Escape to Estes Park with your loved-one for a memorable date that won't break the bank. Don't forget your camera, as these dates are small-cost but offer big views of the surrounding mountain scenery! Here are the top ten free (and almost free) date ideas for a getaway to Estes Park:
1. Dinner and a Show - Estes Park Style
Bundle up, pack a picnic dinner and hike the short trail to the Birch Ruins in the heart of downtown Estes Park, located at the Knoll-Willows Open Space. This quiet escape from the bustle of downtown provides a birds-eye view of the village and a prime viewing spot of the western sky to watch as the sun sets behind the Continental Divide.
2. Romance in Rocky
Each Saturday evening, Rocky Mountain National Park hosts educational programs on a variety of topics ranging from history of the park to wildflowers, wildlife, and more. This Valentine's day, snuggle up in the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Theater to catch the film showing of Nick Molle's film, The Living Dream- One Hundred Years of Rocky Mountain National Park on the evening of the 14th.
3. The Art of Love
From plein air paintings to woodturning and pottery, Estes Park galleries offer a visual buffet of artwork. Ever changing photography and watercolors grace the walls of downtown galleries while seasonal exhibits pop-up at the Cultural Arts Council or the Art Center of Estes Park. Just in time for the season of love, stop by the Cultural Arts Council to view a special Valentine's show, "Impressions of Life, Love and Passion" exhibit running through February 28, 2016.
4. A Bicycle Built for Two
Get active with a bike ride around scenic Lake Estes. Park at the Estes Park Visitor's Center to pick up the trail that circles the lake on a paved 3.75 mile trail. Be sure to take in the view from the Fisherman's Nook pier and keep an eye out for wildlife including elk and a variety of birds that call the Matthews - Reeser Bird Sanctuary area of the trail home.
5. Fun & Free Festivals
Signature Estes Park festivals fill the village throughout the calendar year, ranging from celebrating our local wildlife residents at Elk Fest to sultry jazz tunes at the beautiful outdoor amphitheater during the early summer Jazz Fest. View all the Estes Park special events to find what festival speaks to you and your loved one.
6. Chasing Waterfalls
The romantically named Bridal Veil Falls is a perfect day hike during the summer or winter for couples looking to spend some quality time amongst the wilderness. The roughly 3 mile (one way) hike passes through forests, open valleys and streams before reaching the stunning waterfall. Each season presents a new look to the falls from frozen in winter to full with spring run off and steady in the summer. Though there are no entrance gates at the Cow Creek Trailhead, purchase an annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park for a year's worth of national park adventure dates!
Estes Park offers a world-class experience for the classic date night activity, stargazing. The dark skies and peaceful environment make for top-of-the-line romantic viewing. Try spying night time stars from the darkness of Lily Lake or Marys Lake.
8. A Burning Desire
Watch live demonstrations as skilled glass-blowers melt and create artistic glass masterpieces right before your eyes. Local Estes Park studios including Glassworks Studio & Gallery and Mountain Blown Glass offer large viewing areas for lovebirds to peer into their artist's toasty creative spaces.
9. Flora & Fauna
Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are prime locations for walking through fields of wildflowers and spotting feathered friends (amonst other wildlife too!). The first flower of the season, the pasqueflower arrives in early spring and can be recognized by its soft purple color. Many birds call Estes Park year-round, but keep an eye out for the Mountain Bluebird, whose bright blue color is a sure sign of spring. Read more about the top wildflower viewing spots in the area and discover the birding hotspots in RMNP and Estes Park.
10. A Day at the Museum
Stroll hand-in-hand through the Estes Park Museum while browsing exhibits detailing the history of the Estes Park area. Step outside to explore the historical structures on display including the 1908 Cobb-Macdonald cabin and the original National Park Service headquarters building that operated in downtown Estes Park from 1915 - 1923 before being relocated to the museum grounds.