Family Summer trip to Yellowstone National Park(6 Posts)
Hi, we are planning a trip to Yellowstone this summer with a 7 & 9 year old. We'd love to get some advice on the best places to stay - the lodges in the park look rather large and impersonal? Might the smaller ranches on the outskirts be nicer or is the drive in each day too long? My children are keen to horse ride - can we organise this in the park?
What about the cabins in the grounds of the larger hotels? They're rustic and simple for the outdoorsy experience but you can still use the restaurants and facilities in the larger hotels. Although availability will be limited for the summer now. I've booked through this site before.
You can also enquire about horse riding through that site.
We stayed within the National Parks to make the most of our days/time there sinc. We did a road trip from Denver, Cheyenne (rodeo), Thermopolis (hot springs), Cody (rafting trip) before 3 nts in Yellowstone at Old Faithful & Canyon Lodge. We then spent a week in the Grand Teton National Park (where we did a horse ride) before flying home from Jackson. We booked our accommodation in the previous October for the following July/Aug and even then, availability was limited - people book as soon as they can because it's peak season but rooms do get released when people don't proceed with their reservations so don't give up. It's obviously cheaper to stay outside of Yellowstone but we decided that it wasn't worth the extra hours of driving plus you need to get to the car parks relatively early to avoid the crowds/queues just to enter the car parks.The second half of August might be better since some states go back to school mid August. Don't underestimate the distances involved especially with jetlag. HTH.
If you like hiking the great outdoors, you'll love it - we spent hours every day doing the numerous trails. DH is a marcher so I wouldn't say that it was a particularly relaxing holiday for us but the landscape was breathtaking.
If you do go, take a day to climb Mount Washburn via the Dunraven Pass - definitely a highlight for us. Another highlight was a morning's rafting from Cody, the annual rodeo at Cheyenne (there is a smaller one at Cody too) and boating on Jackson Lake. The horse ride in the Grand Teton NP was more challenging than I expected - no helmuts were offered and there were mosquitoes galore so make sure that you are well covered up.
All the well known tourist spots like Old Faithfull - get there v.early because it gets crowded by 9am. We had strategic early starts to get to famous spots before 8am to avoid the coach crowds. Last of all, buy a cooler from Walmart for your boot to save some money so you can have cold water and DIY stuff for lunch/snacks when you're out and about. Tripadvisor has some great tips!
I haven't been but we did have a plan to go Summer 2017. I started trying to book lodges in Nov 2016 but the total Solar Eclipse was directly over Jackson and ultimately meant we just couldn't get our holiday dates to work with available accommodation.
We definitely planned to stay within the two parks - Yellowstone and Grand Teton for about 8/9 days and combine that with time outside the parks - but to see things outside the parks. I didn't think it was worth commuting in.
You can cancel park accommodation (for both parks) for a $15 admin fee so worth seeing what is still available. And as someone else has said - other stuff becomes available as people release bookings.
If you are really into horse riding there are various 'dude ranches' just outside the parks some of which have kids activity and riding programmes. They looked quite expensive and seemed to only take full week bookings but it's not going to be a particularly cheap holiday however you do it so may be worth looking at.
We ended up doing the Pacific Northwest - Washington State and Oregon. Loads of outdoor adventure! But do want to get to Yellowstone one day!
It’s so amazing when all the day trippers leave and the park is all quiet for the evening and Early morning.
The big old lodge at old faithful is great. And go out to get s private show from the geyser before breakfast (from 9am onwards it’s nuts).
We stayed in lodges in the grounds of both lakeside and mammoth springs but for old faithful the Main lodge is great.
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