8 Best Things to Do in Estes Park for Couples (+Tips From A Local)

Pep Dekker

Featured image of Best Things to Do in Estes Park for Couples

Are you heading to the Centennial State with your significant other soon?

This article provides the ultimate guide to Colorado’s natural gem: Estes Park!

Estes Park is an outdoorsy, picturesque community surrounded by mountains and is an excellent destination for couples to visit. 

If you are looking for the best things to do in Estes Park for couples, you need the kind of local insight that will make your visit romantic and memorable during any season. 

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the potential of your visit to Estes Park, as this article has you covered from candlelit dinners to hot air ballooning. This article will cover activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Sunset views
  • Canoeing or paddleboarding
  • Horseback riding in amazing scenery
  • Exploring the unique shops
  • Lakeside picnics
  • Hot air balloon rides
  • Candlelit dinner.

Best Romantic Getaways In Estes Park For Couples

Best Romantic Getaways In Estes Park For Couples

Let’s dive right into some of the best romantic activities in Estes Park for couples! 

From those of us seeking adrenaline to dedicated holiday photographers and hopeless romantics, Estes has something unique to offer. 

I will look at each activity at a glance and then give an overview of the activity and discuss why it made it onto my top 8 list of activities for couples!

1. Hiking to Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park 

Dream Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
  • Location: The Rocky Mountain National Park (a 30-minute trip from central Estes) – Get Directions 
  • Price: The fee depends on duration: $15/person/day, $20/person/week, $70/person annual pass. Make a timed reservation when you purchase your ticket online. 
  • Distance: This hike makes for a 2.2 mile round trip. 
  • Time needed: One and a half hours. 
  • Difficulty: The trail is classified as moderate difficulty out-and-back trip with some short inclines. 

The Hike to Dream Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park is renowned for its scenic views along the whole trail and the stunning destination at Dream Lake. 

You and your beloved will enjoy cerulean skies and alpine imagery on this breathtaking short trip for people who love nature photography. 

This is included in my top picks because it is very affordable and easy to slot into shorter visits to Estes if you plan ahead and reserve a hike time. This is a flexible and romantic trip that gives you a taste of Estes’ natural beauty. 


  • If you are staying for longer, you can also add Bear, Nymph, or Emerald Lake to your list! 
  • Visit during the Summer and Early Fall to avoid cold conditions and snow.

2. Sunset views from Many Parks Curve

  • Location: The Rocky Mountain National Park (a 30-minute trip from central Estes); accessible by a short detour off the Trail Ride road – Get Directions
  • Time needed: Less than 1 hour
  • Sunset: Make sure you head to the lookout before sunset to enjoy the view. 
  • Sunrise: Sunrise can be captured depending on the time of year. For those not keen on an early morning, the latest sunrise annually in Colorado is in November or January (after 7 am).

This is a super easy sightseeing activity for couples with access to personal transport on their visit to Estes Park. If you follow the trail ride road, there are several lookout opportunities from which to capture sunset or even sunrise! 

The stunning views will make this an unforgettable moment with your loved one, and you can snap some great pics to even further treasure the moment. 


  • Parking can be difficult at lookout areas during busy times of the year, you can still access the viewpoint if you park further and take the short walk to the viewpoint 

3. Canoeing or paddleboarding on Lake Estes

  • Location: Lake Estes Marina, Estes Park (1770 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517, United States) – Get Directions
  • Time needed: A few hours up to a full day depending on preference. 
  • Price: Paddleboards can be rented for $18/ hour from Lake Estes Marina. Kayaks go from $20 an hour for a 1-person kayak, or $25 an hour for a two-person kayak. There are additional daily use fees of $5 and an additional small fee for parking. 
  • Best Time to visit: Summer visits are best. 

The large and beautiful body of water at Lake Estes makes this active day out relatively private for couples! 

This is on my top picks because of its potential to be relaxing amidst a busy travel schedule, and the lake is not designed for swimming so there aren’t many noisy kids around! 

The Lake Estes marina is easy to access and the flat lake makes it a perfect spot for beginners to try their hand at kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. 


  • Always remember a life jacket! You can loan one on location, and it is included in the daily use fee. 
  • The water is very cold, so wear a wetsuit if your balance is not the best! 

4. Horseback riding with views of the Rockies

Horseback Riding in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Location: The foothills of the Rocky Mountain National Park – Get Directions
  • Time needed: 1 to 5 hours depending on the guided tour provider
  • Price: $300 at Anchord rides (full day, lunch included) or $95 at the Jackson Stables (1.5hrs) 
  • Best Time to visit: Spring and summer months

I have listed two kinds of tours, but there are many horseback tour providers that take you across the lovely terrain to views of the Rockies. 

