Yellowstone National Park is absolutely incredible and a fun family vacation. Here are 6 things to do in Yellowstone with kids.
Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place and the world’s first national park. Many years ago the kids and I spent a long weekend camping in our RV there. We stayed inside the park at the Fishing Bridge RV Park and spent our time hiking, biking, and exploring. We saw geysers, waterfalls, and much more. I cannot wait to take them back this summer and have been planning our next visit for quite a while!
As I’ve researched and read through the Yellowstone & Grand Teton Moon Guide I have found tons of helpful info. For example, I didn’t realize the entrance fee to Yellowstone was $30 per vehicle now and that the entrance fee covered 7 days. Military members get free a National Park pass, which means Yellowstone is free for military.
The last time we went to Yellowstone we stayed in an RV and camped. This time when we go we are going to stay at one of the hotels. There are two reasons for this decision besides the fact that I no longer own an RV. The first reason I do not want to tent camp in Yellowstone. When we were there bears were all over the place and I do not want the hassle of worrying about bears. The second reason is that the RV camp spots are not cheap. I feel like by the time you have rented an RV, paid for gas and paid for your camping spot you are out just as much money as you would have been staying at one of their hotels. Not to mention RVs are a lot of work, hence why I no longer own one.
We will stay at Gray Wolf Inn and Suites during our next visit. It’s set up great for families and just outside the West Entrance.
6 Things to do in Yellowstone National park
1. Visit Old Faithful
There are many geysers in the park, but none of them are more famous than Old Faithful. You can bike around this area and go to the visitor center to learn more about Old Faithful. Chances are extremely high you can catch it when it is blowing water. If you want to visit more geysers there are tons listed in the Yellowstone & Grand Teton Moon Guide. Yellowstone supposedly has over 500 geysers.
2. Bike Lone Star Geyser Road to the Lone Star Geyser
Lone Star Geyser Road is an easy bike ride for kids or for parents pulling a bike trailer. The Lone Star geyser goes off around every three hours for 30 minutes at a time and reaches heights of 35 to 40 feet in the air. I suggest that you pack a picnic to have here while you wait for it to erupt. If you are wondering if I visited this particular geyser because it was named Lone Star, and that is Texas’ nickname, the answer is yes. I assumed it was going to be bigger and better than all the other geysers. Turns out it was named this because it was the only geyser around when two dudes found it.
- Fairy Falls is also a nice bike ride.
3. Hike to a waterfall
There are at least 45 waterfalls inside of Yellowstone and many of them have hiking trails that will take you to them. Yellowstone has 900 miles of hiking trails. I recommend going to see Lower and Upper Falls. When we visited Noah and Eden were quite young, ages 4 and 1.5. Obviously, children, this young are not up for long lengthy hikes. If you have younger kids as I did, I recommend sticking to trails that you can bike and hike. The more of the trail you can bike the easier the hike will be on them, since they will be sitting in a bike trailer!
4. Mammoth Hot Springs
You simply cannot go to Yellowstone and not see Mammoth Hot Springs. It is like going to another world. You walk along a wooden walkway to see them. Be careful with younger kids because you do not want them falling into any of the hot water. People get killed that way.
5. Swim in Boiling River Hot Springs
Where the Boiling River meets the Gardner river you can swim during the day. There is a place to park, but the parking lot cannot accommodate an RV. Practice caution when getting in the water. The water coming off the Boiling River is scalding and will hurt you. You will want to wear water shoes to walk through the water. Also, do not put your head underwater because of microorganisms living in the water.
6. Fly Fishing
Typically, kids love to fish and there are many places in Yellowstone to fish. You can fish in Yellowstone Lake if you do not want to fly fish, but I think kids will enjoy fly fishing on one of the rivers instead. However rivers can be a little intense for younger children, so take them into smaller creeks to fly fish. The guide book suggests the picnic areas at the Gardner River or Lava Creek. Anyone 16 or older will need a fishing license to fish here. Also, keep in mind that there are many, many rules associated with fishing in Yellowstone like kids cannot fish without adult supervision. Be sure to find out the fishing rules as well as recommendations on where to rent a boat, since fishing is not allowed from a dock.
Have you visited Yellowstone with kids? What was your favorite thing to do?