21 Family Adventures Around Grand Teton National Park

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The Tetons will always hold a special place in my heart.  It’s one of those views that you can instantly fall in love with when you see it.  There are so many adventures in Grand Teton National Park, you could easily stay busy for months.

I have an incredibly strong connection to the Grand Tetons, so it’s a place that we take our family often (at least once a year) in hopes that our children will fall in love with it as much as I have.

I grew up visiting the Idaho side of the Teton Range (the Tetons are on the border of Idaho and Wyoming), where my great-great-grandparents homesteaded in the 1800’s and to the family farms where my grandparents grew up.

When I got a bit older, I got a summer job working as a whitewater rafting guide all through college and lived right outside of Grand Teton National Park.  For those three summers working in the Tetons, I explored and discovered some of the most beautiful places on the whole earth as I looked for the best adventures in the Tetons. There is so much to do around Grand Teton National Park, that you couldn’t really fit it into one month, so here are the top things to do in the Tetons.

Best Things to do in Grand Teton National Park with Kids

I’m here to share with you the best things to do around Grand Teton National Park. We’ve taken dozens of trips to Grand Teton and the surrounding areas, and keep finding more and more Grand Teton adventures the more we go. While all of these activities are somethings that adults would enjoy solo, they’re also all things that we’ve taken our own kids to do and they’ve absolutely loved it. These family friendly adventures near Grand Teton are sure to make your Wyoming trip something that you’ll remember for years to come.

No matter what your adventure style, Grand Teton National Park adventures with kids are never in short supply.

Where to Stay near Grand Teton National Park

For your visit to Grand Teton National Park, we recommend that you stay in Jackson Wyoming. There are so many family friendly activities in Jackson, and it’s just a few miles outside of Grand Teton, so it’s an ideal place to base yourself on your family trip to Grand Teton. Here are our top recommendations:

The Lexington

A newer hotel in Jackson, the whole family will love the daily fresh cookies. It’s on the north side of town, but still within walking distance of the Town Square, and they have lots of options for rooms that work for larger families too. Hot tub and small pool are also on site.

Mountain Modern – Best Budget Lodging in Jackson

Budget lodging is almost unheard of in Jackson Wyoming, but this is one of the best we’ve found. The rooms were recently remodeled and it’s in a great walkable location for families.

49’er Inn and Suites

A Jackson legend, the 49er has been a Jackson family favorite hotel for decades. The interior has an industrial rustic vibe, and the rooms are in great condition and well maintained. The indoor pool is spacious and overall has a nicer feel than most hotel indoor pools.

The Wyoming Inn of Jackson

If you want a little bit of a more refined hotel that won’t break the bank, you’ll love The Wyoming Inn. The lobby and dining room are both stunning and the rooms are great for small families.

Best Grand Teton Activities with kids

If you’re taking a family trip to Grand Teton, you’ll love how many great things there are to do with kids there. Plan on spending a good chunk of your day in the park and doing other extras in Jackson with kids when you’re not there.

Book a Guided Tour of Grand Teton National Park HERE.

Swim in String Lake Inside Grand Teton National Park

Best for: All ages

String Lake has the warmest water of all the lakes in Grand Teton National Park (though it’s still pretty cold), and it’s also quite shallow, which makes it a great place to swim with kids.  If you want to swim in Grand Teton with kids, this is the best place to do it. You can bring tubes, inflatable, or even motorless boats like SUP, or canoes to the lake (note: all boats need to be registered with the visitors center and have a permit). In the middle of the lake, there is a big rock that we love swimming out to with the kids and then sunning ourselves on to warm up a bit, before jumping off the top and back into the lake. 

swimming at Jenny lake

There are several areas with picnic tables at String Lake and the best beach areas are just down from the bathrooms, or farther south along the shore (a little south of the big rock in the middle).  String Lake is one of the best places in Grand Teton for families.

Go Biking in Grand Teton National Park

Best for: Ages 4+

Biking is one of the best ways to see Grand Teton, and is always so much fun for families.  Biking is allowed on all the paved roads in Grand Teton as well as on Grassy Lake and Two Ocean Roads. If you want to go biking with kids in Grand Teton, make sure to bring your own bikes as there are no places to rent in the park. If you want to rent bikes, Jackson is only about 20 minutes away and there are several bike rental shops there.

biking grand teton national park

For the best experience biking in Grand Teton, use the pathway through the park, so you don’t have to worry about cars or traffic.  The pathway goes from the town of Jackson, all the way north through the park and up to Jenny Lake. For more details on biking in Grand Teton, go here.    

