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  • Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Estes Park on a budget

Estes Park on a budget

From fee-free days at Rocky Mountain National Park to affordable activities, Estes Park is a top destination for budget-friendly travelers. Here are some ideas and suggestions of times to visit and what to do in Estes Park on a budget!

Visit during fee-free days

The National Park Service offers about seven fee-free days or weekends throughout the year, normally tied in with a federal holiday, where you can enter Rocky Mountain National Park for free! The summer months tend to be busier anyway so your best bet is the early spring or winter fee-free days.

While you’re in the park, some free things you can enjoy are hiking the trails, keeping a lookout for our abundant wildlife, and taking in the gorgeous views as you drive Trail Ridge Road. You might want to pack an affordable lunch for a fun picnic in the park!

Attend free events

Estes Park hosts many signature events, from concerts to wine and whiskey festivals, throughout the year and many of them are free or have a very low cost to attend. We have family-friendly events and adults-only events so you can find something to attend in Estes Park no matter who you’re traveling with.

Do some window shopping along the Riverwalk

Take a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk and get to know downtown Estes Park! Of course the temptation to enter some of the shops – especially the candy ones – might break your resolve to stick to your budget but the ice cream, homemade fudge, and saltwater taffy is worth every penny.

Walk or bike around Lake Estes

Enjoy a free walk, run, or bike ride around Lake Estes. If you want to get out on the water, you can rent pontoon boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards from the Lake Estes Marina for an affordable afternoon of fun!

Ride the aerial tramway

During the summer months, take the skies for breathtaking panoramic views of the Estes Park Valley aboard the Estes Park Aerial Tramway! Tickets are only $12 per adult and there’s access to hiking trails, a coffee shop, and picnic areas at the top.


From May to October, sample a variety of Estes Park beers and spirits at The Barrel, an outdoor beer garden! You can also visit several breweries (Like Rock Cut Brewing, Estes Park Brewery, and Lumpy Ridge), wineries, and distilleries directly for tastings or great mixed cocktails.


Score a hole-in-one for a few bucks at Tiny Town Miniature Golf! Tiny Town has been an Estes Park staple for more than 50 years and was recently purchased by Trout Haven Resorts and is undergoing a facelift and should be ready for play summer 2018.

Ghost hunting

Visit the Stanley Hotel and see if you run into its founders, F.O. and Flora Stanley, even though they departed our world in the 1940s as both like to stick around while she plays the piano and he likes to make sure everyone gets where they need to be. The night tour starts at $28 per person or you can save $3 if you have your AAA card. The night tour is a fun way to see this Estes Park landmark or you can take the not-so-ghostly historic Stanley tour during the day.

Learn our history

Estes Park may be a small mountain town but we’re rich with history that you can explore at our local museums! Admission to the Estes Park Museum is completely free or you can visit the MacGregor Ranch Museum for just $5.


Opt for something different with your happy hour with the happy hour at Chipper’s Lanes! From 4 – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, enjoy drink specials and half off select starters while you go after that strike!

Are you ready to plan your affordable Estes Park getaway? Check our specials page to start your vacation off right with some savings on your lodging!