You will find tons of Yellowstone advice here, as always take some with the grain of salt. An amazing place for sure. Consider spending a day in the Badlands on the way out, Mt. Rushmore is worth it, as well as a stop in Cody on the way in. Tetons are on the list as well while in the area if time permits all that... Stuff for kids at every stop. Grizzly is a good base camp but remember (and everybody's intinerary's vary, but for us) it's basically a place to crash at the end of what can be a very long day. The place is huge so expect alot daily driving, which might turn into a challenge for your age groups. If animal watching is a priority, dusk and dawn is when you want to be out there. We would head out early packing a cooler for lunch and or dinners. Had a grill going on the tailgate in the Lamar Valley amongst other places, back to camp usually in the dark. Rangers know where everything lives, they will point you to animal 'hot spots.' We took a tour of the south loop and did the north on our own. Look into reservations if possible, they are very informative. A decent set of Bino's (probably several with all the little ones as everybody will want them at the same time) and or a spotting scope on a tripod will come in very handy. I'd also be happy to answer anything on a pm. Have a great time, we are looking to go back again next year as well. June is a good time weatherwise and for the crowds. We experienced no problem with either last time out.
We stayed in Gardiner for a week and found it fine for us. Easy to enter the park and not so crowed at night in town. We put just about 1,000 miles that week on the car all in Yellowstone, it is a HUGE place and everything is miles away. Listening to the ranger talks was very interesting and well worth doing.
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Here are a few other tips. When you set out exploring YNP make sure your kids wear tennis shoes or hiking boots or other sturdy, comfy walking shoes. Also, insist that everyone have a jacket, sweatshirt or better - both - along. Then bring a duffel with hats and gloves for everyone. It will be colder than you expect in June, and fronts can move in quickly. Lastly, be aware of the physical effects of altitude. The town of West Yellowstone is at about 6500 feet. At road level much of the western park is 6500 to 7000, while the north and east are typically 8000 feet or more. Be careful about getting enough fluids and not over-exerting, especially the kiddos.
We went 7 years ago when our kids were 15 & 13. Left the day school let out for the summer in mid-June. We found no issue with crowds, at times found ourselves all alone on some of the walkways, never had issue with a parking spot. We stayed at Madison, went into W Yellowstone for showers ($$). We entered via the Beartooth while towing, greatest experience ever and glad we did it. Kids loved Lamar valley spotting wolves, all the thermals, and a day trip to Tetons. We did the chuckwagon dinner out of Roosevelt (if I remember correctly). Fun experience - food so-so.
Do be prepared for a lot of driving, late nights getting back to the trailer, and some cold weather (we had a brief snow/sleet storm that left an inch or two on ground while there). Try to take some time to hike away from the road & the crowds, if only for a single hike - get a different sense of YNP.
We headed to Glacier afterwards - which was great also.
We love Grizzly in West Yellowstone. But when we traveled with our young kids we chose to stay at the KOA in West. As They have a pool, mini golf, ect So on down days the kids had lots to do.
You are going to have a great trip no matter where you stay!
Thanks for all the input. Always so nice to learn from the experience of fellow campers. Some mentioned visiting the Mt. Rushmore in SD on the way out. Last year we spent a week in Custer State Park. We were very impressed. The campgrounds were very nice and lots of hiking and site-seeing.
Keep the ideas and suggestions coming. I already have a good list of places and website to start looking up. Thanks again.
I would definitely stay at Colter Bay RV and spend 2-3 days in the Tetons. That is the perfect time for an amazing park. Take a boat across Jenny Lake and hike up the canyon. Have pizza in Moose. Rent a canoes/kayaks at the nearby Colter Bay Marina and explore the wetlands and wildlife on the shores of Jackson Lake with million dollar views.
Grizzly seems to be the best West Yellowstone option with hookups and things to do. But remember you drive 20 miles just to get to the park each way, so factor that into your planning.
Personally we stayed at Grant and Canyon without hookups and wouldn't trade it for the world. At Grant we hiked, saw ranger programs, had a spot with more stars than I have ever seen on the shores of Yellowstone Lake. There is even the Lake Cafe with an $8.95 all you can eat buffet. Endless bacon! My son was in heaven. Canyon was a great base for the northern part of the park and had great programs too. Both have little shopping villages to give teens something to do. Do not stay at Fishing Bridge with six kids unless you enjoy hanging out in a parking lot.
A few other tips with kids:
--Helen's burgers in Gardiner at the North entrance
--There are two places to swim in Yellowstone and both are great. The first is Boiling River right inside the North entrance. Amazing pools have been built in the Yellowstone river where cold water mixes with hot spring water. Family friendly and fantastic. The second is the Firehole River on the short loop off of the main Old Faithful road. The swim hole is just down the river from the big geysers and the water is perfect for swimming. Nice area for little kids too.
--Spend a day driving the Beartooth Highway without your rig. Amazing place and drive. You can make a nice day trip by driving through the Lamar Valley out the NE entrance. Stop in Cooke City for great lattes and berry shakes. Head up to the top of the road and picnic at Beartooth Lake at 10,000 feet. Instead of driving all the way to Red Lodge, you can shorten your day trip by turning around at the rest area near the top of the switchbacks heading down the mountain. Check this area out on Google Maps.
Family that loves to camp as often as we can! Two kids, 16 and 13