A Weekend Guide to Estes Park, Colorado ~ The Most Romantic Place Ever

Estes Park Colorado

Hey there! Valentine’s Day had just passed, so I started thinking about some of my most romantic getaways, and the first thing to pop into my mind was our weekend in Estes Park, Colorado!

estes park colorado

What is not to love about Estes Park? It’s a gorgeous, sleepy little town in the midst of the Colorado Rockies! The town was founded in 1859 and has a total population of 5858 people! Estes Park sits on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Big Thompson River runs right through the middle. Many locals call it the gateway to the Rockies.

Gold was discovered in the Colorado Mountains in 1859, and one of the men who rushed into Colorado was Joel Estes. The word “park”, at that time, was a term used for wide open spaces – thus, the town was founded and named Estes Park!

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado



The Colorado Mountains were once known as the place to go for dry air and was a diagnosis of sorts for people who had tuberculosis. The most famous tuberculosis patient who came to Colorado was F.O. Stanley.  F.O. Stanley invented the Stanley steam car, among other things. He moved to Denver after being diagnosed and was eventually pointed toward Estes Park by the Denver locals.

Stanley made many contributions to Estes Park including building the first waste water treatment plant, but his most famous contribution was the Stanley Hotel!

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

I am a native Colorado Girl, so trust me when I say  you don’t want to miss this gorgeous town! This sleepy little town’s claim to fame is the book, (and later the movie), “The Shining” by Stephen King! Stephen King was visiting Estes Park and stayed at the Stanley Hotel. While staying there, he had some interesting experiences and heard all the ghost stories from the locals!

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

His inspiration for his book, The Shining, came from the haunted stories that have surrounded the hotel for ages. Many of the people who work there, and the locals, believe that the original owners, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley, are still living and working in the hotel. There have been many reported sighting of them, and they can often be seen and heard walking through the hotel at night! Many guests have also complained of loud children laughing and running through the halls at night… even though there are no children checked into the hotel. Cool, right?! stanley_hotel_ghost_photo

Since my husband had never read the book, seen The Shining Movie, or ever been to Estes Park, I decided that we had to go and spend the weekend! 

 

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

I rented us a beautiful three-bedroom condo from the hotel. The hotel has beautiful rooms, suites, and full condos that are more like two-story townhouses. These gorgeous condos are for rent with hot tubs on the porch overlooking the Rocky Mountains.

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

 

I booked us a romantic package, and when we arrived there was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us!

Estes park Colorado

Here is the only problem – our condo was so beautiful that we didn’t want to leave!  How gorgeous is this?

We drank our champagne and then walked down to dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Cascades. We had lamb chops, that melted in our mouth, with a raspberry reduction sauce that was to DIE FOR!

lamb-chop-378807 (1)

The following morning we had continental breakfast delivered and enjoyed our breakfast on the porch in the sunshine!

Estes Park Colorado

After breakfast we went to the spa. I had booked us a couples spa package. We went to the spa and were pampered all morning! We choose a couples hot rock massage which was incredible! Romance was in the air, and we were feeling great!

estes park colorado

After our awesome spa day, we walked into town which is beautiful and quaint – a true old western town that has been untouched by the outside world.

Estes park Colorado

Estes has a river walk all the way through town. The river walk has restaurants and bars built all along the sides and many stone pathways to enjoy the river.

 

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

 

One shop we stopped in was Laura’s Homemade Ice Cream and Fudge Shop! This shop has been one of my favorite places since I was a kid.

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

 

She has the best homemade fudge and candy apples in the world! Even if you are not a sweet eater, just wander in and gaze over the amazing candy and treats she makes.

Estes park Colorado

After a lot of walking, and a candy apple, we decided it was time for a drink; I was feeling like a margarita andsome Mexican food!

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

For those who have never been to Colorado, we have some kick ass Mexican food! So we had to stop and have some Peppers Mexican Grill!

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

They have fantastic margs and a full menu. I am a Mexican food snob, and I have to say it rocked! If you are in Estes Park, check it out!

Estes Park Colorado

We then decided to stroll down the river walk, listen to the river rushing by, stop at our favorite bar, and say hello to the local wildlife! In our wanderings we found The Wheel Bar. The bar is one of the oldest bars in Estes Park, opened in 1945. The bar is loud and rustic and filled with country music!

