The Perfect Mountain Getaway: Estes Park, Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado is one of the most beautiful and charming mountain towns I've visited. Located 90 minutes from Denver and right outside the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance, you really can't go wrong with staying in this location.
Visit the Rocky Mountain National Park
This is so obvious, but if you stay in Estes Park, you must pay the National Park a visit!
One of our favorite things we did was drive Trail Ridge road. It covers 48 miles between Estes Park on the park's east side and Grand Lake on the west. When first being built it was called the "scenic wonder road of the world." This is not an exaggeration either. You will see so many different terrains, lakes, wildlife, and breathtaking views. Plan to spend a couple of hours doing this. There's a ton of beautiful pull-offs to stop and take pictures. Don't forget to pack snacks and get a full tank of gas before going.
Visit a quaint coffee shop
Who doesn't love visiting a cozy coffee shop before or after hiking in the mountains? We did just this and it was the perfect way to warm up and relax.
Not only will Coffee on the Rocks serve you an extra shot of espresso, but they'll also serve you a shot of whiskey with your coffee. Being a bar and a coffee shop, you can't go wrong with this place! The outdoor seating is right on a pond full of friendly ducks. I loved sitting outside in the morning and enjoying the beautiful mountain and pond views. You can also buy some duck food in the shop to feed the ducks with!
Inkwell and Brew has the cutest gift shop that's full of books and journals. It was so cozy and the pumpkin bread they served was divine!
Don't forget to keep your eyes open for wildlife, especially elk! This big guy made himself right at home!
The Stanely Hotel
This hotel is considered one of the most haunted hotels in America. Stephen King stayed here in the 1970s and had a dream that inspired the book The Shinning. If you stay at the hotel, the movie also plays nonstop on a designated channel. Long before Stephen King stayed there, guests have reported seeing apparitions of Mr. Stanely himself along with shadowy figures, lights flickering, and objects moving on their own. If you don't stay at the hotel, they do offer tours! I wish I had time to do a tour, but I definitely will next time I visit!
Vintage candy, fudge, chocolate, ice cream, and Christmas shops!
Do I need to say more?? If you're craving something sweet, you only need to walk a short distance to find something. There are so many of these cute little shops! I loved the wonderful smell of sugar and bakeries just walking around the streets. If you love Christmas, there are a couple of Christmas shops that are open all year round!
Visit a Winery or Brewery
Estes Park is home to Estes Park Brewery, Rock Cut Brewing Company, Lumpy Ridge Brewery, and Snowy Peaks Winery. We visited the Rock Cut Brewery and it did not disappoint! We enjoyed the outside seating and food truck along with our flights of beer. The staff was very friendly and helpful as well.
Historic Park Theatre
Watch a movie at this historic theatre that was built in 1913! It's the oldest single house motion picture theatre that's still in operation today. I loved that The Shinning was playing while we were there.
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There are two rivers that wind through downtown Estes Park. While you're walking through the streets, you'll want to take in the beautiful sites and sounds of the water. You'll find plenty of benches to sit at to take it all in as well.
Have you ever been to Estes Park? What's your favorite thing about this charming mountain town?! Let me know in the comments!
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Happy and safe travels!