Travelers adopting a more austere budget for summer travel will find many free and inexpensive activities and attractions throughout the State of Colorado, as well as lodging deals starting at just over $50 per night.
People intending to visit Colorado can go to a recently launched website, www.HotDealsColorado.com, which shows packages, deals and promotions available throughout the state. Below are some of the free or low cost activities available across Colorado.
● 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. Visitors can see, taste and smell Celestial Seasonings’ many flavors and spices. www.celestialseasonings.com/visit-us/
● Brews in Fort Collins: Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewery offers one-hour guided tours Tuesday through Friday, leaving every half hour from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Saturday, tours run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the half hour. www.newbelgium.com
● Walks in Aspen: The Aspen Center for Environmental Services (ACES) offers free 45-minute walks along Richmond Ridge atop Aspen Mountain, where participants can learn about the native trees, birds and animals that thrive in the high-alpine environment. www.aspennature.org
● Central Colorado: Hike eight miles of trails 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. 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 or watch local wildlife such as mule deer, pronghorn, and coyotes. www.nps.gov/grsa/
● Denver on the Cheap: McCormick’s Fish House & Bar offers a happy hour every day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m with items such as 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 $52.80. www.visitdenver.org
● Pedal Power in the Mile High City: Denver launched its new — and free — “B-Cycle” program 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. www.bikedenver.org
● The Free Box in Telluride: The “Free Box” appeared 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. www.visittelluride.com
● Gondola Rides in Vail: On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. 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: 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 more than 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. www.exploresoutheastcolorado.com
● 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. www.dinoridge.org