Is Yellowstone for 13 & 9 too much driving ??

Old May 31st, 2011, 06:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6
Is Yellowstone for 13 & 9 too much driving ??

Is Yellowstone too much driving for 13 & 9 yo? I'v read on some of these threads that there is quit a bit of driving for a yellowstone vacation. Does anyone recommend an itinerey that would limit drivivg time but still abke to the major cites?
TM is offline  
Old May 31st, 2011, 06:59 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 49,521
I'm not sure I understand what you're asking - but when I was 17 and my siblings were 15, 12, 9 my parents drove us to Yellowstone in our family car and we had a great time.
nanabee is offline  
Old May 31st, 2011, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 72,872
No, it's not too much driving at all. Yellowstone's areas were designed for motorcar tourists, back in the day that cars moved slowly. The roads were set up in a figure 8 with a night stop, a lunch stop and the next night stop. Especially if you are going in summer, the days are long and there's plenty of time to manuever the park, get out to see the sights and to take hikes/walks/strolls as interest indicates. The park is BIG - but was designed for convenient stops for tourists in vehicles. The speed limits are still low for safety reasons and there can be traffic and/or road construction but you can still easily see Yellowstone using only one place (Old Faithful is my favorite) as your base for sightseeing.
starrs is offline  
Old May 31st, 2011, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
Driving in Yellowstone is not boring to say the least! The scenery in Yellowstone differs so much and the chance to spot wildlife makes it interesting for everyone. Driving in Yellowstone is not boring to say the least! On the other hand, I wouldn't want to have to drive the whole park in one day!

Depending on how much time you have to spend in the park, you can stay in two or three different locations to help limit covering the same areas to many times.

How long do you have? Are you going to visit the Grand Tetons too?

utahtea is offline  
Old May 31st, 2011, 07:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
The distances aren't that far within the park. How far you must drive depends more on where you start before you get to Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old May 31st, 2011, 11:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 42
I know people will think we're crazy but my kids, ages 12 and 9 did not like Yellowstone that much. I thought they would love it, because I did as a kid. They liked seeing the geysers and buffalo, but that's about it. They absolutely loved the Grand Tetons, and felt that there was a lot more to do and see there. So make sure you stop in the Tetons with the kids!
jdavies is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 01:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
We took our two son's to Yellowstone 3 times over the years and usually spent at least a week in the park camping. They were 1 & 4 the first time, but the older one remembered the park when we went again when he was 8. They both remembered and looked forward to Yellowstone when we went again when they were 10 & 13. They always enjoyed our time in Yellowstone and preferred it to the Grand Tetons. They always got a big kick out of spotting the wild animals and when we could time one of the big geysers going off.

Like with any place, people are going to have their preferences and there's no telling till you go, what your children will like or not like.

utahtea is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 04:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6
We are planning on staying 7 nights. As many have posted, the Old Faithful Inn is a must. What other hotels or cottages (no tent camping) do you recommend that would be on the path to The Tetons? Thanks!
TM is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 04:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,406
First, the drive TO Yellowstone may be boring, depending on origination - not sure from your post if you are flying.

Second - GTNP and Yellowstone are contiguous - there is nothing between them.

These park are the only National Parks that I would consider staying outside the Park without a significant loss of the experience. There is an assortment of lodging less than a mile from various entrances. We have traveled with our kids since birth (they are now adults) and sometimes walking the fine line between over-catering to their whims and taking the "you are here in the damn wilderness - enjoy it" that I was subjected to as a kid makes the difference between a great family vacation and one that is memorable in a negative way.

In town of West Yellowstone there are all sorts of chain hotels - with varied restaurants, TV, pools, cable, internet - the kinds of things that might be a good evening family break. Gardiner has a few hotels. For GTNP you can stay in city of Jackson, or Teton Village condos which are less than a mile from GTNP entrance.

Or try a mix of accomodations.
gail is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
I think that the kids are the variable. My kids were raised with lots of road trips so for them the driving wasn't a problem at all. They LOVED Yellowstone and have been there twice (at about 9 and at 15). I think they'd like to go back.

With 7 days you'll have NO problem doing a handful of day hikes and seeing the park. Be sure to stop at all of the different sights. This breaks up the driving a lot and there are so many varying sights that the boredom factor will be minimized.

