Spring may be around the corner, but the restlessness of winter still has many of us needing a small vacation. Financially, it can be hard to embark on an extravagant vacation, so sometimes you need to look for a way to escape while remaining close to home. Believe it or not, there is a way to do a weekend adventure in Colorado for under $100. Here is your guide to getting the most out of your weekend escape while paying as little as possible.
Note: Prices may vary based on the availability and seasonally pricing from the publishing of this article. We will do our best to update it as often as possible.
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Steamboat under $50
Where to Adventure: Like most mountain towns, Steamboat’s most popular winter activity is skiing. However, Steamboat has plenty more to offer. The hot springs are by far one of the top “must-do” activities when it comes to visiting, and luckily you can do it on the cheap. Head either to the legendary Strawberry Hot Springs ($15 weekday, $20 weekend) if you like something a little more rustic and secluded or stay in town for the Old Town Hot Springs for something close by and a little more affordable ($18 during the day, $10 at night). If you feel like doing something more upbeat, check on the newly opened mountain coaster ($20) and take a spin on the longest mountain coaster in North America — we tried it and we approve.
Where to eat: When looking for a cheap getaway, happy hours are your friends and we have ones you shouldn’t skip on. LOW Country Kitchen, located right in the heart of Steamboat Springs, brings southern cooking to the mountains. The happy hour, which includes a chicken biscuit for only $3 and deviled eggs for only $2.50, is a perfect representation of southern hospitality. Running from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 2:30 -5 p.m. on weekends, you’re likely to find yourself posted there for hours. We know we did. If for some reason, country cooking ain’t cutting it for you, hop on over to Table 79 for 50 percent off the bar menu every day from 5 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. There you can get a delicious burger with bacon aioli, brioche bun, potato wedges for only $8.50 or a short rib quesadilla $6. – Brittany Werges
Total cost: $94
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Breckenridge under $40.
Where to adventure: Start off your trip with day of snowshoeing on one of the amazing snowshoe trails in Breck, like Burro Trail, French Gulch or Peaks Trail. You can get a day trail pass and rent snowshoes for $42. For more info about rentals, click here. If you’re looking for a night out, go to one of the fun free events at the Riverwalk Center. The Riverwalk Center has a variety of shows for you to check out, which will be a fun way to get out without spending money. Click here for their calendar of events. Another free thing to do is walk Main Street and check out all the cute stores Breck has to offer. If you’re still looking for fun activities, hike McCullough Gulch, a moderate hike located about 7 miles outside of Breckenridge.
Where to eat: Clint’s Bakery & Cafe is a cute, inexpensive bakery for you to stop by for a coffee and breakfast or lunch. They have awesome bagel breakfast sandwiches and the turkey brie sandwich is tasty as well. Or you can check out Amazing Grace Natural Eatery for homemade biscuits and muffins for $2.99. For dinner, a cheap place to eat is Flip Side Burger, where they have $7 Braised Bison Chili or a burger for $8.50. If you want something sweet or savory, it’s hard to go wrong at Crepe a La Carte (starting at $5.45).
Total cost: $94.95
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Boulder for under $60.
Where to adventure: Boulder is filled with free activities, making it the perfect inexpensive weekend escape. Start your day off by walking Pearl Street and checking out the different shops. Also, starting in April is Boulder’s Farmers Market with only local vendors and lots of awesome food. Even if you don’t buy anything here, it’s a fun way to walk around and get more of the Boulder experience. Another free activity is a free Brewery Tour at Avery Brewing Company. Although it’s technically located outside the city, the iconic brewery is 100 percent worth your time. You might want to wake up early for a gorgeous hike up Chautauqua for a view of the city. Once you get back, head to the Celestial Seasonings Factory for a free factory tour to see where Celestial Seasonings products are made and distributed.
Where to eat: Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder has an amazing happy hour from 3-6:30 p.m. The French dip slider, a popular plate, comes on a brioche bun with roast beef, gruyere and horseradish and is only $3.95. For $6.95 you can enjoy the brie chaud, warm brie paired with bread and drizzled with blackberry mostarda. Eureka also has a good happy hour, $6 for a basket of fried mac & cheese or $7 for a fried chicken slider with fries. You can go try these out from 2-6 p.m. or 9-11 p.m. If you’re looking for a cheap breakfast, we’re going to let you in on our secret. The Parkway Cafe doesn’t look fancy but they serve up a mean breakfast without the wait. The Mexican hashbrowns made with eggs and green chili are only $6 and come with a massive serving. Add meat for only $1 (get the carnitas if it’s available) and you’ll still go home with leftovers. They call it the best-kept secret in Boulder and we’d have to agree.
