Have you ever been to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons National Park and Jackson Hole Wyoming? I wanted to take my family on the trip of a lifetime and explore these amazing parks. After researching hotels, I decided we needed to go a different route. We didn’t want to spend $400 a night to stay in a hotel and eat out for every meal. We don’t own an RV, but we wanted to experience an RV vacation with our children. I have several friends that have rented an RV from RV rental companies. While their vacations were still fun, they ended up getting charged for many extras to include dishes, pots, pans and bedding. I decided to do a little research and found www.rvshare.com. On this website, you can rent from the owner. They have it completely stocked for your needs. We found Earl and his RV in Salt Lake City, Utah very accommodating.
Day-1 We flew to Utah to start our trip to save travel time driving and give us more time to enjoy the parks.
Day-2 Earl was very helpful and picked us up at the airport and drove us to his house. He included a BBQ, table and chairs, cooler, and he even included his own fishing poles and tackle box. We unpacked at his house and he kept our luggage so we had more room in the RV. He gave us a tour of the RV and directions on how to do everything. Then we drove to Walmart.
After stocking up on groceries for 13 days on the road, we were ready to go!
Our first stop was at the Pocatello KOA in Pocatello Idaho, http://koa.com/campgrounds/pocatello/ . We didn’t want to drive 6 hours the first day, so we decided to camp after 3 hours and this was the perfect place. The campground was nice, the people were friendly, kids had fun at the playground and the store had wine!
Day- 3 We woke up and unplugged everything and we were on the road again! We arrived at the West Yellowstone KOA http://koa.com/campgrounds/yellowstone-park/ with plenty of time to explore and BBQ dinner! This was the best KOA we have seen! The kids loved the playground, mini golf, indoor pool, jacuzzi, bike rentals and store. We bought wood for the smores and we were ready for “camping”. We stayed here for 4 nights.
Day-4 We took a tour of the Yellowstone Lower loop on the Buffalo Bus Line. http://www.visitmt.com/listings/general/sightseeing-tour/buffalo-bus-touring-company.html. They picked us up at the KOA and brought us a lunch. We saw all the sights of the Yellowstone lower loop including bison, moose, elk and deer. The guide was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot of information in a short period of time. They included binoculars for everyone to use. When he couldn’t find parking the driver would drop us off at a spot and come back to get us so we could still enjoy the sights. We rented a car for 2 days through Buffalo Bus Touring Company. We thought it would be easier than driving the RV all over Yellowstone. They brought the car to us at the KOA and picked it up there when we were done for no additional charge!
Day -5 After a long day of touring we decided to take a break and we went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center https://www.grizzlydiscoveryctr.org/ . The boys loved watching the bears play, swim in the water and climb trees! The boys were able to go behind the scenes and hide food for the bears in the enclosure.
Day-6 We drove the Yellowstone Upper Loop! We drove and stopped at sights! We had a picnic lunch in Mammoth Hot Springs with the deer.
Day-7 It was time to leave Yellowstone and drive to the Grand Tetons! It was only a 2 hour drive, but we got stuck behind a heard of Buffalo crossing the road for almost an additional 2 hours! The driver was thankful for the potty break and lunch delivery service in the RV. The kids learned more about the birds and the bees!
Our next campsite was the Colter Bay RV park in the Grand Teton National Park http://www.gtlc.com/rv/colter-bay-rv-park. The RV park was OK, but not as kid friendly as we expected. We had to pay for showers and cell phone service was impossible! The best part of the park was the fact that we could walk everywhere!
Day-8 We booked a tour ahead of time for the Jackson Lake Breakfast Cruise. http://www.gtlc.com/activities/jackson-lake-boat-cruises . We walked to the dock and enjoyed a scenic cruise to Elk Island. The tour guide gave us information about the island and we enjoyed the sights. I was surprised to hear that the Elk actually swim to the island in the Spring. Occasionally a bear will swim to the island, but it is rare. I kept an eye out for swimming bears. LOL. Once we were on the island they had a delicious breakfast set up for us! We ate and enjoyed the beautiful view! This was an amazing experience!
Since it was my son’s 13th birthday, I decided to try baking a cake in the RV oven! I’m happy to report I didn’t blow up the RV and it turned out great! He was a very happy boy!
Day-9 We put on our hiking shoes, packed water bottles, and a lunch. We went on a long 10 mile hike to Hermitage Point and back. The boys complained for 9.5 miles. We saw a baby deer, moose, her baby, and lots of geese. We had a picnic and the boys practiced skipping rocks.
Day-10 We were on the road again! This time we were going to the Snake River KOA in Jackson Hole Wyoming. http://koa.com/campgrounds/jackson-hole/ .
At dusk we went on an animal viewing tour with Brush Buck Jeep Tours https://brushbucktours.com/grand-teton-tours/. We saw bison, elk, deer antelope, bears and a moose! It was a very successful tour!
Day 11 We moseyed on over to the A-OK Corral across the street from the Snake River KOA and we went horse back riding! We were planning to go whitewater rafting, but the water level was so high we decided we would rather not. The water was also still rather chilly.
We all loved the horses and had a great time. The views were spectacular! We even saw a deer on the way back!
Day -12 We visited the small town of Jackson and enjoyed some shopping. Well, I enjoyed the shopping. LOL The rest of my group whined, fussed and complained like babies! Don’t worry, I kept shopping! I loved this little town. There were lots of fun stores and we found a delicious ice cream shop!
After shopping, we headed to dinner at the Bar T Chuck Wagon! The chuck wagon took us up a road around a river to a secluded forest. We saw Indians and a great show while we ate a Bar-B-Que dinner.
Day-13 It was time to drive back to Salt Lake City, Utah and return the RV! We were ready to go home to sleep in our own beds, shower and see our dog! I think we made life long memories on this vacation. We explored this amazing country, learned new things, met new people, enjoyed family time together, and decided we would take another RV vacation in the future!
Bonus I beat my know-it-all 13 year old to a game of Phase 10!!