A weekend guide to Estes Park Colorado

They have great drinks, a friendly atmosphere, and just a load of fun people! They have these super cool T-shirts that read “I fell off the wagon and got run over by the wheel.”

Beware of the altitude – if you drink too much in this high altitude you will feel like you were run over in the morning!

Estes park Colorado

Our night was coming to an end, and we walk hand in hand, along the river, and up the hill toward our hotel! What a super evening! The stars were shining, the river was rushing by, and I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than Estes Park.

Estes park Colorado

We have been back many times since this visit, sometime with our kids. We often stay in log cabins along the Big Thompson River – it’s like camping with a bed for mom and dad! One of our favorite places to stay with the kids is River Spruce Cabins, because they have comfy beds. These are right on the river, and many have hot tubs, and outdoor fire pits for roasting marshmallows after a long day of hiking.

Estes park Colorado

There are so many things to do like hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, fishing, and white-water rafting, so swing by next time you’re in the Rockies!

Estes Park Colorado

There is also some great shopping for all budgets from handmade boots to a rock shop that has local polished stones from the area. Pewter is very famous around the area and I always like to pick up a pewter figurine. The Pewter Mine is the only pewter mine in the world, and it’s in Estes Park, so go buy and take a tour.  They also have great jewelry and you can make your own pewter hummingbird.

Estes pak Colorado

Last, you should take in some history and learn about this amazing town! Stop by the Estes Park Museum and learn about the history.  Check out the historic old buildings in town that you can visit and walk through!  This is also a great way for the kids to learn the history without getting bored!

Estes park Colorado

The Stanley Hotel can be booked online, and even if you don’t stay here you should visit the property and even take a hunted tour.   If you are in Estes Park, Colorado, check out the homepage for all amazing things to do and see in and around Estes.

DO you need a car rental? In Denver you can rent cars at the airport, and you can compare all car companies prices in the area with Expedia.com – CarsYou can also find all-inclusive packages, with airfare, hotels and cars for best possible prices with Expedia.com. Summer in the Mountains – Save on Travel Deals to Utah, Colorado & Beyond… Book on Expedia!

If you are traveling around Colorado Viator has some amazing ideas for tours, and sights that you should check out if in Colorado.

 

I hope you enjoyed Estes Park Colorado and the Stanley Hotel as much as we did! Have you been to Estes Park? Did I leave anything out? If so drop a comment on your favorite things about Estes Park Colorado.

 

- Stacey

26 Comments

  • Reply March 25, 2017

    Danielle Desir

    I'm missing out - having never been to Colorado or the Estate Park. The scenery looks absolutely gorgeous. I'm a fan of the homemade ice cream shop too! Wheel Bar sounds so laid back. I love the phrase on their t-shirts.
  • Oh I would agree. Estes Park is very romantic. Love the scenery pictures as well. I would be hoping to have the ghosts visit me on my stay. ;)
    • Reply March 18, 2017

      BasketsLife

      Me too I am a ghost hunter and would love nothing better to have a ghost stop by for a chat!!
  • Reply March 17, 2017

    Michelle Snow

    Estes Park has been on my travel list for a while, and now even more so after seeing all of your wonderful photos! =) Michelle Snow recently posted...#CookingWithCabot and #SundaySupper for a Cheesy Good DayMy Profile
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Jay Simms

    This place looks beautiful! I would love to visit here one day.
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    tauyanm

    gosh! this place is in my bucketlist, i've seen so many documentaries and paranormal shows that go to stanley and the story is indeed incredible and scary. They still keep those beds in the other building where people died in their hotel, I wanted to go the underground tunnel if there is a chance. love everything you shared above another information i learned today thx!
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Sarah-Louise Bailey

    Everything was nicely captured. Surely I won't miss passing at Laura’s Homemade Ice Cream and Fudge Shop when we travel there.
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Sandy N Vyjay

    Estes Park looks and sounds fascinating. The history of the town and its association with the Gold Rush lends it a romantic aura. The Stanley hotel sounds really one that needs to be checked out. A haunted place is something we would love to check in and experience the chills! Sandy N Vyjay recently posted...How to Ensure You Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before TravelingMy Profile
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Jessica Hughes

    Estes Park really is a charming town, and the views of the Rockies are just breathtaking! I didn't realize this was the town where the Stanley Hotel from The Shining was located. The stories surrounding the hotel are so interesting. It seems like your weekend was just fantastic and I can see why you call it your most romantic weekend. Jessica Hughes recently posted...Ab Oblique Workout with Premier ProteinMy Profile
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Elizabeth O.

