Affordable Colorado Summer Vacation Ideas

DENVER (June 2, 2009) – Travelers adopting a more austere budget for summer travel will find plenty of free and inexpensive activities and attractions across the state of Colorado, as well as amazing lodging deals starting at just over $50 per night. From bicycling and bird watching to free tours and tastings for beer and tea, there are scores of activities that cost little-to-nothing to enjoy. Below is a sampling of free or low cost activities across Colorado.

Online PR News – 02-June-2009 – – DENVER (June 2, 2009) – Travelers adopting a more austere budget for summer travel will find plenty of free and inexpensive activities and attractions across the state of Colorado, as well as amazing lodging Deals starting at just over $50 per night. From bicycling and bird watching to free tours and tastings for beer and tea, there are scores of activities that cost little-to-nothing to enjoy. Below is a sampling of free or low cost activities across Colorado.

Visitors can also visit a newly launched website, www.HOTDEALSCOLORADO.com, a one-stop-shop website for great packages, deals and promotions available throughout the state. Travelers can search for Hot Deals, print them out, add them to an online MyColorado trip planner, and share them with family and friends.

• It’s Tea Time in Boulder. Celestial Seasonings, the largest specialty tea company in America, offers free tours seven days a week, showing the fascinating process of assembling tea. The tour begins with a short film shown in an Art Gallery featuring the original paintings that were used as illustrations for Celestial Seasonings’ colorful and whimsical boxes. Along the way, visitors can see, taste and smell the many flavors and spices that make Celestial Seasonings so special. Near the end of the tour, visitors can enter The Peppermint Room, where the powerful aroma of peppermint and spearmint can clear your sinuses and breathe more clearly for days. www.celestialseasonings.com/visit-us/

• It’s ‘Brews’ and Ahhs in Fort Collins. Each year, thousands of visitors descend upon the 100 percent wind-powered New Belgium Brewery, looking to sample its award-winning brews. Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery offers one-hour guided tours Tuesday through Friday, leaving every half hour 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, tours run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the half hour. The tours are limited to 20 people and are offered on a first come first serve basis and the brewery recommends showing up early for tickets, especially on Saturday. Want less of a crowd? Try visiting on a Tuesday. www.newbelgium.com

• Long Walks with No ‘Footprints’ in Aspen. Visitors can commune with nature on free guided nature walks led by naturalists from the Aspen Center for Environmental Services (ACES). The free 45-minute walks meander along Richmond Ridge atop Aspen Mountain, where participants can learn about the native trees, birds and animals that thrive in the high-alpine environment. Tours meet at the top of the gondola on the hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. www.aspennature.org

• Effervescent Experiences in Central Colorado. Hike through eight miles of trails, both paved and unpaved, at the Garden of the Gods, a 480 acre park known for its 20 stunning sandstone rock formations, sculpted through time by erosion over 320 million years. Then cool off in the nearby historic town of Manitou Springs, which features several fountains offering natural mineral water, direct from mineral springs throughout the area. www.experiencecoloradosprings.com; www.manitousprings.org

• Sleep Under the Stars in South Central Colorado. At the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, travelers can see the largest sand dunes in North America (and slide down them on skis, snowboards, sleds, etc.) or watch local wildlife such as mule deer, pronghorn, and coyotes. You can also camp underneath the stars – all for less than $20 a night. www.nps.gov/grsa/

• Denver on the Cheap. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy Colorado’s capital city of Denver without breaking the bank. McCormick’s Fish House & Bar (1659 Wazee Street) offers a happy hour every day from 4-6 p.m with items like a half-pound cheeseburger and fries for $1.95. Head on down to Coors Field and get a pair of 'Rockpile' tickets in center field for just $4 apiece; if you’re 55 and older, you can get one for just a dollar. After the game, grab a couple of slices at Two Fisted Mario’s Pizza, which usually has some kind of wacky, free offer. (One recent offer: if you can eat a whole slice in one bite, you get one slice for free). There’s also the popular 5280 promotion, which returns to Denver through the summer. The mile high city, 5,280 feet above sea level, offers deals on lodging, dining and attractions starting at just $52.80. www.visitdenver.org

• Pedal Power in the Mile High City. Denver’s new – and free – 'B-Cycle' program was launched to reduce pollution from residents and visitors to the city. The city offers free bikes docked at more than 30 stations throughout the city – just return the bike to the same station by 10 a.m. the next business day. Bring a license and credit card. Visit www.bikedenver.org before you pick up your bike so that you can plot your rides. Try the 14.6 mile Bear Creek Trail, which offers parkland and mountain views. Stop off at Bear Creek Lake State Park for a little rest and enjoy the views.

• Free Stuff in a Box in Telluride. The 'Free Box' appeared sometime in the mid-1970s, back when Telluride was simply a small mountain town. Those who had an item they no longer needed would drop it off in the 'Free Box' for others to use. It's still that simple. Most of the items in the 'Free Box' are clothing and small housewares, but you never know what you might find. The 10 gallon hat might belong to a celebrity resident like Tom Cruise! The Free Box is located on North Pine, just off of Colorado Avenue (Main Street). www.visittelluride.com

• Summer Gondola Rides in Vail. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 4 - 9 p.m. (mid-June through Labor Day), Vail’s Eagle Bahn Gondola offers free rides up Vail Mountain. Don’t miss the F.A.C. (Friday Afternoon Club) featuring live entertainment at 10,000 feet.www.visitvailvalley.com

• Southeast Colorado: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise. With hundreds of diverse habitats and species, Southeast Colorado has long been considered a bird watcher's paradise. The Comanche National Grasslands near La Junta is a favorite spot for birdwatchers. Some sites, such as Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site near La Junta, which has recorded over 135 species of birds, charge a nominal entry fee ($3). Bent's Bird Sanctuary, located behind the Bent's Fort Inn near Las Animas is an ideal setting for bird watching. There are five trails and feeding stations, taking you along picturesque waterways. Other popular bird-watching areas include Lake Henry and Lake Meredith near Ordway and John Martin Reservoir State Park and Lake Hasty near Las Animas. www.exploresoutheastcolorado.com

• Have a Jurassic Time at Dinosaur Ridge. Take a self-guided tour of Dinosaur Ridge to view Jurassic dinosaur bones, such as allosaurus, apatosaurus and stegosaurus fossils as well as more than 300 cretaceous dinosaur footprints. Stop by the visitor center for a free trail map that will lead you through viewing stops that feature stegosaurus bones, Iguanodon tracks and prehistoric ripples preserved in this unique outdoor setting where the first dinosaur skeletons in Colorado were discovered. www.dinoridge.org

ABOUT COLORADO
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and renowned ski resort areas. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of four major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 10 national parks and monuments, and 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, call 1-800-COLORADO or visit www.COLORADO.com. Media are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room at www.COLORADO.com/mediaroom.php for story ideas, press releases/press kits as well as high-resolution, downloadable photos and video for editorial use.
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