Children seem to be born asking the question, “Are we there yet?” Next time you road trip with kids, consider taking it slow and making enough stops that you get to say, “We’re here!” several times a day. Whether you are seeing a giant Allosaurus or feeding giant trout, parents can pull off this kind of family adventure by frequently pulling off the highway in the Rockies to Tetons region.
TOTAL MILES: 246.4
SUGGESTED TIME: 3 days
Day 1: Laramie to Saratoga
Laramie, home of the University of Wyoming, is a family-friendly college town and a great place to start your road trip. Dinosaur fans love getting up close and personal with the fossils in the free University of Wyoming Geological Museum. It’s large enough to house a full-sized Allosaurus but small enough that children can take it all in.
The University is also home to a free art museum and a planetarium that are open to the public. Downtown Laramie has a variety of local restaurants and coffee shops where families can get lunch. Train lovers will enjoy spotting trains near the downtown area. There is even a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the railroad tracks.
After lunch head to Centennial, a scenic mountain town that is the staging point for wilderness activities in the Snowy Range Mountains. There is unlimited hiking, fishing and scenery along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway (closed during the winter) on your way to Saratoga, home of the Hobo Hot Springs, a free pool where visitors can soak in the warm mineral waters that have drawn visitors from all over the world. There are several lodging options in Saratoga, but your kids may love the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort where they can enjoy teepee-covered hot springs pools.
Day 2: Saratoga to Rawlins
Get up early if you want to try your hand at trout fishing in the North Platte in Saratoga, and keep your eyes open for bald eagles which have been known to fish the river themselves. If you are new to fishing, several area outfitters and guides can show you the ropes.
For lunch, check out the downtown area, including the historic Wolf Hotel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
After lunch, head to the Saratoga National Fish Hatchery where kids can learn about the fish production process.
End your day in Rawlins with a visit to the historic Wyoming Frontier Prison before eating dinner and getting a motel.
Day 3: Rawlins to Lander
Day 3 puts the road in a road trip with a nearly two-hour drive to Lander, a small town worthy of your whole day. The road between Rawlins and Lander can be long and lonely, so make sure you have a full tank of gas, plenty of snacks and entertainment for the kids.
After your long drive, spend some time exploring the downtown area, then eat a bite at one of several local restaurants before heading to Sinks Canyon State Park in the Wind River Mountains. Here the Popo Agie “sinks” into a limestone cavern and reappears 1/4 of a mile away in a pool filled with giant trout. Many kids thrill at dropping trout food—available on site—down to the hungry trout.
The park also offers rock climbing, fishing, hiking, camping and mountain biking. Gannett Peak Sports offers rentals of bikes, snowshoes and cross country skis to outfit you for any adventure. Once you get your fill of fresh air, wrap up your trip at the Children’s Museum, which is fun for young children. Or learn more about Wind River Country at the Fremont County Pioneer Museum with displays about the area’s history.
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