    How can anyone miss such a lovely place and of course it's awesome to be able to stay in the infamous hotel! I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun and it's very romantic there as well.
  • I did a 10-day road trip around Colorado a few years ago, but I didn't make it to Estes Park. What I loved about being in the Rockies during my trip was the relaxed vibe, rustic and cozy lodging, and delicious food. It looks like you found all of that in Estes Park as well. I'll have to keep it in mind for a future romantic getaway, for sure. When I do visit, you can bet I'll check out Laura's for the ice cream and fudge. Great tip for a visitor with a sweet tooth like me!
  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Tonya

    I'd love to visit Estes Park and stay at the hotel but I could do without the haunted stories. I'll pretend I didn't read about any of that stuff.
  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Joely Smith

    I am SO jealous! LOL I need no - I NEED a trip like this! Colorado is amazing! I would love to visit the hotel too!! Joely Smith recently posted...Nature Made Healthy Lifestyle Choices EasierMy Profile
  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Jenn Rollins

    It is gorgeous there!! I would love to have a weekend getaway with my husband there!!
  • Reply March 15, 2017

    robin Rue

    That sounds like a wonderful place to visit! I would love to go there someday!
  • Reply April 25, 2014

    The Guy

    What a lovely setting for a small town. Great review Stacey. I've never seen The Shining (I don't watch horror films) but the hotel sounds interesting. I'm never sure if these ghost stories are true or not. Either way they make the place more interesting and will appeal to a certain type of visitor who may not otherwise go there.
    • Reply July 19, 2014

      Stacey Veikalas

      Yes it is gorgeous really a beautiful place (and no worries my husband had never seen it and never made it through the whole movie LOL) he is not a horror watcher either! SO much to see and do in this little town! I miss Colorado a lot!:) thank you for reading! :)
  • Reply March 14, 2014

    Anonymous

    My husband and I will be heading to Estes Park for a week in April. I am even more excited about it now since reading your blog! My husband was diagnosed with bone cancer last year at the age of 35 and the last 8 months have been hell. From aggressive chemotherapy to major surgery to more chemo we have been through a lot. Happy to report the latest bone scan was clear and my husband is starting to feel better. Estes Park seems like the perfect place to steal away to on our own and begin to heal. Can't wait to breath the fresh air and take in the beautiful scenery.
    • Reply March 16, 2014

      basketslife

      Hello thank you for reading I'm happy to hear about your husbands latest prognosis ~ I'm thinking of you both! Enjoy Estes Park and life to the fullest! Thank you for reading ~ I'm wishing you all the best!
  • Reply February 23, 2014

    fallequinox2006

    The scenery around the Stanley Hotel looks so amazing! I know how difficult it must be to leave your hotel suite when it's that nice and comfortable. And a couple's hot stone massage, wow, that must be heaven....
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      It really was and we absolutely loved it ~ and it borders a fantastic national park that you would probably love to research and visit! thank you for reading and for stopping by!
  • Reply February 21, 2014

    AdamShake

    As a year round resident of Estes Park, I really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you! It's great seeing our Mountain Village through the eyes of our guests. :)
    • Reply February 21, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Adam Thank you so much for reading ~ I grew up in Colorado and I sure do miss it and never realized how lucky I was to spend most of my life there ~ and Estes is one of our fave places! Have a great day!
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi thank you so much for reading! Thank you for the comments ~ I love Estes and sometimes I really Miss my home in Colorado! Cheers
  • Reply February 20, 2014

    Rob Moses Photography

    wow, looks amazing there.
    • Reply February 20, 2014

      basketslife

      Thanks for stopping by Rob ~ its is really amazing as a Photographer you would be in heaven! :)

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