Last Updated on January 1, 2022 by Candy Wafford
You’ve decided you’re going to stunning Yellowstone. First Yellowstone Tip – Prepare to fall in love with the stunning landscape and wildlife! Read on for ten more tips to make the most of your trip to Yellowstone National Park. Number 9 is my favorite!
If flying, picking an airport to fly into is one of the first things you need to decide. Deciding which parts of Yellowstone you plan on visiting along with any other parks you want to visit will help you decide which is the best airport for your Yellowstone trip.
The airports serving the area are:
Entrances to Yellowstone National Park
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport – Montana (BZN) – The largest airport, Bozeman is near the north entrance of the park and is an hour and a half drive. This airport is a good choice if you are planning on visiting both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. It’s approximately a two-hour drive to the West Entrance.
Yellowstone Airport – Montana (WYS)– Located near the West Yellowstone entrance, this small airport is only ten minutes away. However, it is small and it may be difficult to get direct flights.
Idaho Falls Regional Airport – Idaho (IDA) – This airport is about two and a half hours away from the Western park entrance.
Cody Yellowstone Regional Airport – Wyoming (COD) – Located in Cody, Wyoming, flying into this location will find you less than an hour from the West entrance.
Jackson Hole Airport Wyoming (JAC) – This airport is located inside the Grand Teton National Park and is a good option if you are planning on visiting both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Only an hour’s drive to the South entrance makes it a great option.
PRO YELLOWSTONE TIP – Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to receive notifications on amazing flight deals to Yellowstone and other destinations. This is how I found a great deal for my trip to Yellowstone National Park!
If you want a larger airport, you can also fly into Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN) and rent a car.
1) One of the Most Important Yellowstone Tips – Book Hotels Early
Lodging in Yellowstone fills up quickly so it’s best to book early. This is especially true if you are planning on staying in one of the properties located in the park. Visit the park’s website to see the lodging options available.
PRO TIP – Booking a room that offers cancellation allows you to reserve a room well in advance but still have the peace of mind to make a change without charge. This is one of the things I like best about using Booking.com to book hotels and used it to book all three hotels I stayed at during our trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. I had to cancel a booking due to an airline schedule change and was able to do so a couple of weeks before my stay without any penalty.
Click here to read a complete review of the fantastic hotel we stayed at in West Yellowstone!
Prefer a vacation rental? Click here for 10 Tips to Help You Pick the Best One!
2) Plan To Be in the Car
One of the best Yellowstone tips is to plan to spend lots of time in your car. There is something amazing to see around every corner when visiting Yellowstone National Park, but it’s a big place and it takes time to drive from the various points of interest. In fact, unless you are planning on hiking, you will ride more than walk. So, whether you are in your own vehicle or a rental, make sure the car is prepared for the trip and your comfort.
You will find gas stations, shops, and restaurants throughout the park, but it’s a good idea to have plenty of gas, water, and food in your car. A small cooler is a good option to keep drinks and snacks cool, I often travel with a collapsible one on trips and fill it with ice from the hotel. Activities for kids (and adults) will also help minimize boredom if someone needs a break from looking out the window.
3) Yellowstone Tip – Bring Snacks
A running gag on one of my favorite TV shows, The Middle, is the blue bag that Frankie packs to the gills before family road trips, and then leaves behind. I’m a big believer in a blue bag of snacks on any trip, and definitely when spending 2 or 3 days in Yellowstone. Pack a few more snacks than you think you will need and an extra bottle of water. Here’s a list of some of my favorite healthy snacks when traveling.
4) Check for Discounts Before Going
You will pay a fee to visit Yellowstone Park. One of my best Yellowstone tip is to check before going to see if you or anyone in your group is eligible for a discount. We were traveling with friends that had purchased a lifetime senior pass and that covered our group’s entry. Alone on the last day, I thought we were going to have to pay the 3-day rate. I did some research and discovered he was eligible for a discounted rate and was kicking myself for not purchasing it beforehand. But we were able to still save a significant amount when I asked about purchasing the annual pass at the gate.
PRO YELLOWSTONE TIP: Pick up a National Park Travel Guide while in the park. Purchases help support the park and they make great souvenirs.
5) You Can’t Do Everything
There are so many things to see and do in Yellowstone that you won’t run out of things to do. But with over 2 million acres ( larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined) you can’t do everything. Which means you can’t do or see everything in one trip. Prepare a list of the things you absolutely want to do, then allow for more time than you think for things like traffic, wildlife, and the freedom to do other things that you hadn’t planned on. Going into the trip knowing you will miss some things means you can plan a more leisurely and enjoyable itinerary. And you can always come back!
6) Enjoy the Moment(s)
Whether you’re spending 2 days in Yellowstone or 2 weeks, you will see things that will take your breath away. Use your time surrounded by nature to just be. Take an extra minute to wonder over a bubbling hot spring. Put down your camera and notice how the sunlight sparkles off the surface of a pond. Or giggle with your kids when a bison saunters down the road. This is why you’re here. Slow down and enjoy it!
Want more tips on how to have the best travel experience? Click here!
7) Dress for All Weather
The weather in Yellowstone ranges the gamut from boiling heat to freezing cold. We visited in August and found ourselves glad we packed both sandals and down jackets! Your best bet is to pack lightweight items that can be worn in layers. Then dress in layers and shed as you need to throughout the day. Also, dress for comfort, both for sitting in the car for long periods of time, and for walking.
PRO TIP: The chance of encountering rain is pretty high. Be prepared with a waterproof jacket, shoes, and/or umbrellas.
8) Download GyPSy Guide – My Favorite Yellowstone Tip!
My friend introduced me to the GyPSy Guide app during our trip. This audio tour uses GPS to determine your location and provide a running commentary about what you’re seeing as your drive through Yellowstone National Park. We enjoyed it so much that we bought the package for Grand Teton National Park. We found it indispensable in helping us figure out what to see, when and where to turn, and more.
9) Pick up Guide Book
GyPSy Guide was an amazing resource while in the park, but you will want to do some advance preparation. A good guidebook can help you plan your itinerary before you leave. It can also be used as a way to learn more about the history and geologic information about the park.
10) Altitude Sickness in Yellowstone – How to Help Prevent it!
With an average elevation of 8,000 feet, altitude sickness can be a problem for visitors. A great Yellowstone tip is to use chlorophyll tablets. I always use them when traveling to high elevations, including on a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. They are a lifesaver at preventing headaches and other troubling symptoms that can occur at high altitudes.