Canoe or Kayak Across Multiple Lakes in Grand Teton

Best for: Ages 3+

If you’re looking for a way to get a full day of paddling in at Grand Teton, you’ll love paddling from lake to lake.  The best route that I’ve done is from String Lake to Leigh Lake, and then on to Bearpaw Lake. There are many lakes in Grand Teton kids will love, but this area is my favorite. If you want to do a family paddling trip in the Tetons, this is the best place to do it. Make sure you grab kid sized kayaks to make paddling easier for younger kids!

canoeing with kids

There is a wide river that connects String lake and Leigh Lake, which you can paddle most of the way up.  Right before Leigh Lake, you need to portage your boats for a short distance and re-launch at Leigh Lake. Just north of Leigh Lake is Bearpaw Lake, which also allows boats (though it’s pretty small, so we left our lakes at Leigh and just hiked to Bearpaw).  

Take a Hike In Grand Teton National Park

Best for: All ages

Grand Teton is one of the best National Parks for hiking with kids, since there are so many short hikes that can be done in half a day or less.  And they’re all amazingly beautiful! I’ve written an entire guide to easy hikes in Grand Teton with all the details! Hiking with kids in Grand Teton is one of the easiest activities and the abundance of trails in the area makes it even easier. If you are looking for an easy family activity in Grand Teton, hiking is always our go-to adventure.

Make sure to read our 20 Tips to Avoid Whining While Hiking to make your time on the trail easier.

hiking with kids

Stay up late stargazing in Grand Teton

Best for: All ages

Yes, I know that the whole family will be tired from a long day of exploring, but staying up late to do some stargazing in Grand Teton is absolutely worth it.  The stars in Grand Teton are unlike what you’ll see almost anywhere else in the US. The skies are clear and the light pollution is almost nonexistent. I actually recommend sleeping out under the stars without a tent, so you can curl up in your sleeping bag and watch shooting stars as you drift off to sleep!

Go Camping in Grand Teton National Park

Best for: All ages

Grand Teton is a great place to go camping and has just about anything that you could want.  Inside of the park there are several different camping options, including tent sites and RV hook-up sites.  Family camping in Grand Teton is much easier and less crowded than neighboring Yellowstone, but reservations are still required. There are no first-come first-served campgrounds in Grand Teton.

camping in yellowstone

If you want to get off the beaten path, there are some amazing places to go backcountry camping in Grand Teton if you get a permit.  My husband’s favorite was when he hiked the Grand Teton a few years ago and spent 2 nights at it’s base. My favorite backcountry camping in Grand Teton is at Bearpaw Lake (canoeing up from String Lake and across Leigh Lake).  

Camping in Grand Teton can fill up quickly but isn’t nearly as crowded as nearby Yellowstone.  If you can’t find a campsite, there are plenty of boondocking areas nearby and campgrounds in Jackson.  Camping with kids in Grand Teton is one of the coolest things you can do, so make it a priority. Remember that temperatures get cold, so you absolutely want to pack some good base layers to stay warm at night and to layer during the cool mornings.

Take a Horseback Ride at Grand Teton

Best for: Ages 8+

What better way is there to get a taste of the wild west than to go on a horseback ride.  There are several places near Grand Teton where you can go for a ½ or full day trail ride.  If you’re looking for a real western experience you’ve got to spend a week at a ranch like Triangle X where you can do multiple rides and outdoor activities all from one place.  

Book a Horseback Ride HERE.

Go Fishing on the Snake River Wyoming

Best for: Ages 8+

The Snake River is known for having some of the best fly fishing in the west, as you’ll quickly notice by the number of fishing outfitters.  One of the best things to do with kids in the Tetons is to take a private fly fishing tour with a fishing guide. You can go with a guide in a wooden dory boat, or you can also fish from shore. Fishing is allowed in Grand Teton as well as along other parts of the Snake River, and a Wyoming fishing license is required.  

Book your Guided Fishing Trip HERE.

trout fishing big sky

Take an Early Morning Wildlife Drive

Best for: All ages

Animals do not like the heat of the day, so the best times to spot them are in the early morning.  There is no shortage of animals in Grand Teton National Park. The best places to spot animals in the early morning in Grand Teton are along the Moose-Wilson Road and also at Oxbow Bend on the Snake River. 

Book a Private Wildlife Tour of Grand Teton HERE.

Watch the Sunset from Jackson Lake or Snake River Overlook

Best for: All ages

Sunset in the Tetons never disappoints, and a trip to the Tetons with kids isn’t complete without watching the sun set over those amazing peaks.  If you’re looking for a great place to watch the sunset, my two favorite places are the Snake River Overlook and Jackson Lake.

The Snake River Overlook is where Ansel Adams took his iconic picture of the Tetons.  You’ll get a great view of the Teton range with the Snake River meandering in front of you. 

Jackson Lake is my favorite place to watch the sunset with the kids.  We usually take a picnic dinner and some balls and frisbees and play as we wait for the sun to go down (which is often past 9 in the summer).  It’s rarely crowded and with the Tetons towering in front of you, it’s a pretty spectacular scene.  

