Steamboat has always built its reputation on being family-friendly, a community-first town that prides itself on multi-generational families who stay in the Yampa Valley simply because there are few places better to raise children. Those family values come through whether you’re here for a week or for life. As a result, there are many amazing ways to enjoy Steamboat with your children.
In fact, if you do have kids, that’s a great excuse to check out some of the best activities in town—and don’t be surprised if you end up having fun, too.
Snow Tubing at Saddleback Ranch
Jumping into a rubber inner tube and sliding down a hill may sound gimmicky or even trite, but it’s basically like sledding on steroids, only much safer and we promise, it really is as much fun for the parents as it is for the kids. For $36, you get two hours and with three runs to choose from (from beginner to expert), and the time really flies. A tow rope pulls you up the hill and gravity does its part to get you down. Located 10 miles northwest of Steamboat, you’ll get a good taste of ranch country—without having to actually ride a horse. //saddlebackranch.net
Ski Free Sundays at Howelsen Hill
Anyone who says “nothing in life is free” has never been to Howelsen Hill on Sundays. This legendary ski area, the first in North America and home to the Olympic breeding ground that is the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, pays homage to its long history in the town and the sport by offering free skiing on Sundays. This is an amazing option for families with young children or beginner skiers who don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars for a day of skiing at the resort but just want to spend a few hours sliding on snow. The small-town hill is also deceiving in terms of its size—the Long John trail is over a mile long. You’ll also love the old-school vibe of the cozy cabin-style base lodge with the kind of snack bar reminiscent of a town pool from where you can grab a hot dog and catch a glimpse of the ski jump facility, one of the best in North America. //steamboatsprings.net
Also at Howelsen Hill check out Bumper Cars on Ice at the Ice Arena, the only ice facility in Colorado to offer it for only $12 for 20 minutes, or rent skates and get some additional ice time for $19.
Sleigh Ride Dinners at Haymaker
As a public golf course in summer and cross-country ski center in the winter, Haymaker has always been a local’s haunt. With its wide-open views of the Yampa Valley and the Flat Top Mountains, the scenery alone is worth coming for. Haymaker is offering all that and more with their sleigh ride dinners. Start off with a little cocktail hour at the clubhouse, then settle into the horse-drawn sleigh for a feast that features the views followed by a three-course, Colorado-inspired meal. Views of the sunset free of charge. //steamboat.com
Dog Sledding with Grizzle-T
It doesn’t matter how old you are; the opportunity to mush your own dog sled team at Grizzle-T Dog Sledding run by an Iditarod musher is once in a lifetime for anyone. This local, family-owned and operated kennel has a 37-year history in Steamboat of racing and breeding Alaskan Huskies for the Iditarod, so these guys know their stuff. You get to man your own sled and drive your own dog team (depending on the size and weights of your kiddos, it’s 2-3 people per sled) on the 12.5-mile trail for a half day adventure you’ll be howling about for years to come. //steamboatdogsledding.com
Hot Springs Pools
They don’t call it Steamboat Springs for no reason—the natural sulphur springs that literally run through the town are the source of natural hot springs in Colorado. Better yet, the facilities that have been built around these springs are top notch, and great for kids who love to swim no matter what time of year. Check out the Old Town Hot Springs with its brand new, state of the art facility featuring water slides, climbing walls, natural hot spring fed pools and fitness and massage for Mom and Dad. If you want a more natural, outdoors experience, don’t miss the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, one of the most legendary and beautiful mineral hot springs in Colorado. Nestled in the mountains above town, this pristine spot offers 104-degree naturally fed pools as well as massage and water therapies. It’s a true escape, even from your vacation.
If you have a few hours to kill…
Maybe your family needs a day off from skiing to relax and hang out, but you still want to get out for a few hours. There are a lot of fun activities that don’t take the whole day. Check out the Outlaw Mountain Coaster at Steamboat Mountain Resort for a roller coaster above the snow that takes mountain fun to a new level, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. On those colder days when you just don’t want to be outside, get a whole new perspective on bowling at Snow Bowl, where the kids love the game and the parents love the elevated food and drink. If you’re looking for something to keep your toddler or preschooler occupied, check out open gym times at Excel Gym gymnastics center. Or cruise down to Celebrations Kids on Main Street in downtown Steamboat for a virtual kid’s haven featuring video games, pizza, pottery, candy and toys. For a little wholesome, good old-fashioned fun (that’s free of charge) check out the popular sledding hills in the Steamboat II subdivision on Anchor Way by the church—just look for all the kids having fun.
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