Steamboat Springs is a wonderful, tucked away mountain town in the northern part of Colorado. While we love visiting anytime of year, we especially love all the fun Steamboat Springs summer activities with our kids during the warmer months.
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Enjoy hiking, biking, downtown fun, hot springs, and more in this incredible town.
It really has a lot to offer.
There are tons of things to do outside and plenty of activities for the whole family. I think of it as a little boutique mountain town. It’s open and happy to have visitors, but removed enough that it’s not quite as commercial.
Read on for the best things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer.
Table of Contents
The Best Steamboat Springs Summer Activities for Families
1. Burgess Creek
Our hotel of choice, the Steamboat Grand, is just across the street from Burgess Creek, a fun little water area for the kids to play in during the summer months. The creek area is constructed with rock on the perimeter, giving you a great way to walk your way up stream.
Along the way you’ll also find a sandy beach area. Kids come dressed for the beach to play in this cute area, using the water to stay cool while soaking in the sun.
2. Ride the Gondola
Take a scenic ride up the mountain on the Steamboat Gondola. It runs daily in the summer (mid June to early September) and weekends for a month after into October.
Purchase your ticket ahead of time, and choose the combo that allows a free kids ticket (12 and under) for every adult ticket purchased.
Then just enjoy the gentle ride up the mountain, with views of the Yampa Valley and town below.
Tip: Your ticket is good all day long, so take a ride in the morning and then come back in the evening for sunset.
Tip #2: Riding the gondola is gorgeous in fall as well.
3. Zoom Down the Alpine Slide
The Howler Alpine Slide is the coolest thing to do in summer in Steamboat with kids.
Head to Howelsen Hill and get a great view of town from the top of the mountain. Then, slide down the track using a sled that you can control the speed on.
The ride takes you 2,400 feet down to the bottom of the mountain on a thrilling ride.
This is great for (almost) all ages. Anyone 2+ can ride the slide, though younger ones will have to ride as a passenger.
Two different trips show the water levels changing!
4. Take a Kid-Friendly Hike
There is ample hiking in and around Steamboat Springs, but here are a few just-right hikes that are great for families.
First, Fish Creek Falls is the most popular. The hike is rather short and a little steep, but the payoff is an incredible waterfall. We love going down below where the water runs (not the same side as the waterfall) and dipping our toes in on a hot summer day.
We also love the Spring Creek Trail which takes you to a couple cute little ponds. The hike goes right along a dirt road, so it’s plenty easy and flat for all ages.
You can drive up into the mountain a little more to hike around near the top on Fiddlehead Trail. The hike is beautiful, remote, and easy. Perfect for families.
Of course, you can also head to one of the ski areas and hike around on the mountain trails there as well.
If you don’t mind a little drive into Rabbit Ears pass, we also love walking around Dumont Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the area.
My Picks of Lightweight Hiking Packs:
5. Attend a Local Event
We often go to Steamboat for the Fourth of July. The town does an awesome parade down its main street. They block off traffic and people line the streets on both sides, all the way up and down.
The parade features horses, local organizations (hockey teams, swim teams, dance teams, political party floats), police, firetrucks, rodeo stars, with music and an announcer filling the air.
You can also attend Art in the Park around mid July. This event brings in over 100 artists of who use all different mediums to create. Say goodbye to big box store art and find something unique at this event.
The whole family will love the live entertainment, food vendors, kids interactive space, and more.
6. Watch a Movie Under the Stars
One of the best Steamboat Springs summer activities for families is to hang out in the fresh air with a movie on a big screen.
Grab some lawn chairs and blankets and head to Steamboat ski village at Steamboat Square. Here you can enjoy a family friendly movie each Saturday at sunset.
You can pack your own snacks or purchase some treats there.
Oh, and it’s both fun and free.
7. Catch a Free Summer Concert
Since 1993, Steamboat Springs has put on free concerts in the summer at Howelsen Hill. If your kids like music, great! If that’s not enough to keep their attention, they can hang out in the kids play area. The concert has plenty of food vendors and many have kid-friendly options.