Take a Day Trip Into Yellowstone

Best for: All ages

Did you know that Yellowstone and Grand Teton are right next to each other?  They are only separated by the Rockefeller parkway which is only a couple of miles long.  If you’re staying in Grand Teton, it’s quite easy to head up to Yellowstone and do a loop to see several of the major sites in just one day.  If you’re already biking in Grand Teton, take your bikes to Yellowstone as well since there are lots of great biking areas in Yellowstone.

Book a Private Tour Of Yellowstone HERE.

Rent a Boat at Colter Bay

Best for: Ages 2+

Located on the shores of Jackson Lake, Colter Bay is a calm area of water that’s absolutely stunning (with super cold water).  From the marina you can rent kayaks, canoes, and motor boats. These boats are a great way to really experience Jackson Lake, or if you’re into fishing renting a boat is a fantastic way to get off shore a little. 

At the end of your day at Colter Bay, head up to Leek’s Marina for some amazing pizza and ice cream.

canoe in yellowstone

Best Things to do in Jackson Wyoming with Kids

If you’re taking the kids to Grand Teton, plan on spending a chunk of time in Jackson while you’re there. It’s our favorite little touristy mountain town, and the opetions for outdoor adventures are HUGE!

Go Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River near Jackson Wyoming

Best For: Ages 6+ who love adventure and adrenaline

One of the best family activities around Grand Teton is to go whitewater rafting down the Snake River. The Snake River flows right through Grand Teton National Park, and if you follow it south of Jackson Hole into the Snake River Canyon, there is a fantastic whitewater run.  This area is about 40 minutes south of Jackson Hole and there are several outfitters that will take you rafting, though I worked as a river guide for this company when I was in college and I highly recommend going with them.

whitewater rafting with kids on snake river

The rapids in the canyon are great for everyone from absolute beginners to advanced rafters.  Most of the rapids in the canyon are a class II-III though at high water there is one that can be a class IV. The total time on the river is about 1.5-2 hours depending on how fast the water is flowing. All of the companies that run rafting trips on the Snake River have all the equipment that you need, so other than a swimming suit and shoes that can get wet (read all about our top sandal recommendations that are perfect for the river AND hiking as well!)  Whitewater rafting with kids is one of the best things to do in the Tetons.

Book your Whitewater Rafting Trip HERE.

Ride the Tram at Jackson Hole Resort and Hike Down

Best for: All ages

Don’t forget to take the kids to ride the tram at Jackson Hole ski resort while you’re in Grand Teton. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is just a short drive from Grand Teton National Park via the Moose-Wilson Road.  While you’re there, make sure to take a ride up the famous aerial tram for some of the best views in the entire valley.  Once you get to the top, you can stay for a while and get a bite to eat at the restaurant, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike DOWN the mountain from the tram station.  Note: Ticket prices are almost 20% cheaper if you buy them in advance online.

Keep your eyes peeled as you drive between Grand Teton and Jackson Hole Resort for moose.  This is one of the best places to go to see moose in the area! Head over here if you need more suggestions for family activities in Jackson Hole!

Hiking with kids

Take a Scenic River Float Trip with a View of the Tetons

Best for: Ages 3+

If you don’t want to go whitewater rafting, another great family activity in Grand Teton is to take a scenic float trip. Inside of Grand Teton National Park, you can take a scenic float trip down the Snake River.  These trips are all flat water with no rapids, and a guide will do all the work, so you can just sit back and soak in the views.  

If you take a trip in the early morning, this is a great place to view wildlife.  You’ll hopefully see deer, bald eagles, osprey and maybe even a moose or beaver. Remember that mornings are chilly so dress warm and in layers so you can take clothing off as it warms up.  Although scenic float trips in the Tetons are suitable for all ages, if you want an activity older kids will love in the Teton’s I recommend doing whitewater as well.

Book your Scenic Float Trip HERE.

float down snake river

Go Mountain Biking in Jackson Hole

Best for: Ages 8+

While you can’t really mountain bike directly in Grand Teton National Park, there are several areas just outside of the park where you can go mountain biking.  The closest is out at Shadow Mountain, though the trail there can be quite rough. Cache Creek just east of Jackson is a great place to go mountain biking with beginners.  If your kids like biking, make sure to download the trailforks app to find the best beginner mountain biking in Jackson and Grand Teton.

boy riding mountain bike

If you’re looking for more downhill mountain biking near Grand Teton, check out both Snow King and Jackson Hole resorts as they both have lift accessed mountain biking trails for more advanced riders.

Soak in Hot Springs near Jackson Wyoming

Best for: All ages

Granite Hot Springs is located just 30 minutes south of Jackson, and is a great place to go for a soak.  There is a large hot spring swimming pool there that is so fun to swim in. Below the pool is Granite Creek which has several other hot springs flowing into it, and many of them are often dammed up into small pools which are great if you’re looking for a free soak.  

