The Great Outdoors: Family-friendly Guide to Jackson Hole, Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park

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Advisor - Tarika Richter
Curated By

Tarika Richter

  • Jackson Hole

  • Active Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

  • Kid-Friendly

A river with green trees and snow clad mountains at the back.
Curator’s statement

Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone is a fantastic destination to spend in the great outdoors. The natural beauty of this part of the country is absolutely breathtaking. It's an amazing family adventure for groups of all ages.

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Where to stay in Jackson Hole, Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park

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Things to do in Jackson Hole, Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park

A large body of water geyser surrounded by mountains during day time.

Jackson Hole & Grand Teton

Flying into a national park will be unlike anything you have ever seen; surrounded by the snow-capped Teton mountain range will leave you in awe of its natural beauty. Jackson Hole is known for being a winter destination, but honestly, summer is really good! The outdoor adventures are endless. The town of Jackson is adorable with its famous antler arches, Million Dollar Bar and so much more. Check out my list of things to do for a fun family adventure.

Things to do

Jenny Lake - Hidden Falls Trail & Inspiration Point

Jenny Lake is located at the base of the Grand Tetons and is the perfect place to start. Before you head out of Jackson, grab sandwiches at Creekside Market (You can call ahead to place your order.)

To get to Jenny Lake, you will turn at Moose Junction to get into the park. There is a service station where you will need to pay for your park entrance ($35 per vehicle for 7 days or $70 for an annual pass.)

Head towards the Jenny Lake Visitor Center to pick up the shuttle boat across to Hidden Falls trail. ($20.00 – Adult Round-trip (12 yrs to 61 yrs)/ $12.00 – Child Round-trip (2 yrs to 11 yrs)/ under 2 -free.). If you do not want to take the shuttle across the lake, you can walk two miles around the lake to get to Hidden Falls trail. The shuttle boats run every 10-15 minutes and you can pay for one-way or round-trip tickets. There are no services when you dock on the other side of the lake, so make sure you use the bathrooms at the visitor center and take all your trash with you.

The hike to Hidden Falls is about 1.3 miles and another one mile to Inspiration Point. The trail can get a little tricky as you head up, but for the most part it's very easy. Once you reach inspiration point, it's the perfect place to see views of the lake and stop for lunch. Overall, the hike should take about two hours from start to finish with kids. Take the shuttle boat from the dock back to the visitor center.

Tip: If you happen to have a 4th grader in your car, don't forget to sign up for an Every Kids Outdoor Pass which gets you into all National Parks for FREE - you have to bring the printed ticket for you to receive your card.

Taggart Lake Trail

Just a few miles from Moose Junction, this is a very easy trail for families. This trail begins from the Taggart Lake parking lot to Taggart Lake, which is about 3.3 miles round trip. This trail has magnificent views of the Grand Tetons. You can stop by the lake to dip your toes into the crystal clear waters.

Snow King Mountain

Just because there is no snow during the summer, doesn't mean the fun ends. Just a few minutes from downtown Jackson, this snow resort turns into an adventure park with rides and attractions for the family to enjoy. If you are a thrill seeker, they have the steepest zipline in North America (must be at least 12 years old), a treetop ropes course, gondola rides, the cowboy coaster, alpine slide, mini golf and a maze.

Tip: Buy the Snow King - Big King tickets to have access to all of the attractions and buy online to save a few dollars.

Jackson Hole Rodeo

If you happen to be in Jackson on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night, you must see the Jackson Hole Rodeo. It's a great family friendly event!

Tip: Buy tickets for the Covered GA, you get a front and center view of all the action. Don't forget to pick yourself up a stetson or a lasso.

Astoria Hot Springs Park

Located about 25 minutes from Jackson Hole, the Astoria Hot Springs Park is the perfect activity after a long day of hiking. You need to pre-book your 2-hour time slot. Reservations start at 9am. We decided on the last time slot from 6-8pm. You are allowed to bring your own food and drinks (No alcohol.) They sell beer/cider and light snacks. We picked up some Pinky G's pizza and posted it up at one of the picnic tables. They have 5 different pools ranging from cold plunge to 103 degrees and a small playground for the kids.

Tip: Bring pool towels from your hotel, otherwise you can rent towels. If you have a sensitive nose, it can get a little stinky.

Ecotour sunrise wildlife tour

The wake up call might be a bit early, but it is worth it when you spot your first animal in the morning fog. Ecotours Jackson Hole has group and private tours in the morning and evenings (which are some of the best times to see wildlife.) If you book a private tour, they will come pick you up at your hotel. They know some of the best spots to see wildlife up close and personal (obviously at a safe distance.) The tour guides are a wealth of knowledge about the area and the animals. We were lucky enough to see a baby black bear eating berries in a tree, moose in the river, pronghorns and bison in the fields. They also provide breakfast, coffee and hot chocolate during the tours. 

Tip: If you have a child who is two or younger, you will need to book a private tour. And kids 8 and younger need to have a car seat or booster. You can request for them to provide seats. The vans do not have latches.

Bar T 5 Covered Wagon Cookout and Show

Come get a taste of the Wild West, and catch a ride to Cache Creek Canyon in a covered wagon, get held up by bandits, indulge in an AYCE cowboy BBQ and enjoy some family entertainment. 

Tip: If you have little ones - book the early show. The whole experience is about 3-hours.

