Steamboat Springs, Colorado has been on our list of places to go for a while now. In June, we loaded our camping gear and the kids into the car and drove the four hours it takes to get there from our home in Utah. The first thing we did was to stop by the Visitors Center and pick up a free guide to Steamboat Springs. We were open to whatever adventures we came across while we were in town. And believe me, Steamboat Springs has plenty to explore.
We spent five days in “The Boat” (as the locals call their town) and tried to fit in as many activities as the kids could handle. If your family is into outdoor recreation – this is one of the best vacation spots for you! Steamboat Springs is located about 150 miles northwest of Denver, and easy to get to via highways.
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Colorado is one of our very favorite places to visit, and I am excited to tell you about the fun things we did in Steamboat Springs. I would definitely recommend each and every one of these to anyone planning a trip to Steamboat.
Hike to Fish Creek Falls
I listed Fish Creek Falls first because it is a Must See while you in Steamboat Springs. This 280-foot waterfall is one of the most popular destinations year-round. Everyone can enjoy paved access to the overlook, just a quarter mile’s walk from the parking lot. We took the boys on the 5 mile round trip hike to the second waterfalls. It was a bit strenuous for us all at times, but totally worth it for the photo opps and gorgeous nature all around.
Ride the Gondola
Take a scenic Gondola ride up the mountain from the base at Steamboat Ski Resort. There’s food, cocktails, and lots of mountain views to enjoy at the top.
Strawberry Springs Hot Springs
There are a couple different options for hot springs in Steamboat Springs. We went to Strawberry Springs Hot Springs. These all-natural mineral springs are world class. Water temperatures are 104 degrees, which I am sure feels awesome during winter. We visited during a summer heat wave, so we only wanted to spend a brief time relaxing in the hot pools. We had a great time staying overnight at one of the campsites. Ours came with its own private covered bridge. It was pretty sweet. I slept so well that night in our tent listening to the white noise from the river running ten feet away.
Attend a Steamboat Pro Rodeo
There’s a rodeo every Friday and Saturday night all summer long. The Steamboat Pro Rodeo tradition has been going on for more than 100 years. My family had a lot of fun watching the cowboys, horses and bulls. All the kids at the rodeo get invited to go out in the arena for the ribbon pull. (That’s where they get the chance to win prizes!) A rodeo is an authentic Western experience not to miss.
Yampa River Core Trail
We rented bikes and rode the 7.5 mile long paved trail that runs through the heart of Steamboat Springs and along the Yampa River. This trail is such a nice place to bike or walk, and enjoy lots of scenery along the way. People raft, stand-up paddleboard, kayak and fish for Rainbow Trout all along the river. There’s a lot to see and do right on this trail.
Yampa River Botanic Park
Be sure to take a detour from the Yampa River Core Trail to stop in at the Botanic Park. Entry is free to this six-acre sanctuary of 40 gardens, ponds and sculptures. The pathways wind through the colorful flowers and native trees.
Mustang Round Up in downtown Steamboat Springs
This Ford Mustang car show just happened to be going on during the days we were in town. Just one example of the unexpected kind of fun you’ll find in Steamboat. Since I travel with a herd of car enthusiasts, this could not have been better timing.
We mixed a few nights of camping with nights spent in Steamboat Springs hotels. It worked out really well for us. There are various campgrounds in and around the Steamboat Springs area. We camped at one of the US National Forest Campground campsites available throughout the Routt National Forest. It was fun to take short nature hikes with the kids and sit around the campfire eating s’mores. We were lucky to have cloudless skies, which led to amazing views of stars and the Milky Way every night.
There are so many local restaurants, art galleries, and shops to visit in Steamboat Springs. We only had time to experience a few places, but they were all good and left us wanting to come back again. Our trip was so much fun, the only way we could convince our kids to leave Steamboat Springs was to promise a return trip in the near future. Luckily, we live only a four hour road trip away. We will be back!
Have you ever been to Steamboat Springs Colorado? Do you want to visit? What kinds of kid friendly activities are your favorite things to do on a family vacation?
Check out our hike to Delicate Arch at Arches National Park.