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Craving an epic summer escape? Look no further than Cody Yellowstone. Bask in the warm sunshine of the American West, breathe in fresh mountain air, and explore a landscape teeming with natural wonders. Cody Yellowstone bursts to life in summer, offering a thrilling mix of outdoor adventures, captivating arts and culture, and chances to step into natural history at the world’s first national park. We’re here to help you craft the perfect itinerary, ensuring you hit all the hot spots — from the legendary rodeo to hidden gems. Read on to discover the endless fun waiting for you in Cody Yellowstone this summer.

Where to Stay in Cody Yellowstone

Best Western Ivy Hotel

To start with, you’ll need somewhere to stay, and luckily for you, Cody Yellowstone is jam-packed with options for every kind of accommodation. No matter your travel style, you’ll find the perfect home base here. Adventure seekers can immerse themselves in cowboy culture at a one-of-a-kind day ranch. History buffs can soak up the charm of a historic downtown hotel. Cozy up in a comfortable B&B or pitch a tent at a campground with jaw-dropping views. Cody Yellowstone boasts an amazing variety of accommodations to suit every budget and desire.

Day 1: Explore 2.2 Million Acres of Summer Fun

Bison near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park

While Yellowstone National Park is breathtaking year-round, summer brings it to life. Sunshine bathes the landscape, wildflowers burst into color, and wildlife thrives. Even with a lifetime, seeing all 2.2 million acres would be a challenge! That’s why dedicating at least a day to this iconic park, the world’s first national park, is a must.

To make the most of your summer visit, plan for an early start. This will help you avoid congestion at the gates, which typically peaks between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Pack plenty of sunscreen and a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your day. The journey from Cody to the East Gate is a treat — Theodore Roosevelt famously called it “the most scenic 50 miles in America.” 

As you enter through the East Gate, prepare to be captivated by a Wild West wonderland. From roaming bison and elk to geothermal wonders like Old Faithful, Yellowstone offers endless opportunities for discovery. Here’s how to tackle the best of the park in one day.

Day 2: Embrace the Cowboy Lifestyle

People on horses at a dude ranch

Start your summer day with a horseback ride through pristine wilderness, soaking in the fresh air and stunning mountain views. Day ranches offer this unique opportunity, letting you roam the landscape like a true cowboy – complete with river crossings and potential wildlife sightings. Spend the day on horseback before heading into Cody for more fun. 

A woman rides a horse while carrying the American flag at the Cody Nite Rodeo

Once you’ve had a taste of the cowboy life, immerse yourself in the heart-pounding action of our world-class rodeo. Cody Yellowstone is the Rodeo Capital of the World, and boasts one of the longest-running rodeos. Witness cowboys and cowgirls showcase their skills in thrilling events while enjoying a festive atmosphere and tasty food. 

The Cody Cattle Company 10

Let live music set the soundtrack for your summer evening. The Cody Cattle Company offers toe-tapping shows with Ryan Martin and the Triple C Cowboys, running from May 27th to September 20th. Upgrade your experience with a Trifecta Ticket – a winning combination of an all-you-can-eat Chuckwagon dinner, the captivating cowboy music show, and admission to the exciting Cody Nite Rodeo. This perfect summer evening package offers a memorable meal, toe-tapping entertainment, and heart-pounding rodeo action – all in one Cody Yellowstone evening.

Day 3: Tours & a Toe-Tapping Musical

Kick off a day of discovery with a charming Cody Trolley Tour, learning fascinating stories about historic downtown Cody. Then, venture off the beaten path — choose from thrilling whitewater rafting on the mighty Shoshone River or a serene boat tour through the breathtaking Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, just 60 miles east. Imagine spotting bighorn sheep, wild horses, and hundreds of bird and fish species as you cruise along the third-largest canyon in the US.

After a day of exploration, unwind in Cody’s vibrant downtown dining scene. Indulge in a delicious meal – our bustling restaurants offer everything from mouth-watering BBQ to authentic Thai cuisine. Whether you crave a refreshing beverage at a local brewery or a lively pub atmosphere, Cody has something for everyone.

Wild West Spectacular The Musical

Next, imagine yourself transported to the Wild West at the historic Cody Theatre on Sheridan Avenue as it comes alive with an award-winning musical extravaganza — Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Spectacular. Witness talented actors, musicians, and dancers bring to life the legends of Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and “Wild Bill” Hickok.

This high-energy show is perfect for the whole family. Tap your feet and learn about the fascinating history of Cody Yellowstone as the Wild West unfolds before your eyes. Winner of a 2023 Travelers’ Choice award from Tripadvisor and boasting nearly 200 glowing reviews, it promises an unforgettable night. Fuel your Wild West fun with treats — from gourmet grilled sandwiches to classic popcorn — at the theater concessions. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Spectacular offers a one-stop shop for entertainment, history, and savory snacks — all under one roof.

Day 4: History Lives Here

Take a day to learn a bit about the fascinating history of our dynamic region. While the Wild West often dominates the narrative, Cody Yellowstone holds a lesser-known historical significance. The Heart Mountain World War II Interpretive Center sheds light on a crucial but often overlooked chapter in American history. Hear the stories of over 14,000 Japanese Americans unjustly incarcerated here during WWII. This award-winning museum uses photographs, artifacts, and interactive exhibits to bring this important chapter to life, offering a thought-provoking visit for all.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West on a sunny day in Cody, Wyoming

Next, head to the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a Smithsonian Affiliate housing five museums dedicated to every facet of the Wild West’s rich history. History buffs will be enthralled by the kid-friendly Draper Natural History Museum’s exploration of the land, the Buffalo Bill Museum’s tales of legendary figures, and the Plains Indian Museum’s vibrant cultural heritage. Art enthusiasts can admire the Whitney Western Art Museum’s stunning collection, while firearm aficionados will be captivated by the Cody Firearms Museum’s impressive display.

Top off your day steeped in history with a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Just outside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 2 Mules Chuckwagon Dinner serves up authentic al fresco feasts fit for cowboys. Tuck into wood-fired steak, hearty trail beans, and fluffy sourdough biscuits under the open sky — a taste of the Wild West and a memorable meal for the whole family.

Create Your Own Itinerary with a Trail Pass

Feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities of a Cody Yellowstone summer? We’ve got you covered. Our themed trails and passes can help you plan and unlock a unique world of fun.

Embark on the Sippin’ Trail, your passport to tantalizing discoveries. Sample craft beers at award-winning breweries, savor gourmet cuisine at bistros, or saddle up at historic saloons. Cody boasts the top small town beer scene in the US, according to USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

History buffs can saddle up for discovery with the Wild West Trail Pass. Live out your cowboy dreams, explore historic sites, and win prizes along the way. Discover for yourself why USA Today crowned Cody the “Best Western Town” in the country.

Looking for a family-friendly activity? The new Bears in the Basin pass takes you on a fun scavenger hunt across Powell, Meeteetsee, and Cody. Follow clues, discover hidden bears created by local artists, and learn fascinating stories about the region’s history and culture. Lace up your hiking boots, wander friendly towns, and collect cool prizes.

Start Planning Your Summer Escape

While Cody Yellowstone is worth visiting any season of the year, we’re sure you can agree there’s just something special about summer — the time of the rodeo, cowboy-inspired outdoor dining, an educational and entertaining musical spectacular, and so much more. Start by ordering or downloading your free 2024 Cody Yellowstone Adventure Vacation Guide. It’s packed with destination info, lodging options, and itinerary ideas to craft your dream summer escape.