I"d agree with some of the others, Grizzly is probably your best bet. It's about as close to a "central location" as you'll find in Yellowstone. All parts of the park could be visited in a day from that location. biggest bottle neck with Grizzly will be the road from the West Yellowstone entrance to Madison Junction. It's only about 15 miles but may take you an hour to travel when heading in. Once you reach Madison though the routes head out in different directions and others become MORE accustomed to wildlife that they don't stop and take 10 minutes of pictures of a ground squirrel.
Good luck / Skip
2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR - 2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles) 2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer
US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population
We chose Fishing Bridge because of its central location, but with the young'uns in camp with you, well, there won't be a lot for them to do in the campground. That would be true of any CG within Yellowstone. Take advantage of the ranger programs, hikes, Jr. Ranger activties, etc.
Agree with the above post on food prices in the Park. They are outrageous, so take as much food and supplies with you going in to the park that you can. Even the groceries in the "trading posts" are extremely expensive and you'll have a very limited selection of brands and/or sizes. Kids can be fussy eaters so take along what you know they'll eat.
TAKE WARM CLOTHING!!! Nighttime temps can easily drop into the 30's even in July so I would expect June will be even more chilly. Be sure you've got a good supply of LP for your furnace. Even when you take day trips within the park take a range of clothing. It can go from sunny and warm to cloudy & damp to breezy & cool and back in a VERY short time.
Fuel is likewise very expensive, but with the amount of driving you'll be doing in YNP there's not much you can do about that. The sites at Fishing Bridge are very snug; manuevering your rig in and out can be "exciting."
I'll suggest you take an afternoon and rent an outboard motorboat at Bay Bridge Marina and take the family out on Yellowstone Lake. You can rent them by the hour (at least you could back in '04) and the rental fee was actually reasonable. You can also rent canoes and kayaks but that may not work with your little ones. You'll see lots of animals, and therein is the biggest driving hazard - "animal jams." Anywhere, anytime folks will just stop and gawk so stay alert. Please resist the temptation to get up close and personal with any of the wildlife - we saw some parents doing really stupid things with their kids around a moose.
Our favorite spots were Old Faithful, Mud Volcano, Artists Paint Pots, Dragon Mouth Spring, Firehole River, Norris Geyser Basin, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs.
Our visit to Yellowstone is now over 7 years in the past but we still talk about the things we saw and did there. In my mind one of the best trips you can do with your family. Enjoy & safe travels.
Do NOT stay in Gardiner. There may be a decent RV park somewhere there, but the town is a DUMP.
Staying at Fishing Bridge will minimize your driving. But Grizzly RV Park in the town of West Yellowstone is MUCH nicer, and there are amenities like grocery stores and things to do INSIDE in case of bad weather.
Be prepared for high food prices in the grocery stores and restaurants. Even McD's is about 2x the price of most McD's.
If you want internet access, you will need an aircard. There is wifi at spots in West Yellowstone but it is unbelievably slow because the bandwidth is jammed.
Have a great time!
2006 Toyota Sienna
Single empty-nester in Middle TN
We were there the last week of June last year and the crowds were not bad and the weather was perfect. We stayed at Grizzly and enjoyed the cg though mosquitoes were terrible, but we loved the location. Just a ten minute ride into the park. If the traffic gets backed up a little, it didn't bother us as we used it to watch the animals. I think I would pack a lunch and drinks each day you head into the park. We spent four days on the loop. Each day we did 1/4 of the loop and found that to be enough time for us. We didn't do any long hikes though. We also took the tours of the hotels in Yellowstone and the fort. We went to the Grizzly animal park in West Grizzly and toured the museum there also. We attended the orientation by the rangers in West yellowstone when we first arrived and found this very helpful. They explain the different areas of the park and what is most important to see. We spent one day driving down to the Tetons. If I did it over again, I would try to move down there for two nights. It was a long drive down and back in the same day. We took the boat ride on Jenny lake. If you want to do this, be aware that some tours book up so you may want to arrive early or make a reservation. In all we spent seven nights at Grizzly and felt satisfied with that amount of time, but pretty much went nonstop each day which may be hard to do for your kids. You may want to allow for a couple days off inbetween to just relax and have a down day. Have fun. We hope to go back again sometime. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
You'll get lots of advice here on CG's, things to do, etc. Plus, try the search button at the top of the page. You'll get thousands of responses. The length of your trip is about the minimum I'd want from NE to get a chance to see the highlights of Yellowstone.
