Summertime in Steamboat Springs, CO: Top Things to Do with Kids

Summertime in Steamboat Springs, CO: Top Things to Do with Kids

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 ).

Sunset in Steamboat Springs, CO.

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.

Fishing in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Boating and fishing in Steamboat Springs, CO.

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

Hiking in Steamboat Springs, CO.


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.

Eating on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Lunch on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, CO.

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.

Renting bikes in Steamboat Springs, CO.


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.

Tubing in Steamboat Springs, CO.

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!

Horse country in Steamboat Springs, CO.


Steamboat Springs, CO in the summer is an amazing time to visit.



  1. Lyn Cook
    September 17, 2015 / 7:05 pm

    Great photography of a really fun town !

  2. September 17, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    Love your photos. Good write up and I am sure it is a great guide for people going to the area.

    • September 18, 2015 / 1:57 am

      Thanks – I hope for it to be!

  3. September 17, 2015 / 8:05 pm

    Now that is a summer!

    • September 18, 2015 / 2:00 am

      Oops – meant to say, yes, it really is a great place to be for summer. I love being by the ocean too, but the mountains are always a nice respite as well.

  4. September 17, 2015 / 8:56 pm

    Oh this brings back so many memories. My great aunt had a cabin just north of Gunnison. We used to drive there from Vancouver.

    • September 18, 2015 / 2:01 am

      A cabin sounds so nice, and I always love a good road trip.

  5. September 18, 2015 / 11:30 am

    Oh my. That tubing looks so much fun!! I am so unknowledgeable when it comes to parts of the US, so reading posts such as yours is so enlightening because you only often hear about the more famous places. Steamboat Springs looks stunning and your descriptions have been yearning to go! Ps. I think I need a 2-week break too, I am finding it hard to catch up!

    • September 19, 2015 / 9:48 pm

      I know! Back to School just takes over. And this summer our school system only had two months of summer so the fall really came back with a vengeance. I hear you on not knowing parts of the U.S. It’s such a big country it’s impossible to know everything. Hope you get some down-time to catch up!

  6. September 18, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    Looks fabulous, what a great place – we would love just about all of those activities!!

  7. lang cook
    September 18, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    Corey- I loved your Steamboat article and the accompanying pics. As you know, I am a big fan of the shrimp po-boy at Sunpies. Maybe we can learn how to make one at home. Will watch for continuation of the blog. LP

    • September 19, 2015 / 9:50 pm

      Ha – sounds good. Maybe we can get the recipe from Sunpies itself..

  8. September 28, 2015 / 5:13 am

    Lovely pictures! Love the twinkling rays of sunlight on the lake.

  9. November 11, 2015 / 3:01 am

    Cheers to the great outdoors. What a stunning place…the little people in my nest are into fishing too! Fish on!

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