It’s March and we all know what that means – SPRING BREAK! This is traditionally a time of year when millions of people head out to catch some of the first rays of sun or some of the last powder of the season. But, if you aren’t able to get to the beach and you don’t ski or snowboard, that’s no reason not to consider still heading for the hills! Surprisingly, towns that are known for their world class skiing also offer tons of activity for people who aren’t ski bums. For our holiday weekend/spring break trip, we decided to try something different and headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for some different kinds of fun.
We picked Steamboat because it was, in a word, “easy”. It was something different, in relatively decent proximity so we could drive there, and the prices were moderate. While checking out things to do in this small town, we were pleasantly surprised at how much they offer! Really, if you don’t ski, there’s still so much to do in this town.
Dining – Small ski towns like this have really come a long way with the food scene lately. Steamboat has great food and bars – so many we had a hard time deciding where to go!!! For great pizza Cugino’s is a must, and for desserts with 23k gold, try Aurum. If beer is your thing, try Mahogany Ridge Brewery where you can get a half priced beer and tapas for $1.00 during happy hour. For a fresh twist on Mexican, try Salt and Lime! We made sure to get reservations at 8th Street Steakhouse, which lets you select your cut of meat and cook it yourself. This was really fun because you could experiment with different sauces to come up with unique flavor combinations and it gets you involved in the cooking experience.
Hot Springs – There’s several hot springs in the area, some of which are right in town. But, for the coolest experience, we worked our way up a rough road to the legendary Strawberry Hot Springs, which is located not too far outside of town. It is so cool to be able to sit in the naturally hot mineral pools which are just feet from the freezing river that ripples by. The hot water felt amazing and melted away all of our daily stress, as well as the soreness from our weekend activities. Some considerations with Strawberry Hot Springs are:
- You need a four-wheel drive vehicle or tire chains to get there. The suspension on our truck got a workout on the road.
- Do not bring glass to the hot springs! As we were leaving, someone broke a glass. This happened at night – there are no lights in the area and everyone is bare footed. You get my point.
- After dark, it is adults only as clothing becomes optional. Keep this in mind if you plan on taking kids.
Howelsen Hill – This ski/activity area is in town and offers a variety of things to do. Once the trails are closed for the season, snowshoeing is free. And, they say if you can walk, you can snowshoe, so this is a great winter weather activity for almost anyone. We also spent an hour at the area’s sledding hill, “Tubing Steamboat”. What a fun way to bring out your inner kid again! You can ride the magic carpet to the top of the sledding area and tube back down as much as your heart desires. I’ve never gone snow tubing, and I haven’t been sledding in over a decade, so this was a super fun way to spend some time. They will push you or spin you, but either way you’ll go jetting down the hill.
Dog Sledding – The absolute highlight of our trip! When we first picked Steamboat, we didn’t even know this was an option, but we came across it as the number one activity on TripAdvisor and we were immediately hooked. We are both dog lovers, so seeing them in action and getting to learn about their skills and abilities as working animals was so exciting to us! Even more exciting, we learned how to mush and got to guide the team of dogs through 12 miles of pristine mountain wilderness. This was the experience of a lifetime! For the details on this, click here.
Again, just because you don’t ski, don’t let that stop you from heading to a nearby ski town for spring break! There really was more to do in Steamboat Springs than we had time for. They had free concerts, quality shopping, great food, cozy fireplaces to curl up next to and more! We even got to watch some of the locals compete in a downtown “rail jam”. Towns like this draw in a ton of visitors each year, which leads to a lot of options and activities. If you’re looking for something that is different, easy, and still offers plenty to do a spring break trip to a ski town might be the thing for you!