FX Excursions

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Family Time in Eastern Wyoming

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jul 14, 2018

© Alptraum | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

America’s 44th state is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country — think Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park — but large parts of the state are highly underrated. Eastern Wyoming is a great place for families that love the outdoors to enjoy some of the state’s less-known attractions.

This expansive countryside boasts open plains, rolling hills, colorful mountain ranges, plunging valleys and arid desert. No matter what type of scenery you are looking for, Wyoming has it. From history and folklore to camping and outdoor adventures, the Eastern Wyoming countryside has something for everyone in the family.

Cheyenne, the capital, is located in the southeastern corner of the state and is a great place to experience the Old West. Kids love a good cowboy story and this is the place to find it. Cheyenne Frontier Days, at the end of July, is a great way for the whole family to get a firsthand look at the cowboy lifestyle. This annual celebration of frontier life brings the city to life with parades, concerts and events. Championship bull riding and the world’s largest rodeo are just some of the many exciting things to see during this lively festival, along with performances at the Indian Village and gunslinger shows downtown. Make sure to bring a big appetite for the famous pancake breakfasts.

If watching the festivities isn’t enough for your adventurous family, book a stay at one of Wyoming’s dude ranches to step up the cowboy experience. Guest ranches range from super luxurious resort ranches where guests can stay at an authentic working ranch with the added appeal of 5-star amenities, or traditional ranches focusing on cattle-driving and hunting under the open skies.

The Paradise Guest Ranch in Buffalo is a luxury resort ranch in the beautiful Bighorn Mountains. Ideal for families with kids, this dude ranch offers comfortable log cabins, gourmet meals in an old-fashioned saloon and a heated pool and spa. In addition to the traditional horseback riding and cattle herding experiences, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained like fly fishing, square dancing and songs by the campfire at night. Kids programs are designed to make sure your little ones have a ball and each member of the family gets paired with their own horse for the duration of their stay.

Bighorn Mountains near Buffalo, Wyoming

Bighorn Mountains near Buffalo, Wyoming © Jesse Kraft | Dreamstime.com

For an adult-only dude ranch visit, head to the Paradise Guest Ranch in September without the kids.

The Vee Bar Guest Ranch outside of Laramie offers a more traditional dude ranch approach with affordable packages. This family-run ranch prides itself on Western hospitality and makes sure guests have the time of their lives enjoying a true Wyoming experience. Wide-open ranges and beautiful mountain vistas are the ideal setting for this family-friendly ranch. Guests can either bunk in a log cabin or camp in the wilderness under the stars. Visitors have the opportunity to participate in ranch activities like horseback riding or team-penning the cattle, along with outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing and river tubing. Of course, there are also traditional dude ranch favorites like campfire songs and hayrides.

Wyoming - Devils Tower

Devils Tower, Wyoming © Eugenia Lazaris

A visit to Devils Tower National Monument is a must-see for anyone visiting this part of the country. This 60-million-year-old geological wonder towers more than 800 feet over the plains and is a great place for viewing wildlife. Spot buffalo roaming the area or the prairie dogs whose mounds dot the side of the road leading in and out of the park. The area is ideal for camping and is a great place to view the stars at night. The park hosts night-sky viewing programs with an informative presentation of the various constellations that can easily be seen and help create the mystery of Devils Tower.

Hikers and rock climbers find the monolith to be a dream come true as they explore the rock formation and its surrounding area. The tower’s impossibly steep sides make for a world-class rock climbing opportunity while the 1.3-mile paved trail around the base of the monument is a great hike that offers views of all the different faces of the tower.

Devils Tower is the source of many local legends, including some extraterrestrial ones. The monument was featured in many films such as Paul and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and attracts people from all over the world who come looking for a glimpse of the aliens that some think are attracted to the site.

When you’ve got a family that enjoys the great outdoors you can’t go wrong with Eastern Wyoming. Where the days are long and the nights are filled with starry skies, there is no end to the fun and memories your family will have here.


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