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Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

Sunnyvale
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Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

Hello,

I am making my first park visit with my new born baby. She will be 1.5 years old by next summer. Planning for visit around next memorial day weekend (May 26 - June 2, 2012)

I am flying from San Jose, California.

- I am thinking to fly to Jackson Wyoming (JAC) and drive down to yellowstone. Is this the best option?

- Given that I am traveling with a toddler, can you suggest me some good hotels inside the park?

Thanks!

Fruita, Colorado
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1. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

A good starting point is to use the links on this page. On the right hand side is "Top Questions About Yellowstone National Park" - one of these is about airports. On the left hand side is Yellowstone National Park Hotels. There you could read reviews from travelers who have been to the hotels. Hope that helps.

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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2. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

If you want to stay inside the park you need to make reservations as soon as possible....while most lodging is open over Memorial weekend there are some lodges that do not open up until the beginning of June.

Xanterra is the authorized lodging company inside Yellowstone. Do not make reservations through any other company as they will charge you a fee. Xanterra has a very good cancellation policy. With a toddler I would try to get something at Old Faithful for exploring the western side of the park and then something at Lake for the eastern side of the park. Canyon is a better centralized locality but it will not be open when you're planning on being there. You can make reservations on-line or by calling the number on the following website. The website also has information that will help you with our planning.

http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/

If you want to be outside the park- West Yellowstone as a base for the lower loop of the park and Gardiner as a base for the upper loop of the park.

Another good website is the National Park Services website for Yellowstone Park:

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

Deb

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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3. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

Here is a website with the must sees for the park-

www.yellowstone.net/topten

If you have time to read (I don't think that I read for the first year of my kid's life because they were great 15 min. nappers but never seemed to sleep well)- a great book is Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple.

Enjoy your trip.

California
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4. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

Hey neighbor... (I am in cupertino, ca)

We just returned from Yellowstone... flew into Jackson, as you are planning. I think it is a very good option. We rented a suburban (as there were 7 of us) - if you don't stop and enjoy Grand Teton National Park, the ride to Yellowstone is about 1.5 hours.

The way we setup our hotel reservations were 2 nights at Grant Village and 3 night at Canyon Lodge (specifically Dunraven lodge). If you can get Old Faithful Inn, I would strongly recommend that over Grant. Not that Grant was bad, it's just Old Faithful Inn is just too good. BTW, they are already taking reservations for May 2012, so you may want to call soon and make a reservation (all hotel reservations can be cancelled for a full refund).

From Grant or Old Faithful, you can visit West Thumb, Old Faithful (of course..) Mammoth. There are at least 20+ places you feel like stopping to "take in" the park. With a toddler (I have 2 older kids but same general constraints), I would recommend allocating at least 2 full days for the west side of the park.

Canyon Lodge (north-east side of the park) comprises a bunch of cabins and rooms at new hotels called Cascade Lodge and Dunraven Lodge. With a toddler, I STRONGLY recommend that you ONLY stay at the new lodges (unless you want to see your family cry :)). With that out of the way, Canyon Lodge is perfect for the two falls, Grand Canyon, Lake and water activities, the fabulous Lamar Valley, horse riding, etc. We spent full three days on this side of the park.

BTW, you've probably already figured that you can't touch the geysers. At the risk of being non-green, if you want to jump into a hot spring, you can go to a place called Chico. Chico is about an hour north of the North entrance to the park. We went there from Mammoth and then headed to Canyon.

The food in the park in general is reasonable. What I found amazing was that they took care of the guests with allergy issues. They server gluten free pasta, etc., at both the Grant village restaurant and Canyon Lodge restaurant. None of the hotels allow cooking, only coffee through one of the pod-based coffee machines. Not to shabby.

Also, since you are anyway driving through Grand Teton National Park... may as well plan to spend at least a day there. We landed at Jackson at around 1, spent most of our time at the Jackson Lake area and then drove up to Grant. On the way back, the flight was in the evening - we spent most of our time at Moose Junction area (I guess we did 2 half days at GTNP).

Enjoy!!

Edited: 12 July 2011, 05:14
toronto
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5. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

I came back from Yellowstone and the Tetons this morning. I spent 2 nights at Snow Lodge (in the Old Faithful area,) which I liked, and 5 nights at Dunraven Lodge (in Canyon) which I despised. Canyon would be central for you, but I can't recommend the accomodation. We were at Jackson Lake Lodge (Tetons) for 4 nights. I really enjoyed this lodge and loved the Teton area because it's beautiful,very family friendly and manageable. If you do go to any place in Yellowstone, make sure there is a fridge in the room. There isn't at Dunraven. Honestly, with a toddler, I'd focus on the Tetons and spend less time in Yellowstone. I'm not sure how much your baby will enjoy geisers, boiling hotsprings, hiking and constant driving to get from one place to the other. I would go back to the Tetons tomorrow and spend a week.

Ennis MT
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for Yellowstone National Park, Ennis
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6. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

Just a note that none of the park lodging has fridges, microwaves, phones, or TV's. If those are important to your comfort, you should consider staying outside the park and making the drive in and out every day,

toronto
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7. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

To my delight, Snow Lodge did have a small fridge. Maybe it's a recent addition.

Sunnyvale
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8. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

Thanks for the responses.

I read from some reports that it might still snow during memorial day period. So my question...is this a good time to travel with a 1.5 year old?

-Ganesh

Billings, Montana
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for Yellowstone National Park
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9. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

It is really hard to predict what next Memorial weekend will be like regarding weather. I've been there when its been absolutely beautiful and I've been there when it's been raining and/or snowing. This last winter and spring has been one for the records.

With a toddler you will be using a stroller and/or a backpack to get around. Even if it is snowy in one area of the park there will be other areas where it is warm and sunny. The northern part of the park is at a lower elevation so the snow melts rather quickly there.

I started taking my daughter to Yellowstone when she was 2 years 2 months old. We slept in the back of a ford pinto station wagon and ate all of our meals cold out of a cooler. We had a blast and it started a tradittion of going to the park every summer since then. I now take my 12 year old grandson to the park multiple times each year. He and I go every Memorial weekend for our first camping trip of the year. We're going next year but we're staying in one of the old rooms in Old Faithful Inn as it is something we have wanted to do for years and I was finally able to score a reservation for two days. : )

I think the key is to be flexible and realize that you might just spend more time digging in the sand on a lake shore or picking up pine cones at a picnic area than you might spend watching one of the Yellowstone falls. Plan plenty of times out of the car just to stretch legs and explore the world at a toddler's eye level.

And take lots of notes of what you want to come back and see when your baby is older.

Deb

Oklahoma City...
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10. Re: Help with Airport and Hotel Reservation for Summer 2012

I loved staying in the park. One night at old faithful was plenty, but so glad I splurged and stayed in a front side room with our own bathroom. Was my favorite of the vacation. With a toddler, I might consider staying outside the park a night or so, but stay in the park the rest of the time. Nice to come back and take a nap. We stayed 3 nights at Lake Hotel Cabins & 1 night at Old Faithful. Canyon area would have been more central, but i liked the little yellow cabins.