7 Family-Friendly Day Trips to Make from Steamboat Springs

We’re all dreaming of that stress-free vacay—I know it’s not just us! That’s why a trip to Steamboat Springs is a must, especially if you’re a big fan of unplugging to enjoy the fresh mountain air and the outdoors in general.

Settle into your home away from home as you learn what we love about our amazing resorts in Steamboat. Then, spread your wings and head out for some of the most unforgettable family fun outings! Within just a 2-hour drive, you and your adventurous crew can experience the authentic western culture.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our favorite day trips to make from Steamboat Springs

1. Yampa River Botanic Park – 5 Minutes 

This horse pasture turned botanic park is a must during your stay in Steamboat Springs. Just two miles (a 5-minute drive) away, it’s an easy way to get some fresh air. It encompasses six acres of ponds, berms, and more than 50 gardens. And with a variety of trails, it’s the perfect place for your kiddos to run around, explore, get a little dirty, and learn about nature. 

What to do: 

Music on the green: Move to the rhythm of the beat and watch your kiddos dance under the Colorado sun. Bring a blanket, lunch, and some sunscreen as you join the community in this beloved tradition. 

  • Every Thursday from late June – mid August; starting at 12:15 p.m.
  • Free!

Self-guided garden tours: Literally stop to smell the roses as you let the kids take the reins and lead you through the gorgeous gardens here at Yampa. 

2. Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo – 7 Minutes 

If you’re traveling to this mountain town during the summer, be sure to head to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo! With events like bull riding and barrel racing plus music, entertainment, and scrambles for the kids (of any age), this truly is a Colorado experience not to be missed.

What you need to know: 

  • Every Friday and Saturday evening from late June – mid-August
  • Gates open at 5:30 p.m.; be sure to grab your seat between 6:30 and 7 p.m.
  • Event generally lasts for 2 hours
  • Children ages 6 and under are free
  • The weather cools down after the sun sets and the rodeo doesn’t stop for anything, so be sure to bring layers/rain jackets!

3. Fish Creek Falls – 15 Minutes

Make wilderness come to life for your kiddos! Just a 15-minute drive away, Fish Creek Falls is packed full of outdoor adventure. Take advantage of the wide range of hikes, a 280-foot waterfall, and scenic views that are beautiful from any angle. This outing is sure to make a lasting impression (and wear out the littles!). 

What to do: 

Paved wheelchair accessible overlook trail: Whether you need wheelchair accessibility, are pushing a stroller, or have young kids with you in need of a more accessible trail, this one’s for you. Just a quarter mile one-way, this path to the overlook might be the quick trip your family needs. 

Base of the falls: Also a half mile round-trip, you can skip the paved trail and head out on this dirtier trek to the bridge at the bottom of the falls. 

Upper falls: If your travel tribe is down for a challenge, load up your hiking gear and hoof it on up to the upper falls by way of this 5-mile hike. But be sure to pack bottles of water, snacks, and boots!

  • Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; entrance fee per vehicle (cash or check)

Tripbound Traveler Tip: As you can imagine, this spot is a favorite. For that reason, it gets busy quickly, so we suggest getting there early in the morning to make sure you get a place to park. 

4. Strawberry Park Hot Springs – 30 Minutes 

With all the hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and other outdoorsy adventures you’re taking advantage of in Steamboat, we’re sure that you’ll need a moment to catch your breath. Thankfully, we’ve got the perfect reset button for you: Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Nestled alongside Hot Springs Creek, this gorgeous area is home to an incredible mineral spring that’s open year round. The pools are perfect for relaxing sore muscles, calming your mind, or just letting the kids play.  

What to do: 

Take a dip in a therapeutic thermal pool. Temperatures range from 101 – 105 degrees, so any of your littles (as young as 3) can take part in this luxury. 

Treat yourself. Maximize your rejuvenation and sign up for a massage in one of the huts or consider Watsu therapy in the private pool. 

