This is the first of several posts about our trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. This is the trip that started our love affair with the National Parks. My husband had always wanted to go to Yellowstone and we were looking for something to do for two weeks so we thought we’d give a road trip a try. It was an amazing trip and redefined how we spend time as a family.
We started out in Arizona driving north through Utah and into Wyoming. It was a gorgeous drive. The scenery kept getting better and better.
This was a two day drive so the KOA in Panguitch, Utah was our half way point. KOA is a great company that has Kampgrounds all over the country. Each location has different amenities but all that we have been to have, at a minimum, swimming pools and playgrounds. Perfect for kids. Some even have arcades, mini golf and so much more. KOA’s have spaces for RV’s, tents and Kamping Cabins, my personal favorite. We try to stay at KOA’s when we are traveling to save some money on lodging. For this trip we stayed in a Kamping Cabin.
It had one bunk bed, which my kids loved, and a full size bed. The full size bed is not ideal for two adults but it’s only for one night and it saves money over a hotel so we make it work. You do have to bring your own linens so we just throw our sleeping bags in the car. The Kabins have porch swings, perfect for rocking out to your iPod in the morning, and fire pits, great for making smores. I mean, what’s not to love.
The next day we drove to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Oh my goodness…I love this town. Jackson Hole is an expensive town so in an attempt to save some money we stayed at the Motel 6. The room was very small. Not sure I would stay there again although it did save us some money. We would have preferred to have stayed at the Jackson Hole KOA but it was full.
Jackson Hole is the cutest town. The Town Square is awesome and there are lots of great places to eat. The classic picture in front of the antler arch.
The park in Jackson Hole is amazing. This was one of my daughter’s favorite places we stopped the entire trip. The park that is.
Another favorite activity was the Alpine Slide. My kids still talk about going back to Jackson Hole for the Alpine Slide.
Two of my favorite places to eat in Jackson Hole (this trip was pre-food allergies so I would not be able to eat there anymore 🙁 ) are the New York City Sub Shop and The Bunnery. The Bunnery has some amazing pancakes. They have a blend called OSM – Oats, Sunflower and Millet. Seriously amazing. Several times we grabbed sandwiches at New York City Sub Shop and took them to the park to eat.
We had so much fun in Jackson Hole that we stayed here again on our way home. This time we stayed at the Antler Inn. The Antler Inn is right in the heart of downtown. Our reservations were last minute so we ended up with a very large family size room. More room than we needed but it was a nice place to stay and we enjoyed being able to walk to the Town Square.
Grand Teton National Park. One of my absolute favorite places on earth. I plan to go back and spend more time in the park at some point. I would love to go on some of the longer trails and just admire the beauty of the Teton’s.
We stayed in Coulter Bay Village in a two room cabin. The cabin was very large and spacious. It was more room than we needed but would be perfect for a large family or two families. We had access to the pool at the Jackson Lake Lodge which the kids loved.
One morning we took the Breakfast Cruise to Elk Island. It was a fun adventure. The boat captain was very knowledgeable and the kids enjoyed the ride across the lake.
Elk Island is in the middle of Jackson Lake. Breakfast was waiting for us when we arrived and afterwards we had time to explore the island.
I sat in this spot for quite a while admiring the view.
Our captain was telling us that lake slips are very hard to come by on Jackson Lake. The waiting list is like 15 years and families pass them down from generation to generation. So, if any of you happen to have one and would like to will it to me I would greatly appreciate it. I would love to spend every summer in a boat on Jackson Lake.
We hiked to Hidden Falls and opted to take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake to save a few miles rather than hike around the lake. This was our first family hike so we did not know what the kids were capable of. They both did really well, although Little Miss spent the majority of the time on The Husband’s shoulders.
The hike was 1.2 miles and not terribly strenuous. There were a lot of mosquitoes near the water so be sure to wear your bug spray. Hidden Falls is a very popular hike so there were lots of people but it was a lovely hike. We were walking along a roaring river for the majority of the walk.
It was a really bright day and we didn’t realize the white balance was out of whack – we were still learning how to use our DSLR camera. Bummer. But now it gives us a reason to go back!
Unfortunately we did not have a lot of time in the Tetons so the rest of our time here was spent sight seeing.
And riding horses.
The Chapel of the Transfiguration is a lovely chapel in the park. If The Husband and I were not already married this is where we would be getting married.
The classic Teton barn shot.
I would highly recommend visiting the Tetons. They have a walking/biking path along the main road. I wish we lived closer so we could bring our bikes. I wonder if they have bike rentals. Next time I will have to look into that because that would make sense.