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Yellowstone Park

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

When my husband and I sat down this past winter to discuss possible destinations for our summer family trip, Jackson Hole, Wyoming quickly emerged as the winner. Between its breathtaking scenery, easy access to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and endless options for family-friendly outdoor activities, it was an obvious great choice for our family of four.

Snake River white water rafting
Private white water rafting experience on the Snake River
Exploring the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
At the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

As soon as we’d made the decision about where to go, I knew who to call to help plan the details. Through my industry connections, I knew of an onsite supplier who specializes in Out West destinations. I was already aware of what they were capable of planning because I’d worked with them on a number of similar trips for my own clients. They “get” this part of the country – everyone on their team is either from the west or currently lives there (and all of them are big-time outdoors lovers).

Chuckwagon dinner, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Chuckwagon Ride in Jackson Hole
Enjoying Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Family time in Grand Teton National Park
Trail ride in Grand Teton National Park
Horseback riding in the Grand Tetons

The process for designing my family’s vacation began with a conference call with their team to discuss my family, our interests, and needs. From there, they worked with me to craft an itinerary customized for the four of us. This is the same process I go through for my own clients – leveraging my network of onsite suppliers to choose the right one for the job, sharing my clients’ needs, preferences and vacation goals; then engaging their destination expertise to design one-of-a-kind itineraries.

Family picnic in Yellowstone National Park
Picnic in Yellowstone National Park
Pretty view of Moulton Barn in Grand Teton National Park
Moulton Barn at sunrise, Grand Teton National Park
Moose Falls in Yellowstone National Park
Moose Falls, Yellowstone National Park

One of the first decisions that needed to be made was where to stay. Jackson Hole offers an endless array of lodging options, with the most important choice being whether to stay in the town of Jackson or 25 minutes away in Teton Village. In the end, I chose Teton Village where all of the ski resorts are located and was happy with the decision. Teton Village has become a bustling destination within itself in recent years and is a great spot for families. Full of shops, restaurants, nice outdoor areas to sit and take in the views, it’s a fun place to be year-round. During the summer months, Teton Village offers many outdoor activities (all within walking distance of your hotel) – bungee trampoline jumping, rock climbing, downhill mountain biking using ski lifts, and an elaborate ropes course are all available -just to name a few. My children were in heaven!

Bungee trampoline jumping in Jackson Hole
Bungee trampoline fun in Teton Mountain Village, Wyoming
Cornhole time, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Cornhole in Teton Mountain Village
Teton Village, Wyoming
In the heart of Teton Village

Once I’d settled on lodging, the next order of business was to design our actual itinerary. My onsite partner recommended a mix of guided activity with some downtime built in for my family to just enjoy the beautiful location. We spent our time in Jackson Hole experiencing many of the area’s highlights.  Rafting, biking, horseback riding, fly fishing, exploring the national parks, and attending a rodeo (with VIP passes no less!) were all part of our itinerary and made for an unforgettable week.

Biking in Grand Teton National Park
Biking Antelope Flats with my daughter, Grand Teton National Park
Horseback riding in Jackson Hole
Ready to start our horseback ride
Rafting on the Snake River in Wyoming
Ready to raft the Snake River
VIP Seats at the Jackson Hole Rodeo
Bird’s eye view of rodeo prep from our VIP seats, Jackson Hole Rodeo

All of my family’s activities were hosted by private guides, which is where local connections really come into play. My onsite supplier knows which outfitters are best in the area and engages them for client experiences. These individuals are best of the best and have a true passion for what they do – everyone we interacted with was exceptional. Our guide for Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, for example, was a former scientific bear trapper and had worked in and around the area in various capacities for many years. His knowledge of the parks was vast, which meant we covered more ground, avoided crowds, and learned more interesting facts than we ever could have on our own. It was a phenomenal experience for sure. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – private guides are worth every penny!

Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone
Viewing Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone without the crowds, thanks to our private guide
Huckleberry search in Yellowstone National Park
Huckleberry picking in Yellowstone
Private guide in Grand Teton National Park showing us bison
Bison viewing with our private guide in Grand Teton National Park

After our week in Jackson Hole, my family left with many special memories and a new appreciation for our National Parks – a treasure we’re very fortunate as Americans to call our own. I’m already dreaming about which ones we’ll visit the next time we head Out West. There are so many more to explore!