Estes Park, Colorado: A primordial swamp of overpriced shops meant to attract the weary traveler. With a credit card, that is. Perhaps I'm being a bit too cruel. Estes Park is actually a very lovely place to visit, as long as you're off the beaten path. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the main street as much as possible. If you go towards the Rocky Mountain National Park Beaver Meadows entrance, you'll head down a street lined with decently priced inns and motels. Along here, you'll also find the Donut Haus. This is, by far, the best place in town to get donuts, and the prices are relatively cheap as well. Just stop by early, as they sold out pretty fast when I was there.
If you're looking to do some shopping, head down this same road until you reach the last little gas station complex before the National Park. It is in this complex that you'll find a quaint little locally owned and operated mom and pop grocery store, as well as a phenomenal gift shop with items priced well below what you'll find on main street. Around this same area, you'll also see a sign for Mary's Lake. This little lake provides a quick scenic drive around the outskirts of town. The lake itself is fairly small, and there isn't much to do, but it's still interesting to see more of the local side of Estes Park.
View more photos from Estes Park on my Colorado Flickr set.