Last Minute Yellowstone Vacations

Our family’s came home with a great feeling every time we’ve had a chance for Yellowstone vacations, click on these pages for more information on Yellowstone Park Lodging, West Yellowstone Montana and Yellowstone Fly Fishing.

The nation’s oldest and largest national park abounds with thermal geysers and hot pots and has some of the most abundant wildlife in the country. It is a haven for nature lovers - there are mudspots, hotsprings, fumaroles and over 300 geysers (two thirds the total number on earth!) You can hike mountains over 5,000m high, then plunge to the flattest of plateaus.

Some of the park’s most famous spots are easily accessible to the young and old. The backcountry is spectacular for any hiking trips. One of the only drawbacks to a visit to the park is the crowd. Each year approximately three million people pass through the entrances!

Yellowston Vacations: Where To Go & What To See

A nice length stay, for a first Yellowstone vacation, is about 4 days. It takes two LONG days to see most of the major roadside points of interest.

Old Faithful is always one of the most popular but I think it might be worth missing because of the overwhelming crowds. The paint pots are definitely worth it and so are the stops near Norris Junction. If you’ve got time it’s neat to have a chance to hike down a ways into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The Hayden Valley is the BEST and my favorite place to go to for wildlife viewing if you have the time to spend there. Four days allows you to take your time exploring the roadside attractions and still gives you time to take a short hike or two along some of the smaller geyser trails.

If you only have two days try to pick one or two areas to spend most of your time and explore them thoroughly. By coupling this with an early morning or evening drive to spot wildlife you will get more out of your trip and have more fun than if you try to see the whole park.

If you are just driving through the park then stop and see Old Faithful erupt and then stop at the Fountain Paint Pot Trail and take the short walk.

Best Time for Yellowstone Vacations

Most people who take Yellowstone vacations each year come during summer. That’s because everything in the Park is open and family accessible and the kids are spellbound by all of it. The weather is cool with soft touches of sunlightm but sometimes there are bouts of hail, snow and rain up in the mountains.

I’ve taken my daughter out of school a couple of times during the fall because I really do think it’s worth the experience. I like it best during the "off seasons"--spring, fall and winter. In fact, either spring or fall are my favorites. Fall is absolutely unique, especially in the Mammoth area. Native wild animals like elks, black bears and bison roam freely here - they sometimes cause road blocks!

The elk come into the center of lodging areas for their breeding ritual. The bulls bugle and lock horns in fights in the parking lots. Try to get a room in one of the cabins at Mammoth Lodge - we love being able to sit on our porch and watch them fight right in front of us.

Packing for Yellowstone Vacations

So - just remember that EVERYTHING in any Yellowstone vacations is really an outdoors vacation. There’s absolutely no need to bring any nice clothes. Even the old park lodges are geared towards the casual.

Walking or hiking boots are the one critical piece of footwear in any Yellowstone vacations. Sandals are discouraged because of the danger of the heat from the thermal waters. Hats & sunscreen are a must, no matter the season.

Shorts are great for the summer but you’ll still need jeans for possible rain (or even snow in July!). Sweaters and jackets are also essential for the warmer months.

Come fall you’ll start wanting the long johns, parkas, and gloves as well. The winter months are extremely cold, even down to –30. Yellowstone vacations then is still worth it, especially to see to see the geysers steam and the game come in, but you’ll want every bit of winter clothing possible.

Yellowstone Vacations: Getting Around

All traveling through the park is done in individual cars or on a tour bus. No matter how much easier it is to ride a bus than handle the traffic it keeps you from having the liberty to pull over and check out some of the small geysers.

In my mind you definitely need to be on your own, ESPECIALLY if you’re with your kids. The Hamilton Store in Grant Village matches ones in Old Faithful, Mammoth, Canyon, and Fishing Bridge. They’ve all got minigroceries at exorbitant prices, lots of trinkets, T-shirts and souvenirs.

They are also the only places you’ll find gas in the Park, but also at steep prices. If you remember, fill up your car before you go in and bring all the food you’ll want. Still, you’ve got to get a few souvenirs and if you’re there you’ll want to stop to get the kids an ice cream cone. Yellowstone Vacations are really different every day.

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