What's an average trip to Colorado cost?
A one-week trip to Colorado for two people typically costs around $2,600. This includes an average of $100 per night for accommodation, $250 per person for flights, $75 per person per day for food, drink, and activities, and a total of $300 for transportation. Costs can vary depending on the type of activities chosen, with options like skiing potentially increasing the budget.
Sometimes you want to hop on a plane and sit there for 15 hours to get to the other side of the world … and sometimes you want to explore the amazing destinations right in your own figurative backyard.
If you’re in the latter mindset, then Colorado is the place to go. This beautiful state is the perfect blend of wilderness and urban culture, relaxation, and adventure.
It’s got mountains in spades, lakes for days, and open roads to last a lifetime. It’s the sixth-sunniest state in the union, with more clear days than Florida. In other words, there’s something for everyone, and if you haven’t been yet – well, you’re missing out.
From dining to music, hiking, and biking to chilling on the water, Colorado has you covered.
You could easily spend a lifetime in the Centennial State (nicknamed thus because it was signed into statehood 100 years after the Declaration of Independence), but if you’ve only got a week, you want to make sure your time is well spent.
We’re here to help, with budgeting hacks to keep costs down and some tips and tricks to help your trip go smoothly. Keep reading for all the deets.
Average Trip to Colorado Cost in 2024
An average one-week trip to Colorado for two people will cost around $2,600:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $100 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $250 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $75 per person, per day
- Transportation: $300 total
- Total Cost: $2,600
Some people want to know “how expensive is Colorado?” and the answer is: it really depends on why you’re there. If you’re there to ski, for example, you’re going to pay a lot more.
Some of the resorts cost more than $200 per lift ticket, while even the more affordable ones are still well over $100 per day.
On the other hand, if you’re coming to camp and engaging in outdoor activities with personal equipment – kayaks, fishing poles, etc. – then you won’t pay nearly as much.
Cutting lift tickets and hotel rooms out of your budget can drop the price of your trip by as much as half. In other words, it’s really up to you how much this trip sets you back. Let’s take a look at some averages to help you get a better feel for costs.
Colorado Trip Cost: Average by Item
Below are some average costs for the most important categories of your budget: accommodation; flights; food, drink, and activities; and transportation. Keep in mind that these are not figures you have to pay in order to visit Colorado.
In fact, because they are averages, you can almost always slim them down.
The best approach is to take a look at the averages and then decide whether you’re comfortable with that price, can spend more for a better experience (e.g. if you really love a high thread count or amazing tours), or are happy cutting costs (e.g. if you’re down with hostels or backpacking).
The most important thing is to have a starting point, so read on.
An average hotel cost in Denver or Boulder is usually between $100 and $125. You can spend a great deal more on the resorts and boutique hotels, of course, and you can often get deals as low as $80 or $90 if you watch prices carefully.
In some places, you’ll find better deals than others. Denver is expensive, and it usually isn’t that budget-friendly simply because so many people are flowing through the area and need a place to stay. If you leave the capital, you can find better rates.
For instance, the A-Lodge Boulder (or Boulder Adventure Lodge) offers rooms in its 3-star hotel for around $60, including a free breakfast, hot tub, and pool.
So sometimes you just need to look a little harder to find what you need on a budget. One of the best ways to see Colorado on a budget is to camp. For the most part, this only works at certain times of year.
Although the most hardened campers can pull off a winter camping trip – and it’s a great move if you love ice fishing and snowshoeing – you need a lot of specialized gear for that.
Most people will stick to May through October for ye olde tent pitching. Do note that at higher elevations (e.g. around Breckenridge), snow often moves in much earlier, around September.
Make sure if you’re camping to check the almanac for the specific area you want to stay, not for the state in general, and plan to pay between $20 and $30 a night.
Overall, if you camp a few nights and stay in spendier hotels the rest of the time, or you opt for less-expensive lodgings all week, you’re just fine in Colorado on $100 and can probably do it comfortably on $75, depending on the time of year.
You can get from LA or New York to Denver for less than $200. From a slightly smaller destination – say, Seattle – plan on about $300.
The same is true for flights from regional airports, e.g. Charlottesville. On average, budget $250 if you’re willing to be patient about your research.
Pro tip: Denver Airport is not convenient, per se. It’s 40 minutes from downtown, with trains connecting the different concourses.
Allow plenty of time to get to your flight when you’re heading home. If you have a tight schedule at the beginning of your trip (a concert, say), keep this in mind.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
I’ll put it this way: Colorado is just plain fun. There’s so much to do outside, from rafting and hiking in the summer to skating and snowshoeing in the winter.
Ski resorts are a blast, naturally, though you should expect to pay about $175 for a lift ticket, on average. If you love a museum, you won’t be disappointed in Denver.
