One of the best outdoor adventure family trips has to be exploring Grand Teton National Park! If you are traveling to this beautiful national park on your next family vacation, here are some great things you must do!
Grand Teton National Park Outdoor Family Vacation Travel Tips
Our family loves to travel all around the world. Nothing could be quite as memorable as this summer’s family vacation to Wyoming and Montana and especially Grand Teton National Park! As much as we love theme parks family vacations, exploring nature with kids is always fun.
We had the time of our lives on our trip with National Geographic to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks! I wrote about how I won this amazing trip to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service –>here. Now I’m excited to share with you some highlights of our unforgettable vacation, along with travel tips to help you decide what to do when visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
Today’s post is all about Grand Teton! It was the last destination on our trip and fresh on my mind. Check back soon for my recap of Yellowstone. I can’t even begin to describe the fun in a few sentences… I’ll need several posts!
My main tip for visiting these national parks would be to travel with National Geographic on one of their family expeditions! I can’t say enough good things about their tour guides and planners of these trips. “WOW” sums it up for us. We loved it so much we went to Scotland with them as well.
What we loved about our National Geographic Family Expedition…
We did nothing but have to pack and show up!
Our transportation, activities, guides, supplies, parking and food was taken care of by National Geographic. I’m the one usually doing all of the planning for our trips, packing snacks, lunches and setting up activities. It’s so amazing to have gotten to experience such a low stress vacation and in the most beautiful setting!
I’m a foodie and was in awe of our picnics.
We were not provided just any old sandwich and chips, but a gorgeous set up with cheese plates, fruit, amazing salads, sandwiches of all kinds and drinks for both adults and kids! They sent people ahead to save picnic tables (in a very crowded national park), then had our table set with flowers and pretty linens ready for us when we arrived.
We loved getting to know other families from all over the United States.
Everyone in our group was fabulous! Most of the families had kids that were close in age to ours and they all made friends with each other fast. I miss these sweet families already! If you are worried about a group trip like this with other families, don’t. They give you plenty of time to be alone with your own family along with the group activities.
Our kids had a blast with their new friends!
Several times, the kids and adults were split up for different activities. There was often chanting to encourage our guides to let them ride in a kid van only. Our poor guides! ha!! We had to give big props to them for being able to handle all of them in one van! It was like a fun summer camp, but with their parents tagging along.
We CHERISHED that much needed adult time. My husband and I love our kids dearly, but didn’t realize how NICE it would be to have free time away from them on vacation. I mean… that is truly a vacation! ha!!! Knowing they were having the time of their lives while we were also having fun made it even better.
Being with National Geographic has it’s perks!
I could go on and on about our guides, they were so much fun and a joy to be around! Plus, they live near the parks and know the area like the backs of their hands. I have to give a shout out to Jeremy Scmidt, former park ranger, author and the expert guide of the trip. He put up with our silly jokes and even dished out of few of his own! Jeremy writes for National Geographic and has lived in the Yellowstone Grand Teton area for over 40 years. If you are planning to visit, be sure to get his pocket guide for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It’s packed with great insider information.
We were thrilled with our National Geographic Family Expedition experience! If you have never been to Grand Teton National Park, here are something you should put on your must do list! I’ll be back soon with tips for Yellowstone.
6 Things To Do at Grand Teton National Park
There are so many more things to do when visiting this national treasure, but here are six of our favorite things that I highly recommend doing.
1. Visit Colter Bay for a Scenic Jackson Lake Cruise
After our cruise, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the beach. I couldn’t believe the view!
Then we were whisked off to make our deadline for a LIVE video on CBS This Morning’s Facebook page.
What a fun experience! What made me nervous is that I had dropped my phone in the toilet on our first hour of the trip. Whaaaaa! It got fried, so I had no way to check messages to see what we were doing until I showed up to our meeting spot. Once we got there, I realized that I was to host the segment with our expert tour guide Jeremy and my family. No other host just us… LIVE… talking to an audience of possibly millions. No pressure… non at all! LOL!!! We had a great camera girl, Anna who helped make things go smoothly. Thanks Anna!
