Steamboat Springs is one of my very favorite mountain towns in Colorado, and a great place to plan anything from a ski trip elopement to a summer wildflower elopement. I’ve been visiting Steamboat every winter for a decade, photographed both weddings and elopements in the area, and now I want to share some of the tips I’ve picked up with you!
Practical info about Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs is a city in the Yampa Valley in northern Colorado, most known for its ski resort and natural hot springs. You can fly directly into Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN) on United year-round, or on many other airlines during the ski season. You can also make the three hour drive up from Denver International Airport. (If you’re driving to Steamboat in winter, get a car with 4WD and good snow tires—trust me on this one.)
Best time to visit: Visit Steamboat Springs from January through March for the best skiing, or July through August for summer recreation. Tourism slows down a bit in September, and that’s my favorite time to get out and hike in this area. By early October, there’s a chance of snow. The only time I avoid is mud season (April-May), when the resort closes and the whole town slows down before summer—but it can be a great time if you really want to avoid other tourists.
Major events: There’s always something going on in Steamboat, since it’s one of the Colorado mountain towns that feels most alive year-round, but a few major events include the Winter Carnival in February, Steamboat Marathon in June, Fourth of July Celebrations, and Steamboat Octoberwest®.
Weather: Summers in Steamboat are warm, dry, and usually sunny, with temperatures from the high ’60s to low ’80s. Winter is the exact opposite, when “the Boat” gets an average of 185″ of snow in a season, and temperatures rarely get above 32° F/0° C.
Best wedding venues in Steamboat Springs
If you’re planning a wedding with more than 15-ish people, you’re likely going to need to rent a venue. Here are my favorite wedding venues in Steamboat Springs, from traditional venues and western ranches to smaller venues that are perfect for micro-weddings.
- Vista Verde Ranch
- Yampa River Botanic Park
- Vista Overlook
- La Joya Dulce
- The Cabins at Historic Columbine
- Bella Vista Estate
- Four Points Lodge
- Midnight Ranch
- Elk River Guest Ranch
- Flying Diamond Events
- Lucky 8 Ranch
- Catamount Ranch Club
- Glen Eden Resort
Best places to elope in Steamboat Springs
While I can’t share my favorite elopement locations in a post like this without risking them no longer being permit-free and private, here are some of the best places to elope in Steamboat Springs that already have established permits and rentals.
- Steamboat Lake State Park
- Fish Creek Falls Overlook (not available May-Sept)
- Pearl Lake State Park
- Stagecoach State Park
- Steamboat Springs Ski Resort
Where to eat in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs has some of the best food in all of Colorado, and I’m always excited to eat when I’m in the Boat. Start your day with pastries from Smell That Bread Bakery and coffee from Seedhouse, and you’ll start to see why I love this place so much. Make sure you check out Storm Peak Brewing for the best beer and patio in town, and grab some pizza from the place next door while you’re there.
- Freshies (Huge brunch restaurant with a big patio.)
- The Laundry Kitchen & Cocktails (Exactly what the name says. their creekside patio is my favorite place for happy hour.)
- Salt & Lime (Best tacos and margs in town.)
- Harwigs (Fine dining—one of the best meals I’ve ever had in CO. They have three private dining rooms.)
- Laura the Butcher’s Meatbar (Charcuterie and sandwiches, and they also do charcuterie to-go for weddings.)
- Sauvage Restaurant (Fine dining. Their slogan is “where the wild meets perfection” and that sums it up well.)
- Primrose (Steakhouse with oysters and seafood.)
- Bésame (Latin fusion / tapas)
Things to do in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs has something for everyone. You can go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or even paddle boarding and swimming in summer, enjoy every snow sport from resort skiing to snowmobiling in winter, and relax in the hot springs all year round. Stop by the Steamboat Springs Chamber visitor center on your way into town to pick up free maps and activity guides!
Where to stay in Steamboat Springs
As you’d expect from a ski resort town, there are loads of vacation rental options in Steamboat Springs. If you’re planning an elopement, use vrbo.com as they have an “events allowed” search filter. And if you prefer traditional hotels, you’ll have plenty of choices there too.
- Alpenglow Villa (vrbo, allows events)
- Sky Valley Chateau (vrbo, allows events)
- The Wapiti Retreat (vrbo, allows events)
- Maverick Hollow Getaway (vrbo, allows events)
- Chalet Cascada (vrbo)
- Trails Edge Lodge (vrbo)
- Elk River Enclave (vrbo)
- Gravity Haus (new hotel a few steps from the gondola)
- Steamboat Grand (classic hotel at the resort)
- Nordic Lodge of Steamboat (no frills hotel motel downtown)
- Mariposa Lodge Bed & Breakfast
Steamboat Springs Elopement Galleries
Looking for an elopement photographer in Steamboat Springs? While I’m based in the Boulder area, I drive to Steamboat multiple times a year, and don’t charge travel fees for elopements here. Check out my elopement packages, then contact me to chat more about how I can help you plan your Steamboat Springs elopement or micro-wedding!