Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Yellowstone National Park with kids. Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of family-friendly activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most iconic places in the United States. Located mostly in Wyoming, it also extends into Montana and Idaho.
Spanning over 3,500 square miles, Yellowstone contains a vast array of geological and wildlife wonders that draw millions of visitors each year.
If you are looking for a fun and educational outdoor experience with your kids, check out Yellowstone National Park! Kids will enjoy seeing and learning about the geysers, hot pools, and mud pots in addition to seeing incredible waterfalls and a variety of wildlife!
Use our Yellowstone National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
This site contains affiliate links which means WE may receive commissions for purchases made through these links. We only provide links to products we actually use and/or wholeheartedly recommend! As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full Disclosure Policy.
A Photo Tour of Yellowstone Waterfalls
Take a visual tour through Yellowstone National Park to see the stunning landscape and waterfalls you’ll find in the park!
What To Expect At Yellowstone National Park
The time of year you visit Yellowstone will determine the things you can do. There are important things to know about visiting Yellowstone during each season: services available, roads open, and things to do.
For us, the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is during one of the park’s shoulder seasons, which are from April through May and September through October. Not only do these months offer visitors more temperate weather, but these seasons also give guests a respite from the intense crowds that can overwhelm the park throughout July and August during summer vacation season.
Yellowstone Seasons and Weather
It’s important to know the Yellowstone National Park weather for the times you’ll visit. If you’re Yellowstone National Park packing list doesn’t include right clothing for the conditions, then you won’t enjoy outdoor activities!
Check out these lists of what it’s like to visit the park during all four seasons of the year:
- Yellowstone in the Spring
- Yellowstone in the Summer
- Yellowstone in the Fall
- Yellowstone in the Winter
Yellowstone National Park Map
Use printable and interactive Yellowstone maps to help navigate through the park. Yellowstone covers a large area with long drive times from area to area.
Yellowstone & Grand Teton AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Things To Do At Yellowstone National Park With Kids
There are fun way to get the kids excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:
- Yellowstone National Park Facts
- Yellowstone Coloring Page
- National Park Activity Pack (FREE PRINTABLE)
- National Park Activity Books for Kids
Check out this list of fun things to do at Yellowstone National Park with kids:
Yellowstone Visitor Centers and Ranger Programs With Kids
We recommend visiting the various Yellowstone Visitor Centers and talk to the on-duty rangers about the activities you are interested in doing. They can give you tips for the best things to do with kids.
- West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center – open daily, year-round
- Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth – open daily, year-round
- Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – open daily between April and early November
- Canyon Visitor Education Center – open daily between May and mid-October
- Fishing Bridge Museum and Visitor Center – open daily between late May and late September
- Grant Village Visitor Center – open daily between late May and late September
- Madison Information Station – open daily between late May and late September
- The Norris Geyser Basin Museum and the Museum of the National Park Ranger – open daily between late May and late September
Many of these visitor centers also contain park stores that sell a variety of different souvenirs: books, artwork, and educational materials.
A great way to learn about the park is participating in Yellowstone Ranger-led programs offered during the time you visit.
Yellowstone Passport Stamps with Kids
Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!!
We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!
Grand Teton Junior Ranger Program
The Junior Ranger Program at Yellowstone is a fun kid activity! Grab the free Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center.
The activities in the booklet help kids learn more about hydrothermal geology, wildlife, fire ecology, and much more. After completing the activities, a park ranger will review the booklet and present a wooden Junior Ranger Badge and signed certificate to the kids!
Yellowstone Scenic Drives With Kids
Did you know Yellowstone covers over 2 million acres of land?! It’s divided into 2 main sections and 9 areas. The best way to experience the park is exploring the beautiful Yellowstone scenic drives in the park and surrounding areas.
Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop three entrances: West (West Yellowstone), South (Grand Teton), and East (Cody) and 7 areas:
- Old Faithful
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Grant Village
Yellowstone National Park Northern Loop two entrances: North (Gardiner) and Northeast (Cooke City) and four areas:
- Lamar Valley
A fun way to entertain the kids while exploring the scenic drive is using the GuideAlong App! You’ll hear fascinating behind-the scenes stories, local tips, and directions that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you!
