Wednesday, September 27, 2023

What Town To Stay In When Visiting Yellowstone

Bozeman Where To Stay In Yellowstone In A Bigger City

The BEST places to stay when visiting Yellowstone!

Compared to many of the other communities that are centered around Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman is something of a metropolis. Thats because its home to almost 50,000 people.

Consequently, you will find far more options for shopping, dining, lodging and entertainment here than you will most other nearby towns.

The tradeoff is that youll be staying further outside of the park than you would if you stayed in smaller places like West Yellowstone or Big Sky.

Still, its not a bad drive south on 191 or 89 to get to one of the parks entrances, so this is still a great place to stay in Yellowstone.

If you like museums, Bozeman may be a particularly attractive option. One of the most popular of these is the Museum of the Rockies. Part of the Montana State University Bozeman campus, this museum takes visitors on a tour that spans four billion years.

Exhibits explore dinosaurs, Native American history and culture and the natural history discoveries of Lewis Clark among many others.

Other worthwhile museums in Bozeman include the Montana Science Center with its fun, hands-on exhibits, the Bozeman Art Museum, the Gallatin History Museum and the American Computer & Robotics Museum.

Shopping is another highlight for many Bozeman visitors. Browse through store after store filled with antiques, handmade treasures, rustic log cabin furniture, sports and outdoor equipment, apparel and more.

Jackson Wy Near The South Entrance Of Yellowstone

This beautiful town is located in Jackson Hole Valley, Northwest Wyoming and its one of the most well-known entrances in the park, just 60 miles away from it. If you want to stay somewhere near the National Park South entrance, then Jackson is the best town for you!

When you come here, youll feel like youre on a Hollywood set up for an upcoming Old West movie!

Before you head to the park make sure you check out some famous attractions in Jackson like the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, which was voted numerous times as North Americas top ski resort, and the Grand Teton National Park just 20 mins away. Dont be surprised if you spot a moose, mule, or deer casually walking on the street at night, they are locals around the area.

If staying in Jackson is what you want, then definitely book your trip in advance as youll find that all accommodations options from budget to luxury sell quickly!

If youre still not sold about staying outside the park, dont worry, youre going to enjoy the drive to Yellowstone National Park from here too! Mountain views, flower fields, and small rivers these magical elements will help you relax and enjoy the ride!

In case you love it here and want to see more national parks check this post on the best areas in and around Yosemite!

Island Park Quiet And Rustic Place To Stay In Yellowstone

Less than half an hour from Yellowstone National Parks West Entrance sits Island Park, Idaho. With a population of fewer than 300 people, this is a quiet and rustic place to stay in Yellowstone.

Island Park has a few claims to fame despite its small size. It boasts the worlds longest Main Street and the worlds largest caldera.

It also has the lovely Harriman State Park and Wildlife Refuge, which is the perfect place to view wildlife such as swans, moose and elk.

Anglers will want to try their luck in the Snake Rivers Henrys Fork.

This tiny hamlet isnt the kind of place where youll find much shopping beyond basic necessities and outdoor gear. There are a few restaurants, mainly small, independent eateries serving American fare.

The lodging situation is similar. Youll find a large cluster of hotels where the borders between Idaho, Montana and Wyoming converge.

These vary wildly in price and feature both chain and independent properties. Other lodging choices are centered around Island Parks downtown.

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Where Can You Stay In Gardiner Montana

Gardiner, MT, used to be the main entry to Yellowstone, when the railroad was the primary method of transportation. Nowadays it trails West Yellowstone in popularity, but they use that to their advantage in promoting a smaller town feel.

Also, its actually closer to the Grand Loop Road than West Yellowstone is, AND you get to drive through the Roosevelt Arch on the way into the park. Its a cool place.

Here are some of our suggestions:

Yellowstone Village Inn. This is an older building that has been recently renovated, and it sits right at the foot of the mountainside.

Absaroka Lodge. This lodge sits right by the river, and they have many photos on their website showing wildlife, such as elk and bighorn sheep, hanging out nearby.

Gardiner Guest House Bed and Breakfast. This was built in 1903! As far as I can tell, it doesnt have a website, but the customer reviews are fantastic. To book, call 406-848-9414.

Grizzly Wolf And Discovery Center

Information on Visiting Yellowstone National Park

This is a great place to visit to learn more about these amazing animals! It isnt a huge place but they rotate the grizzly bears that are out so it is cool to see different ones. They also have a new indoor exhibit where you can watch the otters play. This is a must do while on your trip to West Yellowstone.

