New York City
We're looking at going to Yellowstone this August and haven't booked anything. I really don't know where to start with how to plan this out in terms of where to fly in and out of, best places to stay and how long in each area. We're able to stay up to 2 weeks but not sure how much time we should spend without the kids (10 and 13) getting too bored of any one place. Budget is moderate to high but definitely not high end / super luxury. Any help is appreciated.
The first two folks are correct: August is busy and you're unlikely to find anything available in or very near the park. For flight alternatives, you might even consider Billings and driving into the park over the Beartooth Pass. Beautiful, but not for the faint of heart. Depending on where you're flying in from, you are HIGHLY unlikely to find a direct flight into any airport near YNP...just the nature of Montana and Wyoming. I have had a lot of success looking on alternative booking sites like Airbnb and Home Away for places to stay. 4 folks is kind of 'in between' since most properties are 2 or 8+, but you can find some really good deals and stay a bit off the tourist area. Last year we stayed near Island Park, Idaho, and the drive in/out wasn't too bad, even with a teenage girl in the bunch. You really can't go wrong anywhere on the Grand Loop in YNP, but you will be dealing with crowds and traffic. Wildlife is best early and late. Finally, Grand Teton is wonderful...amazing even, but you will have a tough time fitting in both parks unless you stay in two different places. It is a long haul if you're staying on the boundaries of one and trying to visit the other. If your kids are used to long car rides, you'll do okay, but if not, beware.
Salt Lake City can be cheeper to fly into than the smaller towns but it is a long drive to the park. Bozeman is closer. You could also fly into Jackson (Wyoming). Jackson Lake Lodge or the cabins at Colter Bay Village are a great location if they are available. They are in Grand Teton National Park but are close to Yellowstone National Park. Then you have the option of the two parks as well as Jackson Hole, which is a great small town. West Yellowstone is also nice with a lot of accommodations. My kids (7 to 16) love yellowstone falls, the hot pots, hiking (or taking the boat) around Jenny Lake to the falls in Grand Teton NP, swimming in the fire hole river and hanging out in Jackson. We always see new things or animals so there is no chance they can get bored, except when sitting in the car. Yellowstone is very busy in August so prepare yourself for a lot of traffic. And remember to not approach wildlife or put them in your car. 😉
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