There’s nothing like a great summer vacation. And for families of all ages, there’s nothing quite like a Steamboat Springs summer!
Steamboat Springs is mostly known as a ski resort and beautiful winter resort town. But did you know it’s also an amazing family vacation destination during the summer?
We unwind, decompress, connect, and either bask in the sun, take in the excitement of a classic city or marvel at nature’s beauty.
Pack your skis away, ditch the thermals and turn down the heat; it’s summer in Steamboat Springs!
The city known for its winter sports resorts is transformed.
So in this post, we’re examining all the best Steamboat Springs summer activities for you and your family to enjoy.
Check out all my best travel resources and recommendations which can save you time and money on your next vacation!
What is the elevation of Steamboat Springs in Colorado?
Steamboat Springs, sometimes just called Steamboat, starts at 6,900 feet above sea level.
It then rises to over 10,000 feet.
By comparison, Denver is in the low to mid 5,000’s and both Vail and Aspen are around 8000 feet.
Steamboat Springs altitude sickness
Because the air is thinner at this elevation, less oxygen is available.
People visiting from lower elevations sometimes experience altitude sickness. This usually happens within the first 2 days of the trip.
Possible symptoms of altitude sickness include:
- low appetite
- shortness of breath
- trouble sleeping
To combat the symptoms of altitude sickness, drink more water than usual, go easy on exercise and physical exertion, eat more carbs and cut back on alcohol.
Where is Steamboat Springs?
Steamboat is located northwest of Denver on the other side of Rocky Mountain National Park. From Denver, it’s about a 3-hour drive.
It is due north of Vail and on the outer edge of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests.
Access it easily going east and west on US Highway 40.
So now let’s review the . . .
6 Best Steamboat Springs Summer Activities for Your Family
1. Go mountain biking
Steamboat Springs is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and trails in Colorado, making a family bike ride the perfect activity for a sunny day. Venture through the town, coast along the river, or brace your leg muscles and pedal up steep mountain terrains.
If you fancy ascending with a little more ease, take the gondola from the bottom of Steamboat Ski Resort for panoramic views of Yampa Valley. You can purchase a bike ticket beforehand and take your bikes on board with you.
There are numerous rental shops across the city, offering a range of bikes suitable for all ages of your family. They also provide helmets, safety, and repair equipment.
Rather bring your own bike? Check out all the best mountain bikes under $500!
2. Be taken up, up and away
Experience Steamboat Springs from a birds-eye view in a truly unique mode of transport—your very own hot air balloon.
There’s a selection of hot air balloon companies that provide tours of the Yampa Valley from the comfort of a basket in the sky. Drift over stretches of green land, tranquil lakes, and spectacular mountain ranges.
A hot air balloon ride in the summer guarantees crisp, clear sights and is bound to impress the kids. It’s also a great photo opportunity and special memory for all the family.
If you’re in Steamboat Springs in July, don’t miss the annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, where tons of colorful balloons fill the sky (and water below with their reflection). Visit at night when the glow from the balloons spectacularly lights up Mount Werner.
3. Spend a night at the rodeo
Saddle up! No Steamboat Springs summer activities list is complete without taking in the rodeo.
A tradition in Steamboat Springs for over 100 years and traceable back to the city’s ranch town roots, the famous Brent Romick Rodeo Arena is packed with barrel racing, tie-down roping and steer wrestling.
There are live music and BBQ before every event, as well as specialty acts afterward.
There’s even a ram scramble for the younger budding cowboys and girls of your family. Over the summer, celebrate July 4th with an impressive firework show takes place following the rodeo.
Think you’re too broke to go on vacation this summer? Think again!
Check out one of the most popular vacation posts on Middle Class Dad all about having a great Summer Vacation on a Budget.
We walk you through how to plan, budget and save on your next vacation even when money’s tight!
4. Sleep under the stars
Take advantage of the warm Steamboat Springs summer nights and go camping with the kids. Wake up feeling refreshed with the smell of the outdoors and the shade of tall trees.
Steamboat Springs has a range of camping hikes, whether you prefer a campground with amenities or complete wilderness.
Nature lovers can choose between sleeping close to their car or taking a tent and backpack in the woods. Reservations for campsites must be made in advance and always be sure to check updates about your route before setting off.
Soak in the Yampa Valley landscape from the comfort of your tent, looking out onto calm lakes, rock formations, and fields of bright flowers.
Top off your camping adventure and remember to bring some games with you — there’s nothing quite like running around or throwing the ball in such picturesque open space.
Renting a car? Take advantage of the best rates on Travelocity!
5. Fish your catch of the day
Spend a few hours on the beautiful lakes, relaxing in the tranquil environment while (hopefully) catching dinner for the evening.
Known for the great fly fishing in the Yampa River, Steamboat Springs has world-class rainbow and brown trout, and fishing conditions that attract fishermen from across the U.S. each year. There are loads of fishing shops dotted around the city, so pick up your equipment before heading to the water.
See Fly Fisher Pro for some great trout flies to get you started.
Visitors can fish either in the heart of downtown or head to Steamboat Lake State Park in the north. The park also has a whole host of watersports available, if you want to take a dip in the hot weather.
If you’d rather fish in the center of the action, there are numerous boat tours given by expert fishermen who provide tips and tricks on how to get the best catch. Most of the trips include the chance to go overboard and wade through the water too.
Want the insider’s scoop on Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas?
6. Unwind in natural hot springs
Round up your Steamboat Springs summer activities with a therapeutic dip in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Tucked away in the mountains about 15 minutes outside of downtown, the springs are fantastic for recovering from a busy, active day. Throw on your bathing suit and slip into warm waters, surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.
The kids will love paddling in the wild, while you can take a couple of hours to unwind. If you’re tempted to stay overnight, wagons, cabins, and campsite are available to reserve in the summer.
A great vacation doesn’t have to break the bank!
But it does require some advance planning.
When are the best times to buy tickets? How far in advance do places sell out? All that and more is covered in our Summer Vacation Planning Steps posts. I highly recommend starting there for planning your next amazing vacation!
Did we cover fantastic Steamboat Springs Summer Activities you were looking for?
Colorado is absolutely beautiful in the summer and a great way to beat the heat that many other states experience.
Mountains, crisp mountain air, breathtaking scenery and loads of outdoor activities make Steamboat Springs an ideal destination in the summertime.
In this post, we took an in-depth look at how the winter wonderland of Steamboat Springs looks in the summer.
We explored all the fun things for families to do and shared some great tips on cutting travel costs too. Specifically, we reviewed all the best Steamboat Springs summer activities that no summer vacation to Steamboat would be without.
What’s your favorite summer vacation destination?
About the author of this post.
Grace is a writer and copywriter from the U.K. She’s had the pleasure of living in 5 countries, combining her two loves: language and travel. She currently lives in Medellín, Colombia. Find the right accommodation for your family in Steamboat Springs on AllTheRooms
Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.