Jackson Hole Shootout

Sadly, we did not get to see this because it was rained out. But for those history buffs, this could be for you! During the summer, just before 6pm the town gathers around the square for a good ole showdown between the "outlaws" and the good guys. The reenactment is performed by the actors/ actresses from the Jackson Hole Playhouse (which would also be a fun thing to do!)

Fly fishing on the snake river

Book a trip with Reel Deal Anglers ; experienced guides who can help give you a crash course in fly fishing if you are a newbie. They have half or full day excursions.  Please note this is catch and release fishing.


Yellowstone is HUGE! You can try to see it all in one day, but it's best to give yourself at least two days to see almost all of it. It can be as active or leisure as you would like to be. Since we flew into Jackson, we entered through the South entrance, which is about a 2.5-hour drive. Prepare to be amazed by Yellowstone's stunning beauty.

Before you enter the park, download the GuideAlong App - it's an amazing audio self-guided tour that allows you to go at your own pace (they have guides for all of the national parks and more.)

All lodging in the park is booked through Xanterra. Since national parks are a hot commodity during the summer months, and if you are looking for a suite, it's best to book in advance since they are usually limited in quantity. They have a 2 week cancellation prior to arrival policy, so there can also be a lot of movement in availability throughout the year. Park lodging is located in each of the junctions/ villages along with general stores, gas stations and food options.

Upper Loop

We stayed overnight at the Canyon Lodge in Canyon Village, which was the perfect location to start the upper loop in the morning.

The Upper Loop is about 70 miles. It is best to get an early start to make sure you can see as many sights as possible. The GuideAlong app will know exactly where you are, it is a choose your own adventure once you get started.  Mammoth Hot Springs is a good place to stop for lunch, its about halfway around the upper loop.

We stopped at:

  • Grand Canyon

  • Tower Falls

  • Mammoth Hot Springs

  • Old Faithful (Goes off about every 75 minutes)

(We saved the Norris Geyser Basins, Artists Pots and Midway geysers for the following morning - the line to get into the parking lot in the afternoon was very long.)

After finishing most of the upper loop, we stayed at the iconic Old Faithful Inn for two nights. This location is perfect after a long day in the car. 

Tip: Book a geyser view room to have prime viewing of Old Faithful. And if you are staying at Old Faithful, you will also have access to dinner reservations at the Old Faithful dining room - hotel guests can book dinner reservations 60 days in advance of their arrival date.

Lower Loop

The lower loop is a bit longer than the Upper Loop at 96 miles. So good idea to get an early start.  A good place to stop for lunch is at Canyon Soda Fountain in Canyon Village; located in the general store.

We stopped at:

  • Midway Geyser basins - this is where the Grand prismatic spring is.

  • Artist paint pots

  • Norris Geyser Basin

  • Lake Yellowstone

  • West Thumb Geyser Basin

Places to eat & drink in Jackson Hole, Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park

Million Dollar Cafe Bar in front of snow clad mountains.

Jackson Drug - An old time-y Soda Fountain shop serving burgers and homemade ice creams right on the corner of Jackson Square.

Hatch Taqueria and Tequila - A short walk from the square is a super family-friendly Mexican restaurant.

Creekside Market - A great deli to grab sandwiches before a hike.

Pinky G's Pizza - A local pizzeria, a great option if you want to grab a take-out before heading to Astoria Hot Springs Park.

Snake River Grill - The hottest dining experience in town. Be sure to make reservations in advance. Tip: Get a sitter and make it a date night.

Rooftop at The Cloudveil - If you are looking for a fun place to grab a drink and some small bites, check out the Rooftop at the Cloudveil for some amazing views.

The Bistro at The Cloudveil - A french bistro serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Dornan's - After one of your hikes in the Grand Tetons, head to Dornan's at Moose Junction. They have a grill and a pizza restaurant.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar - This iconic bar on the square is known for its live music and saddle seats at the bar. This is only a 21-year-old and over, so leave the kids at the hotel and book a sitter.

Leek's Marina - On your way up to Yellowstone, head to Leek's Marina right on Jackson Lake. Grab a picnic table and a pizza. This is the one of the last stops before Yellowstone to grab a bite to eat.

Where to Eat in Yellowstone

TBH eating in the park is not fine dining, so level set your expectations. Most of the restaurants are cafeteria-style and only 3 restaurants take dining reservations. They tend to get really busy in peak hours.

Need to Know


Jackson Hole and Bozeman are both great airports to fly in and out of, if you want to access Yellowstone.

Rental Cars - They can be pretty pricey, reserve one early and then check prices again as you get closer to your trip, I ended up saving $1k! (Not all car rental companies are on-airport, Hertz is actually in the town of Jackson and has a complimentary shuttle)


  • If you plan on staying in Yellowstone, book early!

  • If you want to stay outside of the park, there are several great lodging options, please reach out for more details.

Tours/ Activities:

  • If you want to do a tour instead of self-guided, there are lots of options! 

  • There are lots of activities within the park and the surrounding areas like stage coach rides, wildlife tours, boat rides, horseback riding and much much more. Please reach out if you are interested in a custom itinerary.

For the babies:

  • Pack n plays are available at all of the Yellowstone lodging options.

  • If you are traveling with babies, be sure to bring plenty of diapers. They only sell diapers at the General stores and only Size 4.

  • If you need milk, they only sell 2% in the park.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Paris Je T'aime: A Guide to Paris for Families.

Advisor - Tarika Richter

Travel Advisor

Tarika Richter

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Jackson Hole.