No matter what the season, we've got family fun here in Jackson Hole in spades! Many activities are suitable for the youngest member up to the more senior member of your “tribe.” Whether you’ve got a babe in arms or a parent who may need to take your arm every now and again, Jackson Hole can accommodate everyone in the name of family adventure. Here are some ways to enjoy a multigenerational trip in the Tetons.
The Must Do's
All of Jackson Hole's top attractions feature something for everyone. For instance, taking an Aerial Tram ride at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a signature attraction. Whether you hop on board in winter to ski down from the summit (you can also just ride it to the top and back to admire the view without skiing) or during summer to take in the 360-degree awesomeness, this is by far a must-do-or-why-bother-being here.
Touring Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks (why, hello Old Faithful!), taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride on the National Elk Refuge and poking around Town Square—Jackson Hole’s retail and artistic core—are other classic, family-friendly activities. On Town Square, you'll find an incredible selection of shops, boutiques and art galleries, as well as eateries and music venues. And in winter, the center of the Square becomes an ice rink!
Open summer and winter, Snow King Mountain's Cowboy Coaster will take you 456 vertical feet up Snow King Mountain before cutting you loose. Zip through nearly a mile of loops, curves and drops, while taking in Teton views like you've never seen them before at Jackson’s most exciting family attraction. Yeeeeehaaaw! Your family can also enjoy a scenic and unforgettable ride to the summit on Snow King's new gondola.
• Hiking: There are a number of short, gentle-grade, easy day hikes in and around Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park, which are perfect for all ages in your family. Some of these include trails along the Leigh Lake shoreline, the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve’s Lake Creek and Woodland Trail Loop, Taggart Lake trail and Hidden Falls trail, the latter of which is reachable via boat across Jenny Lake.
• Biking: Jackson Hole boasts a multi-use, paved pathways system perfect for families, including 14 miles of completed pathways within Grand Teton National Park. There are numerous places to rent bikes in town, out at Teton Village and in Wilson.
• Skiing: Both Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Mountain offer oodles of trails and runs for beginners up to experts, so the whole family can ski together—or split up and stick to your own comfort level on the slopes. JHMR also offers its Kids Ranch ski and snowboard instruction programs for preschoolers up to freshmen in high school.
Grab Some Culture
• Jackson Hole History Museum: A visit to the history museum may really interest grandma and grandpa and can be something they do sans the young'uns one morning or afternoon. Learn about the rich history of Jackson Hole and the region’s role in the history of the country’s national and international conservation movements. Of course, all ages are welcome, though! There are also one-hour historical walking tours of downtown Jackson at 10:30 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Meet at the museum. Cost: $10 adults; $6 adults over age 60, students, retired military; free ages 5 and under. Visit jacksonholehistory.org for more information.
• The National Museum of Wildlife Art: This gem of a museum—which Jackson Hole is immensely proud to have "under our roof"—offers something for both young and the not-so-young. Let mom and dad or the grandparents roam the impressive galleries brimming with world-class wildlife art, while the kids explore and create in the Children's Gallery. The famed Sculpture Trail also features something for the kiddies—two climb-on buffaloes, the only "please touch" sculptures!
Turn Your Family Into Cowboys
• Horseback rides: Few activities offer as much insight into the traditions and textures of the West as horseback riding. Jackson Hole horseback trail rides range from one or two hours on up to a full day in the saddle. The age for kids to ride depends upon the outfitter, but usually, those age 6 and up are good to go; some companies do offer “lead arounds” for kids under age 8.
• Chuckwagon dinners: What could be more perfect than eating dinner with a cowboy or two? Authentic chuckwagon dinners feature Old West entertainment suitable for the whole family.
• Jackson Hole Rodeo: Ok, now we're talking real cowboys and cowgirls! Catching a rodeo is truly a must-do for all. Bull riding, bucking broncs, sheep chasing for the kids and barrel racing are just a few of the events you'll witness where the "West Is Still Wild."
Whitewater rafting on Jackson Hole’s famous Snake River rapids is a popular summer thrill for kids of all ages. And yes—you will get wet! If you’re looking for less of an adrenaline rush and more of a dry, scenic overload, then a family float on the Snake through Grand Teton National Park will fit the bill.
Get Into the Wild
Wildlife safari tours will get your family (fairly) up-close-and-personal with the various wildlife that call Jackson Hole home. Offered year-round, these half- or full-day excursions in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks promise to help you cross the sighting of furry and feathered wildlife such as bison, moose, elk, coyotes, bald eagles—and occasionally bears—off your bucket list. Tour outfitters offer hands-on activities for the kids in addition to personal binoculars for all.
The Teton Raptor Center Encounter Program offers you the chance to meet eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey at 2 p.m. every Wednesday through Saturday at Teton Raptor Center in Wilson; book online at tetonraptorcenter.org. You can also mingle and learn about these fascinating birds for free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Teton Village during the Alive@5 program on the Village Commons.
The Last Word
As you can see, there is a ton of multi-generational family fun available in the Tetons and Jackson Hole, for grandparents down to the tiniest of grandkids. We invite you to explore the rest of our website to learn about more adventures, events, family-friendly restaurants and more. For starters, we offer Things To Do With Kids in Winter, Things To Do With Kids in Summer, as well as a suggested summer family itinerary.
Now go ahead and make some spectacular family memories here in Jackson Hole!
Bonus tip: Do you need some extra baby gear that you weren't able to tote out here? Jackson Hole Baby Gear rents all manner of items, such as cribs, baby backpacks, strollers, high chairs, Exersaucers and more.
This story was written by Julie Butler, editor of Jackson Hole Traveler. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.