From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Jackson Hole is a region in stunning Wyoming that can be described as an outdoor lover’s paradise. You see, it’s within a short distance to both Grand Teton National Park, as well as the world-famous Yellowstone National Park, with other natural wonders such as the National Elk Refuge and multiple ski areas all on its very doorstep.
The Town Square features arches made of shed antlers, while its thriving dining scene and numerous arts and cultural events have locals entertained year-round.
Even those who have lived in the city for a decade would agree they haven’t experienced all that Jackson Hole has to offer, while for those new to the region – well, they’ve got a lot to look forward to as well.
Ready to discover the best of Jackson Hole, Wyoming? Let’s get started!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Jackson Hole is full of state parks and national parks both within and surrounding the area, all of which provide a tranquil escape for those looking to surround themselves by nature.
When people think of the stunning natural scenery of Wyoming, their minds often take them to the extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain of Grand Teton National Park, which is located just minutes from the center of Jackson Hole. Here, you can attend a ranger led program, go for a hike, climb in the Teton Range, go boating or floating, camp overnight, enjoy fishing, and so much more.
Just a half-hour drive from Jackson Hole is the popular Bridger-Teton National Forest, which offers more than 3.4 million acres of public land for your outdoor recreation enjoyment. Here, you’ll find 1.2 million acres of designated wilderness, over 3,000 miles of road and trail, and thousands of miles of unspoiled rivers and streams.
There’s no doubt that Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the world, but did you know it’s only around 2 hours’ drive from Jackson Hole? At the heart of Yellowstone is a large volcano, making it one of the most seismically active areas in the United States. As a result, it offers a spectacular landscape like no other, resulting in thermal basins, gushing geysers, and dramatic canyons.
The Shoshone National Forest is another stunning natural recreation area near Jackson Hole in Wyoming. It was the first national forest in the United States and consists of around 2.4 million acres. Yellowstone National Park is located on its western border, so you can expect phenomenal views as far as the eye can see. Activities on offer here include camping, picnicking, hiking ,biking, fishing, nature viewing, and more.
If you’re craving seeing even more of the beautiful scenery that surrounds Jackson Hole, then there are also plenty of hiking and walking trails for you and your family to enjoy.
For a moderate-rated trail located near Jackson Hole, try the Phelps Lake Trail. It’s an 11.3 kilometer loop trail offering lake views for the majority of the hike and is best used from May until September. A word of advice is to be on the lookout for bears, as they are frequently spotted along this trail. Bringing some bear spray on your hike is recommended!
This 14.6 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail is also located near Jackson and is best for those suited to moderate hikes. It’s popular for hiking, running, and nature trips and offers very nice views of the canyon. Hikers also love the wildlife viewing opportunities along the way, with many spotting moose, mule deer, and snakes.
Rated hard in terms of difficulty, the Snow King Summit via Slow Trail is best for those who love a physical challenge. It’s a 6.1 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail that’s best used from April until September. Basically, the trail is a ski run, but it offers a pretty steep incline the whole way up, amazing views along the way of Jackson below, and mountains surrounding you in every direction.
Jackson Hole is home to a bustling and trendy dining scene, so there’s sure to be a restaurant, café, or diner to satisfy your cravings. If you’ve worked up an appetite after a long hike, or simply feel like treating yourself to a delicacy, then you’re in luck. Here are our top restaurant recommendations!
What was once the Wyoming Wildlife Museum & Taxidermy is now the Gun Barrel Steak & Game House, which has been in operation since 1993. This intriguing restaurant is still lined with some of the full mount game trophies and features a Wild West theme, including from the decor to the menu. Enjoy favorites such as Bison Carpaccio, Prime Rib, Buffalo Ribs, and so much more.
If you’re craving a mouth-watering burger along a long hike, then Liberty Burger is the place to visit. They offer a custom blend of “never-frozen tenderloin, brisket, and chuck”, as well as freshly baked artisan bread, fresh salads, and tantalizing sides, including onion rings, sweet potato fries, and more. If you’re feeling like a sweet treat, they also offer thirst-quenching shakes.
Bin22 is Jackson Hole's premier wine bar, one-stop bottle shop and specialty grocer – all mixed into one! It’s located close to the Town Square and features small plates, great value wines, spirits and craft beers. We hear roasted cauliflower, homemade meatball, and grilled lamp chops are amazing, as is the friendly service and casual, Italy inspired atmosphere.
Gather is another restaurant that’s located right near the Town Square, and it serves creative American cuisine that you’re sure to love. Locals rave about the Korean Marinated Wagyu, Pork Shank, and Elk Bolognese, or for something meat-free, why not try the Vegan Mae Noodles, Crispy Brussels, or Za’atar Roasted Baby Carrots? Delicious!
Bubba’s BBQ is one of the longest running restaurants within the region, having served the local community for over 40 years now. They serve mouth-watering BBQ meat, hearty breakfasts, flavorful burgers, and sandwiches – all at prices that “won’t break the bank”. With a family-friendly atmosphere and booth-style dining, you’re sure to have a comfortable and casual time here.
After feasting and enjoying all that the hiking trails and state parks have to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Jackson Hole’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!
