Do you want to wake up and gaze out at the Rocky Mountain National Park right outside your window? Then a trip to Estes Park, Colorado is exactly what the doctor ordered. The stunning views are only the beginning of what draws travelers to Estes Park. Hiking, mountain climbing, shopping, and dining will combine to form a perfectly balanced trip. Let add the finishing touch with a cozy rental, and you’ll be hooked on Colorado for good.

What to Do in Estes Park

estes park snowshoeing

Winter Fun in the Snow

You may have heard about the beauty of the Rocky Mountains National Park, but seeing it with your own two eyes is a whole different experience. During the winter season, spend your days soaking up the best that this season has to offer. A snowshoe tour will be a fun guided adventure through the National Park, providing incredible views and inside information the whole way.

Other options for winter activities include cross country skiing, a winter wildlife tour, and nearby downhill skiing. It is important for an Estes Park travel guide to make clear that there isn’t much skiing in the immediately vicinity, and in order to enjoy that real Colorado downhill thrill, you must get in the car and go to one of the nearby resorts. For cross country skiing and snowshoeing, this is the place to be.

Summer Fun in the Sun

Travelers who don’t like the cold should plan a trip to Estes Park, Colorado in the summer. Once the snow melts, an incredible landscape for hiking, mountain biking, and climbing is revealed. In Estes Park you can finally teach your kids how to fish and go on that horseback riding tour you’ve been talking about for a long time.

estes park kayakingThe summer is the perfect season to plan outdoor activities that include a little splash. Spend your days rafting, kayaking, or boating and watch the smiles appear on your kids’ faces. From white water rafting to soft adventure paddle rides, there are many options in Estes Park. From mini-golf to bowling, there are many traditional ways to keep kids entertained as well.

The Adult Side of Estes Park

There’s a reason why this spot in Colorado has earned a reputation for weddings and romantic getaways. Beyond the majestic scenery of the Rocky Mountains National Park, there are other things that will put a spark in your romance. Spend a few hours at the Wildwood Day Spa for a couples massage or play a round of 18 holes on the Lake Estes Executive Golf Course.

Not every Estes Park travel guide will mention local wineries. This is a fun excursion for couples to tour a winery and sample Colorado wines. Choose between the Valley of the Wind Winery or the Snowy Peaks Winery — or visit both during one trip! Another entertainment option is to attend a show at the Rocky Ridge Music Center.

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What to See in Estes Park

estes park museum

In Town Attractions

Any Estes Park travel guide will talk about all the ways to enjoy the great outdoors when you visit. But what if you don’t want to leave the town itself? There are many ways to spend an enjoyable day without going very far. Take a stroll along the Riverwalk, visit the Stanley Museum, or the Estes Park Museum. If you’re interested in local history, you will find a great deal of detail in these small museums.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Some outdoor enthusiasts look at Estes Park as a home base for exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park. Aside from hiking and snowshoeing, there are other ways to enjoy the park as well. Taking a drive along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway or the Trail Ridge Road will reveal endless beautiful landscapes. If you’re interested in local wildlife, there are tours that can show you all the amazing creatures that call the national park home.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Estes Park

Shop Until You Drop in Estes Park

While the great outdoors is often the biggest draw to Estes Park, many visitors arrive and are tempted by more than 300 stores to spend a couple days shopping. Here you will find everything from antiques to home décor to high fashion. Take home something special by seeking out unique southwestern crafts or Native American art.

While each visitor will have their own favorite shop, some of the local favorites include Fall River Jewelry and Antiques, Cottage Bliss, Mountain Lady Quilt Shop, Mountain Time Cabin Goods, and Cabin Fever (for Native American art). Don’t be surprised if you want to spend a few extra days in Estes Park just shopping.

estes park dining

The Dining Scene in Estes Park

If you’re tired of the same old chain restaurants, you will love the Estes Park dining scene. This town offers a wide range of unique and quality restaurants that will satisfy any craving and budget. During the summer, restaurants with a balcony offer the incredible experience of dining al fresco.

Visitors will have a variety of choice for dining including seafood, steaks, Italian, Mexican, and more. Some of the top choices in Estes Park include Cascades Restaurant, Claire’s on the Park, View Restaurant, and Nicky’s Steakhouse. One of the benefits of choosing vacation rentals is asking the owner for local recommendations. Owners will often have the latest news on the hottest restaurants.



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When to Visit Estes Park

The fresh, pine-scented air in Colorado attracts visitors all year long. This western state originally lured travelers for skiing and other snow related activities, but this has expanded in recent years. Similar numbers of outdoor enthusiasts travel to Estes Park in the spring, summer, and autumn seasons to enjoy the great outdoors. If you want to enjoy the beauty of Colorado but can’t stand the cold, plan a trip during the summer and see another side of Estes Park.

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What to Bring to Estes Park

A good Estes Park travel guide will remind visitors that their packing list should be simple. Colorado is known for its casual atmosphere, and no restaurants are too fancy. Pack layers of warm, breathable clothing for winter. Remember all of your skiing essentials such as hats and gloves. If you don’t want to bring winter equipment, you can always rent it when you arrive in Colorado.

Packing lists will be similar during the summer season. Bring along your hiking boots, sunscreen, insect repellent, and waterproof clothes for rafting. Another way to make your trip to Estes Park special is to bring a few special items from home to your vacation rental. This will be different for every group, but often a family recipe or favorite DVD can make a rental feel even more like home.

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Local Services in Estes Park

Visitors will be thrilled at the quality of services available in Estes Park. Whether you’re looking for a beauty salon or a bank, an internet café or a grocery store, you will find it in Estes Park. Tour guides are a local service that visitors should take advantage of at every opportunity. Why head out into the Rocky Mountains National Park without a knowledgeable guide? Joining a tour will help you to maximize your time and learning while exploring the park.

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What to Know About Estes Park

Even a good Estes Park travel guide can fail to mention that skiing isn’t a primary activity here. There are some now-defunct ski trails, but to find the kind of challenging runs that many ski enthusiasts have in mind when they think about Colorado, you will need to get in the car and drive to a nearby resort. On the other hand, if you want to get away from the crowds of ski resorts and enjoy the solitude of cross country skiing or snowshoeing then this is the perfect spot in Colorado for you.

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Getting to Estes Park

Reaching Estes Park is simple. Most visitors choose to fly into Denver and rent a car at the airport. The drive to Estes Park takes about 90 minutes. If you’re driving from Boulder or Fort Collins, the drive takes approximately one hour. Unlike other destinations in Colorado, there are no mountain passes to cross to reach Estes Park and the highway system is well marked and easily driven. Many visitors choose a rental car for the convenience of being independent and the ability to see attractions at their leisure.

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Why Estes Park Vacation Rentals?

The wide expanse of the Rocky Mountains National Park is best appreciated from somewhere quiet and spacious. The perfect accompaniment to these views is a large living room with a fireplace or an outside balcony complete with a hot tub. Instead of staying at a noisy hotel where you can hear your neighbor, rent a cabin where you won't hear a thing. Don’t just plan a trip to Colorado — plan a trip to Colorado in style. Your family deserves the extra space to spread out and relax during their mountain getaway.

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