|flowers in front of the Tetons|
I wanted to do one final post about our vacation to Yellowstone: some tips I would give to anyone who is planning a trip out there.
Know ahead of time what you definitely want to see while you're there. There are SO many geysers, hot springs, trails, and waterfalls in Yellowstone. It can be very overwhelming if you just arrive and then try to decide how to spend your time. Do some research, buy some maps or books, and pick your "must see" list. (Some of ours were Old Faithful, the Canyon of Yellowstone, Tower Falls, Morning Glory.)
Be flexible with your plans once you are there. While we did have a rough idea of the hikes we wanted to go on and what we wanted to see, we didn't stick to a strict schedule for each day. We made sure we hit one or two of the main things we wanted to see each day, but then we left room for whatever we saw along the way. There are always animals to stop and watch or a random little turnoff or trail that you decide you want to go down. I think that's what makes Yellowstone so great: you could never run out of things to see and do!
Pack a lunch. Because we never quite knew where we would be during our days, we found that having lunch in our car and/or day pack was most helpful. The restaurants in Yellowstone are all around the major areas of the park. But if you're driving around or decide to do an extra hike somewhere along the way, it's hard to know if you'll be around a restaurant when you get hungry. We also found that we were hungry a lot, so it was good that we had so many snacks with us.
Bring bug spray. I read that there are over 40 varieties of mosquitoes in Yellowstone, and I believe it! The bugs were literally swarming around us at times. I did notice a huge difference once we put the bug spray on, though.
Set aside time to drive down to the Tetons. If you aren't planning to spend any time in the Tetons, reconsider! They are breathtakingly gorgeous and totally worth the 1-2 hour drive down, depending on where you are in Yellowstone. Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone basically back right up to each other, so it's not that much out of your way. You won't be sorry you saw them!
Pack a variety of clothes. We were told that it can get pretty chilly in the evenings in Yellowstone, even in July. It never got as cold as we expected it to, but we were glad that we brought jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and sweatshirts to wear when we needed them. We also made sure we had good rain jackets. We brought hiking clothes for both hot and cool weather, but ended up needing only shorts because of how warm it was. It helped me to know that we were prepared for any kind of weather.
I think that pretty much sums up what we learned from our trip. We loved our vacation and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking about going! If you want any recommendations or further tips, please feel free to contact me!