Total cost: $84.95
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Estes Park under $50
Where to adventure: There are a lot of fun things to do in Estes Park which are not costly at all, so you definitely want to head here for a weekend adventure. Start your trip off with a walk through Riverwalk in downtown Estes Park for a look at all the shops and restaurants. If you like being scared, head over to the Stanley Hotel, which is the hotel which inspired the movie The Shining. You can have the full experience with the Stanley Hotel Night Spirit Tour for $28 and discover if the hotel really is haunted. The next morning, check out the awesome views from the Estes Park Aerial Tram for $14. This cute red tram takes you to the top of Prospect Mountain where you can hang out for the day and hike. If you are still in Estes Park for the night, the Estes Park Memorial Observatory is a great place to watch the stars and is free except for a donation. This is a really great place to go for a date. Of course, there is always Rocky Mountain National Park right on Estes’ doorstep, and entry only cost $20 per car.
Where to eat: At Penelope’s Burgers, an old-fashioned diner in downtown Estes Park, 1/4 pound burgers are conveniently priced at $5.99. For a couple dollars more, they have a wide variety of sandwiches. A great place to check out with a cheap happy hour is Latitude 105, which is located in The Ridgeline Hotel. They have carne asada street tacos for $3, a short rib slider for $5 or what they refer to as the Kyle Slider, which is fried bologna, American cheese, and pickles.
Total cost: $100.99
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Colorado Springs under $50
Where to adventure: Colorado Springs has a ton of sightseeing that you don’t want to miss. Hike the beautiful rock formations of the Garden of the Gods for free for the day. It’s so gorgeous it is a National Natural Landmark. There are 15 miles of trails for people of all hiking abilities to explore. At night, you can walk through town and maybe stop by Supernova Bar and Arcade for their vintage arcade games or try your hand at Whirlyball (think bumper cars and lacrosse) for $15. The next morning, look at the beautiful Manitou Cliff Dwellings for $10. The dwellings are an interesting way to see the architecture of the Pueblo Indians. Once you get back into town, see where all the athletes train at the Olympic Training Center with a tour for $12.
Where to eat: If you’re a barbecue fan, don’t miss out on Rudy’s. With sandwiches starting at $5.99 and a half pound of brisket for $7.69, it may be some of the more affordable ‘cue we’ve ever come across. If you’re more of a burger and fries kind of guy (or gal), Skirted Heifer is a Colorado Springs must do. With burgers starting at $5.50 and fries at $1.95, it’s easy to get a big meal for under $10 there.
Total cost: $100.44
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Fort Collins under $40
Where to adventure: There are so many fun, cheap things to do in Fort Collins, so this is definitely somewhere you want to escape for the weekend. Check out the beautiful views that Horsetooth Reservoir has to offer while hiking, biking or fishing. After a day of exploring, take advantage of New Belgium’s free Brewery Tour and try out some delicious beer in its hometown. Another fun, cheap activity is going to a show at Aggie Theater. There are many shows at Aggie Theater, mostly ranging from $10-15, so if you’re looking to go out at night this is the place to be. The next morning, explore the cute shops scattered around Old Town for the full Fort Collins experience.
Where to eat: At Big Al’s Burgers & Dogs, you can get a burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and sauce for only $4.59. Another cheap place is The Colorado Room, which has really good happy hour deals. From 3-6 p.m. daily, you can get barbecue pork sandwiches for $2.50 or a personal sized poutine for $3. Our favorite though has to be Music City Hot Chicken. And while you can get a chicken plate for under $10, we especially love it for brunch because there’s usually no wait and you can get a biscuit sandwich for $6.
Total cost: $68.09
Where to stay: Here are the listings for all the Airbnb’s in and around Glenwood Springs under $50.
Where to adventure: Like Steamboat, Glenwood has some cool hot springs to relax in. You can spend the day soaking at the beautiful Iron Mountain Hot Springs for $20, or check out the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort ($17.50 during the day, $10.25 at night.) If you want to walk around downtown Glenwood for some window shopping, head to 7th Street for all the best shops. Hanging Lake Trail is a really nice hike about 10 miles east of Glenwood, so that is another free activity to do during your weekend escape.
