EARLY PLANNING ADVICE NEEDED: (Mostly trying to reserve lodging immediately) (1) Does it look like all travel times are doable in relation to where we plan to stay? (2) Is trip over to Cody something we should include? (3) Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
MY EARLY PLANNING: Spent about 5 hours reading thru TA posts, virtual tourist forum, and have ordered Chapple's Yellowstone Treasures.
TRIP: Late July/Early August 2011. Traveling west for 1st time ever- consider this our 1 time shot, so hope to do it "right" but stay within our budget (although we hope to be so blown away that we plan return trips)
TRAVELERS: Family of 4 (12 & 16 yo's). Pretty early risers, travel during summer & spring breaks. Typical east coast destinations with only 1 previous family flight.
RELATED EXPERIENCE: We've visited Smoky Mountains twice enjoying hikes, waterfalls, tubing, rafting. Not ready for tent camping, but don't mind modest accommodations.
BUDGET: Trying to save a few bucks here & there to extend our stay as we are traveling on NC teacher's salary ;)
ITINERARY: (does not have specific YSNP routes planned yet)
Day 1: RDU to Salt Lake City (early research looks like it will save the family $600-800 vs. flying into airports nearer to park).
LODGE: Hotel outside YSNP
Day 2: Rise early & enjoy YSNP all day. LODGE: Lake Hotel Cabin
Day 3: Full day in YSNP. LODGE: Lake Hotel Cabin
Day 4: Use Beartooth HWY to travel to Cody in am. Enjoy BBHC & Nite Rodeo. (I'm sure kids will love this day, but not sure if we should use an entire day away from park). LODGE: Hotel in Cody
Day 5: Hit Buffalo Bill reservoir in am on way into East Entrance to visit missed YSNP areas. LODGE: Old Faithful area
Day 6: In am, visit OF & areas on way to South Entrance. make a evening float trip in GTNP. LODGE: Colter bay
Day 7: Am hikes in GTNP, drive to Jackson Hole for shops & dining. LODGE: Idaho Falls or closer to SLC
Day 8: On to SLC for departing flight
*1st & last days lodging/visits may change a bit once flight times are confirmed.