8. Steamboat Springs Farmer’s Market
Yes, my kids actually really enjoy this, so it’s making the list of best Steamboat Springs summer activities 🙂
Every Saturday in summer (June through mid September), you can walk through many local pop-up booths at the Main Street Steamboat Farmer’s Market. It’s set up mostly on Yampa Street, from 5th to 8th street.
We always find plenty of fun, fresh, and unique items as we stroll down Yampa. You can find fresh made soaps, lotions, local honey, produce, blankets, jewelry, art, and plenty more.
The market runs from 9am to 2pm June through September. Most vendors accept credit through a Square (or similar), but come prepared with cash as well.
9. Yampa River Botanic Park
The Yampa River Botanic Park is filled with flowers, birds, and the occasional moose visitor nearby, as it sits right beside the Yampa river. Admission is free, donations appreciated.
The Botanic Park also hosts music and yoga in the park on certain days.
10. Hang out at the Pro Rodeo Series
Over at the Rodeo Grounds (near Howelsen Hill) you can catch a rodeo during summer weekends.
This is such a fun event for the whole family. Kids will get to watch barrel racing (with some young rodeo stars!), roping, riding, and wrestling. They’ll also have the chance at participating the the scramble. Whoever gets the ribbon off the sheep will win a sweet prize!
There is a decent amount of parking at the rodeo grounds and they serve up some barbecue before hand ($).
Rodeos take place on Fridays and Saturdays all summer.
11. Stop in F.M. Light and Sons
Get rodeo-ready with a visit to F.M. Light and Sons. This is a classic and a true tradition in Steamboat. In fact, if you drive to Steamboat from Denver, you’ll see plenty of signs along the way for FM Light and Sons starting about 45 minutes away.
Here you’ll find your western gear, boots, hats, and some great clothing picks. Whether you just want to refresh a few things in the wardrobe or really get in the rodeo spirit, this is the place.
They have kids items as well, making it a family outing.
Tip: Snap a picture of the kids on the horse statue in front of the store.
12. Mountain Biking
Steamboat is a dream destination for skilled mountain biking. But even if you bring kids, you can find some great trails.
For those just starting out, try the Spring Creek Trail. This allows you to bike on the dirt road or along the simple trail beside it.
Emerald Mountain has a few easier trails as well, such as the Rotary Trail or Bluff’s Loop. Both provide easy, gentle climbing and fun terrain.
Head to the Steamboat Bike Park for a variety of trails around Mount Werner. Purchase your pass and let the gondola do the heavy lifting up the mountain.
13. Howelsen Ice Complex
Going to the ice area is fun both in summer or winter in Steamboat.
The Howelsen Ice Complex was the first place in Colorado to experience bumper cars on ice.
You can also glide across the ice during public ice skating time.
14. Bike or Walk Along the Yampa River
The Yampa River is such a relaxing way to spend a day in Steamboat Springs in the summer.
You can rent bikes at Orange Peel, which is right next to the trail that runs along the Yampa River. (It’s also right across the street from a great playground and park area).
Enjoy the day biking along the river, or even just take a stroll on the trail watching kayakers and other float down river.
The trail is cement and mostly stays within the shade of many trees. There are beautiful photos right along the river, as well as large, spacious gazebos to eat lunch in or take a snack break.
15. Float the Yampa River
Float down the Yampa river in an inner-tube! The river is gorgeous and a great way to see the outskirts of downtown and beyond. Rent from Bucking Rainbow Outfitters and they’ll even shuttle you back when you’re done!
This is one of the best Steamboat Springs summer activities since it can get so hot. This is a nice, refreshing way to relax and cool down.
16. Soak in the Hot Springs
Visit Old Town Hot Springs right off Lincoln Avenue for a fun family day of hot springs with a pool-like setting There are even water slides to entertain the kids for a while.
For something more scenic, but maybe not quite as fun for kids, drive up the mountain outside town for a more natural setting of hot springs at Strawberry Hot Springs. This is kid-friendly during the daytime only.
17. Visit Steamboat Lake State Park
I have to say, this is one of the absolute most scenic lakes in Colorado and has been one of our very favorite things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer.