But one thing I want to point out. Don't worry too much about swimming pools and playgrounds at the CG you stay at. There is so much to do in the park, the family will be tired by the time you return to your campsite at the end of the day. Some kids may be turned off by the sulfur odor in the geyser basins, but most will be impressed with the colors of Grand Prismatic Spring. The Paint Pots are a sure hit and I still remember the first time I saw Riverside Geyser erupting when I was a kid. Hit the visitors center at Old Faithful early in the day and they'll have a listing of when the various geysers are expected to erupt (not an exact science by any means). Plan your trip around the Upper and Lower Geyser basins to try to see some of the larger ones erupt. (There are several paperback books on the geysers of Yellowstone that are handy to have. They give history and sometimes interesting facts that the older kids might enjoy. My mother worked in Yellowstone for 10 years so I've inherited quite the book collection about Yellowstone.)
The kids will get to see a lot of bison and often other large mammals like elk. If you head to Grand Teton for a day or so, you might get a chance to see a moose or two (is that meese?). Finally, stop and walk out on Fishing Bridge and look down in the water to see some impressive trout.
There was only three of us and just the MH. We found taking the upper/lower loops (one long day each) let us cover the parks high lights and added to the quality of the trip. Buy one loop and get the second loop half price was the deal we got.
We found the food prices to be less than say at Mt. Rushmore. The tour buses takes you to nice eating places both days at noon and there is a snack break each morning and afternoon and again the food was good and the prices were reasonable.
Fishing Bridge RV camp ground is the only one with hook ups and I would book it as soon as possible. The other RV camps are just in the woods with dump stations but they are very tightly packed. For those just going by car they do have several hotel complexes over the 2 million acre park.
One can drive hundreds of miles just inside the park and still see only a fraction. Our bus drivers both days were good tour guides. I strongly recommend doing the tour bus method. For adults both days upper/lower loops ran us about $105 each total. When you look at the miles and kind of miles you will be driving it seems more reasonable. This was part of a 8000 mile cross country for us and driving in NP's was the most stressful part of the 8000 miles so when I could I left the driving to the professionals so I could get to focus on seeing as much as possible.
June, may or may not even be considered "Summer" in Yellowstone, we were there in early June '08 & had snow & temps a few nights in the low 30's, it did warm up & the snow left, but not the lounging on the beach summer as in other parts of the country.
2007 Forester 2941DS
2005 KIA Spectra
Zamboni, Long Haired Mini Dachshund
You can have my RV, when you pry my cold dead fingers from the Steering Wheel
Wow, 6 kids. I thought 4 was a handful. If you go to Yellowstone you also have to spend some time in the Tetons. You’ll only have one choice of campgrounds in either one if you want hookups, Fishing Bridge and Coulter Bay. Can’t speak to the latter, but FB is more of a parking lot than a campground. But it has the advantage of being in the park and reduces the driving you have to do. Yellowstone’s a big park; I put 400 miles on last time I was there. I wouldn’t commute to the Tetons; I’d stay there because I think you’ll tire of the driving.
There’s a lot of hiking trails and ranger programs so I wouldn’t worry about playgrounds to tire the kids out. The whole park is a playground. You could probably find pools and playgrounds and such at one of the RV parks if you really want them. I don’t have a favorite area, but I do favor the north part of the park some because it’s less developed. The weather will likely be good, but I’ve been snowed on in both Yellowstone and Crater Lake in the dead of summer. So I’d be somewhat prepared for that possibility. Food and gas are expensive and I usually stock up on groceries before I get too near the park. Can’t do anything about the gas. I dry camp at various campgrounds in the park and found the only place I had cell service was at Old Faithful. My DW and granddaughters found that much more of a trauma than I did. There’s a ton of posts on Yellowstone on the forum and if you do a search you’ll get more information than you can digest. Have a great trip.