Top 5 Reasons to Visit Estes Park for Thanksgiving

Downtown Estes Park | Kyle Swinicki

Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday in 1863 when Civil War President Abraham Lincoln made an effort to unite the nation by proclaiming it as such. It is now officially celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, remember what the important things in life are, show gratitude for what you have, and of course eat great food. In Estes Park it’s also enjoying a unique, striking town during a special time of the year.

If you have not made your Thanksgiving plans yet, below are the top five reasons to consider visiting Estes Park:

OneU.S. Highway 36 re-opened connecting Lyons to Estes Park making a great reason in itself for a Thanksgiving celebration. No longer must circuitous routes be taken for the tourist flying in to Denver, renting a car and then making their way to the gorgeous town surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

An autumn afternoon at Downtown Estes Park, with The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountains in background. | Sean Xu

Two: Adjacent Rocky Mountain National Park is less crowded this time of year and a stunningly beautiful place to visit with the snow on the higher elevations. (Even if it does snow in Estes Park itself, it usually disappears rather quickly this time of year and the town has excellent snow removal systems in place.)

Three: Enjoy a wonderful hometown parade the day after Thanksgiving that makes you feel like you’re in a charming small town. This parade is a big deal for the locals and it is understandable why. The floats are creative and fun and the townsfolk mingle with the tourists in a friendly atmosphere.

Rocky Mountain National Park – Estes Park, Colorado | Brian Wolski

Four: View the hundreds of lights and Christmas decorations downtown while finding unique Christmas gifts on sale. And if you rent a cabin where you plan to make your own Thanksgiving meal, you will find the groceries stores stocked with everything you would want for your special recipe or if not, that they will try to order it in for you if you request it ahead of time. If not, you will find a choice of restaurants open for Thanksgiving.

FiveEnjoy discount pricing on hotel rooms but book early enough because though the town is not as crowded as the summer season, once a person has experienced Thanksgiving at Estes Park they are often return tourists subsequent years.

(Five and a half: But finally if you were as lucky as I was when I went, it means you can enjoy a spectacular fireworks display the day after Thanksgiving.

Now what do you plan to do this Thanksgiving?

My name is Kari August. I am an author currently working on an historical fiction novel based on the life of a trapper who lived in Colorado in 1873. My blog is What To Do In Estes Park where I give tips on shops, restaurants, and attractions in Estes Park which is the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. The address for my blog is

Source: Kari August

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