Steamboat Lake sits at 8,100 feet in altitude, with Hahn’s Peak rising even higher in the background. It’s totally stunning.
It’s also really fun to hang out at this state park. Enjoy the swim beach and take the paddle board out for a ride. Or put on your hiking shoes to roam some trails.
Steamboat Lake State Park provides tons of fun outdoor recreation and is a great campground with amenities as well.
18. Hang Out at Stagecoach Reservoir
If you want to hang out at a lake but don’t want to make the longer drive up to Steamboat Lake State Park, you can make the easy drive over to Stagecoach Reservoir at Stagecoach State Park.
This state park also has camping, a beach area, and even a great little convenience store up the stairs from the beach if you are in need of some snacks.
While I didn’t find Stagecoach as scenic as Steamboat Lake, it was still a nice day of hanging out and staying cool. We got to launch the SUP here as well and enjoy a day on the water.
19. Have a Zip Line Adventure
Just a few minutes from Steamboat into Rabbit Ears Pass is where you’ll have the opportunity to soar above the Yampa Valley.
Steamboat Zip Line Adventures secures you onto a 6-segment course where you’ll soar over the Flat Top mountain range and Yampa Valley. You’ll feel secluded while really only being a short distance from town.
Tours are around 1-1/2 to 2 hours. You must be at least 50 pounds (but under 250 pounds) to participate.
20. Explore Downtown
Steamboat is a cute town full of local small businesses. If you are in need of unique clothing, decor, gear, or just want some tasty food, Lincoln Avenue has you covered.
But what about the kids?
There is a store especially for kids in downtown Steamboat.
In Celebration of Kids is a one-stop-shop for all things kids need and want. Find clothes, toys, candy, and even fun games to play while there. It’s more like a mini-mall than a single store.
21. Go Rafting on the Yampa
While other mountain towns might offer intense rapids, you can take the kids on a safe raft trip for their first time right in Steamboat.
Bucking Rainbow offers rafting adventures of about 1-1/2 hours along the Yampa River. This experience offers class II and III rapids, making it the perfect beginner and family-friendly experience.
Kids only need to be 4 to join in (or 8, during high water days), making it the perfect experience for the whole family in Steamboat Springs in summer.
Where to Stay in Steamboat
We stay at the Steamboat Grand, a big, green-roof hotel up on the hill as you come into Steamboat. It is right across the street from Steamboat ski resort. The service and staff here is great and the hotel is top notch.
You can get a typical hotel room, or if you want more space, you can reserve up to 5 rooms in the same unit! We usually go up with a bunch of family in a 3 bedroom unit, which includes an upstairs. It also includes a nice, stocked kitchen area, dining area (a lot of seating), and a large living room with a fireplace. The rooms have a very mountain-west feel to them.
Every unit layout is not exactly the same in regards to where bedrooms are or what they look like. But the living area and kitchen have so far all been similar.
The hotel also has a large, heated, saltwater pool open year-round. The saltwater is easier on the skin, and doesn’t burn quite like chlorine on your eyes.
In addition, the hotel has a great fitness facility, steam room, sauna, locker room, spa, concierge, restaurant, and a beautiful lobby.
Want more info? Read my FULL REVIEW of the Steamboat Grand Hotel
Other option: Rabbit Ears Motel is a classic piece of the town, if you want a hotel right downtown.
Or if you want a rental home, check out these awesome Rentals in Steamboat!
Closest Major Airport to Steamboat Springs, CO
If you are able to fly into Hayden (Yampa Valley Regional Airport), that is the closest airport.
However, the closest major airport to Steamboat Springs is Denver (DEN). It’s about 3 to 3 and a half hours to Steamboat from the airport.
Steamboat Springs Summer Activities for Families
Now you have some great, kid-friendly ideas of things to do in Steamboat Springs in summer! Spend the day on adventure activities and then relax with a soak in the hot springs. Or, catch the rodeo or an outdoor movie on the weekends. No matter what you choose, Steamboat Springs summer activities are all worthwhile and help create those fun memories.