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3 nights in wyoming - family with teen boys - (overwhelmed!!) - July 10-13

3 nights in wyoming - family with teen boys - (overwhelmed!!) - July 10-13

Old May 9th, 2012, 07:10 AM
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3 nights in wyoming - family with teen boys - (overwhelmed!!) - July 10-13

wow! I thought this would be easier, I know it is a huge time of year to be here, I just had no idea how many options on places to stay. I had thought of just staying all nights in one location, as I hate packing up every day, but I don't know.

There is availability at places...some more pricey than others, but for just a few nights, I don't mind spending a bit for the right place (as the rest of the vacation is spent at a friends home, so no cost there).

Jenny Lake Lodge was my first pick, but now looking at Old Faithful, which there are scattered availability (and I don't mind last minute reservations that always seem to appear as it gets closer to the time...calling daily!). Don't know about Jackson Lake Lodge, Colton Bay Village and Headwater Lodge. Really like old charm versus generic hotels. (who doesn't!)

BUT, I really am wondering, is there NOT one general area to stay that would let you see alot (I know we can't see it all!).

Interests are seeing geysers, some mountain hiking, NON COMMERCIAL AREAS a plus, QUAINT LODGES A PLUS!!!!!

My dream?? A small cabin with a kitchenette, two queens...I don't mind paying big bucks for it....and staying in one easy location for three nights and seeing what is realistic to see and keep us busy for those three days....(then on to Montana!)

I appreciate any help, just trying to make this relaxing and not moving a mile a minute!
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Old May 9th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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If you don't mind paying big bucks, Jenny Lake Lodge (all inclusive). If not there, Jackson Lake Lodge in two rooms. Get one with a view for you and your hubby. I'd stay 2 nights in Grand Tetons and 2 nights (if you can) in Yellowstone. Definitely stay at Old Faithful - again with the view of the geyser if you can afford it.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 08:10 AM
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You can't really do Yellowstone right in 3 days, IMOP. That's how long we stayed and then another 1.5 in Tetons. We moved every single day and were glad we did. Roosevelt, Lake Hotel, and Old Faithful Inn. We stayed at cabins in Colter Village. There is pretty much something for everyone, just depends on what you want to do and spend.

I enjoy camping just as much as staying in a 5 star spot. My wife, doesn't like camping/roughing it.
Plan on spending a day in and around the Geyser Basin at Old Faithful. We really enjoyed Castle Geyser and Riverside Geyser. Old Faithful is easy to see, but the rest of them require a couple of hours of waiting usually. Spend a day at Canyon area and a day in Lamar Valley/Tower wildlife. Personally, our least favorite area was the Mammoth area.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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I have been researching for a trip to YNP this August. I found several VRBO options in West Yellowstone and Gardiner. Not sure what is close to other entrances. Also don't fret if you can't get in the park yet. I was able to secure lodging in a frontier cabin at Roosevelt lodge and 1 night at Old Faithful Inn. If you want inside the park you just have to call a lot. However in park places will not have a kitchenette. You may also want to check out Silver Gate near the NE entrance.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 01:59 PM
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Thanks all!! Starrs, I think we are doing just what you said, 2 nights in Tetons (Jackson Lake cabin) and two nights in Yellowstone ( Lake Hotel, room with 2 Queens). Spiro. I would like to stay longer, but we are staying with friends in Montana the rest of the time, and just have what we have. I debated spending all the time in Yellowstone (4 nights and full 5 days) but hate to just drive through Tetons, and think that it will be a bit more relaxing there...so, that is where we are! Thanks for giving me a heads up on planning the days, good to know Mammoth is least favorite, as that area is least accessible to us. FamilyTT. I did get these reservations last minute through cancellations, so, there is hope to all last minute planners!! Silver Gate was full, but sounds lovely.

QUESTION?? What do you think about our accomodations?? I have read so terrible reviews of Lake Hotel, but, that was all I could get for the dates I needed. I can call daily (or more) but don't really know what to ask for, other than Old Faithful, but really (and I know it will all be crowded) OF may be THE most crowded area....I would take it if I could get it tho!

Still a bit troubled about accomodations, but, at this late date, I am happy to have what I have and not have to move every night! I'd rather drive a bit than pack and unpack (just my humble opinion!).

Comments on Lake Hotel and Jackson Lake cabins (mountain view) are appreciated !!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 02:00 PM
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oh, and it is now four nights, two in teton, two in ys. just noticed title!!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 03:02 PM
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Park lodgings are not fancy, but I love them. OF has no ac, and most rooms have shared baths, but it is such a historic hotel. We loved sitting on the second floor porch in the mornings, looking over the geyser basin. We also liked the Lake Hotel, but you have to go in with the mindset that it is expensive for what you get.

The wonderful thing about staying in the park is that the crowds clear out in the evening. It feels much different in the morning and evening with all the tour buses gone. Also, those are the best times to see animals. With limited time, you are much better off staying in the park--much less driving.

We love the Jackson Lake Lodge, although we have never stayed in their cabins. The views of the Tetons are incredible. Jenny Lake is so expensive for a family. After talking to people, we decided it wasn't worth it for our family.

There is so much more to see in YNP than GTNP, and YNP is so much bigger. I think I would stay in YNP for 3 nights and GTNP for 1.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 04:09 PM
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Digbydog, thanks for the input. My thought (seeing as how I can only get two days in YNP) is to get up and go (from GTNP) and spend the day in YNP. So that would give us a full day in Tetons, surrounded by two nights and then three full days in YNP...and whatever part of the day we take driving out the north entrance to Montana...stopping at the Mammoth attraction.