You can watch our segment from Colter Bay–> here. It all went well and the view was amazing! I’m just happy that my kids didn’t start fighting and that nobody fell down. ha! Thanks to our great camera gal, Anna for making it fun and coming all the way to the park to video.
2. Hike around Phelps Lake at the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve
Hiking to this lake from the Laurance Rockerfeller Preserve is a must! It’s gorgeous and the facilities are top notch. Get there early to find parking. Spots fill up fast! Luckily we were with National Geographic, so their vans dropped us off and there was no need to park.
On the drive there, keep a look out for moose. We saw a big one!
Pack a lunch, a walking stick for steep slopes and don’t forget your bear spray. We learned a lot about bears on this trip.
Grizzly bears will mark trees with their claws to let other bears know it’s their territory. We spotted some marks! Even though they looked old, we were still on the look out for bears near the path and had our bear spray ready.
Those are some BIG claw marks!
To our disappointment, we saw no bears! Most of our group saw a mule deer. I only saw very curious chipmunk.
We all had a great day! I have to admit I was pretty worn out after dinner that night. By the end of the day, my fit bit said I walked over 10 miles!
3. Go Horseback Riding
While the adults went hiking around the lake, our kids got to have fun horseback riding. All of the kids were so excited about this fun activity!
My daughter turned 10 on the trip and her gift was a new camera. Here is a look of horseback riding from Siena…
What a beautiful view!
I was impressed with her photography skills, especially since she was on a horse for the first time!
They all had the BEST time and made some great memories. According to my kids, horseback riding is a MUST DO when visiting Grand Teton National Park!
4. Take In the Scenery of Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake will take your breath away! It looks like you’re in another world. Even if you don’t have much time to hike or fish, you should stop and enjoy the view.
5. Shop and Dine in the Jackson Town Square
I know Jackson Hole is not actually part of the National Park, but you have to visit and where you will probably stay when visiting Grand Teton. The town square is adorable and welcomes you with a taste of the wild west! There is even a shoot out every night in the summer. Be ready for gun slinging cowboys at 6 pm all summer long!
There is so much to do in Jackson, but my favorite was to enjoy the great food and shopping!
I’m from Texas where I can get a cowboy hat or boots at anytime, but I still had to take in the fun western stores and get myself a new Wyoming cowboy hat as a souvenir.
My daughter enjoyed practicing her photography skills with her new camera as we walked around the town. I’m always happy to strike a pose, especially in my new hat!
One of our favorite dinning spots in Jackson was Local. I recommend it for sure! Get the brussels sprouts with bacon, you won’t be sorry.
6. Go White Water Rafting Down the Snake River
I saved the best for last. If you have doubts about doing a white water rafting trip with your family… don’t!!! It was one of our favorite activities of the trip. Along with spending quality time with your family, you get to experience the beauty of the mountains, get a great arm workout if you row and enjoy wild life. We got lucky and saw three bald eagles and a marmot.
The water was mostly calm for a good hour. The kids enjoyed jumping into the super cold water and my husband even challenged one of our National Geographic guides from another raft to jump. They both did it, as neither could be the chicken who couldn’t take the 57 degree water temperature. It was pretty funny! Lots of screaming and they got out about as fast as they jumped into it!
All was pretty calm until we hit the BIG KAHUNA rapids. This is of course where they have photographers waiting to capture the action. As you can see, it was AWESOME!!! Nobody fell out, and to my amazement, my hair didn’t get wet. As you look at the photos, check out everyone else’s hair. I must have had the best spot for keeping a dry head. As for the rest of my body… I got soaked!
This is my favorite photo of us all cheering after we knew we survived!
This was certainly a trip we’ll never forget! Check back soon for my Yellowstone recap and tips.
Have you always wanted to visit Scotland?
If so, enjoy some of the best outdoor Scotland family vacation ideas and photos from our latest trip. You and your family will never forget these amazing kid friendly fun outdoor activities in the Scottish highlands.
Thanks to National Geographic for sending my family to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons! All opinions are my own.
Originally published on August 17, 2016. Last Updated on May 15, 2021 by Amy Locurto