I’m happy to be writing about one of my favorite places in the States – Colorado. We usually make it out to Steamboat Springs once a year to see family, and have been going for the past twelve years, but my ties to the state extend beyond that, to 20 years ago when I lived in the Telluride area fresh out of college. Forever smitten with this unique part of the country – the San Juan Mountains, the red rocks, the New Mexico feel, the uber cool town of Telluride itself – it was a time and place in my life I always reflect upon and hold dear to my heart. Eventually I had to go to the big city and get a “real” job, but that first experience in CO had me in love with the state.
Years later it would turn out that a family retreat would spring up in the Steamboat area, and I would be returning for visits on an annual bases. Steamboat may not be Telluride, but it is an awesome town in its own right, and amazing for kids. Not just a ski town, it is a really great place to take your kids in the summertime as well. There’s so much to do in the summers, in fact, that I’m splitting my posts up into three different posts: 1.) Classic Steamboat Activities and the Yampa River 2.) Mountain Adventure Time in Steamboat and 3.) R & R, Shopping and Hot Springs in Steamboat. Yes, hot springs for kids! (If you’re wanting to read about Steamboat Springs ski resort in the winter, view here ).
What do I mean by classic Steamboat activities? Really I mean classic CO activities: fishing, hiking, biking, white water tubing, and of course, the rodeo. If you love the outdoors, Colorado is the place for you, and your kids. And with its old-school true western feel, families love going to Steamboat Springs. Here is a list of outdoor activities to do with your kids:
Classic Steamboat Activities
Fishing: my girls really got into fishing this summer, and with all the kids’ rods these days, from princess to Scooby-doo, it’s easy to entice even the youngest. This summer was the first summer they really learned how to cast, and they absolutely loved it. There are many fishing outfitters in Steamboat, with Bucking Rainbow Outfitters being a popular one. They can tell you good fishing spots to take the kids (the Yampa River, Stagecoach State Park among some of them). Note, we got the girls’ rods at Walmart – they have a ton of fun rods for the little ones.
Hiking: there are many places to go hiking, but the most popular spot in Steamboat for families to go for a hike is Fish Creek Falls. With a 283-foot waterfall, and three different hiking options, depending on ability, it is very family friendly, not to mention a beautiful spot.
You may also enjoy: Steamboat Ski Resort: Top Reasons Why People Love this Mountain
Rodeo: The Steamboat rodeo is a blast!!! Get there early and feast upon a western BBQ meal full of ribs and beans and corn on the cob, and then bring your beer up to the bleachers and watch the bulls go to town. There is a designated kids’ playtime, where they all go out into the ring and run around. My girls are always too shy for this, perhaps not being western girls themselves, but they love to watch it. So do Mimi and Grandpa, as seen below! For a full list of events and kids’ activities, see the website above.
Yampa River Activities: The Yampa River section of Steamboat is our favorite part of town. With shack-style restaurants and pubs and gardens overlooking the river, the vibe is mellow and cool, making you want to just sip a beer and watch the tubers and rafters go by. Our favorite places to eat include Sweet Pea (for fresh and mainly organic eats, with a huge, beautiful tree in the middle of the deck) and Sunpies (with good sandwiches and beer on tap, and with a great outdoor yard with tables overlooking the river). Apart from the restaurants, this is where you will find many of Steamboat’s outfitters, from tubes to rafts to kayaks and bikes.
Biking: there is a path that runs all along the Yampa, and perfect for family bike rides as it’s not too hilly. Wheels Bike Shop has rentals, including kids’ bikes and trailers, and is right next to Backdoor Sports on the river.
Tubing: People love to go tubing in Steamboat. Rent a tube at Backdoor Sports or Blue Sky West, hit the river, be picked up by a van, and come back to Sunpies for a shrimp po-boy overlooking the water. How do kids fit in? We’ve taken them in our laps in the tubes and gone down, but really, that’s up to the parents and how they feel. Some of the renters will say age 3 and up is fine (with a parent, of course), and some say they should be at least 5 to go down. This summer we didn’t do it because it was only me and the girls – sans husband – so it was impossible. But last summer we did it and it was a blast. This summer we decided to take the bike path that goes over a bridge on the Yampa, and watch from there. Almost as fun.
Steamboat has endless activities for kids, including horseback riding, hot air ballooning, rafting and more, and is such a fun town – our kids love Steamboat!