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Where To Stay Near Yellowstone A Comparison Guide

Important Note

When looking to stay outside of Yellowstone National Park there are four main areas that people tend to consider staying in:

If like us you want to stay in one place during your Yellowstone Vacation then we definitely recommend staying in West Yellowstone of all of the outside park entrances. However if you dont mind moving during your Yellowstone itinerary then you could rotate where you stay to cover each entrance. This is beneficial for those who want to be at certain areas of the park very early and late especially if you are prioritising wildlife viewing.

Please note if you are not travelling in summer it is worth checking which entrances are likely to be open as most of the entrances to Yellowstone are seasonal! For more information on which entrances are open when check out this guide!

Should You Stay In The Park

Obviously this is a personal choice, but here are some things to consider.

Cost. Places in the park will generally cost more than an equivalent hotel outside of the park. They really range in price, depending on where you stay and how big your room is. Ive seen some as inexpensive as $164 a night in the fall, and others over $1000 a night in the summer.

Notice that many places have a lodge AND cabins. The cabins are more rustic with fewer amenities. For example, you usually dont have your own restroom you share with others. Of course, they also cost less.

Availability. Yellowstone has about 2300 rooms in the park, and believe it or not, they often book up a YEAR in advance. So book early! They are generally open from mid-June to mid-October, except for the Mammoth Hotel and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, which have winter availability as well.

May is usually when the website allows you to start booking for the NEXT summer season . However, that doesnt mean you cant find one for the current season. Im writing this in the fall, and I just found some rooms in September and October of this year. There are fewer visitors in the fall, of course.

Travel time. One of the main advantages of staying in the park is it can help reduce your travel time. Its important to know that it takes a LONG time to drive around in Yellowstone.

It takes about 2.5 hours to drive around one of the loops . And thats just driving time. It could be even longer if you get stuck in a Buffalo Jam.

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The Best Yellowstone Ranches

Really want to splurge? The best Yellowstone ranches are gorgeous properties and designed to get you out on adventures, whether that’s on-location or beyond.

Bar-N-Ranch: At this grassy creek-side oasis 15-minutes from the West Yellowstone Entrance, you can hike, fly fish, white water raft or head out on guided tours. Get warm by your own fireplace or consider getting closer to nature with one of their glamping options.

Mountain Sky Ranch: Bask in stunning mountain views at Mountain Sky Ranch, an hour from the North Entrance. Whenever you’re not exploring the park, sign up for horseback riding, fly fishing, clay shooting, golf, rafting, or try your hand at cattle ranching. Check out their packages for all-inclusive options.

Lost Creek Ranch and Spa: Looking for personalized service? This all-inclusive ranch has two staff members for every three ranch guests. Gaze upon the mighty Tetons, indulge at a campfire cookout, or feel like a real ranchhand on a guided horseback ride all without leaving the property. Just remember youll be about an hour from Yellowstone, so plan your itinerary accordingly.

West Entrance: West Yellowstone Montana

Ghost Towns In Montana, Only A Day Trip From Yellowstone!

West Yellowstone is a great place to make as your home base as you explore Yellowstone since it is so close to the west entrance and attractions like Old Faithful, the Upper Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring. This Yellowstone Park Tour will include visiting Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone as well as the entire Lower Loop of the park.

But the city of West Yellowstone also has a lot of fun things to offer!

If you want to add another state to your list you could stay in Idaho and enjoy West Yellowstone from there. Plus there are a lot of great things to do in Idaho Falls and the surrounding area.

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Where To Stay In Yellowstone + An Honest Review Of A Terrible Stay

Choosing where to stay in Yellowstone National Park isnt the simplest of tasks.

Not only is the park huge, you have to decide on some priorities before you go. Do you want efficiency, which means staying within the confines of the park?

Are you looking to stick to a budget, which can mean more driving time to get to and from the best Yellowstone has to offer?

Im going to share options for both with you here. While I typically pay more to stay closer to sights, it only worked out for part of our trip to Yellowstone, and youll hear all about that, too.

Honesty is the best policy, right?

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I wont recommend something I have not used/would not use myself, and any income earned supports the upkeep of this site.

Where To Stay Outside Of Yellowstone National Park

You have far more flexibility over choosing your own hotels outside of Yellowstone.

Inside you are limited by price and availability, so its refreshing to be back in control of your options.

