Successful Yellowstone Vacation Planning
The key to successful Yellowstone vacation planning is to be as organized as you possibly can be. What we mean is book your hotels, cabins or campgrounds the minute you have concrete travel dates.
Accommodation is expensive in the most popular Yellowstone villages, so you will have to decide if budget or convenience is more important.
Using an example of a typical 4 day itinerary visiting from North to South, here is the most efficient way to visit Yellowstone:
- Night before Day 1: Outside the park
- Spend Day 1 in Lamar Valley, Tower-Roosevelt and Mammoth
- Day 1 night: Stay at Mammoth Hot Springs
- Spend Day 2 in Mammoth, Norris Geyser Basin, Mt Washburn and Canyon
- Day 2 night: Stay at Canyon Village
- Spend Day 3 in Canyon, Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb
- Day 3 night: Stay at Old Faithful
- Spend Day 4 in Lower, Midway and Upper geyser basins, drive through Grand Teton
- Day 4 night: Stay in Jackson, WY
- Spend Days 5 and 6 in stunning Grand Teton national park
If youre visiting on a budget, the example above is the most cost effective plan if you want to stay inside the park. You can choose to spend each night in a town outside the park to save further.
But if budget isnt too much of a concern for your vacation, you have more flexibility to spend additional nights at Mammoth, Canyon and Old Faithful.
What People Are Saying About Towerfall Campground
Brilliant place to camp. Get there early because it fills up fast. Campgrounds are shady and well drained. Food storage containers are very handy as animals do roam through the area.
If you were hoping to camp in Yellowstone but werent looking to sacrifice full-service sites and modern facilities, fear not! Fishing Bridge RV Park is exactly what youre looking for! There are full hookups and over 300 sites. However, the RV Park is located in bear habitat, so hard-sided recreational vehicles are required. Luckily, you can pick up great RV rentals anywhere in Wyoming, right by Yellowstone!
Important To Know When Booking Yellowstone Accommodation
Accommodation inside Yellowstone is very popular and, despite high prices, it sells out very soon after its available for booking.
So if you are visiting Yellowstone in high season you really should try to book Yellowstone hotels well in advance. If you want to stay inside Yellowstone in the high season, youll usually have to book your accommodation more than a year in advance. Yes, the best Yellowstone hotels have to be booked about 12-15 months in advance!
Good to know! Yellowstone National Park accommodation not only gets sold out quickly, but it is also much more expensive than accommodation outside the park. Therefore, the best price/quality hotels near Yellowstone are quickly sold out as well.
No matter if you are planning to stay inside or near the park, I advise booking your Yellowstone hotels as soon as you know when you are planning to go. Or, as we did, look at whats available and secure your Yellowstone accommodation first, before planning the rest of the trip.
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Best Hotels Near Yellowstone South Entrance
Honestly, there are not many Yellowstone South Entrance Hotels. Thats because the Roosevelt Parkway and then Grand Teton National Park are immediately adjacent to the South Entrance. Thats awesome, of course, because it means there is a whole lot of public land to explore.
For hotels near Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, you can stay at a few places that hold Forest Service leases or inholdings on National Forest land. Ill share a couple of my favorite Yellowstone resorts and dude ranches that will allow you to easily access both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Brooks Lake Lodge and Spa
Brooks Lake Lodge is one of the closer places for lodging near Yellowstone South Entrance, though it is still a bit of a drive.
My family and I spent a couple nights here and had a great mountain getaway. We rode horse, shot arrows, hiked, relaxed in the spa, and ate like Western royalty. You can read about our adventures in this Outdoor Families Magazine article.
This dude ranch is ideal for a family vacation near Yellowstone on your way to or from the park. And thanks to all the amenities and activities, its our favorite lodging near Yellowstone south entrance.
Headwaters Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch
There is a restaurant, saloon, convenience store, and morning coffee bar, so you dont have to totally rough it. Read more reviews and find the best deal on Headwaters Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel And Cabins
This facility offers guests a wider range of choices in where they want to stay. You can book a cabin, premium guest rooms or if you want more luxury, you can book a presidential suite. The amenities at Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cabins are also unique, including room service, internet connection, and a special room called the Lake hotel business center for travelers who wish to continue doing business while in the park. The blend of traditional, rustic design with a modern look gives this lodge a unique appeal. The white majestic columns are welcoming, silently whispering of decades of beautiful ambiances, making you feel right at home.
Have you ever visited Yellowstone? If so, where did you stay? Would you recommend it to others? Wed love to hear about your experience!
Old Faithful Lodge Cabins
For people who love the classic old-school touch, Old Faithful Lodge Cabins are the best place to stay in the Yellowstone National Park. It was built as a one-story building in the 1920s using logs and stone pillars. The amenities in this hotel are not as plentiful as it was designed to appeal to travelers who are looking for the rustic experience. There is a main lobby though, which has a cafeteria, snack bar, and gift shop. There is no AC or TV in any of the cabins here. The historic cabins do not have a private bathroom. For that, you will need to book the frontier cabins.
