Winter Escapes to Steamboat, CO

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When it comes to Colorado vacationing, I am more of a summertime girl. I learned this quickly when traveling to Beaver Creek one summer, and then again to Vail, and then of course, I was delighted in sharing my love for Colorado summers with my family when I traveled to Steamboat this past summer. Summers in Steamboat Springs are so heavenly.

But, I was lucky to also learn that winters there aren’t so bad either. Especially as someone who isn’t much of a fan of skiing, but loves the outdoors. My few wintry days in Steamboat Springs were the inspiration to want to return because without ever putting on a pair of skis on my feet, I got to enjoy so much of what to do there.

Those of you who absolutely love skiing, you can’t go wrong with Steamboat. The 165 runs cover over 2,900 acres will keep you busy. But what’s awesome too is that you don’t have to ski to enjoy all. (

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Here are the highlights of my winter holiday in Steamboat.

Exploring the mountain trails

The beautiful thing about not being a skier but enjoying the outdoors is that whatever you do in the winter will most likely be less crowded than being on the ski trails. One of the ways I enjoy the mountain views has been through snowshoeing excursions. If you are unfamiliar with the trails, go with a guide. No matter what time of the year you go, the view from the mountain top are breathtaking and the feeling is peaceful. Steamboat has several snowshoeing tours that they offer.

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Horseback riding through the Aspen forest

I will confess, I am always a little nervous about getting on a horse. It’s not something I do regularly here on the East Coast, but I will always be happy and willing to take a horseback riding tour with Ray, the owner of Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch, a true-to-the-bone cowboy and wonderful storyteller. through the Aspen trails in the Mt. Zirkel. There were moments when I would be laughing at some funny story Ray had just told me, or falling in love with the scenery and silence. My eyes still get a bit misty when I think about how great that experience is.

steamboat winters_girlgonetravelRay and his granddaughter prep to guide me on a ride.

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Cuddling up on a sleigh ride

This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit Saddleback Ranch to experience a hayride and dinner with cowboys, which my family and I really enjoyed. In the winter, the ranch also offers sleigh rides and after having toured the ranch during sunset hours in the summer, I can’t even imagine how much more beautiful it all is in the winter. This is on the top of my list for sure and an activity I highly recommend. You can view all the different sleigh rides offered in Steamboat here.

Dining off resort

There are some great places to eat on Steamboat Resort, but we also had a lot of fun exploring the downtown area in search of good food. Depending on how much ground you want to cover during you visit to Steamboat, you might need a car. Many condos and resorts offer shuttle services, but Steamboat also has a reliable and free public bus system that we used to get to a lot of places in town, including some of our favorite restaurants.

For brunch I recommend checking out the Wafflelaphugus at Creekside Cafe in downtown steamboat. There is a bit of a line, but nothing insane like those in bigger cities like LA or NY, thankfully and the vibe is friendly.

steamboat winters_girlgonetravelThe Wafflelaphugus

Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant is especially sweet in the warmer months because of its placement next to the Yampa River, which makes for a nice night out on their deck when the weather permits it. But, even on colder months their restaurant is a delicious choice of seasonal, local items. My favorite farm-to-table dining experience in town and a cozy place to enjoy with family and friends.

For dinner, especially if your kids like to adventure out of the kids’ menu, Laundry a trendy bar and restaurant is a fun choice with its tapas-style dishes and creative drink creations. My favorite were the Fiery Margarita with the Chicken and Dumplings dish.

So much to explore, so much to do. Even in the winter there are tons of festivals and free events to go to with friends and family. I’ve spent over a week in Steamboat and STILL had tons on my bucket list left undone. As far as family favorites go, this is one of them. And if you make it out, please be sure to stop back here and let us know what you think, or tag me (@GirlGoneTravel) on your Instagram photos so that I can live vicariously through your fun adventures too!

To read more about my fun this past summer, check out my Summer in Steamboat article on Huffington Post Travel. You can see more on my travels to Steamboat on Instagram following hashtag #GGTinSteamboat.


Thank you to my hosts at Steamboat Springs Resort and their partners.

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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