Horseback riding is guided, so it won’t provide as much privacy as other activities. However, it will be exciting and novel for most visitors. 

You will see more of the Rocky Mountains with fewer blisters and still get in some exercise during the day! 

The flexibility of this activity is another attractive drawcard. If you have a day to kill, why not take the full-day tour; otherwise, go for the hour ride if you are pressed for time. 


  • Horsehair is a common allergen. If you are sensitive to other animals, have antihistamines on hand
  • Book well in advance to secure a ride; the tours can fill up fast in the summer!

5. Exploring The Unique Shops In Downtown Estes Park

Estes Park, Colorado - Downtown View
  • Location: Moraine Avenue in downtown Estes Park – Get Directions
  • Time needed: flexible
  • Price: Free… If you are just window shopping!
  • Best Time to Visit: All year round. 
  • Top Shops to visit: 
    • Once Upon a Hive Candlemakers
    • The Old Fashioned Candy and General Store
    • Caramel Crisp inc. Sweet Shop
    • Blake Trading Co. Jewelers 
    • Simply Christmas Christmas Wonderland
    • RiverWalk Cafe (Get a refreshment on your day in town!)
    • Wynbrier Wildlife Gallery
    • Earthwood Artisans.

The boutique shops of downtown Estes are one of the easiest attractions to explore with your partner. Window shopping is totally free and fun all year round!

If you do find yourself with some change to use though, I would recommend the candy scene. 

Who doesn’t like to have a sweet with their sweetheart on a nice day? 

This is also a great activity because you can make it an occasion by sharing lunch or brunch at one of the various riverside cafes nearby. 


  • Take it easy looking through these cute shops and galleries, you may even meet a local artist
  • Enjoy the hospitality of Estes Park business owners. 

6. Lakeside picnic at Lily Lake

Beautiful sunset sky over Lily Lake
  • Location: Lily Mountain Lake, a few miles out of Estes Park – Get Directions
  • Price: $15/person/day: can be booked through The National Park Service (a reservation is required).
  • Trail: You can stroll around the lake across a short, flat walk: 0.8 of a mile. 
  • Time needed: Flexible
  • Best Time to Visit: Mild months when the weather is picnic-friendly.

Lily Lake is another beautiful mountain lake with sites that are perfect for a picnic lunch!

You can circumnavigate the lake before or after eating and see stunning views slightly off-trail. 

This Lake is one of my top picks because it features fewer watersports compared with Estes Lake, and thus makes for an easily accessible and primarily scenic location for a romantic picnic. 


  • This site is dog-friendly if they are kept on a leash
  • Take the time to circle the lake on the short walk there to get the most out of your visit!

7. Hot Air Balloon Ride 

  • Location: 2140 North 107th Street – Lafayette, Colorado 80026 USA – Get Directions
  • Price: $800 per adult
  • Time needed: One to one and a half hours
  • Best Time to visit: Spring and Summer

If you are visiting Estes Park for a special occasion, this spectacular activity will allow you to create a beautiful memory together! 

This is on the list because you won’t find these views of the alpine terrain anywhere else.

Besides – hasn’t everyone always wanted to see what a ride in a hot air balloon is really like? 

If you and your significant other aren’t afraid of heights, I’d highly recommend booking a balloon tour of the Estes Park skyline. 


  • Make sure you are staying in Estes Park for a week at least, as sometimes trips are postponed due to weather conditions. 

8. Candlelit dinner at Cascades Restaurant

  • Location: 333 Wonderview Avenue Estes Park, CO 80517 – Get Directions
  • Price: Upper-end dining prices
  • Time needed: An evening
  • Best Time to Visit: All year round!
  • Book at: reservations@stanleyhotel.com 
  • Cuisine: Classic American Cuisine and steakhouse.

Some of the highlights of the Cascades romantic restaurant experience are the classy white tablecloths and the whiskey bar!

From 11 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week, a visit to this restaurant makes the perfect flexible evening out for partners. 

This hit my top 8 list because if you visit in the winter months or just spent a day out paddleboarding on Estes Lake, this dining experience will be classic and relaxing.


  • Check out the online menu to get excited about all the fresh choices 
  • Organize a taxi or Uber so that you can safely enjoy the largest collection of whiskeys in Colorado at the Whiskey Bar!


  • Pep Dekker

    Hey. I’m Pep, Paige's husband, and dad to Juliana, Lucille and Maxine. I'm founder and writer here at EstesPark.com. I've been living full-time in Estes Park for 3 years now and been visting the Estes Valley for 8. I'm a seasoned traveller, and all around expert on all things Estes Park, Colorado and I'm excited to share all that I've learned with you.