Looking to entertain some little ones? Or perhaps you’ve got some teenagers in-tow who are starting to get a little bored? Either way, these attractions will entertain both children, teens, and adults alike!
Barker-Ewing by Jackson Hole Whitewater is a small, family-run business providing white water rafting and scenic float trips on the Snake River. They’re Jackson Hole’s premier river outfitter and have been serving the local community for over 58 years. Plus, they’re the only Jackson Hole rafting company with exclusive access to the historic Snake River Ranch, so if you and your family are thinking of a fun day out on the river, look no further!
Jackson’s most exciting new attraction is the Summer Cowboy Coaster, which is open on weekends only. It takes you 456 vertical feet up Snow King Mountain before letting you loose to have the thrill of your life! You’ll meander down twists and turns as much as four stories tall, while taking in the stunning and surrounding views of Teton.
What should you do in Jackson Hole once the sun goes down? We’re glad you asked! Here are our suggested night-time attractions.
Rodeo has been a part of Jackson Hole’s cowboy culture since over a century ago, so it’s a must-try experience for those living in or visiting the region. Rodeos are Wednesdays and Saturdays, starting at 8 PM, and usually, lasting for two hours. There’s also delicious food available, not to mention thirst-quenching cold drinks, so you can enjoy the show and a tasty meal.
The Center for the Arts describes itself as a hub for the artistic, cultural, and creative activity in Jackson Hole. Along with classes and exhibits, you’ll also find weekly and nightly events which provide you and your family with a great opportunity to enjoy local talent up-close. Whether it’s live music, artist in residence presentations, art shows, or more – this place is sure to stir your inner creative.
What can you do in or around Jackson Hole that won’t cost anything more than a few dollars? The answer: plenty! Here are just two of our favorite attractions within the area that can be enjoyed on the cheap.
For just $2 - $15 per person, you can visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art for an experience like no other. It represents the culmination of a lifetime of study and collection of wildlife art by Joffa and Bill Kerr who, over a 30-year period, developed a collection of wildlife art unmatched in the country. Here, you’ll find 14 distinctive galleries, a Sculpture Trail, Museum Shop, Children’s Discovery Gallery, Library, and administrative space.
If you consider yourself a bit of a history and science buff, or perhaps you just want to learn more about both topics, then a trip to the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum is certainly in order. Tickets cost just $6 - $10, so it’s an affordable day out for the whole family. The collection includes more than 7,200 objects, 19,200 photographs, 8,200 records, and 460 oral histories, so expect to spend quite a few hours here!
Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Jackson Hole? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in Jackson Hole that won’t cost you a cent.
We’ve mentioned the popular Jackson Town Square a few times in this guide so far, so it just wouldn’t be a comprehensive list of things to do in the region without it! The “Town Square” is the more common name for the George Washington Memorial Park, which is located at the center of Jackson Hole. It’s most celebrated for its elk-antler arches at each corner of the park, collected from the nearby National Elk Refuge by Boy Scouts.
The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center is owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the National Elk Refuge. It’s completely free to visit and is a great place to learn about Jackson Hole and the surrounding area. The place offers beautiful views onto the National Elk Refuge, indoor interpretive displays, and surrounding wetland and grassland habitat, so be sure to lookout for wildlife!
Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Jackson Hole has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.
The Spa at Rustic Inn includes over 2300 square feet of beautiful treatment rooms, a luxury couples massage room with a large soaking tub, a dry sauna and a one-of-a-kind eucalyptus steam room. Here, you can enjoy treatments such as a variety of massages, soaks, body wraps, facials, and so much more. It’s a hidden spa oasis worth visiting!
The Body Sage Spa can be found within the Rusty Parrot Lodge, where each session is customized based on your individual needs, rather than following a formula. With experienced massage therapists and estheticians, you’ll find a long list of massages and facials here, including favorites such as Swedish massage, Bowen Therapy, Lifting facial, Revive scalp treatment, and more.
If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Jackson Hole is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.
What’s so special about Gym 22? It provides progressive training methods that directly transfer to the outdoor-focused Wyoming lifestyle. Here, you’ll find Olympic Weightlifting, Strongman training, HIIT, TRX and yoga, as well as both group and one-on-one classes.
Looking for premier yoga, barre, and sculpt classes in Jackson Hole? Inversion Yoga offers a wide range of classes, covering everything from vinyasa flow to restorative, yin yang, and gentle flow, as well as hot classes, a “power hour”, and so much more. With numerous classes every week, it’s a great place to drop in and restore your energy.
Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend decades within Jackson Hole without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.
Less than a 1.5-hour drive from Jackson Hole is the town of Dubois, which is known as a quiet gateway between the bustling Yellowstone National Park and picturesque Wind River Country. While here, you can enjoy attractions such as the Dubois Museum, Natural Bighorn Sheep Center, and Whiskey Basin. It’s a lovely getaway for just a few hours or an entire day.
Thermopolis is the largest town in Hot Springs County and is just under a 3.5-hour drive from Jackson Hole. "Thermopolis" is from the Greek for "Hot City", which is fitting, as the region is home to natural hot springs, including the popular Hot Springs State Park. Other must-visit attractions include the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Star Plunge waterpark, Swinging Bridge, and Hot Springs Country Museum.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Jackson Hole that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Jackson Hole? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.