Leaving Yellowstone was tough, but we were really excited about our next destination – Jackson Hole! Before we arrived there, we had plans to travel through Grand Teton National Park, and we were excited to start that part of our journey. So many people had encouraged us to not skip the Tetons when our original plan was to head up north to Montana. As we entered Grand Teton National Park, we were sure glad we took their advice. In this installment, I will take you on a tour of this national park, as well as Jackson Hole, and the few stops we made heading back to the midwest. Have you been following along? Have you read my previous posts? In Part One, I talk about the Badlands. Part Two discusses South Dakota and Cody and in Part Three we visit Yellowstone. Check them all out to help you in creating the ultimate out west road trip!
DAY SEVEN: GRAND TETONS AND JACKSON HOLE
Driving into Grand Teton National Park will take your breath away. The beautiful trees with snowcapped mountains as their backdrop is enough, but the beautiful lakes and wildlife makes it even better. Since we were just driving through, we only had a few things on our agenda for the day in the park. There is a lot to see here, and I truly wish we would have had more time, but unfortunately we were limited to just a few things due to time constraints. I encourage you to really look into Grand Teton National Park and extend your stay a bit!
Here is what we saw while we were there:
- Jenny Lake (be warned…we literally just drove by…it is PACKED on the weekends!)
- Mormon Row (absolutely beautiful and picturesque)
- Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center
- Scenic Loop Drive
- Schwabacher Landing
You will not be sorry that you took a drive through Grand Teton National Park! Your national park pass will work for admission to this park, and again, if you have kids, make sure you get your National Parks Passport book so they can get their stamp! My kids always looked so forward to this! Click below to buy yours today! It is really the best souvenir they could ask for.
We arrived around 5pm in Jackson Hole at our KOA. The kids loved our little cabin, and it was nice for us to be able to spread out a little bit. Our only regret is that we didn’t get lodging in the downtown area. We had never been there before, and we were unaware that the downtown of Jackson Hole was going to be so ADORABLE and fun! We were probably about five miles away and because there was construction on the main road leading in, it would take us quite awhile to get into town each day. Next time (I hope there is a next time!) we visit, I would definitely recommend a place in town. We paid quite a lot for the KOA cabin, and we were barely there to enjoy it!
9705 South Highway 89
Jackson, WY 83001
When we arrived, we settled into our cabin and headed out to check out the town! We were starving, so first stop…FOOD! We were all in the mood for burgers, and there were plenty of choices to choose from. Most seemed to have long waits, so we settled on Jackson Drug when we realized that we could get right in. Jackson Drug is an old drugstore/soda fountain that opened in 1919. After years of being in business, closing, being sold and resold, the property was vacant again and reopened as a refurbished Jackson Drug. It was adorable inside, and the menu and dessert selections were awesome. You could build a burger which my kids loved, and their salads were great too. We barely saved room for dessert, but we made it happen because the menu was too hard to resist. Overall, it was a great place to stop.
TIPS:We highly recommend the cookie monster sundae, the house salad, the huckleberry shake and the build your own burgers. Talk with the waitstaff, they all seem to have stories, and are super friendly!
15 E. Deloney Avenue
Jackson, WY 83001
We stopped in so many shops while we were there, but we loved a quaint little toy store that we happened to come across. The man working was one of the friendliest ever, and didn’t hesitate to tell us all about the shop, and the town. We spent a lot of time there and the kids loved it. They have a fun target shooting activity the kids can do while they are there too, and that made it worth the stop alone. Stop in if you have a chance! Even if you don’t have any kids with you!
165 Center Street
Jackson, WY 83001
DAY EIGHT: JACKSON HOLE
The next morning we were up bright and early to head out to our White Water rafting trip. We used a great company that we highly recommend. We did the Paddle and Saddle package which included a fun white water rafting trip, lunch at a restaurant with an incredible view, and a horseback ride. Although the final tab is expensive, it was absolutely worth it when you thought about how much you are getting for the money. The company provided wetsuits for only $5 and a free breakfast. They were very friendly and we started our morning off great! If you can request a guide for your white water trip, I highly recommend you asking for Gavin. He was experienced, friendly and, for a worrier like myself, he put my mind completely at ease about everything! We had the best experience! Rafting was really fun and we were able to learn about the town too from Gavin.
After the rafting, we headed to the town to spend a little time before our lunch at The Granary. We just love the town, and spent time walking around and enjoying the sights. We stopped for a quick snack at The Bunnery and we all shared a delicious ham and swiss croissant, a blueberry muffin and an almond stick. It was more than enough for the five of us, and very tasty!
130 North Cache
Jackson, WY 83001
We headed to The Granary for lunch, and were seated at a table with the most incredible view of the Tetons. We were happy to find out that our lunch included a drink and any entree on the menu! I had a smoked salmon sandwich, while my husband enjoyed Filet. The kids had a variety of sandwiches, the caprese, a barbecued pork and a turkey club. We enjoyed everything and felt ready to embark on our horseback ride.
The stables were easy to find from the restaurant and after check in, we were immediately introduced to our horses and started on our way! It was a beautiful ride, but very vigorous. The horses climbed a mountain for most of the trip! The views were amazing and it was an experience we will never forget!
