It’s that time of year again when the decorations go up and hunting for the perfect festive gift begins. As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw nearer, you may be scratching your head on how to plan a riveting Estes Park holiday for you and yours. Why not take your loved ones on a relaxing vacation to the picturesque town of Estes Park in the majestic Centennial State? This lovely destination has all the ingredients for a thrilling, memorable getaway, ideal for ending the year in style. Here’s the ultimate festive season travel itinerary for the perfect end-of-year trip to Estes Park, this lovely Colorado gem.
Tour Rocky Mountain National Park ($25 for a One-Day Pass)
Once November rolls around, the snowfall begins in most parts of Rocky Mountain National Park, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland. The white, powdery terrain creates the perfect setting for enjoying numerous activities, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, the lakes to the west of the park are an excellent spot to land a catch, with several trout species on the cards. Grand County lies on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, offering over 1,000 miles of trails, perfect for a rip-roaring snowmobiling adventure. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy has an on-demand bus excursion running through the park, offering unparalleled landscape views.
Take a Guided E-Bike Tour ($105 for a Two-Hour Tour)
One of the most fun and relaxing ways to explore Estes Park is on two wheels. Ride Colorado delivers epic guided electric bike tours, helping you power through the snowy trails as you take in the beautiful sights. All the tours feature an experienced guide who takes you through a safety demonstration before setting out. Aside from the bike, Ride Colorado provides safety equipment and supplies, including a helmet, gloves, and drinking water. The excursions take approximately two hours, covering ten miles through the picturesque Estes Park landscape.
Spend the Day at Open Air Adventure Park ($41 per Person for One and a Half Hours)
Open Air Adventure is one of Estes Park’s best spots for enjoying outdoor thrills thanks to its exhilarating range of activities. Test your skills with unique aerial challenges, including navigating hanging chairs, exploring the air board, or zipping across the horse saddle zip lines. Select your preferred adventure based on your height and physical ability and challenge yourself with different obstacles, with options for beginners and seasoned adventurers. The park utilizes an inventive safety system, ensuring you and your loved ones remain connected to the cables, allowing you to focus on the course. Kids aged six to nine pay $29 and must be with someone over 13.
Enjoy the Estes Park Scavenger Hunt ($27 for a Two-Hour Adventure)
Scavenger hunts have always been a bonafide way to bond as you run about trying to collect prized items. Private independent company Cool Destinations offers exciting Estes Park scavenger hunts, where you interpret challenges to answer clues and seek specific items. The hunt involves several stops, including Highway 7 and Peak Scenic Byway, returning you to the original starting point. Each hunt includes a remote live guide, a digital scavenger hunt document, and the current leaderboard standings. Race against other teams in different cities as you aim to garner the most points and top the international leaderboard.
Relish a Rocky Mountain Photography Experience ($274.99 for a Four-Hour Tour)
Unleash your inner photographer on a Rocky Mountain Thanksgiving photography journey. The tour delves into the rugged Colorado mountainside, led by a professional photographer who’ll give you all the tips for the best shots. Snap pictures of the gorgeous Estes Park sunset on Rocky Mountain’s alpine lakes or capture stunning images of the Milky Way in the fullness of its splendor. Each excursion begins with a hike or drive to the locations where you set up your equipment as you prepare to make the most of the low-light conditions. The experience includes bottled water and snacks to help keep you hydrated and well-fueled during the tour.
Experience the Quota Club Festival of Trees (Varied Ticket Prices)
The Quota Club Festival of Trees occurs at the Estes Park Resort, where organizers display forty beautiful holiday trees as part of a draw. The event kicks off from November 15 to December 17, offering you and your family the chance to be part of this Estes Park festival event, with all the proceeds supporting Quota community projects. Ticket prices range from 1$ for a single entry, $5 for six entries, or $10 for 13. Resort doors open from 7 AM to 9 PM, with Sunday, December 17, hosting the grand draw, where winners will receive their trees.
Take in the Winter Wonderland Celebration ($25 per Person)
Come experience the excitement of Christmas at Bear & Bee as you partake in the Winter Wonderland Celebration. This event presents the ideal setting for ample family-friendly fun as you engage in thrilling games and magical crafts with your little ones. The Winter Wonderland Celebration will happen on December 16 and 17, with two events from 1 PM to 3 PM and 4 PM to 6 PM. The experience offers a unique opportunity for your kids to explore their artistic side. Get the chance to walk away with delightful prizes and enjoy art-filled Estes Park holiday cheer with family.
Treat Your Loved Ones to Glow in the Park Family Day (Free Entry)
From November 18, 2023, to January 1, 2024, Bond Park explodes into life with seven cheerful weeks of gripping fun. Come and relish awe-inspiring light displays as you pose for life-sized pictures, and view the massive pole light tree as it dazzles with its mesmerizing light and music shows. The tree-lighting ceremony will take place on November 18, 2023, with gripping activities, including pictures with Santa Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, festive craft kits, and photos with beloved llamas. The official tree lighting will occur at 5:30 PM, kickstarting this cherished 60-year-old Estes Park tradition.
