Mom, grandma, and Yellowstone guidebook author, Janet Chapple offers a few pointers on bringing the kids to explore one of our national treasures.
I’d like to point out that fall is a beautiful time to visit our nation’s first national park. If you have a three-or-four-day weekend between now and mid October, you can see most of the exciting geysers and gorgeous hot springs in the Old Faithful area, watch for wolves in the Lamar Valley—and always count on seeing bison and elk, or wander around the fabulous travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. Don’t just go for the big tourist attractions like the Canyon and Falls of the Yellowstone River or Old Faithful Geyser; you’ll want to see those, but you can do SO much more if you take the time, plan ahead for where you’ll stay overnight, and take some of the many short trails away from the roads.
From Janet Chapple, author of Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park, with five daughters and six grandchildren, but the three little girls need to be five or six years old before I’ll feel they’re ready to enjoy the park.
Note from Stephany: I would advise buying this guidebook if you’ve never visited the park before. Janet outlines some good safety precautions, specifically for children, as well as helping you prepare the kids for what to expect.
Where to stay: Of course there are campgrounds and lodges within the park at all price levels. Another option is to decide which sights you’d like to see most and stay at a town near that entrance. For example, if you wanted to be near Old Faithful, you could stay in Teton Village or Jackson Hole, which are near the south entrance. (It’s still almost an hour away from the geyser, so keep that in mind. However, you get to drive through Grand Teton National Park, which is beautiful.) Or, you could stay in West Yellowstone, MT near the west entrance and be just over a half-hour away from Old Faithful.
Please share your family vacation experience to Yellowstone in the comments below!