Where to eat: For breakfast, you can get a simple but satisfying meal at 19th Street Diner. For $5.25, you get two eggs, potatoes, and your choice of a muffin, toast, or an English muffin. Or you can get a breakfast sandwich on an English muffin for $3.25. The best part is that breakfast here is served all day. For lunch (or dinner), Slope & Hatch has some of the best tacos around. Each order comes with two big tacos starting at $7 — we highly recommend the crispy fish tacos at $9.50.
Total cost: $93.74.
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Winter Park under $50
Where to adventure: Winter Park has tons of outdoor activities, one of which is tubing at Coca-Cola Tube Park. Tubing costs $23 for one hour and is an activity you don’t want to miss. Something to do at night is head to The Foundry for bowling, a movie, or both. Bowling for an hour costs $12 and a movie costs $12. You can grab dinner here too. The next day, hike or bike the beautiful Fraser River Trail. This is a trail for beginners, so head here if you are looking for a more mellow hike or ride. Cozens Ranch Museum is a place you can learn some history about Winter Park for only $5. It’s located in Fraser.
Where to eat: At Deno’s Mountain Bistro, you can find some good deals during happy hour. Happy hour is daily from 3-6 p.m. Try a shrimp taco with avocado, cabbage and their Baja crema sauce on a flour tortilla for $4.25. Or you can get Cuban pork sliders which come with pickles, Swiss cheese and smoky mustard for only $5. Smokin’ Moe’s, located in downtown Winter Park, has a reputation for having award-winning barbecue. Their happy hour is from 3-6 p.m. daily and they have really good wings for 75 cents each. For breakfast, our favorite spot is Carvers. Although it’s no longer inside a cottage, the food still tastes delicious and the biscuits and gravy are the best out there ($6 for half, $7.50 for a full order).
Total cost: $98
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Aspen under $50
Where to adventure: It’s no secret that Aspen is hard to do for cheap, but it is definitely not impossible. The gorgeous nature encompassed in Aspen makes it the perfect place for a weekend adventure. Wake up early to hike the breathtaking Maroon Bells. There are many different trails in the Maroon Bells, so you can pick and choose whichever difficulty you’re feeling for the day. Any of the trails have Instagram-worthy views. After hiking, walk and window shop in downtown Aspen. Skiing may be out of the question financially, but you can still go for a gondola sightseeing ride for $35 on the Silver Queen Gondola. An added plus is that this includes a lunch voucher.
Where to eat: For breakfast, you don’t want to miss out on the delicious treats at Ajax Donuts. The mini glazed donuts are fresh, tasty, and only $5.95 for a dozen. There are plenty of happy hours to check out in Aspen, one of which is Zane’s Tavern. Head in from 3-6 p.m. any day. Five dollar pretzel bites make for an awesome little snack, but if you’re looking for something more hefty, try out the $8 loaded fries with short rib, pepper jack cheese, jalapeño, onion and avocado crema on top. This chill bar has two locations, one in Aspen and one in Snowmass Village, so you can head to whichever is more convenient for you. If you need more happy hour suggestions, there’s a ton here to get you through Aspen on the cheap while still eating well.
Total cost: $100
Where to stay: Here are all the Airbnb listings in and around Vail under $50
Where to adventure: Vail has so many outdoor activities for people who might not to be able to afford a lift ticket. Vail has another mountain coaster you might want to check out, the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster. The coaster is $25 per ride. You can explore the ins and outs of Vail Village by checking out its different shops and restaurants. The next morning, hike one of the many trails in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area for free. There are plenty of trails to choose from depending on your expertise. If you are looking for another activity for the day, check out the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame to learn some history about skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. This museum is free.
Where to eat: Vail’s dining may be on the pricier side, but it’s definitely possible to pull it off without spending a ton of money. At Terra Bistro, they have happy hour from 5-6 p.m. every night. Here, you have your pick of different small plates for $7, $9, or $11. The $9 grilled prosciutto pizza is a must try. A more low key place to try is Loaded Joe’s. They have good breakfast, but what you really want to try out are their late night snacks. Their $4.50 mac & cheese is amazing, and you can’t beat a $5 pizza. Head in between 1 p.m.-2 a.m. to take advantage of these cheap snacks.
Total cost: $89