Hit the Estes Park Holiday Trail (Free Entry)
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the festive season as downtown Estes Park transforms into a whimsical winter wonderland. Colorful displays and lights fill the city’s streets, delivering an almost mystical experience as glistening twinkles fill the air. As you venture further down the trail, the delightful display extends past the downtown section, branching off into private residences and residential neighborhoods. Local businesses and residents join in on the fun, with over ten enterprises in the downtown section and Highway 7 lighting up their premises. The annual event starts on November 18, 2023, to New Year’s Eve, providing ample time for you and your loved ones to experience the luminous wonder of an Estes Park Christmas.
Visit Santa at the Lula Dorsey Museum (Free Entry)
Take a trip down the corridors of Estes Park’s history with a trip to the Lula Dorsey Museum. This ancient establishment dates back to the 1920s when it acted as an addition to the Wind River Lodge, housing vacationers visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park. The museum features period rooms, giving you a feel for early twentieth-century lodging, alongside exhibits that narrate the story of the YMCA and its pioneers. Behind the Lula Dorsey Museum, you’ll find Purple Finch, Mariposa Cabin, and Cabin 40, three historic cabins dating back to the early 1910s.
Welcome the New Year at Bird & Jim ($40 per Person)
Usher in the new year with the best culinary delights in Estes Park at the famous Bird & Jim. This beloved eatery on 915 Moraine Avenue offers tasty treats, including brunch, midday, lunch, and dinner menus. Explore numerous salads, broths, handhelds, sides, bowls, and cast iron dishes, delivering an unforgettable New Year’s dining experience. Kindly reserve your table in advance and relish their four-course festive meal with exquisite wine pairings. If you’re vacationing with your little ones, Bird & Jim offers a kids’ menu featuring grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and Mac & Cheese, with vanilla ice cream and berries for dessert.
Tour Local Art Galleries at First Friday Art Groove (Free Entry)
If you’re an art lover, First Friday Art Groove is the perfect place to kick off your new year. The event happens on the first Friday of each month, allowing you to delve into Estes Park’s fine art scene. Several art galleries host meet and greets with artists and live music shows, with delightful food and refreshments. The fun begins at 5 PM to 8 PM, delivering a riveting art experience that includes wood turnings, wall sculptures, paintings, and pottery pieces.
Go for the Crystal Ball ($215 per Person)
This unique event happens on New Year’s Eve at the historic Stanley, promising an elegant and riveting experience. 2023’s event will mark the 20th Crystal Ball experience, as FashionNation DJs and Photon take to the stage to deliver an enthralling music experience. Enjoy a delicious New Year’s menu, a robust drinks list, and great company as you dance the night away before the clock strikes midnight. Dinner servings begin at 5 PM to 7 PM, before the party gets going at 9 PM to the break of dawn. Purchase your ticket online and prepare to usher in 2024 in true Estes Park style.
Attend the New Year’s Eve Family Dance ($5 per Person)
Grab your loved ones and head to the Assembly Hall in Estes Park Center for this annual family event. The fun starts from 8 PM to 10 PM as DJ Alsum delivers family-friendly music in this thrilling neon and black light-themed party. Wear your best neon and white attire and accessories as you prepare to kiss goodbye to 2023 in glowing style. The party will take place at the YMCA of the Rockies, with an entrance fee of $5 per person. The center will provide glow sticks and paint, ensuring you and your loved ones relish an unparalleled New Year’s Eve experience.
Go Ice Skating on Dorsey Pond ($20 per Adult, $ 10 per Child)
As the winter temperatures transform the Estes Park landscape, it creates the ideal conditions for ice skating. Dorsey Pond is a local favorite for delivering epic ice skating adventures, perfect for a fun family day as you welcome the New Year. You’ll find Dorsey Pond in the YMCA of the Rockies, close to the entrance of Beaver Meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park. The pond is open from Sunday to Thursday, with guests allowed on the ice from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. Day passes cost $20 per adult and $10 per child aged 6 to 12, with kids aged five and under enjoying free entry.
Book Your Estes Park Vacation Rental Today
As the festive season beckons, one of the best ways to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones is by taking a relaxing vacation far from the confines of the suburbs. Colorado’s Estes Park offers a charming and laidback setting, with ample activities you and your family can enjoy this end of year. This delightful city in the picturesque Larimer County promises fun-filled Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s attractions, including ample indoor and outdoor thrills, delivering an unparalleled festive getaway. From exciting e-bike tours to scenic mountain hikes and exciting parties, Estes Park has everything you’ll need for the ultimate holiday trip to Estes Park.
As you prepare for your festive escape, look to Mountain Village at Lake Estes for the city’s best vacation rentals. We offer an impressive variety of holiday homes, including furnished cabins, rentals with hot tubs, all luxury cabins, large cabin rentals, and Rocky Mountain National Park Rentals. Enjoy numerous amenities, including comfortable living spaces with plush furniture, fully equipped kitchens for easy home-cooked meal preparation, luxurious bedrooms with clean bedding, modern bathrooms, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and outdoor patios with seating. All our properties offer jaw-dropping views of the Rocky Mountains and Lake Estes, delivering a scenic getaway experience. Contact us today to secure your preferred festive season vacation rental and enjoy an expansive variety of weekly, monthly, or long-term holiday homes for the ultimate Colorado escape.