You can book all of your excursions through one company. There are many companies in Jackson Hole to choose from, but we were referred to this one by someone else who had a fantastic time, and we enjoyed it immensely as well. Do your research, but if you want the experience we had, check them out and book the Paddles and Saddles experience. You won’t regret it!
TIP: In order to ride the horses, you need pants. Make sure you bring some with you on your trip while packing and wear them for this part of the adventure. Depending on the time of year, you will be hot! Also, wear sunscreen! Depending on time of year, it will be hot and the sun will be beating down on you. We picked the one hour horseback ride and it was plenty. With the age of our kids, I am not sure they would have wanted to ride longer, so take into consideration who you are traveling with while booking.
650 West Broadway
Jackson, WY 83001
We were excited to see another shoot out performance on the schedule for Jackson. We enjoyed the one in Cody, and couldn’t wait to see one again. This one is performed by a local theater group and was very interactive and entertaining. Linger around there early to get a good spot. For more information on the shoot out, check out their website here.
Afterwards, we had dinner at a really good Mexican restaurant in town. The wait for all the restaurants is pretty long in peak times, but this one was worth the wait. We shared nachos, quesadillas, guacamole and a salad and it was all delicious! Stop there if you are craving some casual Mexican food after a long day of playing, shopping and exploring.
160 North Cache
Jackson, WY 83001
DAY NINE: JACKSON HOLE-CUSTER, SOUTH DAKOTA
We had one more stop in Jackson before heading out, and we all couldn’t wait! We were heading to Teton Village to ride the tram up 10,450 feet and enjoy waffles on top of the world! It was so exciting and the view was spectacular! The waffles at Corbett’s Cabin were very overpriced, but tasty, but the views that came along with it made it all incredibly worth it. There are some hikes you can do and the resort in general has a lot of activities too! We wished we had time to do a bike ride, but unfortunately we were in a time crunch to stick to our trip home schedule, and had to get going. Check out this website to learn more about Teton Village, buy your Aerial Tram tickets and check out Corbett’s Cabin and what kind of waffles you can enjoy!
Heading out of Jackson Hole was tough. I fell in love with that little town and I really didn’t want to leave! I hope to be back sometime soon! In the meantime, we had a few more fun things to check off of our list, so we headed out, ready to drive the eight hours to Custer, South Dakota! It was a long, but peaceful drive, but just around 8pm we arrived at possibly the cutest hotel on the planet! If you are making stop in Custer, please check out The Bavarian Inn to stop and stay the night. We fell in love with this hotel and wish we could come back! Located just minutes from the downtown area of Custer, this little hotel is small, but packs quite the impression! When we first pulled up, I didn’t know what to expect, but after my husband checked in, he said that he was super impressed. We came into our room and they had turned on the lights and had soft, relaxing music playing. It was so nice! They offer free tea, coffee and hot chocolate all day, and host a cookie happy hour (that we unfortunately missed!) every day at 3pm. In the morning they have a pancake and yogurt parfait bar. They also boast an indoor pool, outdoor pool, tennis and basketball courts (they provide the rackets, and balls!) and lots of games to play. There is even a small playground for the little ones. It was clean, cozy and perfect for the end of the trip when we just wanted to relax.
855 N. 5th Street
Custer, South Dakota 57730
DAY TEN: CUSTER, SOUTH DAKOTA-SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA
After check out (and a sad wave goodbye to this adorable hotel) we went out to explore downtown Custer. It was filled with shops and we spent some time shopping and enjoying the sites. We had very limited time here, so didn’t get a chance to really explore much, but it seemed like it was a town steeped in some rich history and of course, like every other spot, beautiful to look at.
We were hungry afterwards so stopped at a cute little restaurant called the Purple Pie Place. They had some lunch specialities that we enjoyed (chicken pot pie and chicken salad sandwiches) but of course we had some pie afterwards!
My middle daughter and I had the peach pie, and my husband tried the Bumbleberry. My other daughter tried the apple pie, and my son had ice cream. All delicious!
19 Mount Rushmore Road
Custer, South Dakota 57730
We were on one of our last legs of our trip, but we were not ready to be done with the fun yet! We had one last surprise for the kids! Just a quick half hour drive and we arrived at Rush Mountain! We had a cave tour planned, and a few other fun things! The kids got to ride a mountain coaster and a zipline too. We loved it! It was so fun and just the perfect end to a the most fun trip we ever had!
There is a ton to do there, including cave tours, a zipline, a mountain coaster, video games, a high ropes course, a gift shop an some food options. The cave tour is very cool and well worth it! They have some great packages to experience a few fun attractions for one price. I mean, who doesn’t want to take a ride on a mountain coaster?
13622 Highway 40
Keystone, South Dakota 57751
DAY ELEVEN: SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA-HOME!
And, that was our last hurrah! After Rush Mountain, we drove the five hours to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to stay the night before driving the rest of the way home! We stayed in an Americinn, which was clean and comfortable, but definitely a stay the night right off the highway hotel. It was nothing like the Americinn we stayed at in Cody. That being said, all we did was sleep and eat breakfast in the morning, so it was perfect for what we needed!
3508 South Gateway Blvd.
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
I hope that I have helped you plan your dream trip out west, because it certainly will be a trip to remember! My next post is going to show you some of our favorite must haves for the trip! Please make sure you take the time to read all of my posts to maximize your road trip experience! Comment or reach out to me on Facebook any time with questions! I would love to help you plan your DREAM TRIP!