Steamboat Springs ski resort is a fabulous place to take a winter vacation, but what if you don’t ski? Don’t fret, there are so many things to do in Steamboat Springs besides skiing. Take it from me. I recently went on a family vacation there and didn’t ski (due to a previous surgery), and had the absolute best time! So much so that I couldn’t squeeze all the activities I wanted to do in.
One of the great things about visiting Steamboat Springs is all that it has to offer, both on and off the mountain. There is so much going on in this Rocky Mountain ski town in winter (and summer – see my list of summer activities in Steamboat Springs), from outdoor activity to excellent dining to downtown shopping, and to, of course, hot springs!
There is no shortage of things to do in Steamboat Springs besides skiing. People love ski towns for both their slopes and the goings-on of mountain life off-slope. Below is my complete list of things to do in Steamboat Springs besides skiing.
Things to do in Steamboat Springs besides skiing
Resort Activities that don’t require skis
I thought it would be helpful to first list activities on the mountain, in case you’re staying at the resort and are right there. There’s actually a lot to do without skis.
Take the Gondola Ride to Thunderhead Lodge
There’s no reason just because you’re not skiing that you can’t get the gorgoeous views from atop the mountain like everyone else. Steamboat’s gondola allows both skiers and non-skiers to ride. It doesn’t go to the top of the mountain, but it goes fairly high up, where you get glorious views of Steamboat and the Yampa Valley. The ride is about $30 and in my opinion worth the money, because not only do you get the views once up there, but you can hang out up there too, at Thunderhead Lodge. There are restaurants and a couple shops, and it’s a great place to have a cocktail with a view. I had lunch and a beer by myself at Hazie’s next to a window overlooking the mountain, and I couldn’t have been happier.
Wine and Dine at Good Restaurants
Steamboat Springs ski resort has some good to excellent dining options. In addition to Hazie’s at Thunderhead, there’s Ragnar’s restaurant at Rendevous Saddle Lodge, famous for their sleigh ride dinners. Yes, you can take a snowcat-driven sleigh ride (from the top of the gondola) to a night on the town, or rather, mountain!
At the base of the mountain there are some very good dining options, including Café Diva, which many people believe to be the best restaurant in the area. Having eaten there myself, I would have to guess they are right. The food is amazing. Rye is popular as well, and has a nice, sophisticated bar. Nearby is Paramount as well as the fun-loving Slopeside, where people gather for Apres drinks. The Truffle Pig and Bear River Bar and Grill are happening spots as well. So if you’re wanting some wining and dining in leiu of skiing, well then you’ve come to the right mountain.
Ride the Mountain Coaster
For some fun for the kids, there is the ever-popular Mountain Coaster, said to be the longest coaster in North America. People love this coaster. See here for more details, such as age and driving requirements.
Enjoy the Hot Springs
Steamboat Springs got its name, after all, from the natural hot springs in the area. It is said when French settlers first discovered the land, the sound of the hot springs sounded like a “chug-chug”, and has been called Steamboat Springs ever since. There are two fantastic spots to go for a dip and chillax the afternoon away – the Old Town Hot Springs and the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Old Town Hot Springs
I cannot say enough about the super popular Old Town Hot Springs located right in town. It’s a great spot for both adults and kids, any season. There are adult-only pools, as well as kids’ pools, with slides, a climbing wall, pool toys and more. It’s such a blast to take the family to, and a win-win for everyone. My girls go wild for this place, and me, I get to relax. It’s one of our favorite spots in all of Steamboat.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
For a more rustic experience, the Strawberry Park Hot Springs are located about 15 minutes outside of town. Beautifully set on Hot Spring Creek, you can drive or take a shuttle (note, the driving requires 4-wheel drive during the winter and spring months). Kids will probably prefer Old Town, but they are welcome at Strawberry Park.
Hangout in downtown Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs has always been, and remains until this day, a ranching town. It’s a real western town with a real western feel. Take one drive through the main strip and you will feel like you’ve just stepped into a Western. Though not a ritzy town, there’s several fine shops and restaurants to dip into and while the day away. You can read all about them in my post R + R in Steamboat Springs: Shopping + Hot Springs.
Go Snow Tubing
I remember going snow tubing as a kid and thinking it was the best thing I had ever done. While we did not go snow tubing in Steamboat Springs this trip, it is most certainly available, at nearby Saddleback Ranch on the Yee Haw Tubing Hill. Shuttle service is provided, along with designated time slots. That’s part of why we never made it tubing – the times didn’t happen to work out with our schedule. There is the Longhorn Warming lodge to warm up and get a snack or drink. To see all the necessary info. about planning your snow tubing trip, see here.
Get a work-out Cross Country Skiing
Colorado offers some of the most sublime scenery for cross country skiing around. Think open space, rolling hills, forest trees looming in the distance. It’s beautiful. There are several spots to go cross country skiing, including Steamboat Springs Ski Resort, Fish Creek Falls, Howelsen Ski area, Lake Catamount and several spots in Rabbit Ears Pass. There’s probably more, but these are the ones I know about. See the Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce website to view all these trails. There is also the Haymaker Nordic Center and the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, offering rentals and trails. You can view all you need to know here.
Or Get a work-out Snowshoeing
Ok, this is my new favorite exercise! And talk about exercise. I’ve never tried my feet at snowshoeing before because I always thought it wouldn’t get the juices flowing enough, and I’d get bored. Oh was I wrong. Snowshoeing is a serious work-out. I loved it! Like cross country skiing, it’s a great way to get exercise while enjoying the beautiful great outdoors, in this case in the gorgeous Rockies. For all the need-to-know-info., see the websites above in Cross Country Skiing, as the rentals and trails can be found at the same places.
Go for a Snowmobile Ride
We went snowmobiling for the first time in years (actually, the first time for my girls), and, of course, it was a blast. Riding at top speed through Steamboat’s champagne powder was exhilarating. There are a few tour operators, and two popular ones include: Steamboat Snowmobile Tours and Saddleback Ranch Snowmobile Tours. Check out the various packages – some are basic snowmobiling, while others include snow tubing, and others include lunch or dinner. Snowmobiling was a highlight of our trip, and I can now say I for the first time drove one myself!
Before our trip to Steamboat Springs, someone had mentioned dog sledding, but it never materialized. Nonetheless, there are a bunch of outfitters in the area should you want to try your hand at this unique experience. Some of them include Snow Buddy Dog Sled Tours, Mountain Paws Dog Sled Tours, and Steamboat Dog Sledding.
And that’s a wrap! As you can see, there’s plenty of things to do in Steamboat Springs besides skiing. I for one can vouch that I had just as much fun as the rest of our skiing crew.
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