How to Explore the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Are you interested in getting off the grid for a few days? How about seeing wildlife in their natural habitats? The famed Yellowstone, and less popular Grant Teton, National Park might be just what you need.

This blog is going to cover my favorite spots inside the parks, as well as a few tidbits I wish I had known before taking the 12-hour drive.


The closer you get to the parks, the less service you have available and there are even less radio stations to try to listen to. With no service for Spotify and no stations playing anything other than static… download the podcasts and music you want to listen to BEFORE you embark on your drive. Even if you don’t think you’ll be able to listen to that many podcast episodes on your journey, it’s better to have more than not enough.

The second thing that I recommend doing is getting a “America the Beautiful” pass. These passes cost $80 for a year and let you enter as many national parks as you want. On their own, Grand Teton and Yellowstone would have been $30 each. Since I was planning on driving through Shenandoah National Park this year as well, I actually saved money. I hope to hit up a few closer parks before my pass expires as well.

The last thing I want to say before getting into the parks themselves is if you’re planning on going to just one of the parks, you might want to reconsider seeing as how close they are to each other. If you are wanting to enter Yellowstone through the South Entrance, you have to drive through Grand Teton anyway! Might as well plan for time to see both places, as they are both equally stunning and with unique attractions.

grand teton

Driving into Grand Teton, we were so excited to just get out of the car (finally) and start exploring. We decided to camp in Colter Bay…although we quickly learned we were not camping people. However, before we came to that realization, we explored the area around our campsite and found ourselves at Jackson Lake. Beautiful, calm, water surrounded by rocks and trees. It seemed like the perfect place to go paddle boarding.

I was also shocked to learn that were gas stations and convenient shops INSIDE the park. This made it easy for when we wanted to get dinner (cold sandwiches) and bring it back to our campsite.


You could spend a whole week just exploring Yellowstone National Park. But since we only had a long weekend and wanted to do both parks, we only did the small, southern, loop that included:

  • West Thumb
  • Old Faithful
  • Beehive Geyser
  • Grand Prismatic Spring

I will say, the area around Old Faithful was the most crowded out of anywhere during our trip. Once you left that area, it felt like you were the only one exploring the rest of the park, with the occasional bison of course.

Fun Fact: we saw 9 bison during our short stay!

final thoughts

Remember how I said our attempt at camping in Grand Teton didn’t go so well? Well, we found ourselves in Jackson Hole (about 30 miles from the park) for the night. Jackson Hole seemed like such a cool little town that I hope to go back one day and do more than just sleep. Although keep in mind our hotel in JH double all of our other sleeping arrangements combined.

The last thing I want to mention is that to me, it seemed like Grand Teton was more of a “hiking/walking” park while you definitely want a car to get around in Yellowstone.

Let me know if you thought this post was helpful in planning a Grand Teton/Yellowstone road trip – and as always, thanks for reading 🙂

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  1. We enjoyed our visit to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. I totally agree with your point about buying a season pass. A great reason to keep exploring the National parks. We definitely wanted to see Old Faithful. But we were amazed at how much else there was to see at Yellowstone!

  2. When in the US, I mostly visited cities. The main reason is that I’m not driving and using public transportation is already difficult in cities and basically impossible outside. I went on one trip to a national park and the price was just crazy! But judging from this post, I should find a way to visit since the sceneries are so beautiful!

  3. This is exactly what we did, camped (RV) one week each in the Tetons and Yellowstone. Very different…each one memorable: the vistas in the former and the geysers and wildlife in the latter.

  4. Great tips for visiting Yellowstone and Teton. I was in Yellowstone, and I love it. I spent there over a week. But I haven’t been to Teton NP yet, so I will use your tips for it.

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