Yellowstone National Park, WY

IF YOU GO

Entrance Fee: $35 per vehicle

Yellowstone National Park (Adobe stock image)

By Nushin Huq

Between 2 Pines Magazine

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the United States and probably the best known. The park covers almost 3,500 square miles and is famous for its geysers, thermal features and wildlife. You'll want to spend at least a few days at this park.

WHAT TO SEE

It's often said there are two types of Yellowstone visitors, the geyser folk and the wildlife folk. There's probably a little bit of both in everyone. Yellowstone is famous for its geysers, most notable probably is Old Faithful, but there are a number of others as well. There are also a number of thermal features. They are beautiful colors, but some people, especially young kids might be put off by the sulfuric smells.

WHERE TO STAY

Yellowstone has an extensive network of places to stay. There are nine lodges and 12 campgrounds as well as backcountry sites. The lodges include hotel rooms as well as cabins. Campgrounds are a mix of ones that can be reserved as well as ones that are walk up. Because of the size of the park, it's best to first come up with a plan on which areas you want to explore and make reservations based on your plan. While having a home base is nice, also consider reserving more than one location over your stay so you don't have to drive long distances back to base camp each day. If you're interested in popular hotel, like Old Faithful Lodge, remember that these hotels book up fast. Reservations for a calendar year begin May 1 on the previous calendar year. If the hotel you want is booked, keep calling back. Often times, rooms open up with last minute cancellations.

WHERE TO EAT

There are a number of places to eat throughout Yellowstone National Park. There are sit down restaurants, cafeterias and coffee shops as well as snacks shops and camp groceries. The establishments are all located around each of the main lodges in the camp. There are also picnic sites throughout the park. Make sure you follow Leave No Trace principles and wildlife safety protocols.

BEST HIKES FOR KIDS

Yellowstone gets really crowded in the summer. The earlier you can get started on a hike, the better.

BEST TIPS FOR KIDS

Unlike other parks, there is a small fee for the junior ranger program at Yellowstone. The park also has, also for a small fee, a junior scientist program. The programs vary in different parts of the park. For example, at Old Faithful visitor center, the programs focus more on thermal features. Keep an eye on the park bulletin for ranger programs, many of them geared for kids.

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