Best places to stay near Yellowstone
Sixty percent of the world’s geysers are in Yellowstone and five of these spout on a regular basis. Along with the aptly named Old Faithful the others are Riverside, Daisy, Castle and Grand with many lesser geysers in the same Upper Geyser Basin. Old Faithful erupts approximately every 90minutes and shoots a stream of boiling water on average 44 metres into the air.
While you are waiting to witness this spectacle there are plenty of places to eat nearby for enjoying hearty meals at any time of the year. In summer the ice cream parlour is great for a refreshing Accommodation close to Old Faithful is plentiful and ranges from lodges and cabins to the parks most popular inn which now has over 300 rooms.
Named after the man who came up with the idea of the world’s first national park Ulysses S. Grant this is a specially developed visitor area on the southwest side of Yellowstone Lake and comprises of a marina with motel style accommodation, service facilities and restaurants.
The hotel at Grant Village is quite modern with full facilities although it looks as if it should be in a mountainside ski resort. As it is located in an out of the way area of the park it does make the price more budget friendly. Not all rooms have TV or internet access but staying in Yellowstone is more about the beautiful surroundings than worrying about whether you have all mod-cons.
Year round access and a short drive to the Mammoth Hot Springs are two of the features of this park entrance. The Hot Springs are the main attraction of this part of the park as well as the imaginary line of the 45th parallel of latitude. A fun part of this area is the “Boiling River” where a large hot spring enters the Gardner River. The resulting cloud of steam is always exciting to see and it is possible to bathe in the river in daylight hours.
This is great place to see bighorn sheep grazing in the steeper parts of the canyon and throughout the season kingfishers, dippers, ospreys and eagles can all be seen. Accommodation here is in various cabins and a hotel close to the hot springs.
If you leave Cody and head towards Yellowstone you will enter the park through the East Entrance close to Yellowstone Lake before joining the figure of eight loop road.
There is a lot going on in Cody and when it comes to dining out there is a whole variety of cuisine to sample from all around the globe. Being in prime beef country means carnivorous visitors will be in heaven but vegetarians are not forgotten and lovers of foreign food will find there is Mexican, Italian, Chinese and Japanese as well to try. The art and entertainment world is strong and a couple of must-sees are the legendary Chuckwagon Dinner and the Cody Gunfighters show. The Stampede on the 4th July is always great fun and throughout the summer months concerts are held in the City Park.
The accommodation in Cody ranges from family owned properties to national hotel chains, B&B’s, ranch properties, camp sites and RV parks. There is a price range to suit everyone and you can stay a single night, a week, a month or longer.
A couple hours to the south of the South Entrance to Yellowstone is Jackson Hole, so called as the long ago trappers had to descend the steep slopes from the north and east to enter the valley. The resort really is an all-year round resort with a myriad of activities on offer summer and winter to suit all the family.
Many visitors to Yellowstone base themselves in Jackson Hole and explore not just the park but the Grand Teton area, try their skills at whitewater rafting, riding, biking and hiking and a hundred and one other pursuits.
The accommodation list is almost endless. Motels and hotels to suit every taste and budget, RV parks and camp sites, B&B’s, holiday rentals, pet friendly, child friendly, ski in – ski out , spa resorts, ranches, cabins, lodges and apartments can all be found in Jackson Hole.
The road between Yellowstone and Red Lodge opened in 1936 linking the two places and nowadays Red Lodge is a good alternative to staying in the park. Apart from the obvious attraction of being close to Yellowstone the town is a well-known area for outdoor activities such as mountain biking, skiing and backpacking. A popular event in April is the Peaks to Prairie Triathlon.
Naturally there are dozens of places to eat and drink but if you are a tea lover then the Red Lodge Book & Tea restaurant has over 140 different teas for you to try, including green teas and iced teas. Community diners, steakhouses, Mexican cuisine, ice cream parlours, bakeries and even a small brewery can be found in Red Lodge.
While not as big as Jackson Hole the accommodation options are just as varied with ranches, cosy B&B’s, camp sites, backpacker hostels, hideaway cabins and super hotels with indoor pools and spas.
Just a very short drive from the West Entrance into Yellowstone is the town of West Yellowstone. The quaint little town has lots to offer and is a pretty decent attraction in its own right. Small but interesting and informative museums, an impressive IMAX Theatre, an indoor gun range, an executive railroad car and of course the very exciting Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center all make this a very attractive place to stay.
Accommodation can be found in a few hotels that belong to the big chains but mostly in smaller and individually owned properties where the personal touch makes all the difference. Explorer cabins that are great for self-catering can be found in the heart of the town or you opt for a boutique hotel where some of the beautifully appointed rooms have whirlpool baths and fireplaces.