Whichever compass direction you approach and leave from, booking a night either side of your Yellowstone itinerary to allow more full days inside the park is a great way to save initially.

To give you our example, we approached from South Dakota and stayed in Cody, WY before leaving via Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, WY.

We saved money on hotels in Cody and Jackson vs paying 2 more nights in park hotels.

However, you can save further by staying outside the park for your entire vacation. Yes, you will have more driving but you also have more amenities and can tailor to your budget.

Hotels in the small towns around Yellowstone are all competing with one another so prices can be driven down and deals do exist.

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East Entrance Cody Wy

Cody, WY is a much larger town with a host of hotel and dining options on offer. You will have far greater control over your stay in Cody and you can visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum, which is really interesting.

We spent 2 days in Cody and have recommendations. Rawhide Coffee is great for a morning coffee and Fat Racks BBQ joint is awesome for dinner.

Cody is 1 hour and 45 minutes from East entrance and even longer if you enter via Northeast entrance as we had to due to road closures.

Therefore, we dont recommend you use Cody as a place to stay between days inside Yellowstone. The night before or the night after, Cody works perfectly.

Cody is the perfect place to spend a night on a road trip from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone. Spend a night here, wake up early and enter via East entrance.

Lets take a look at your top hotel options in Cody, WY:

Mid Range:

The Roosevelt Lodge And Cabins

Visit Yellowstone National Park, The USA

This is another cabin named to honor another president for his work in making the camping site popular. It has been designed in the Western spirit style with rocking chairs on the veranda, grilling steaks on the porch, and horseback trails around the lodging. Everything at The Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins reflects the old Wild West style but the location on Tower Falls enables travelers from all walks of life to explore the beauty beyond the property, to the Lamar Valley and beyond. The rooms are rustic cabins with no TVs or AC. If you book the premium Roughrider cabins, you get to have a wood-burning stove to keep you warm but there are no private bathrooms here.

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West Entrance West Yellowstone Mt

West Yellowstone can be likened to a resort town right on the boundary of the national park.

It is the closest major town to the Yellowstone loop road with dozens of hotels and restaurants, serving as the perfect base for visiting the park for those who were unable to book hotel rooms inside.

It is the closest town to the park boundary and is central, which means less driving time than if you stayed in any other small town near the park.

You would enter Yellowstone in between Norris geyser to the North basin and Lower / Midway / Upper geyser basins to the South.

Downside is a lot of driving time to explore the entirety of Yellowstone. Upside is you wont have to deal with checking in and out of hotels every morning and evening.

The resort town of West Yellowstone even has its own airport, although Salt Lake City airport provides the only flight route and they arent cheap!

Here are some of the top rated hotels in West Yellowstone spanning all budgets:

Mid Range:

Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Yellowstone 2022

Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the world and extends across the states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana in the US. If you’re planning on visiting this volcanic and geothermic wonder, get ready to discover its spouting geysers, crystalline lakes and rainbow-like springs. The park is also home to wildlife like grizzly bears, moose, wolves, bison, and birdwatchers will be amazed at its diverse bird population.

Visiting Yellowstone is a must on any US West Coast road trip. When planning any trip to Yellowstone, make sure you book in advance as the park can get busy and good accommodation options get booked up early, especially during the summer months. What’s more, when booking accommodation, it’s worth noting that the park has five entrances .

Read on to discover the best areas the national park has to offer and where to stay in Yellowstone.

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Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cottages

Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cottages is the more upscale option for your stay on Yellowstone Lake, which is made more obvious when you pull up to this place, all white columns and Colonial architecture.

The property also has National Historic Landmark status, boasting a 125-year-old history in the park. Former President Calvin Coolidge was reportedly a big fan, at least of the presidential suite at the hotel.

The 1920-era cottages on the property are more simple but still pricey.

Northeast Entrance: Cooke City Montana

Visiting Yellowstone National Park in Fall and Winter

Cooke City is just outside the northeast entrance of the park. This entrance and outgoing road, US Highway 212, is said to be the most scenic drive from the park. Going this way, you pass through the Beartooth Mountains, which is beautiful! Hwy 212 is closed east of Cooke City to cars November through April, so keep that in mind.

Cooke City is a very small town that also has a western feel to it. It has several restaurants and small shops as well as lodging if you cant find any openings inside the park. If you will be in Yellowstone for an extended period of time, I would suggest taking a day trip out of the northeast entrance to see Cooke City and drive Hwy 212 through the mountains.

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