Family-friendly escapes are always worth being on the lookout for. While most destinations can be retrofitted to work with a family, some destinations seem like they were custom built for family getaways. Yellowstone National Park is one of these destinations.
Yellowstone is located in three different states. It has pieces in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The park covers nearly 3,500 square miles in the Northwest region of the United States. Most of the park’s area is located in Wyoming. Going along with its large area, the park has five distinct entrances and 10 unique sites to visit along with countless sights and trails to see and experience. When talking about a national park as massive as Yellowstone National Park, you should have the knowledge that it is not a park you will be able to completely see in one day.
It is easy to assume Yellowstone National Park will have something for every member of the family, but, with so much, finding a great starting point can be tough.
To start things off, a brief history of Yellowstone will reveal the national park is one of the oldest in the United States, if not the oldest. It was preceded by Yosemite, a state park. The park is centrally located in the midst of several other national parks, including Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore.
Yellowstone is home to 10 different visitor centers throughout the park. Each of these acts like a miniature museum, with park rangers present and ready to pass on information, exhibits on display to teach about the environment and much more. These are great places to stop if there is anyone in your party who loves history and learning about the natural world. Families interested in the park’s wildlife should stop at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum, while history buffs who want to learn about the park’s history with fires should check out the Grant Visitor Center. Click here for a full list of the park’s visitor centers and what each one specializes in.
One of the features Yellowstone is most well-known for is the geysers, volcanoes and geology of the park as a whole. The end result for guests of the park is a myriad of hydrothermal systems. The most famous of these, Old Faithful, erupts every 95 minutes on average. The famous geyser shoots water about 180 feet into the air at a temperature of more than 200 degrees. The site is a must-visit for all visitors to the park, an excellent place to find fossils, observe how glaciers impacted the formation of the land and much more.
If your family is more interested in the living and breathing inhabitants of Yellowstone, they are in luck as well. The park is home to almost 300 species of birds, 16 different species of fish, five species of amphibians, six species of reptiles and 67 species of mammals including two different types of bear. It is impossible to guarantee visitors will come across an animal during their visit, but the possibility of running into an animal is an awesome feeling.
Yellowstone is excellent in part due to the incredible variety of activities. Families can go biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding and more, depending on the time of year. If you are visiting during the winter, keep in mind the park has several warming stations to keep wilderness adventurers toasty in the cold.
Eating will definitely be of concern if your family is spending any considerable amount of time in the park. Luckily, there are many options for food, ranging from vending machines and fast food to fine dining and other types of sit-down restaurants. The fine-dining restaurants require a reservation, so look into the restaurants and plan ahead if you think your family will enjoy this.
When visitors take full advantage of everything Yellowstone National Park has to offer, it can be a life-changing experience for the entire family. An entire vacation can be spent exploring the vast park, with every moment, hour and day bringing a new perspective.