Top Winter Getaways for Families
Written by Amelia Mayer
Guest Blogger from:
Tales of a Mountain Mama
Winter in Wyoming is arguably the best season with an abundance of snow sports, thermal features and wide-open skies. Traveling with your family across the state allows you to experience the wide diversity of recreational opportunities throughout the coldest months.
Visit Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis
The hot springs of Thermopolis are even more spectacular in the winter as the heat of the water contrasts with the snow and cold air.
Check out the springs and the resident bison herd and then head to the Star Plunge for a fun family swim including water slides.
Do a Sleigh Ride at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson
It doesn’t get more “cozy winter” than bundled up in a sleigh cruising over the snow with hundreds of elk literally feet away. The “sleighs” at the National Elk Refuge run on wheels when there isn’t enough snow for the skis, but the experience is enjoyable either way.
Dress very warm and bring the whole family!
Go Alpine and Nordic Skiing at Grand Targhee
For families looking for great terrain, easy access and childcare opportunities while still staying within a reasonable budget, Grand Targhee can’t be beat. Get a room at one of their hotels and walk to the ski hill in less than 3 minutes. The ski school and play care are right on the way and the heated outdoor pool is perfect for finishing off the kids’ energy before bed.
The Nordic center boasts of groomed trails and allows fat biking too (though no dogs).
Other Grand Targhee family perks include Kids Night Out, tubing and snowshoeing. It’s easy to spend numerous days here and to keep everyone happy.
Ski or Snowmobile into Brooks Lake Lodge
Though staying overnight as a family is quite pricey, it’s also all-inclusive. Lunch is served daily from 11:30-1 and is open to the public. Start early so you don’t miss lunch.
The five-mile ski in follows the snowmobile track so skiers and snowmobilers alike must be aware of each other but is usually groomed well.
Bring plenty of snacks and trailers for tiny skiers to ride in and/or hold onto so you can make time.
The best treat is that the ski out is slightly downhill, so you aren’t fighting the lunch you just ate.
Watch Old Faithful Erupt in Yellowstone National Park
While taking a snow coach into Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park is not cheap, it makes for a trip of a lifetime. Stay at the Snow Lodge, watch Old Faithful erupt, ice skate at the lit rink and enjoy a quiet experience of Yellowstone.
The Park has a great winter-only Junior Ranger program that comes highly recommended by the locals.
Drops to various cross-country ski trails are available, though are an additional cost. Bring plenty of extra food to accommodate hungry kids that may not be in line with the schedules of the limited restaurant hours.
Plan to cozy up by the fireplace in the evenings and play cards or a board game.
Rent a Yurt in Sinks Canyon Near Lander
The yurts at Sinks Canyon are relatively new, so not as difficult to get a reservation for (yet) like other well-known yurts in the general area. They are easily accessed by car, very clean and allow families to easily get away.
Tip: If expecting super cold weather, bring an additional space heater. There are no wood stoves (nor cooking in the yurts) but there is electricity.
From the yurt you can Nordic ski on the local trails or drive just a little way up the road to the warming hut (reservations only) with a fantastic sledding hill.
Visit Casper Mountain and then Head into Town
Hogadon Basin Ski Area located on Casper Mountain itself boasts a newly renovated lodge, ski trails for the whole family and large amount of Nordic skiing, biathlon courses and snowshoeing.
After you’re done on the mountain, head 20 minutes into Casper to visit the Casper Planetarium, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, The Science Zone or the 5150’ indoor rock-climbing gym. Or head to the recreation center for swimming or ice skating.
Ski, Snowshoe or Fat Bike near Laramie
Laramie might be known for the state’s only University but it’s really an undiscovered outdoor winter paradise. Laramie boasts miles of groomed cross-country ski trails just 10 miles outside of town.
For downhill skiers, the Snowy Range Ski area offers enough fresh powder and fun terrain to keep tourists and locals happy all winter long.
With abundant fat biking, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing east of town on Pole Mountain and west of town in the Snowy Range it’s worth a visit to the southeastern part of the state this winter.
About Amelia Mayer
Amelia lives with her husband and five young children in Grand Teton National Park. As a mom she quickly learned that the days were a lot more enjoyable when spent outside where tantrums are more subdued. They have made it a family mission to make an outdoor life as their “normal” and love exploring their home state of Wyoming together.