Visiting The Grand Tetons With Young Kids

The Grand Tetons have endless possibilities for everyone, especially families.

By Adventurtunity Family
Explore Ambassador

The Grand Tetons have endless possibilities for everyone, especially families. The park is chock-full of wildlife, nature walks, hiking and biking trails, water sports and unique experiences. Plus, it’s close to Yellowstone National Park and Jackson Hole.

In Jackson Hole, you will find a plethora of local shopping, antler arches, carriage rides and restaurants galore. If you are traveling as a family, here are some things you should know before you go to help you plan.

Consider A Parks Pass

Depending on your length of stay, you might want to consider purchasing the annual National Park Service pass for $80. The annual pass is good for one year and allows you to visit national parks, monuments and other significant areas. Also, if you have kids in fourth grade, the NPS gives fourth-graders and their families a free pass for the year. The caveat is your fourth-grader must be with you each time you use the pass.

Additionally, most national parks offer a Junior Ranger program. It’s a great way for your kids to learn as they experience the park. The program looks a little different after 2020, but what you’ll want to do is go to the park’s visitor center. Ask for the Junior Ranger program, and the service guide will most likely hand you a learning book and wooden badge. Kids are asked to complete the number of pages equal to how old they are to earn the badge. A few places, like Yellowstone, charge a few dollars for the program.

(Photo: Adventurnity Family)

Pack Bear Spray

Bear spray is absolutely essential for spending time in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. If you don’t want to purchase bear spray, there are businesses that will rent you spray for the duration of your stay. Be sure to learn how the bear spray works and carry it where you can access it easily. Even if you plan to be in populated areas, carry the spray! We were hiking around Jenny Lake with a ton of people around and saw a black bear walking in the woods just 15 yards from us!

String Lake (Photo: Adventurnity Family)

Skip Jenny Lake, Hike String Lake

Jenny Lake is one of the most popular and recommended hikes at the base of the Tetons. But it is also the most crowded and difficult to find parking for. The lake loop is 7.6 miles long, with a beautiful waterfall and path to Inspiration Point. You can, of course, hike in and turn around to hike back the way you came. We turned around at the waterfall. There is also a boat that will take you across the lake, where you would only have to hike back. It’s definitely a beautiful area, but we recommend going a few parking lots farther and hiking String Lake. 

The String Lake loop is 3.7 miles with epic views and differing terrain. It’s a quieter, more serene hike, usually with better parking options because everyone is at Jenny Lake. You can also swim, kayak and paddleboard at String Lake, whereas these activities are only allowed by permit in a small area in Jenny Lake.

Rodeo near Jackson Hole. (Photo: Adventurnity Family)

Visit Jackson Hole

Did you really visit the Teton area if you didn’t go to Jackson Hole? No. Of course, take the iconic antler arch photos, walk the streets, picnic in the park and grab an ice cream. But dive in a bit deeper to see what the Jackson Hole area has to offer!

Just on the outskirts of town is the Jackson Hole Rodeo, which is affordably priced and runs on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. It’s a great family event with food, drinks, kids’ mechanical bull, merchandise and wild fun watching the riders strive to stay on for those eight glorious seconds!

If you are looking for Wild West experiences, the rodeo is a great start. Around Jackson Hole, you will also find ranch resorts, horseback riding and chuck wagon dinners. We were really hoping to take a horseback ride, but age restrictions started at 6 years old. So, we opted for the Bar T 5 chuck wagon dinner tour, and it was fantastic! You arrive at the homestead, learn a bit about the history, load up into horse-drawn wagons and head into the national forest for dinner. Don’t be surprised if you see a bandit or two, hear some familiar country tunes, laugh and enjoy an eat-till-it’s-gone cowboy dinner!

(Photo: Adventurnity Family)

Find Mama Mimi

Trolls do exist! New to the Jackson Hole/Grand Teton area is Mama Mimi, an art installation designed and built by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. He has built unique installations all over the world, and Mama Mimi is one of nine in the United States. She resides at Rendezvous Park on the outskirts of Jackson Hole and is a sight to be seen! Mama Mimi isn’t the only reason to visit the park, although she is the biggest. Rendezvous Park also offers bike trails, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, fishing, walking trails and picnicking.

Take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain for some epic views. (Photo: Adventurnity Family)

Enjoy Top Of The World Waffles

If you’re planning to stay in Teton Village, you’re in luck, because a gondola ride is the only thing between you and some yummy waffles at the top of the mountain. If you plan to stay elsewhere and have some time to spare, visit Teton Village. There you will be able to take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain for some epic views, possible snow sightings in the summer, yummy waffles, adult slushies, pizza, hiking trails, paragliding and more. At the base of the village, you’ll find a few shops, restaurants, family activities and a fun playground with a water zone for kids. If you like to have rest days, this area is perfect. Pack a picnic lunch or order from the Mangy Moose and lie on the lawn area. Don’t forget a beverage or two; you can enjoy them outside while on the Teton Village property.

(Photo: Adventurnity Family)
(Photo: Adventurnity Family)

Visit Yellowstone National Park

(Photo: Adventurnity Family)

If you are staying in the Tetons, everyone will tell you to visit Yellowstone. And if you’re staying in Yellowstone, everyone will tell you to visit the Tetons. You absolutely should visit both but also plan accordingly. The best scenario would be to split your visit up between the parks and stay a few nights at each. But if you are like us and tackle it in a day, be prepared for a very long day. If visiting Yellowstone in a day, have a full tank of gas and pack lots of water and food. There aren’t a ton of gas and food options along the way or in the park. Thankfully, the park is laid out so you can essentially follow a loop starting with Old Faithful and moving on toward the Grand Prismatic Spring, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley (home to where the buffalo roam) and then back toward the Tetons. It’s a long day for all but worth it to see these magnificent wonders. 

(Photo: Adventurnity Family)

There is so much more to see and do, like floating the Snake River, driving Moose-Wilson Road, visiting the National Elk Refuge and checking out the Astoria Hot Springs. If you can’t tell already, we highly recommend visiting the Grand Tetons. If it wasn’t on your bucket list before, hopefully it is now! 

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