Pro Tips for a Stress-Free Family Trip to Cody Yellowstone
CODY, Wyo., January 30, 2023 – Northwestern Wyoming’s Cody Yellowstone is a classic vacation destination that every family should visit before the kids leave the nest. Not only is it the
best place in the world to experience a national park – Yellowstone is the world’s first, after all – the destination features adventures for everyone, no matter what their interests and travel style.
With a little advance planning and some honest family discussion, there are plenty of ways to stress-proof the family trip and ensure that the vacation memories everyone takes home with them are happy.
“Travel stress can happen, but even in a place this wild and unpredictable, families with members of all ages can avoid the biggest triggers with a little foresight, destination knowledge and advance planning,” said Ryan Hauck, executive director of Cody Yellowstone, the marketing arm for the destination that includes the towns of Cody, Meeteetse and Powell, the Shoshone National Forest and a large swath of Yellowstone National Park. “First and foremost, we urge families to embrace the unexpected, because that’s what Cody Yellowstone is all about.”
Hauck offered these tips for planning a family vacation that will keep the stress levels down and the fun factor high.
Book lodging in advance – and soon. Cody Yellowstone features an array of lodging and camping choices from budget hotels in town to luxury inns in Yellowstone National Park. Families should first decide if they prefer to settle into one hotel for the duration of their vacation or move from hotel to hotel as they explore the vast region. Because the East and Northeast Gate of Yellowstone are easily accessible from Cody, both travel strategies can work well. Families should book lodging soon for the best options, especially in the summer.
Town before park. Located 52 miles from the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park, the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse are loaded with places that will get families into a Wild West kind of mood. From the cowboy-themed dinner show at the Cody Cattle Company to the one-hour Cody Trolley Tour, Cody’s attractions are lighthearted and just plain fun.
Eat, drink and stay happy. There are restaurants galore in town as well as and in Yellowstone National Park. To avoid the lunchtime rush, families may want to consider packing their own lunches (there are grocery stores in Cody too) or picking up sandwiches to go. Pack plenty of water too.
Don’t miss the Draper. The Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the best place for families to learn all about Yellowstone – its sights, sounds and even smells – before even setting foot in the national park. This innovative museum in downtown Cody even has a scavenger hunt that leads visitors through exhibits about the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
Blow off steam with an outdoor adventure like hiking through the Shoshone National Forest, a rafting trip on the Shoshone River or a horseback ride in the Wapiti Valley. Trust us. Everyone will be too tired to throw a tantrum.
Become a dude. Many of Cody Yellowstone’s dude and guest ranches are family owned and operated, and they know a thing or two about keeping families happy. Little cowpokes can learn skills like horseback riding, archery and roping. Ranches also feature trail rides, fly fishing, hearty cowboy comfort food and campfires.
Visit the visitor centers. For families with a thing for maps and destination materials, visitor centers are a great place to start any adventure. Places like the Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center, Cody Country Visitor Center and Yellowstone visitor centers like the Canyon Visitor Education Center in the park have tons of free materials. Visitor Centers are staffed by friendly people who know and love the destination of Cody Yellowstone. They can’t wait to share their tips and ideas for making a family vacation memorable.
Let us entertain you. There are all kinds of options to entertain kids and grownups alike. Musical entertainment options include the Cody Cattle Company and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Spectacular. Then there’s the nightly – and free – Wild Bunch Gunfight. While guests won’t see these performers on Broadway, their skits are wholesome and just plain fun. In addition, there are plenty of live music options and restaurants, bars and other venues.
Let us tell you a story. Cody Yellowstone has partnered with TravelStorys, an audio tour company to provide free GPS-prompted audio tours. There’s a walking tour of historic downtown Cody, a driving tour from downtown Cody to Yellowstone, and, coming soon, a driving tour along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. These tours are like having your own personal tour guide.
Take a guided tour. There are numerous options, such as the one-hour Cody Trolley Tour, private tours of the region’s landmarks, photography tours and more. Guided by experts who are passionate and knowledgeable about the destination, guided tours are a great way for the gang to have a deeper Cody Yellowstone experience.
Timing is everything. Park roads reopen for the summer season on a staggered schedule in April and May. Most families visit the destination during the months of June, July and August, so families with the flexibility to visit in the spring or fall will find a better choice of lodging options. The last two weeks in August are also a great time to visit because by then most families have already headed home to prep for the next school year.
Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as areas inside of Yellowstone National Park and the valley east of the entrance. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations