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Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

Indiana
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Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

We are planning a very last minute vacation and are considering Yellowstone. Problem is I've never been there so I'm totally lost on where we should fly into, where to stay, etc. I think that we're going to have to fly into somewhere some distance away because it's very expensive to fly into an airport closeby. (We're coming from Indiana.) Any ideas on airports to check into? Also, would you suggest having a "home base" - staying in the same place for the whole week - or moving to a different location for part of the time so that we can see/do other things? I'm not sure what there is to do, whether it will keep us busy for a week, and how close everything is to each other. Where would be a good central location to look into for lodging? We are a family of 3 (10 year old son). Any advice for a newbie would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Idaho
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1. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

Salt Lake City is the closest major airport. Expect a 5 to 6 hour drive from there to West Yellowstone. Smaller airports to consider would be Pocatello or Idaho Falls, Idaho, or Bozeman, Montana. I don't know if Cody, Wyoming has an airport.

If you are planning to stay in Yellowstone National Park all week, I would recommend having a home base location. In the park, Old Faithful would be a good choice. I don't know what last minute rooms you can get. The town of West Yellowstone is on the West Entrance, and has a few hotels to look into with probably better last minute availability. I think West Yellowstone is a more convenient home base than the other entrance towns.

If you are planning excursions outside the park, like a day at the Buffalo Bill Museums in Cody, or time in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, I would move hotels. The drive from Old Faithful to Jackson looks short, but takes a couple hours. It's basically a matter of weighing the time you will spend to get to where you are going and back to home base, versus the time it takes to pack up and check out of a hotel each time.

Good luck!

Catlin, Illinois
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2. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

Hi Diamondhorse

Normally you need to make reservations this year to stay in the park next year. Go to www.travelyellowstone.com or better yet call 866-439-7375 to see if they have any cancelations. The name of the company in charge of the Yellowstone consession is Xanterra. They book all lodges in the park.

The next best choice would be West Yellowstone. www.westyellowstonechamber.com.

For information on the park go to www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm

Yellowstone is a beautiful and unspoiled place. While you are there ask any ranger of a special place you should see. You will be impressed.

Enjoy your trip!

Long Beach CA
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3. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

I got a room last year in the town of West Yellowstone Montana with only one month notice. It's outside the west entrance to the park. Close to Old Faithful about 30 -40 minute drive. You need a rental car. You can pick up the car at the airport. I flew into Jackson Hole Wy and drove thru beautiful Teton nat park.

Don't miss the Tetons, even if you just drive thru. Take the small road closest to the mountains for the best view

West Yellowstone, MT
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4. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

Northwest and United fly into Bozeman; Delta (and many others into Salt Lake); you can transfer and use smaller shuttles (Skywest for Delta and United) to fly into Jackson Hole or Cody, WY, Idaho Falls, ID and even West Yellowstone, MT. Check for specials and you may find a reasonable price even into the smaller towns. All of these towns have car rental services. July is already solidly booked inside Yellowstone Park. You can still find lodging in towns around the park like West Yellowstone or Cody.

Keep in mind that the East Entrance (Cody is 52 miles east of the East Entrance) is under construction this summer and closes between 8 PM - 8 AM every day. I would recommend staying in West Yellowstone.

Chickamauga, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
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5. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

Another vote for staying in West Yellowstone.

I feel its the best border town Yellowstone park has. When I was there last July, many, many hotels and motels in the town had vacancy signs out during our entire stay. Prices can be high, but availability was not a problem there. Great restaurants in West Yellowstone too.

Greenville, TX
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6. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

I'm partial to West Yellowstone as well. Only three blocks from the entrance and then BOOM, you are in the park and wildlife watchin'

We stayed at Three Bear and it worked well and they seemed to have vacancies the whole time we were there (two weeks ago).

Sof
New York
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7. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

West Yellowstone is by far your best bet for a convenient home base and for last minute availability. I wouldn't recommend Cody - too far & not much to offer beyond their excellent museum. Jackson is also far for day trips into YNP. Make sure you take time to get down to Grand Teton NP - one of the most beautiful spots on earth and an easy 40 min trip from YNP south entrance. Pretty far to drive all the way from West Yellowstone though. I'd keep calling for cancellations at Jackson Lake Lodge or Signal Mountain right up until you go. Staying over one night instead of just doing a day trip would be ideal IMO.

Bakersfield...
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8. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

Funny, We started planning yesterday for a trip there begining the 26th of this month.

We decided to rent an RV due to no room availability. Really, I found this not to be much more than the hotel rooms, and I can cook some meals, etc, etc. I have 3 kids, so this works out great for us. We are renting a 31 foot Winnebago. You could actually do a bit smaller perhaps.

We are staying just outside the park in our RV 1 night at Colter Bay South Yellowstone, 2 nights at KOA West Yellowstone, 2 nights Gardiner North Yellowstone, 1 night at Flagg Ranch South Yellowstone (due to no room at the Fisher Bridge RV Park inside Yellowstone) and then 1 night on the way there in Ft Collins, to catch the beer festival, and a night perhaps in Rawlins on the way back.

Anyone know of anything facsinating near to Rawlins???? Anyone??? Anywho, you might want to consider this as an alternative to the hotels and reantal cars and restaurants. Just a thought....Have fun, taks LOTS of film.

Sof
New York
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9. Re: Last Minute Vacation to Yellowstone

We've rented an RV and really enjoyed it as well. Very nice to only have to unpack once even when moving from place to place. Also, cooking your own dinners some nights, easy breakfasts in the RV, etc. really saves a ton of money. Especially with kids like mine who don't eat 1/2 the food you buy them in restaurants. Can be a bit of a challenge finding parking spots in Yellowstone for a big rig, but they do have special big spots in most scenic pullouts, you just might have to wait a few minutes for one to open up during the busy season. The roads in YNP are plenty big enough. Definitely something to consider if you're having problems with lodging availability.