Yellowstone Hiking With Kids
Before heading out to explore the various easy hikes in Yellowstone National Park with the kids, review the hiking guidelines:
- Check with the rangers at the Visitor Center to get current trail conditions.
- Tell someone your hiking destination, route, and estimated time of return.
- What to Bring on a Day Hike: hydration pack, raincoat, warm hat, fleece jacket, insect repellent, sunscreen, bear spray, and a first aid kit.
- Stay on trails: taking shortcuts causes trail erosion and is dangerous. In hydrothermal areas, stepping on thin crust may plunge you into boiling water.
Here’s a list of day hikes in Yellowstone by region:
- Old Faithful Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Canyon Area Day Hikes at Yellowstone
- Mammoth Hot Springs Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Lake and Fishing Bridge Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Madison Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Grant and West Thumb Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
- Tower and Northeast Area Day Hikes in Yellowstone
Yellowstone Geysers and Hot Springs With Kids
Kids will get a thrill to see the five types of hydrothermal features found in Yellowstone: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, travertine terraces and fumaroles. Check out the Yellowstone website for the latest geyser eruption predictions!
Here’s a list of the best places to see these fun natural wonders at Yellowstone:
- Old Faithful, Upper and Lower Geyser Basin
- Grand Prismatic (Midway Geyser Basin)
- Norris Geyser Basin
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
- Mud Volcano
- Fountain Paint Pot
- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone Waterfalls With Kids
Most of the Yellowstone waterfalls don’t require hiking to see them. Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions that are perfect for families:
- Canyon: Lower and Upper Falls, Brink of Upper Falls
- Firehole Falls
- Gibbon Falls
- Kepler Cascades
- Lewis Falls
- Moose Falls
- Tower Fall
- Undine Falls
Yellowstone Wildlife With Kids
Animals can be found throughout the park at any time. Check out our detailed guide for the best places to see Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park!
During each season at Yellowstone you’ll see a wide variety of birds and mammals at Yellowstone. We find May, October, and the winter are the best times to visit Yellowstone for wildlife.
In the summer be sure to drive through Lamar Valley to Cooke City and on along Beartooth Highway to look for moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats!
Remember the parameters to keep you and the animals safe!
- Never approach animals. The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.
- The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk. You may need to use a spotting scope to see wildlife in Yellowstone.
- Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.
- Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass. Stay with your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam.
There are a variety of Yellowstone Wildlife Safari Tours kids will enjoy! Guides will talk about the local wildlife and travel to places where moose, elk, bears, deer, and eagles are usually spotted depending on the time of year.
Yellowstone Summer Tours With Kids
You’ll find a variety of Yellowstone summer tours perfect for kids. When you join a tour, the expert guides share their knowledge of the park and you’ll learn amazing things from them.
- Yellowstone Lower Loop Tour
- VIP Jeep Tour from West Yellowstone
- Yellowstone Tour from Jackson, Wyoming
- Yellowstone Rafting Tours
- Yellowstone Kayak Tours
Yellowstone Winter Tours With Kids
You’ll find a variety of winter tours at Yellowstone National Park. Many of the tours will provide hotel pick up and drop-off. Most Yellowstone winter tours do NOT include gratuity for the guide.
We enjoyed traveling along Yellowstone’s snow-covered roads in a bomardier snowcoach. There were no streams of cars, RVs or tour buses crowding the roads.
You’ll find Yellowstone winter tours to explore the park by snowshoes, skis, snowmobiles or snowcoaches!
Yellowstone Maps and Guides at Amazon:
Where to Stay Near Yellowstone
Places to stay in West Yellowstone
- Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone
- ClubHouse Inn, West Yellowstone
- Kelly Inn, West Yellowstone
- West Yellowstone hotels!
Places to stay in Gardiner
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn, Gardiner – full kitchen and comfy bed, one of our favorite places to stay!
- Park Hotel Yellowstone, Gardiner – charming place to stay and loved by guests!
- Absaroka Lodge, Gardiner – beautiful location with river views!
- Gardiner hotels!