My first (EVER) travel guide is here! I’ll start this post by saying I hadn’t really planned on sharing our trip in a blog post but there was such an overwhelming response while we were there that I decided to put something together for you all in case a trip like this might be something you are interested in. This was by far our favorite family vacation and I hope you enjoy a few of our family pics we snapped along the way. I mentioned before that this was Andy’s bucket list trip so I let him handle all of the details – and he did not disappoint!
We planned our trip around Sophie’s school schedule and headed out for her Fall Break at the beginning of October. If you’re thinking of going I suggest looking up the activities you are interested in because SO many things close in early October. We missed out on the Rodeo which was HIGHLY recommended by a few followers but we made it for the last day of the Tram (pictured below). The weather had also taken a turn towards winter so we weren’t able to go horseback riding – BUT that just means we have to go back!
One of my most asked questions is about where we stayed. Since Andy travels so much he has Platinum Status with Marriott, so that was an easy choice for us! I was so impressed with the Springhill Suites Jackson Hole. This hotel is located just off of the main square in the heart of Jackson Hole. It was super easy to walk everywhere we wanted to go and everything was just a few blocks away. They offer a parking garage under the building, hot tub (and pool when the season allows), fitness center and complimentary breakfast – which is so great when traveling with kids!
Our first day in Jackson we had to take a ride on the famous Aerial Tram. As mentioned above this was the last day the Tram was open so we got up early and got there as soon as it opened, which I highly recommend. There were no lines and only a few other people in our car which was great to be able to move around and get lots of photos.
The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram takes you up to the top of Rondeavue Peak at 10,450 ft. elevation (omg!). It was my personal fave and even though I am not a fan of heights it was totally worth it! When we got to the top we were shocked to see So Much Snow!! The weather was extremely different from the ground – so keep that in mind and dress in allll the layers! At the top there is the cutest little hut with restrooms, coffee and hot chocolate and THE best homemade waffles you will ever have! I mean, the waffles alone were worth the ride haha. The tram runs up and down every fifteen minutes which is so nice. We were freezing so we didn’t stay up too long. This is a MUST when you visit and I promise it’s not scary in the least!
*Also note that ticket prices vary depending on the season so check HERE for pricing before you go! We ended up getting a family pass for the day which saved us about $10.
Now onto the parks!
We decided to spread our driving out over the week so we didn’t burn Sophie out. You could really spend an entire day in the car since the parks are so huge. We did Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone and the National Elk Refuge (which is the smallest of the three and easy to drive through quicker). If you go – Do the parks!! The scenery is just unreal, pictures just don’t do it justice!
Grand Teton National Park houses the Grand Teton Mountain Range which you can see from almost anywhere in Jackson Hole. This park has over two hundred miles of hiking trails and is also where you will find the Snake River and Jenny Lake (pictured below). Both of which are absolutely breathtaking! We drove through the Tetons on our second day and spent the entire time stopping to get out and snap photos – it was just so stunning we couldn’t help it!
We decided to get up early and dedicate an entire day to Yellowstone. Again getting up early and getting a head start was such a good decision! One of our favorite things about Yellowstone were the geysers! Andy’s plan was to drive straight through to Old Faithful first and then go from there, and I’m so glad we did! We arrived just minutes before it erupted and it was unbelievable. After we watched Old Faithful erupt we went inside the visitor center where there was a small museum of sorts, viewing windows and a short video in a screening room that teaches you all about Yellowstone. It was so neat to learn about the Park and all about it’s geysers and then go out and see it all in real life! I’m telling you it’s absolutely magical to see it in person.
Photo cred: Sophie 🙂
Jenny Lake (above)
(Sophie and I at the National Elk Refuge)
Okay now here’s the good stuff – the FOOD haha!
You guys, believe me when I tell you, we did not have one bad meal!! There were restaurants to suit anyones likes. Burger joints, pizza shops, the most amazing Thai and the cutest little bakeries you have ever seen! There is also no shortage of coffee which was right up my alley ;). My only regret this entire trip was waiting until the last day to have breakfast at The Bunnery. It’s a restaurant and bakery and it’s Oh So Good!! I ordered the best omelet I have ever (EVER) had and tried out Sophie’s pancakes when she was finished – because that’s my job as a parent, right?!? OMG, they were soooo good, and I’m not a huge pancake fan but these were to die for! It’s so good you’ll want to go again!
Another note-able restaurant we dinned at was the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse, not to be confused with the Cowboy Bar haha – the bar is upstairs and the restaurant is downstairs (and more family friendly). I will say that this is not your every night family meal. It’s definitely more upscale with white tablecloths and an a la carte menu but the atmosphere is cozy and very welcoming. Sophie thought it was oh so fancy and LOVED the food! Andy and I ended up splitting a steak and adding two sides to share. I can usually order my own steak but these bad boys were 18+ ounces so sharing was the ONLY option (otherwise we would have ended up with the meat sweats haha). They also had a very kid friendly menu and Sophie enjoyed it all! Worth every penny and such a great experience.
Other restaurants we loved were:
Liberty Burger – Great atmosphere for families and they have amazing shakes!
Cafe Genevieve – We stopped here for brunch, chicken and waffles for the win!
Thai Me Up – Delish! The portions are huge here so I would recommend sharing 🙂
Persephone Bakery – This one is a MUST! Not only is the atmosphere just darling the pastries are unbelievable!
Pinky G’s Pizzaria – THE BEST PIZZA EVER! You can order by the slice or get a whole pie but I will say the slice is a little thinner and we all liked the whole pizza better, fyi.
There were a few times when the weather didn’t cooperate but there was still so much to do! We saw a movie at the theatre in town and went bowling one afternoon. The bowling alley was probably one of the nicest I’ve ever been to and so accommodating for a family! They had everything kids would need to have fun and the lanes are large and comfortable with couches and your own server – which was so nice! We had some appetizers and eventually made our way over to the games (because I can’t go anywhere with these two without playing the games..! We really had the best time!
Looking back I can’t think of one moment that we weren’t all smiling and laughing and talking about what a wonderful time we were having. As Sophie grows and we travel as a family I am so thankful for these adventures and this time we get to spend together. We made some wonderful memories on this trip together. On our way home we were all discussing plans to return, that’s how you know it was a great trip!
If you’ve been to Jackson Hole leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite thing was! I loved hearing from all of you while we were there and think it would be great to have your input here for others planning their trip!