Yampa River Botanic Gardens, Steamboat Springs, CO

Visit Steamboat Springs on a Budget: the ultimate travel guide

October 7, 2021

I'm Jenna

Financial Coach, Mountain Girl, RN, Dog Mama, Coffee Lover and Adventurer

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Enjoy a Week in Steamboat Without Breaking the Bank!

If you know anything at all about my story, you know that first, no matter where life takes me, my roots will always be in Colorado, and second, I began my financial journey a single gal, deeply in debt.

I am also a Financial Coach.

So, I came up with creative ways to take a much needed little vacation without derailing my budget or my progress in paying off debt. Disclaimer- growing up in the Rockies, I have a mountain bike, kayak, camping and fishing equipment, and hiking boots which make many of these activities very affordable or free. If you don’t have these things, not to worry, I’ll offer some ideas that will get you enjoying everything this little mountain town has to offer, while not setting you back financially.

Step 1

Set-up a Travel Savings account and an automatic transfer to move a set amount of money into that account each pay period. This will serve as your budget when choosing your destination and activities.

Step 2

Travel with a like minded partner, or a travel buddy or two to share the cost.

Now that we have that established, let’s visit Steamboat Springs on a Budget!

Steamboat Springs- Ski Town USA

Having lived in Steamboat for many years, this little mountain gem in Northern Colorado is near and dear to my heart. It will forever feel like home to me. Like most mountain towns, it has plenty to offer in the way of outdoor activities! And, If you know how to do it, you can visit this gorgeous town and enjoy all it has to offer on a serious budget during the summer and fall seasons. This town was built to get you outside!

Endless Activities on a Budget

The Yampa River

The 2021 season brought unusually warm temperatures and low water levels, so unfortunately, the section of river that flows through town was closed, but in a normal season, the Yampa River, which flows right through the heart of downtown Steamboat, offers endless recreational activities, with restaurants and bars galore along its banks. Bring your own kayak, paddle board, inner tube, or fishing pole and enjoy a day spent on the water. During the summer months, you can rent an inner tube from a local shop for around $20.

Yampa River, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Yampa River, Steamboat Springs

Biking

While you can certainly rent a bike and purchase a lift ticket and enjoy a day downhill mountain biking, there are also numerous trails around town where you can ride for free such as Howelson Hill and Spring Creek. If you are not an adventure seeker, simply ride your bike around town or enjoy the 7.5 miles of the Yampa River Core Trail. Late September will bring amazing fall colors that are sure to dazzle. You might even catch a glimpse of some local wildlife like, bears, deer and moose!

Walk, Run or Bike the Yampa River Core Trail

Hiking

No bike, no worries! There are countless hiking activities in and around Steamboat including Fish Creek Falls which is just minutes from downtown. Mad Creek and Spring Creek Trails are also local favorites. For an out of town adventure, head up Rabbit Ears Pass, Buffalo Pass or up to the Steamboat Lake/Hahns Peak area for some incredible hiking and amazing views. Not a big hiker? You can enjoy a leisurely stroll down the Yampa River Core Trail.

Hot Springs

Fun Fact, Steamboat actually got its name from the bubbling sound made by a downtown hot spring. (You can visit this for free). Strawberry Park is a remote mountain hot spring just minutes from town. For a price tag of $20 per person, this is ultimate in relaxation in some of the most gorgeous scenery you have ever laid eyes on. You can also visit Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat which offers naturally heated waters, hot tubs, a climbing wall, and slides for $25 per person. Local Secret – Directly across the street from Old Town, the warm waters spill into the river. Enjoy this free of charge on a warm, sunny day.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs | Steamboat Springs, CO
Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs

Sightseeing

Along the Yampa River Core Trail, enjoy a stroll through the Botanic Gardens, or head out of town in any direction and enjoy unparalleled views, wildlife, and all that nature has to offer.

Yampa River Botanic Gardens | Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Botanic Gardens

Food, Beverages and Lodging

As with any trip, this is the budget breaker. Hotel rooms are a fortune these days. If this is how you are traveling, off-season and off-days will be your best bet, along with sharing the cost with a travel partner.

Have a camper? You can stay at the KOA for around $55 per night. They also have cabins that sleep up to 4 people for $75-$115 per night. If all else fails, regular ol’ tent camping is super affordable. Pro tip- Bring your own firewood and keep in mind mountain nights are chilly so good quality equipment is a must!

Meal prep and eating your own food will certainly help keep your budget in check. When eating out, share an entree with a friend (and don’t forget to smother it in green chili), or splurge on the lunch menu to keep costs lower.

It probably also goes without saying that drinks with dinner will up your bill by a ton. Colorado is notorious for good craft brews, and Steamboat is no exception. Purchase a twelve pack or a sample pack and enjoy your local brews around the campfire.

Finally, like most mountain towns, Steamboat is pretty pet friendly with water bowls outside most businesses, so bring your furry friends and a leash and enjoy all this little town has to offer. If done with intention and planning, you can easily spend a week here for around $500 per person.

Need a budget? Visit JennaDowell.com to get a free Budget Workbook today to get you started.

Campfire | Steamboat Springs, CO
Happy Adventuring!

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I'm Jenna

Floral Designer, Financial Coach, Registered Nurse, Dog Mama, Coffee Lover, Adventurer and Fellow Dreamer

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Financial Coaching

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Travel & adventure

Health & Wellness

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