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Easing Back into Life
It’s probably fair to say most of us have intense cabin fever these days. Life will resume eventually, though it feels not soon enough. Now is a good time to make future vacation plans as we think about re-entering social life, restaurants, touring, site seeing and unspoken future adventures. But, for many, money has been tight during this global pandemic and many priorities have changed.
In order to ease back into the enjoyment of travel, let’s begin with a budget friendly trip to Colorado. First, a decision needs to be made on how much you are able to spend on your travels. If money remains especially tight, this post lists some places that will fit right into your budget. As a matter of fact, this is the itinerary of my latest trip to Colorado.
Where to start
Colorado is a large, beautiful state that has something for everyone. Whether searching for outdoor activities, indoor events, a food connoisseur, or just want to mark it off your bucket list, Colorado is the place to be.
Before hopping on a plane, you may want to check out my post entitled Travel Planning Sites – the Top 5. This article will offer information on where to look for the best airfare and housing deals. Below I’ve listed all the places we visited, but depending on how much time you want to spend in each place will dictate how many days to plan your trip.
Denver – The Mile-High City
Denver itself has a multitude of things to do, depending on your interests. Whether you love sports –Coors Field, cultural experiences – Denver Museum of Nature & Science, family friendly events – Denver Zoo and foodies – Larimer Square. If you are a fan of all things beautiful, the Denver Botanic Gardens are a must see!
Making a solid itinerary is very important when you’re in a new city, as it is very easy to become distracted with what to do next. Doing your research ahead of time will certainly pay off! For example, we never would have found this little gem of a diner without planning ahead. It’s called Snooze, an A.M Eatery. This one was located on Larimer St in Denver. They offer gluten free, organic items and the most amazing pancakes! It is a breakfast paradise!
We didn’t stick to the itinerary as tightly as Clark Griswald would have, yet, in order to maximize our time with all the places we wanted to visit, we did have to adhere to some sort of timeline. After an early breakfast, walk over to the Denver Botanic Gardens. They offer a variety of expositions, classes, collections and events. General admission is only $15. yet other programs may have additional costs. Plan on spending a few hours for a leisurely stroll to fully enjoy all it has to offer.
Two and a half miles from the Botanic Gardens is the Denver Museum of Art. The Art museum is spread across two buildings and displays more than 70,000 works of art. There are 2 centuries of western American art and priceless pieces from Vincent Van Gogh and other famous artists. If you plan your day right, you may even get in for free. Check out their website as they offer a free day per month!
After spending the day at the gardens and museum, time to unwind with dinner at Root Down or if you prefer vegetarian fare, try City, ‘O City. Regardless of your tastes, you can find any eatery that’ll quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger.
The second day started with a history lesson at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. Visit the grave of Willam F. Cody, an American west legend. The Museum shares his life history and offers a glimpse into the Wild West shows with actual artifacts owned by the legend himself. If you are an American history buff, this is a great place to visit.
One can’t visit Golden Colorado without planning a tour at the Coors Brewing Company. Don’t be afraid of the long lines for the tour to begin, they can be quite deceiving. The lines move fast before you hop onto the bus to take you to the front doors of the brewery. Enjoy a self-guided tour while sampling some of it’s finest on tap. It’s a definite stop, just don’t drive anywhere for a while after the tour!
Alright all fans of Stephen King’s “The Shining”. The Stanley Hotel is where the magic came to life. The book is a work of fiction, but how it came to be is real, and it happened at this hotel. There is an ominous history at this hotel and it is open for business. There are a few rooms known to “come alive” in the midnight hours, and these rooms book years in advance. For those of us not as daring, you don’t even have to stay at the hotel, but you can book tours and participate in various events. I am planning on returning though, not to stay in any of their “spirited” rooms, but to stay in the quieter ones and enjoy the hotel and its accommodations.
From Up Above
While in Estes Park, one must take the Estes Park Aerial Tram. The tramway carries visitors to the summit of Prospect Mountain. It’s a gorgeous bird’s eye view of Estes Park. Once at the summit, you can enjoy hikes on trails, enjoy the panoramic views and have lunch at the café. They also sell little bags of peanuts to feed the woodland creatures, it was adorable. I would also recommend you plan ahead and invest in the appropriate hiking gear. Due to the elevations, weather patterns may change quickly, you will want to be prepared wearing the appropriate layers.
A Casual Stroll
The Riverwalk in Downtown Estes Park is another way to spend your day. You can easily spend an entire vacation in this area alone. There are several options for lodging and various outdoor activities no matter what the season. Tour Rocky Mountain National Park, take a scenic drive (but watch out for moose on the road), don your hiking boots or explore your dining options. The air is clear and the wonder of nature is rejuvenating. It is another must visit on your bucket list.
If going to Colorado, a trip to Pike’s Peak on the Broadmoor Cog Railway is the way to go. Although, it is currently closed for upgrades. The good news is, once COVID 19 precautions have passed, this railway will most likely be reopened! You will have to check back in later for this ride. But just because the cog rail is temporarily out of commission, it does not mean you still cant reach the peak! You can always bike, hike or drive your way up the mountain. A word of advice, make sure to drink lots of water on your way up. The air is so thin at the peak it’s very easy to get altitude sickness. I did!
Other places to visit in Manitou Springs includes the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, Garden of the Gods and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Do your research ahead to see what they all have to offer, as you will get caught up in the beauty and can easily spend hours soaking in all the glorious views.
So Much More to see
These were the places I visited on my short trip to Colorado. When you visit tourism sites you will learn of so many more places to explore. Colorado is a beautiful state that really does have something for everyone. I can’t wait to go back!
That’s a Wrap!
I hope you get to visit some of the beautiful places above. Please leave me a comment, let me know where you’ve been or where you plan to go. I look forward to hearing from you! Until next time, be safe and stay healthy!
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