Yellowstone National Park is a popular destination any time of year. For those of you wondering what to do in Yellowstone with kids, this is a great place to start. We’re sharing Yellowstone hikes and Yellowstone activities for families we are sure everyone will enjoy. A huge shout out to Bryanna and Craig from Crazy Family Adventure sharing their tips on the best family friendly things to do in Yellowstone!
What to Do in Yellowstone with Kids
Yellowstone National Park is an amazingly kid friendly and is an adventure filled with nature, activities, and unbelievable scenery. We have been multiple times and spent weeks exploring the park. Below is our list of the top 5 things to do in Yellowstone National Park with kids.
1 – Lone Star Geyser
Yes, you should see Old Faithful in Yellowstone, but our favorite Geyser is Lone Star. The reason being you can get up close and personal with it. Plus there are a LOT less people compared to Old Faithful.
To get here you are going to have to take a 2 mile hike or bike ride. But I promise it is worth it. Once you arrive you may have to wait up to 3 hours (the geyser goes off about every 3 hours). Never fear. If you bring a picnic lunch and a few chairs or a blanket you can sit by a crystal clear stream and just enjoy being out in the majestic beauty of Yellowstone while you wait for the geyser to go off.
Once it goes off it will erupt for about 30 minutes – so it puts on a good show! There are no barriers around the geyser so make sure to keep a close eye on the kids. This is one of our favorite things to do in Yellowstone with kids.
2 – Boiling River
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits and swim shoes for Yellowstone! If you do you will be able to experience the uniqueness of the Boiling River. The River is a combination of the cold water from Gardner River combining with a hot spring.
If you hang out in the right place the water is a nice warm temperature. Perfect for just hanging out – think natural hot tub. Then if you get closer to the hot spring waters it is HOT and away from the hot springs it is cold!
Be aware the water has a fast current. But there are usually rocks lined up showing you where to stay. Needless to say you will want to hold your kids hands as you make your way into the boiling river.
3 – Lodge Porch
The first two I’ve shared are pretty physical activities – but I guarantee it is worth it for your family to do both. The 3rd one is having a drink at the lodge by the Lake Hotel. It isn’t in the Lake Hotel it is down the road. It has an awesome wooden porch with rocking chairs on it.
You can go inside and grab a few drinks then sit in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the reverse sunset on the mountains behind Yellowstone Lake. It really is a magical place and we have seen bison there multiple times. Sometimes you just want to sit down and relax!
4 – Go on a Hike
I am telling you it is worth it to go on a hike in Yellowstone with kids. The park is usually super busy but if you just go on a hike a mile off of the main road you can sometimes be the only person there! It is crazy the difference compared to the craziness of places like Old Faithful.
If you want a challenging and rewarding hike we recommend Mount Washburn. It is a 6 mile round trip hike up to the top of a mountain but it is amazing. At the top there is a storm lookout shelter that you are able to go into and get unreal views of Yellowstone all around you. It’s one of the best Yellowstone hikes for families.
We did this hike with young kids (our kids were 7, 5, 5 and 3) so I know it is possible!
If you are looking for hiking trails that are a little more low key, check out Storm Point Hike. It is a shorter hike with less of an incline. You walk through an old growth forest and also get an amazing view of the lake from the Storm Point lookout.
Yes it will be busy but you should still go. It is unbelievable the colors that Mother Earth can produce. It seriously looks like someone threw a bunch of buckets of paint out. Then the heat from the steam is so overpowering. Again amazing that this is a natural occurring thing!
There is a walk way through the Grand Prismatic Spring but you will want to hold your kids hands and make sure no one is wearing hats (they will most likely blow off).
Above all else when you are visiting Yellowstone be sure to follow the Park Ranger recommendations of staying 50 – 100 yards away from all animals. They are wild and you don’t want to touch them or get close to them. For your safety and theirs.
A family trip to Yellowstone will be unforgettable for everyone! If you have any questions about camping in Yellowstone check out our post about camping.
About the authors: Bryanna and Craig along with their 4 kids, and 2 dogs sold everything, bought an RV and have been traveling full-time around the US since May 2014. If they aren’t out climbing mountains, hiking to a waterfall or playing at the beach they are most likely at the local donut shop trying to find the best donuts in the US! They write about things to do with kids at the destinations they visit, full time family travel and working from the road at Crazy Family Adventure.
Looking for more things to do in Yellowstone? Don’t miss our post on planning a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park and what not to miss on a Yellowstone family vacation with teens.
Book Your Flights
You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.
If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.
Book Your Accommodation
We regularly use Hotels.com and Expedia.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.
Book Your Transportation
For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.
Book Your Tours and Travel Photos
We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.
If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Tiqets is another place to purchase tickets for attractions.
Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.
One of our favorite things to do annually is take photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threat or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.