lake that you can walk around and a hill (well, a small mountain) in the middle of the town that gives you a clear view of everything. This spot is where you can get the perfect picture shot of the mountains or the infamous hotel.

Unfortunately, I can't personally tell you about the ski resorts or mountain hikes since it was during the offseason. However, this small town was still a spectacular place to visit and will be on our list of vacation spots for the summer (which I'll have a more detailed version of what to do). If you have been to Estes Park before, let me know what you did so I can have a few ideas when we go back. What is your favorite thing to do in Colorado? Alternatively, where do you want to go on your next vacation? Let me know in the comments below!


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