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Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

Cincinnati, OH
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Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

We are looking to plan a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons summer 2011. There is so much info on yellowstone, it is hard to know where to start. We will take some time , at least 10 days. We would be open to most suggestions. We would obviously want to catch the main draws like Old Faithful and wildlife, but would be open to other educational and adventurous opportunities like possibly kayaking, hiking, hot springs, a fun swimming hole? Many questions?

1) is it best to move locations or stay in one spot and drive. (park seems large for that.. hate to waste time in a car

2) economical lodgings.. would be open to luxury campling. We will fly and do not want to spend a fortune on luggage. Are there places with kitchens ?

3) are their guided tours or ranger led programs? How do I learn about these

My kids are energetic and used to on the go vacations. However, a little balance is welcome.

Thanks for any ideas

thebladeszoocincy

Ennis MT
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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1. Re: Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

I would suggest splitting your time between the 2 parks. Depending on your interests, 6/7 nights in YNP and 3/4 in either GTNP or Jackson would be a good plan. GTNP is much smaller, but has many hiking trails. Also, There are more rafting and kayaking opportunities there and in the Jackson area.

IN YNP itself, you might want to split your time between 2 locations to cut down on some of the driving. Canyon and Lake are the most central areas, but a night or 2 in the OF area would put you closer to the thermal sights.

The YNP website is very helpful, with links to "Things to Do", Hiking, Ranger programs, etc. There is also a very useful map. ww.nps.gov/yell

None of the in-park lodging have kitchen facilities. Here is a link to Xanterra, the official lodging provider, where you can view the options for both lodging and guided activities: http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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2. Re: Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

Please tell us what you mean by 10 days. Inside the park or for your entire trip.

Canyon is the most central location. If you will have a number of nights, which apparently you will, I opt for most of them in Canyon, 1 - 2 at Old Faithful.

Backtracking, as has been said so often on this forum, is a good, not bad, thing. Sights, views, wildlife - different perspectives off so much more than one way travel through most national parks, especially so in YNP.

The most crucial, and incredibly detailed, information on YNP is contained within these two websites. The park website, and its interactive map, goes deep with information, including, e.g., the Jr. Ranger Program, educational programs and more.

This too often understudied park website is jam packed with a lot of very good information and answers to many questions.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/

Please clarify lodging matter. You want economical lodging or luxury camping. Unsure what you mean. If you want truly economical, on the Xanterra website look up Pioneer and Frontier Cabins. There is no luxury camping inside the park. If you wish to upgrade, the Western Cabins are nicely done, motel like, lodging.

BTW, I prefer lodging inside the park to save on extra driving and in and out, to save on driving after dark, to allow you to see wildlife at dawn and dusk.

Kitchens? Not to my knowledge, and no fires in any of the lodgings.

Official Lodging and Tour Vendor for Yellowstone National Park (Call them frequently, cancellations occur. Don't use other agencies, they charge a service fee and, in the end, they have to call Xanterra themselves, which you can do for free.) Locations, costs, lodging descriptions are all here.

http://www.travelyellowstone.com/

This article was written to enhance the wildlife and photographic experience in the park. If possible, give the kids cameras, bring at least one good pair of binocualrs (see the article) and stop driving and park when you see folks with scopes; inquire. You'll be pleased that you did.

For wildlife viewing and photography:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60999-c96653/Yellows…

Another TA written article that provides a checklist.

Packing for your trip:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28973-c100586/Wyomin…

If you have the time, there are two very worthwhile museums to visit: Don't know your kids' ages, but if beyond, say, 8, they will like it as will you. A great complex; here's the website. (Importantly, it has a cafeteria!)

Cody, WY

www.bbhc.org/home/index.cfm…

On the way to Grand Teton NP, a terrific, IMO, gallery:

North of Jackson

http://www.wildlifeart.org/

Edited: 18 August 2010, 21:43
Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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3. Re: Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

Great minds, and all that, heypaula. I drafted and posted not knowing you had done so. :)

Cincinnati, OH
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4. Re: Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

Thanks for all the wonderful information. This is very helpful to start.

To clarify what I mean by luxury camping is some places we have stayed have yurts or tents already set up so that you don't have to bring all the gear. (Yosemite village has this). Does YNP have anything like that where you can rent a yurt or tent on a platform, so that we don't have to check as many bags if we camp.

I'm thinking given the distance we are travelling from OHio and having to fly, we will have to do the cabin route, but we love to camp.

Thanks again.

5. Re: Family trip to Yellowstone and GTNP 2011

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