I will change to OF if I can get it...with calling daily, as that is where I remember going....but, for now, this is it.

Also, WHERE TO EAT??? We would enjoy the scenic dining rooms in both parks, anything in particular restaurant-wise in the parks to recommend??

ANd yes, Digby, I agree on Jenny Lake Lodge, I think that may better suite younger 'dude ranch' wealthy kids...altho, I guess, all inclusive is just a big number for what you end up spending anyway on entertainment and eating and lodging. Jackson Lake Lodge cottages should be fine. A little roomier, they say, and drive up and park, which is nice...and just a short walk to the main lodge.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 04:39 PM
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Well, really Lake Hotel is probably the nicest place to stay in Yellowstone. We liked it just fine. We did a Yellow Bus Lake Butte tour from there one evening and enjoyed it. The tour is slower relaxed pace. Saw a spectacular storm roll across the Lake from atop the butte.
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 04:41 PM
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That itinerary sounds good. Lake Hotel is in a good area for visiting Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley (great animal viewing with binoculars), and Lamar Valley (best animal viewing and quietest area of the park).

I don't think the park restaurants are very good. The food is mediocre, overpriced, and it takes forever. The Lake Hotel restaurant is considered to be the best. We ate there one night. It took 2 hours, cost about $200 for 5 of us without alcohol, and it just wasn't very good. Their breakfast buffet wasn't bad though. We ended up eating dinner at the delis by OF and the Lake Hotel--hamburger type meals. We got carryout and took it up to the OF porch at OF and ate at a picnic table by Yellowstone Lake near the Lake Hotel. Both had great views.

At JLL, the Mural Room has a good breakfast buffet. Signal Mountain Lodge has a decent, reasonably priced restaurant.

The park hotels are not 5 star, or even 4 star, and the restaurants are not fine dining. But the sights you will see will more than make up for it. When my son graduated from high school, we told him he could pick where to go on vacation. He had already been to YNP and GTNP when he was 11, but he wanted to go back. I think it is one of the most fantastic places you can take your children. Have a great time!
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 06:04 PM
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If you think you will want to eat in the hotel dining rooms, make reservations NOW. They fill up quickly. You can always cancel if you try one and don't think they are worth it.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:39 PM
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well, I just changed our second night in YSNP to OF snow lodge. THe gal said OF and Lake Hotel are about an hour and forty five minutes apart, so, I guess it makes sense to stay in two different places and explore accordingly, although I think if I could get both nights there, I would. I DO hate packing and unpacking....but, at least we have nice accomodations both nights. And made a rez at OF dining hall that night. So, we should be set...I do want to be able to see the geysers area with the kids, I think they may be more into that than wildlife...and the off chancce of seeing what we see. Wish we could stay longer, might possibly be able to stay another night IF we shave off Mount RUshmore after our six days with friends in MOntana....
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:42 PM
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digby, forgot to mention, I cancelled a night at Lake Hotel for dinner, feeling the OF would be the star dining place, and the rest, like you, we will deli and eat lighter dinners and more at lunch. I like that better anyway!! Thanks!

Spiro, am checking into this bus tour you mentioned, as I cancelled our fancy night out to dinner and willl now have the time! sounds relaxing!! thx!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:13 PM
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They offer several historic yellow bus tours at various locations thoughout the park. Some longer and some shorter trips.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:19 PM
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We really enjoyed our meal at Lake Hotel dinner. Also enjoyed breakfast at Roosevelt. Just found OF Inn to be ok for dinner. But, I think all of them are unique experiences. I feel like I just have to stay at the lodges and eat at them when I am in the parks. I just love them, despite having bugs in my bed(even a squirrel_, paper thin walls, no ac, etc.

We almost always eat fairly light and healthy at breakfast(oatmeal and coffee), then most of the time sandwich/picnic for lunch while on the trail or at a picnic spot, and then a heavier meal at night.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:28 PM
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Just be aware that the OF Snow Lodge is different than OF Inn. The Lodge is "new" and not the least bit quaint. I'd keep checking for cancellations at the Inn.

If you go out out in the morning or evening, you will definitely see wildlife. In the Lamar Valley, we saw black bear, grizzly, coyotes close up, and wolves through someone's scope. All over you will see bison and elk..

We were in YNP for a week and split our time between Lake Hotel, OF Inn, and Roosevelt Lodge. I liked moving so that we weren't going back and forth even though we had to pack up a few times.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 06:47 PM
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gosh, I am just wondering if we should skip our time at Teton to have more time here?? Am I nuts??
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Old Jun 3rd, 2012, 07:18 PM
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It's all good. Tetons are really pretty, but for us we really liked Yellowstone better. That said, many people return every year and prefer the Tetons over Yellowstone.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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Don't skip the Tetons. They are the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. We spent a lot of time in Yellowstone, because we all like to hike. If your boys are not hikers, you can see the park more quickly.
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Old Jun 4th, 2012, 09:13 AM
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digby, the boys will just be finishing two weeks of Philmont Boy Scout camp, so I suspect they will not be overly interested in hiking!! But I think you are right about the Tetons, and, I think that will be quite relaxing.

spiro, I guess we will see which we prefer!

Kindof bummed I dropped the second night at Lake Hotel, and moved to OF snow lodge...only because I hate repacking any more than I have too. Not the end of the world...I would like to see the geyser areas while the crowds are leaner (early and late day), so that was my reasoning for the OF selection...and, to see the Inn at those times too.

Don't think family is up to shared baths, but I will keep trying for days together at OF. I will say, all these availabilities aren't SO hard to come by if you call alot. And the people on the phone are always nice!!

Looking forward to it, as temps reached 95 in Texas this weekend....
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