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USA again... preliminary research about Chicago, Yellowstone...

USA again... preliminary research about Chicago, Yellowstone...

Old Mar 11th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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USA again... preliminary research about Chicago, Yellowstone...

A couple of years ago, my husband and I did our first visit to USA (we are from Spain). I asked for some advice at this forum, I received tons of help and our 2007 trip to USA was a whole success.
I admit we didn't expect to like USA so so so much. We fell in love with Utah NPs, with GC... but it is almost obvious, how not to love those places... But we were also delighted with people, with "atmosphere", well, I can't explain it accurately, my English is not good enough; however, I do believe that, as experienced travelers, you will understand what I mean: USA touched our hearts.
So, here we are, only two years later, planning a new adventure in USA.
This time, we have found a convenient flight to Chicago and are willing to explore Yellowstone. My first doubts are:
What are Chicago highlights? How long it would take us?
Which places not to miss at Yellowstone? Are there reasonably placed lodging options apart from the Park Lodges (Xanterra)? How many days are advisable at Yellowstone?
Any idea about a complementary visit? I have seen direct flights from Jackson airport to Denver and SLC... any thought about it?
Our travel dates will probably be on August.
Thanks in advance.
Filloa is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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Chicago has tons of great places to see, museums, restaurants, parks...it all depends I would say 3 days would give you a taste of our city. I think if you want more specific information, maybe tell us what you enjoy and the fodorites will be able to give you more in depth information.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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If you have more time you are looking to fill, I would drive up the coast of Michigan from Chicago. The Lake Michigan coast in August is wonderful. There are lovely harbor towns, art communities, and world wonders such as Sleeping Bear Dunes.

We were in Spain last year and I too felt the people and places were just wonderful. In my limited exposure, it seemed like people from Spain really like to travel and explore their own country which is very similar to the United States.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 06:39 PM
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For Yellowstone, just read all the helpful tips in the messages below yours in the Wyoming section. Pay special attention to furledleader's post about the road closures in August. This will severely impact where you will want to stay if you will be visiting at that time.

Most people combine a visit to the Grand Tetons with Yellowstone. If you do this, then Jackson makes the most sense as an airport or SLC as the second option.
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Old Mar 11th, 2009, 08:42 PM
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Filloa, bienvenidos a Fodors! I grew up in the Chicago area. If you enjoy a beautiful lake, beaches, lighthouses, you will like Chicago and the shores of Lake Michigan. In August, it will probably be hot and humid. Chicago has city attractions, such as Navy Pier with nearby museums, an aquarium and restaurants. Chicago can also be a crowded, hot, busy city in summer.

I think you may like the mountains of the western USA in August. The air is fresh, it is not so hot, not so many people, and the mountains are so beautiful! So many cities look the same, tall buildings, many people and cars , but the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are an unforgettable experience. You must see the "Old faithful" geyser once in your lifetime.

By the way, my husband and I have been to Costa del Sol, Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Mijas-Costa, Malaga, and Cordoba. Spain is a beautiful pais!
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Old Mar 12th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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Filloa, I suggest that you search this forum using "Yellowstone" and "Grand Teton". The many threads were very helpful to us planning our first trip to these two National Parks last year. Like your earlier experience, I believe you will be delighted with the Parks and with the people you meet along the way. Delightful, too, are the states of Montana and Wyoming and all they have to offer.

I agree with the earlier posters that Chicago is a great place to visit. You may also want to check out non-stop flights from Chicago to Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman is a very nice small city in a beautiful Montana setting, and it is within two hours drive to Yellowstone. Consider it an alternative to Jackson.

I am among those who believe that there is nothing like the experience of staying inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I recommend the Old Faithful Inn (Xanterra) in Yellowstone and the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton. While they are likely to be booked, you should try now to make reservations.

As for how long, I would spend no fewer than five days in each Yellowstone and Grand Teton. If you can, plan six or seven days in Yellowstone. Many people like to spend two days each in the Old Faithful area, Mammoth, Canyon, Tower-Roosevelt, etc., (all of which have in-park lodging). Others prefer to stay outside the Parks in Jackson, Cody, West Yellowstone, Red Lodge, etc., depending upon what activities they plan, etc.

Once you have narrowed your focus--the archived postings I mentioned earlier may help you do this--you may find it useful to query again asking for more specific advice.

I'm delighted that you enjoyed your earlier U.S. adventure and that you're coming back. May this trip be even better than the other; you've chosen a great part of our Country!
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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Many thanks, I find the answers very interesting. Most probably we will have only eight night for this trip, so I think that we will stay 3 nights in Chicago and 5 nights in Yellowstone Park Lodges. And although we feel curiosity about SLC, this time it will be a better idea not to drive so many miles.
I have found a lot of info at the forum, and I keep reading trip reports.
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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You mention driving, but earlier you mention flying.
You do plan to fly from Chicago to Jackson or Bozeman or West Yellowstone or Cody? It is more than 2,000k distance.

It is a good idea to plan 2 nights in one location and 3 nights in another location in/out of Yellowstone park because it is so big and there can be many automobiles on the roads in August. Everyone has their favorites. I would recommend one stay at Canyon to see the northeast/east part of the park and one stay at Old Faithful or West Yellowstone to see the west/south part of the park in the amount of nights you have. If you fly into Jackson, then you could drive by the Grand Tetons and see them on your way into/out of the park even if you do not have time to hike there.
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