Some road trips are all about gobbling up the miles for days on end on the wide-open highway, but with kids in the car, frequent and varied child-friendly stops make a trip more enjoyable. You may not gain as much distance on a family road trip, but the miles you get out of the experience will be priceless.
Traveling along the state’s western border, Wyoming’s Salt to Stone region is filled with plenty of kid-approved stops—from digging for fossils to soaking in hot springs. It’s a place where kids—and their adults—have room to be wild and free.
Follow this itinerary for a fun family road trip starting and ending in southwest Wyoming.
TOTAL MILES: 538
SUGGESTED TIME: 4 days
Day 1: Evanston to Kemmerer
Evanston’s Historic Depot Square is a fun first stop for any young rail fans and has old engines and trains in the rail yard kids can explore. The historic roundhouse was used to repair train engines and you can still see its working turntable.
Get close to wildlife at Bear River State Park’s visitor center in Evanston. Wildlife mounts from fish to fox and bison to bears offer kids a safe way to learn about the state’s animals. The visitor center is also home to a live herd of bison.
Fort Bridger State Historic Site, once a supply stop on the Oregon, California and Mormon trails lets children explore restored historic buildings and imagine life as a pioneer.
End your day with dinner and a motel in Kemmerer. Make sure to grab some picnic supplies for Day 2.
Day 2: Kemmerer to Afton
Get a head start on Day 2 by starting 50 million years ago—at Fossil Butte National Monument, just 13 miles west of Kemmerer. On Fridays and Saturdays, kids can help search for fossils in an ancient lake bed or earn their Junior Ranger badge learning about the world’s largest collection of freshwater fossils. Private quarries in the area let kids keep certain fossils.
After a morning digging for fossils, enjoy a picnic lunch at the Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The area has several trails for hiking, and you might be lucky enough to see a variety of birds or deer, elk and pronghorn.
An after-lunch nap in the backseat for any tired youngsters will have them ready to see more sites in Afton—home of the world’s largest elk horn arch and Star Valley Chocolates. Check out the Periodic Spring, where between August and May, the water flow starts and stops at regular intervals.
Day 3: Afton to Pinedale
Head north out of Afton, enjoying the scenery on the Star Valley Scenic Byway, before stopping for lunch in Jackson. Next head to Granite Hot Springs (partly via an unpaved road) to soak in the natural hot springs surrounded by trees. Hop on the Centennial Scenic Byway and journey to Pinedale for the night. Depending on when you arrive, you can either find dinner and hit the hay, explore the vast outdoor beauty surrounding the town or visit the Museum of the Mountain Man.
Day 4: Pinedale to Green River
Leaving Pinedale, head toward La Barge, making a quick stop to see Names Hill State Historic Site where travelers on the Oregon-California Trail carved their names into the area’s soft limestone.
Cruise through the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge on Highway 372, keeping an eye out for bald eagles and even moose as you make your way toward Green River for lunch and a walk along the river in Expedition Island Park.
End your journey at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, home to the 91-mile-long Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Enjoy water sports, hiking or just enjoy the sunset among the red canyon walls of the gorge.