I would agree that the Tetons should be part of your plan. You're there anyway, so why not?

The best advice for ANYONE visiting Yellowstone is: Go to bed early and get up early EVERY DAY. Seriously...up EARLY. Be out on the road just after sunrise and you will see WAY more wildlife and there will be WAY less people on the roads. THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING!

My kids' highlight was being up BEFORE the sun and driving into Lamar Valley to park ourselves and wait for the wolves to make their way through the valley. Just after dawn they made their way through the valley. Fantastic, but it did require an early-morning alarm clock!

I'd also say that you should, if your family is up to it, get out of the car a lot. Do a hike or two to the distance that you'll be able to do comfortably. One of my favorite hikes took us six miles into the Tetons and it was just amazing.

A beautiful loop hike goes up onto the ridge just adjacent to Old Faithful to 'Solitary Geiser' which is really fantastic and it's less than one mile!

As another poster asked, your drive TO the park is probably more of a car-time question than the drive IN the park is.

It's probably worth it no matter what it is.
DrToonz is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 07:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6
Great feedback...thank you! As it is apparent in my initial question, this will be our first visit to the park, and maybe our only visit. I want to make sure we cover everything possible w/in the 7 nights that we'll be there. Do any of you have suggestions where to obtain an basic itinerary, that we can customize and build upon? If any of you have an itinerary that worked well during your visit, that would be great!! Thanks again!!
TM is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
Perhaps you get some ideas here:

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2011, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,540
Are you planning on going this year? If so, your FIRST order of business is securing lodging. Your itinerary can flow from that. Lodging inside the park books up months and months (and sometimes a year) in advance so figure that out asap. Call Xanterra (don't use the website) and see what you might be able to secure. Your itinerary can flow from that.

My sons (7,7, 8) loved the park. On some of the longer drives (when we get into a bison jam) we would play a game. Whenever they saw an animal that we don't typically see (so squirrels and birds don't count), whoever spotted it first got a baseball card (they are baseball card fanatics and we brought a TON of new ones with us). That really kept them engaged. I am sure you can tailor a similar game to your kids interests. Worked for us. That and getting out often on hikes and doing the Jr. Ranger Program which provided a lot of structure to their days.

Have a great trip.
taitai is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2011, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 32
I just returned from a trip with my 2 grandchildren, ages 8 and 11. They loved it. We were in the car a lot having also driven there from Missouri. We entered the Southern entrance so we saw a little bit of the Tetons, which they loved and appreciated the beauty even at their young age. We stayed the first 2 nights at Lake Hotel cabin and then moved to Old Faithful Lodge Cabins so we were able to divide the park, seeing the North and East areas first and then the Old Faithful area and up to Madison from that side of the loop. We did do as suggested and got up early (still on Missouri time made us out before the stores even opened). Unfortunately there was a lot of snow so some of the trails around the Falls were unaccessible so some of our walking tours were limited, but we got out and walked every chance we got which broke up the time in the vehicle....but we spent the entire day. We were exhausted at night, I might add! They were eager to spot the wildlife. We were lucky the first day in the park and saw our first grizzly, as well as the bison and elk. We saw another grizzly the 3rd day and a wolf the morning that we left. I know that I made a good memory for them and hopefully they will want to return.
Casi is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2011, 10:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,495
Casi, I'm glad to hear your trip went so well!

TM, we stayed in cabins at Old Faithful, Mammoth, and Canyon last year. If you click on my screen name, scroll down and you'll find my trip report.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2011, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,145
I was there last year and stayed at Old Faithful Lodge (I guess that not the Inn but a couple of hundred yards from it, Canyon and Signal Mountain in GTNP.

I thought they were good choices. Maybe the Tower area instead of canyon but then we would have had issues the other way.

It's always good to see things early. Gueysers and wild life.

Being near Old Faithful does some. Canyon is near Hayden. Tower in near Lamar.

Canyon is also near the big waterfalls.
Myer is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Dec 27th, 2018 05:14 PM
United States
Apr 15th, 2013 03:42 PM
United States
Feb 12th, 2013 08:41 PM
United States
Jul 6th, 2011 05:40 AM
United States
Jun 25th, 2008 05:07 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information