The dining room off of the cafeteria boasts near floor to ceiling windows that look out directly onto, you guessed it, Old Faithful Geyser. If you happen to luck out and time it just right, you might get to enjoy a meal as the geyser puts on its amazing display outside.
Rustic Cabin In Cooke City: Mountain View Cabin
This charming little cabin is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway among the mountains. The large outdoor deck has stunning views towards the national park and is a great spot for watching the sunset in the evenings. Theres a log fire in the living area to keep you cosy, with plenty of firewood for your stay.
Grand Teton Another Option For Where To Stay In Yellowstone
Grand Teton National Park is located south of Yellowstone and is a national park that I really recommend visiting, since its landscapes, framed by the Teton mountain range, look like paintings.
Grand Teton, another option for where to stay in Yellowstone
Of the 10 days we spent in Yellowstone, we slept in Grand Teton for one night, although we wanted to spend more time getting to know the park in depth. Although I have written a specific article about where to stay in Grand Teton, if you are looking for accommodation in Yellowstone and you do not find anything interesting, it may be useful to take a look at the following accommodations:
- Low-cost option: Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
Where To Stay In Livingston
- Econo Lodge Livingston Econo Lodge Livingston is a large hotel with spacious rooms that provides a lot of value for money for visitors to the Yellowstone Area. The rooms here feature wooden bed heads and white, crisp linen for a comfortable nights sleep. Theres even an indoor swimming pool for a refreshing swim, and a gym so you can keep up with those workouts. A buffet breakfast each morning means you can fill up before you head out to explore the park. Location-wise, its just off Interstate 90 for easy road trip access.
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Want A Home Away From Home
If youre looking to stay at least 3+ days near Yellowstone, I would highly recommend a home through VRBO or Air BnB. Gardiner, MT is a great place to stay to visit the north side of the park. They have shopping, dining as well as horseback riding and whitewater rafting. You can find some VRBO options in Gardiner here.
Things To See And Do West Yellowstone:
- Always wanted to try out fishing but not sure where to start? This trout fishing experience in nearby Elk Creek is perfect for beginners.
- Head to the town centre where you can check out the local boutiques offering arts, crafts, and unique souvenirs to take home to your friends.
- Yellowstone Museum is the premier destination for learning about the natural history of the region theres also a great train ride right into the heart of the park.
- There are a few hiking trails in the far east of the town these tend to be flatter than those in the park, so great for those that cant manage anything too strenuous.
- Want to taste the best breakfast in Yellowstone? Running Bear Pancake House are famous for their bottomless stacks but their entire menu is worth sampling.
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Yellowstone Riverside Cottages Gardiner
Yellowstone Riverside Cottages offer highly rated rooms with balconies alongside the Yellowstone River. Even without a balcony, there is a huge deck open to all in the center directly overlooking Roosevelt Arch and Yellowstone National Park.
Also located on the quieter side of Gardiner, the cottages were relaxing and the sound of running water soothing after a long day in the park. This one cost us a little more but it was worth it.
Staying Outside Of Yellowstone National Park
Because Yellowstone has five different entrances into the park, its easy to stay close to the park without actually being in the park. I recommend staying outside of Yellowstone if you want nicer amenities, cheaper prices, or more dining and activity options.
But heres the disclaimer not all entrances to the park are created equal! If you stay outside of the park, be sure to pick a town that wont add a ton of driving to your day. Youll already be driving a lot to see the sights in Yellowstone, so its best not to add more driving just to get to the park entrance.
Staying in West Yellowstone
So that being said, West Yellowstone is hands-down my favorite place to stay outside of the park. Its location right outside of the West Entrance makes it super easy to get into the park.
West Yellowstone is located along the road that travels right through the middle of Yellowstone, making it easy to visit the sights in both the northern and southern portions of the park without too much extra driving.
Staying in Gardiner or Cooke City
If you dont want to stay in one place for your entire trip, consider staying in a few different gateway towns. Gardiner and Cooke City make great jumping-off points for exploring some of the parks more scenic areas, such as the Lamar Valley or the Beartooth Highway. It may be worth it to stay a few nights in one of these areas and then moving further south.
Staying in Cody
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From The West: Teton Valley Idaho
Known as the quiet side of the Tetons, Teton Valley, Idaho is less-crowded than Jackson and offers more relaxation and a slower pace than other park gateways. Its also a more affordable base than neighboring Montana.
What to Do: Its all about live music in these parts come summer, with Music on Main every Thursday evening and the Targhee Bluegrass Festival in August. Golfers will also find plenty of options, including Headwaters Golf Club or Teton Reserve. And, theres nothing better than watching a movie under the stars at the Spud Drive-In, a rare drive-in to claim a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Where to Stay: The family-run Linn Canyon Ranch offers beautiful timber-frame cabins from $185/night and luxury tents from $99. You can also book sunset horseback rides.
