One of our most favorite family traditions is choosing a new place to celebrate the Fourth of July each year. Some of our best family memories have been created during these typically unplanned, unscheduled, very casual getaways. We’ve learned some great lessons along the way and I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite small town spots.
We had a wonderful time in Steamboat Springs, Colorado last month. In fact, other than the crowds (which weren’t too terrible) I don’t think I have one negative thing to say about this charming mountain town. It was one of those trips that got better and better the longer we stayed. I can’t say any one thing was our favorite activity or place because there were so many.
Here is our TOP FIVE favorite things about Steamboat Springs, Colorado:
#1 The Independence Day Parade
The Steamboat Springs parade was exactly what you’d expect from a small town: a bit quirky with a whole lot of charm. The parade included multiple appearances by Elvis Presley himself, a dance company compiled exclusively of senior citizens, and a fire breathing dragon to top the whole thing off. We laughed A LOT.
Steamboat is SUCH a cute town, lined with the most adorable homes and surrounded by picturesque sights. The town is filled with charming restaurants, fun music from a variety of sources, and plenty of shops to peruse. The Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant is a must, we loved eating lunch under a canopy of trees while listening to the river flowing along just feet away from our table. Another favorite in-town restaurant was Salt and Lime, a unique and fun little Mexican spot.
Steamboat has plenty of beautiful grassy areas throughout the town to kick back and relax while enjoying that fresh (and therapeutic!) mountain air. We thoroughly enjoyed simply wondering around town, taking in the lovely atmosphere, watching a few skiing competitions, and of course, sampling the ice cream from a variety of parlors…
#3 The Yampa River
The slow flowing river winding through town provided hours and hours of entertainment for our kiddos.We had quite the adventure tubing down the Yampa River, some of the kiddos enjoyed it a bit more than others, but is a definite must-do.We would definitely recommend purchasing and bringing your own tubes if possible as the rental price was a bit ridiculous. We spotted all sorts of flotation devices at work, everything from blow up mattresses to over-sized pool toys seemed to get the job done. Of course the fishing spots are a plenty along the Yampa, we got a kick out of the guys casting AND CATCHING fish like crazy, right alongside us tubers.
#4 Outdoor Adventures
There is SO SO much to do in and around Steamboat. Biking, hiking, and backpacking are some of the major draws. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the area on some of our evening hikes.There is just something special about being in a beautiful place with those you love and Steamboat is definitely that.One of our favorite places to explore was the trail to Fish Creek Falls. It’s about one mile to the lookout point and completely paved, perfect for young kiddos and so very beautiful.
#5 Natural Hot Springs
Strawberry Hot Springs and Old Town Hot Springs are major tourist attractions for Steamboat, however our absolute favorite part of the trip was a small hot springs we stumble upon by accident. John had a work call so we grabbed some lunch and headed to a grassy area off main street to picnic. While waiting for Dad, we discovered the most charming little natural hot springs alongside the Yampa River. It was warm and lovely and just sorta magical. We spent hours and hours there, jumping between the warm pools and the cold river. The kids were in heaven and it definitely gave me a lot to think about. Sometimes we try so hard to create fun, to make lasting memories, and plan and plan and plan. I realized when we stop, breath, and simply are present, wonderful things can happen.Steamboat Springs, Colorado: Highly recommended.