Astoria Hot Springs is just a couple of miles past Hoback Junction and is another great hot spring resort in Jackson Wyoming. It’s newer and it’s a really great place to go on rainy days in Grand Teton when you still want to be outside, but you’re desperately craving WARMTH.  

Go to a Chuckwagon Dinner in Jackson WY

Best for: All ages

This is an experience that your kids will absolutely love!  Chuckwagon dinners are part entertainment and part dinner, wrapped up with a whole lot of laughter, jokes, and fun. This Teton family activity is a bit cheesy and silly, but it’s something that your kids will remember for years to come!

In Jackson there are two main chuckwagon dinner experiences.  The first is the Bar T5, where you get loaded onto covered wagons and taken up the canyon for dinner and entertainment. 

The second chuckwagon in town is the Bar J Wranglers, which is all in one place, but the acting and singing are superb.  

If you’re looking for a full experience, I recommend going to the Bar T5, but if you just want the dinner and show, go to the Bar J Wranglers.

Watch the Daily Shootout at the Jackson Town Square

Best for: Kids

Yes, it’s cheesy, fake and a bit overdramatic, but it really is a must do activity with kids in Jackson Wyoming.  But if you’re in Jackson around 6 in the evening there is a shootout every day of the summer in the town square.  It’s a bit of fun free entertainment that will mix up the day from the usual outdoor adventures of the area.  

We like taking the kids out for ice cream at Moo’s and then let them run around the town square for a bit before the shootout begins.  It’s probably not worth a special trip, but if you’re in town already, I’d stop in.  

Drive to the  top of Teton Pass

Best for: All ages

The road up to the top of Teton Pass is steep and windy, but the views are absolutely worth the drive (wear these if you get motion sick).  The view from the top of Teton Pass is totally breathtaking.  You get views of the park, the town, and the entire Snake River Valley, and it’s hard to beat.  

Where is Grand Teton National Park located?

Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, directly south of Yellowstone National Park.  The best town to access Grand Teton from is Jackson Wyoming, which you can fly into for easy access.  

When is the best time to take a vacation to Grand Teton National Park with Kids?

Summer is my favorite season in Grand Teton and the surrounding areas.  The wildflowers are in full bloom and the weather is getting warmer after a VERY LONG winter.  Even in the summer, expect that the mornings will be chilly, though midday temperatures can warm up in to the 90’s.  

What to pack for Grand Teton National Park?

Deciding what to pack and what to leave home when you visit Grand Teton National Park can be a bit of a challenge.  Here are the basics:

1. Bring bear spray with you.  While bear sightings aren’t as common as they are just to the north in Yellowstone, you always need to be prepared.  I’ve seen 2 bears in the backcountry here so they’re not uncommon.

2. Always wear a hat and sunscreen.  While the temperatures may not feel scorching, you are at a high elevation which increases your sun exposure.

3. A good backpack for hiking.  For our kids, we like to use hydration packs since they always seem to drink more when they use those.  Read all about our favorite hydration packs for kids!

4. A bear-proof cooler.  We absolutely love our bear-proof cooler and it makes me so much more confident when picnicking in the mountains.  

Make sure to check out our complete packing list for what you need to bring to Grand Teton National Park for more details.

What is Grand Teton like in the winter?

Grand Teton with kids is pretty desolate in the winter, and the main draw of the area is skiing. If you’re planning on skiing with kids, we absolutely love Grand Targhee on the west side of the Tetons.

skiing grand targhee kids
The view from the west side of the Teton Range
What is the best time to visit Grand Teton?

The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park depends on what you want to do. For hiking and camping, summer is ideal as the weather is warm and all trails are generally accessible. Fall offers beautiful foliage and active wildlife, while winter is perfect for snow-based activities.

Does Grand Teton close in the winter?

While the park is technically open all year round, certain roads, trails, and visitor facilities can close seasonally, due to winter weather. For instance, the Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake Trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge is closed to vehicles from November to April (sometimes earlier or later depending on snow conditions).

What time of day is best to see wildlife in Grand Teton National Park?

If you are looking to spot wildlife in Grand Teton, plan on going at sunrise or an hour before sunset. Look for them at lakes, and rivers as most wildlife typically come down to drink then.

Do I need a permit for Grand Teton?

Certain activities like backcountry camping, boating, fishing, mountaineering, and commercial filming require permits. These can be obtained through the National Park Service. If you’re doing any technical mountaineering or climbing any peaks in Grand Teton, you will need a permit.

Do I need a reservation to go to Grand Teton Park?

No, reservations are not required for entrace to Grand Teton, though they are required for all campgrounds.

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

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