Charming Places To Stay In Martin County Florida
Back in 2009, we started our first outlet in Kuching, Sarawak. There are hundreds of options, including a number of historic hotels and inns , when trying to find a place to stay in the Finger Lakes. The Homewood Suites by Hilton Milwaukee Downtown boasts a convenient location in the Historic 3rd Ward near the Summerfest Grounds, lakefront, shopping, restaurants and nightlife.
In Cabarrus County youll find nearly 30 hotels and more than 2,700 rooms, including hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, RV parks, and rental homes. By car The Gaslamp Quarter is in the middle of downtown San Diego and runs along 5th and 6th Avenue.The towns are located on the western edge of the island, are perched on the caldera cliff, and look out towards the volcano.
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Map Of The Best Places To Stay In Yellowstone
Best visited in the summer months when all the access roads to the park are open, there is a range of places to base yourself when youre visiting the world-renowned Yellowstone region. Choose the valleys and mountains of the south, the vast plains of Montana to the north, or even one of the towns that sit directly on the parks borders. Or you could choose to stay within Yellowstone itself.
With scenic road trips to be had and convenient airports that take you from thousands of miles away to within a couple hours drive, getting to this natural wonderland is easy. Plus there is a range of places to stay from fresh campsites amid nature and homely, rustic ranches along lonely roads, to friendly budget motels and even high-end hotels.
Luxury Accommodations Near Yellowstone
It can also make a lot of sense to use your credit card points to help offset the cost of an upscale stay near the park. Consider redeeming a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a stay at an independent property.
The Under Canvas glamping lodge is just 10 minutes from Yellowstones West Entrance. I found availability in August for $264 a night. With taxes and fees, a four-night stay would be just over $1,200.
If you want to splurge, try the Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana its about 4.5 hours from the park, and rates start around $1,600 a night. Paws Up resort in Greenough, Montana, is also a 4.5-hour drive, and rooms will set you back about $1,700 a night. And the first five-star, ultra-luxury hotel in the entire state, a Montage in Big Sky, will debut in 2021.
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Why Youll Love Norris Campground
If you stay at Norris, youll be right in the heart of the wonder of Yellowstone tiol Park, allowing for mighty adventures and unforgettable memories. Plus, its without a doubt the best way to get the most out of Norris Geyser Basin. In fact, you can take a guided ranger walk through the Basin for the ultimate experience! You can also check out the Norris Geyser Basin Museum and the Museum of the tiol Park Ranger, or enjoy campfire programs from June through September.
Where To Stay Near Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is our planet at its most communicative. At the Brink of the Lower Falls â in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone â you can listen to the rage of the water, a chorus of 635,000 gallons spilling over the falls edge every second. On the maze of boardwalks surrounding the Midway Geyser Basin, tune your ears to the bubbling and boiling beneath and above the surface. Move your attention to somewhere far away in the distance, where a coyote howls from the calderas ridge and the wind rushes through the lodgepole pine.
Here, the Earth is alive. Youre standing on an active supervolcano, a hot spot thats formed one of the largest calderas on the planet. Look at the rim above you â a remnant of a massive explosion 640,000 years ago â as you scan for bison and gray wolves in the grasses of the Lamar Valley. Under foot, the planet is churning, blowing off steam at Old Faithful, forming hot, bubbly mud pots and multi-colored travertine terraces at Mammoth Springs, and creating rainbows at Grand Prismatic Spring. Its alive with people, too. Traffic builds up in âbison jams, hundreds gather every hour or so to witness Old Faithful, and crowds flock to magnificent overlooks like Artists Point â especially in the warmer months. But with an area bigger than both Rhode Island and Delaware combined, you should be able to carve out your own Yellowstone adventure.
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Hotels Around Yellowstone National Park
The hotels around Yellowstone National Park are lavish retreats with beautiful scenery and boundless recreation. They accommodate couples, families, and larger groups. Conveniently located near primary park locations, these hotels provide luxurious lodging and excellent services to every visiting guest.
Best Western Desert Inn
This full-service, 76-unit hotel offers comfortable rooms and quality amenities blocks from the West Entrance of the park. Guests can relax in the swimming pool or hot tub, and enjoy a continental breakfast each morning.
Best Western Mammoth Hot Springs
Located one mile from the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park on the banks of the Yellowstone River with fabulous mountain views. A gift shop, cocktail lounge, and casino are on the premises for guest entertainment.
Big Bear Motel
This is one of the premier hotels around Yellowstone National Park in Cody, Wyoming with double, Queen, and King-sized beds, including family suites that sleep up to 8 people. The Wapiti Valley in East Yellowstone Valley connects this area to the entrance of the park.
Brandin’ Iron Inn
This affordable AAA-rated inn is open all year, providing guests with WiFi Internet, continental breakfast, air-conditioning in the summer, and snowmobile packages in the winter. Conveniently located 2 blocks from the park entrance near restaurants and shops in downtown West Yellowstone.
Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch
Gray Wolf Inn & Suites