Some of the city’s best museums include:
- The Forney Museum of Transportation: This museum has a huge collection with lots of antiques, and is one of the most unique in the United States.
- Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum: Also just called “Wings,” this museum is located in a hangar on the old grounds of Lowry Air Force Base.
- The History Colorado Center: At almost 150 years old, this is Colorado’s oldest museum, but that doesn’t stop it from being high-tech with immersive experiences such as virtual Model T rides, ski jumps, or Dust Bowl experiences.
- Denver Art Museum: Explore world-class art made by others or get your hands dirty in one of the creative spaces!
Like I said, if you love a museum, you’re good to go. Admissions to all of the above are $15 or less, moreover, so you’ll spend a very reasonable amount for the privilege.
While you’re there, please do yourself a favor and visit Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s only an hour and a half from Denver, and it’s one of America’s finest gems.
As the National Park Service describes it, “From meadows found in the montane life zone to glistening alpine lakes and up to the towering mountain peaks, there is something for everyone to discover. Along the way explore over 300 miles of hiking trails and incredible wildlife viewing.”
Check the information on entrance fees and passes ahead of time, since most areas of the park use only contactless payment.
Food in Colorado costs an equivalent amount to any other state in the union, with minor differences that won’t change your budget much.
If you shop for snacks at grocery stores, stay somewhere with a complimentary breakfast, and stick to sandwich shops and street food for most of your meals, you can get away with spending about $60 a day on food, per person.
Add in some activities, and your daily costs will run you about $75 per person, per day.
If you’re not careful, transportation can get very expensive in Colorado. For instance, a taxi from Denver International Airport to downtown usually costs about $85.
You can avoid that by taking public transportation, which costs anywhere from a few dollars to $10.50, depending on whether you use regional transportation or the airport’s services.
I recommend renting a car if you’re going to leave the city at all.
If you’re planning to enjoy Denver’s finest, just take buses, but if you want to go hiking and adventuring – which most people visiting the state do – then plan to pay about $30 a day, plus gas. If you take that approach, then $300 should be enough.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Colorado:
- Denver is a mile above sea level. Yep, it’s 5,276 feet in the air, which means there’s a chance you could get altitude sickness if you don’t take it easy your first day or two. Allow your body to acclimate by drinking plenty of water and limiting physical activity. This is doubly true if you are older or have a lung condition, such as asthma.
- Luckily, Denver has tons of non-strenuous options. If you need a minute before you hop onto the slopes or the back of a horse, check out one of its many museums, listed in “Food, Drink & Activities.”
- Always check snow dates before camping. In some higher-elevation parts of Colorado, snow comes early and stays late.
- Book your lift tickets ahead of time. You can often find deals online. Even if you can’t, you’ll pay less than if you walk up to the ticket window day-of.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Colorado:
When is the best time to visit Colorado?
Consider visiting in September and October. You’ll pay less at this time of year because the summer high season has passed, and you’ll get beautiful foliage to boot plus fewer crowds. The same goes for late spring – April and May – when the state is blooming but traffic hasn’t picked up yet.
If you’re looking for peak summertime adventuring, then go ahead and come between June and August, when water sports are at their peak still. Or you can come at the height of ski season – December and January – when the slopes are perfect.
If you want to save money, though, November and February are also potential ski times.
How should I pack?
Colorado is a mercurial state. Although it boasts lots of sunny days, you can never be sure what the weather’s going to do. According to locals, morning snowstorms can lead to golden afternoons, while summer sunshine can become chilly breezes before you know it. As such, pack lots of layers.
Is Colorado expensive?
No, Colorado is not particularly expensive. Compared to whatever state you live in, you should find the prices about even. If you come from one of the five states that doesn’t have sales tax, prepare for the fact that Colorado does (at a rate of 2.9%).
How can I save money traveling in Colorado?
You can spend less money on your Colorado trip by eating at grocery stores, opting for lodging with complimentary breakfast, buying lift passes online ahead of time, and camping.
You can also steer clear of guided tours. These are usually very expensive and unnecessary for American travelers who already know how to get around in the US.
Is it safe in Colorado?
Yes, Colorado is very safe. Its crime rates are low and you don’t need to worry about theft or assault, pretty much anywhere you go. Take the normal precautions in crowds and in big cities such as Denver, but don’t worry.
If you’re going to be out in nature, make sure you know how to practice good safety sense. Respect wildlife, take the proper gear along with you (even for day hikes), and always know how to communicate with emergency responders.
So, What’s a Trip to Colorado Cost?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$100 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|$250 per person
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|$75 per person, per day
|💲 Total Cost
The average cost of a one-week trip to Colorado is around $2,600 for two people. Offering a fun culture, endless outdoor wonders, and affordable accommodations, this not-so-well-kept secret makes the perfect destination for two.