Last week I posted about Where to Stay and Eat in Estes Park In The Winter so if you didn’t get a chance to read it be sure you do! Today I’m back to show you a little more of our trip and things to do. Estes Park may slow down in the winter but there are still a lot of fun things to do…although sometimes my favorite activity here is doing absolutely nothing at all, ha! I’ve always found the town, nestled in the mountains with little shops and restaurants, to be so charming. My soul just relaxes up here. I’ll show you some of our wintery favorites, as well as a few fun things we’ve yet to experience but we will!
The Stanley Hotel offers a History Tour, with access to several floors of the hotel, including the secret passage way. Plus the tour guides tell many stories explaining the hotel history as well as the hauntings. It’s a 90 minute tour that will keep you entertained the whole time. Be sure to watch for Scary Mary!
Those wanting to get a bit more spirit action can take the separate Night Spirit Tour. More information such as times, costs, and age requirements about The Stanley Hotel tours can be found on the website.
The Stanley Hotel is best known as the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining. The hotel tour is a must for all Shining fans. Above you see what they call the vortex staircase which is known to have spiritual activity. Besides tours you can also visit the charming gift shop and have a drink at the gorgeous bar.
At The Stanley you’ll often find other exciting events happening such as concerts, culinary events, murder mystery dinner parties, and the glamorous New Year’s Eve party in the ballroom. I’ve always wanted to attend that…one day!
GRAB A CUP OF COFFEE & TAKE IN THE VIEWS
Mountains and coffee just go together. In Estes Park my favorite two coffee shops are Coffee On The Rocks and Kind Coffee. Coffee On The Rocks is a charming little house that offers scenic views and friendly cute ducks. I ordered a lavender chai latte, which was really good! I really got a kick out of watching these ducks waddle around on the ice.
Kind Coffee is located downtown and is another great option. They sell their own coffee blends and have lots of great food and coffee drinks to pick from. The best part are the gorgeous creekside views along the back of the shop.
Snowy Peaks Winery has been one of our favorites for years. When they say family friendly they really mean it too, there is a kids room next to the tasting room so kids can play while parents relax. The staff is friendly not to mention the wine is awesome. Some of our favorite wines are Sebastian’s Reserve and the Syrah. They offer unique wine gifts, gourmet cheeses, and other snacks too. Try the wine flavored popcorn and the Syrah Liquer Chocolates, they’re so addicting!
In downtown Estes Park on Elkhorn Avenue you’ll find a variety of fun shops to please everyone. Souvenir stores, gourmet candy shops, restaurants, pubs, and boutiques. Below I’ll show some of our favorite spots.
I have so many favorite shops down here but Trendz is definitely high up on my list. Filled with gorgeous home accessories and fun quirky items I always find a neat treasure to take home. The girls always ask to come here when we’re in town.
The Taffy Shop has so many good taffy flavors, everything from caramel marshmallow to pear and birthday cake, plus seasonal flavors like eggnog. It’s a fun stop.
Anyone else have a thing for sock stores? For Bare Feet is a fun store we always attend. All my kids went nuts in here….what can I say they like cute warm feet.
Mary Jane’s is another favorite shopping spot. They have everything here from clothing to jewelry, kids items and home decor.
I like to buy Christmas tree ornaments when we vacation whenever possible. It’s the perfect souvenir for us and gives us so many good memories every year when we decorate. Estes Park has 3 Christmas stores filled with lovely decorations and they’re open every day of the year, Spruce House is one of my favorites. The entire family will enjoy stopping by here!
LOOK FOR ELK
This is so fun for us and the elk are so tame. Often times you see them hanging out in front of The Stanley, sometimes we see them around our cabins and all up and down the country roads. This isn’t a very good photo, the light wasn’t really cooperating with us but I still wanted to show you the elk just hanging out when we headed up to The Stanley. There have been times we’ve gone into Safeway to get groceries and when we head to the car we’ll just see a heard of elk chillin’ out in the parking lot. It’s really a neat experience.
GET CABIN COZY
Sometimes all you need to have a great time is a cozy cabin with a fireplace and a great view. It’s a good way to just relax and recharge your batteries. During Christmas we like to binge on Christmas movies, drink cocoa, and bake cookies. Many cabins have hot tubs where you can soak your troubles away.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is open all year, weather permitting. Up here you can view wildlife….such as elk. I can never get enough elk, plus you can experience other winter activities. Several winter activity packages are available such as ice climbing a frozen waterfall, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. You can find more information here. Better bundle up!
THE WINTER FESTIVAL
Ok, this is another one we’ve yet to try, but we definitely will one day. Every January Estes Park celebrates with the Winter Festival. Here you can sample wines, craft beers, try award winning chili, and BBQ. There’s live entertainment and fun activities for children, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the winter season!
If you’re visiting Estes Park during the Christmas season be sure and check out the Christmas lights downtown, and a cup of wassail at Snowy Peaks Winery! You can find a lot more information on travel, lodging, and Rocky Mountain National Park by visiting www.visitestespark.com. Happy travels!