What you need to know: 

  • Kiddos ages 3 and under can enter for free
  • Bring your swimsuits, towels, and beverages, but no glass containers, food, or alcohol allowed
  • No credit cards; must pay with cash or check
  • Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. 

Tripbound Traveler Tip:  Shuttles are available to transport you from Steamboat to the hot springs and back, making the trek that much easier! Click here for more info.

5. Saddleback Ranch – 30 Minutes

This fourth generation working ranch offers the perfect family-friendly adventure, no matter your kiddos’ age! Just a quick 30-minute drive from Steamboat Springs and you’ll walk right into the western backcountry of Colorado and have access to all kinds of fun. 

With well-trained horses, rave-reviewed wranglers, and unique activities, Saddleback Ranch is a super enjoyable way to spend the day together.

What to do: 

Cattle Drives: Spend the morning getting back to life’s essentials. Head out on horseback to move cattle and make sure everything on the ranch is doing well.  

  • Ages 10 and up
  • Adventure begins at 8 a.m. and lasts 3.5 to 4 hours

Horseback Rides: Whether you’re a well-seasoned rider or creating an opportunity for your littles to learn, a horseback ride is the best way to take in the Colorado scenery and immerse yourself in nature.  

  • Ages 6 and up
  • Adventure lasts 1 or 2 hours

Dinner Wagon Rides: Some take limos, some take walks, but have you ever taken a wagon to dinner? Hop on for a 30-minute ride to the Double Dollar Lodge where you’re sure to cool off and fill up on cold refreshments, tasty food, and mouth-watering desserts. Then, climb aboard the wagon once more for views of the sunset as you venture home. 

  • Open to all ages
  • Adventure begins at 5:30 p.m. and lasts for 30 minutes (an hour round-trip) 
  • Be sure to visit the website (link above) for a list of the menu times and start preparing your taste buds

Tripbound Traveler Tip: With so many opportunities, is there anything you wouldn’t want to do while visiting? We didn’t think so. Keep in mind, however, that these activities sell out quickly. We recommend booking online and booking early!

6. Steamboat Lake – 45 Minutes 

During the warmer months, make the 45-minute drive over to Steamboat Lake where Hahn’s Peak makes up the breathtaking backdrop. You and your crew can exhaust yourselves fishing, picnicking, hiking, paddleboarding, canoeing, and swimming! Plus, with access to the full-service marina, you can take the family fun out on the water. 

What you need to know: 

  • Summer hours: Friday to Sunday – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday to Thursday – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • An entrance pass for a jam-packed day here is yours for under $10!

7. Sand Wash Basin – 2 Hours

A 2-hour road trip to the Sand Wash Basin is the best way to skip the hubbub in Steamboat Springs for the day and experience the ruggedness of western Colorado (for free!). With 155,000 acres and 750 wild horses, it’s sure to be the authentic experience your kids will never forget. 

What you need to know: 

  • Wear your outdoorsy clothing (think sunscreen, hat, boots) & bring food and water
  • Stick to this adventure if you have older outdoor lovers as the rugged, rough nature isn’t suited for little kiddos or older family members who might need extra assistance
  • You’ll be in a remote area (without guided tours), so be sure your vehicle is 4-wheel drive
  • Visit the Wild Horses of Sand Wash Basin’s Facebook page for additional tips and rules to follow
  • Name a foul! The guidelines for naming a horse are spelled out on the Facebook page. The general rule of thumb is that if you find a foul, then you own naming rights. How cool is that?!

Tripbound Traveler Tip: Again, this outing is authentic for a reason. The horses are wild. They’re beautiful, strong, and unpredictable animals. So soak up the views, explore the land, take photos, and remember to be safe. 

If your travel tribe loves the great outdoors, then your trip to Steamboat will be just what you need to push the reset button this summer. And with so many family-friendly day trips just a short drive away from Steamboat Springs, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy and walk away with fond memories to last a lifetime!

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