Last week we stayed in Island Park, Idaho for my mom’s family reunion at Yellowstone National Park. It is always so fun to see cousins and let our kids play together, especially when not everyone lives close by, as is usually the case with most families. This was such a fun family vacation I thought I would share it with you! If anyone needs a great idea for a family vacation that is not super expensive, but still great for the family, this is it! It can be relaxing and low key, while still providing all the sightseeing. However, one may not want to bring a ton of toddlers without supervision or caution (our toddler did just fine), as there is all of the geysers and boiling springs.
The first day we went to Yellowstone – my kids and husband had never been there so I figured it was time to go! I found this fun map below which was so helpful and my kids loved looking at it and following along. (A great idea to keep kids occupied if you have readers!)
A few other things you may want to bring with you:
- Bug spray
- Bagged lunch
- Hiking Shoes
To make the grand loop is 194 miles… a lot of driving for one day. To help pass the time we tried to find all the license plates from the U.S., not including Hawaii. I was amazed we found 41 states and a few from Canada! We even found Alaska-that is a lot of driving if you ask me!!
These pots were so cool, it looked like bubbling paint.
As we walked further down the path we found these beautiful boiling pots and every so often water would shoot out of them.
This stop was not on the map but it is shortly after the paint pots. The colors were too pretty to not stop. This beautiful boiling water runs into the river. The sulfur in the water creates all these beautiful colors unlike anything I have ever seen before!
You have probably heard about Old Faithful. It was one of my kids’ favorite stops for sure. This geyser goes off every 60 to 90 minutes, so if you stop you are sure to catch it. I would advise you to get a seat early….as there are so many people there waiting for it to erupt!
Mud Volcano Area
This particular spot was called the Black Dragon’s Cauldron , because the steam that is coming from this cave makes it look as if there is a dragon in that cave.
This is the Mud Cauldron. Boiling mud… say WHAT!?! This is something you would never want to fall into.
This was one of the prettiest stops! I loved the view, however it was also one of the stinkiest spots too as it smells like rotten eggs from all of the sulfur! Our little boy kept accusing us all of tooting.
This stop was a favorite. We hiked down to the lower falls. It is about a .5 mile hike with switch backs, it is steep in some parts so make sure to use caution. The hike took us right to the top of lower falls. It was amazing to see the amount of water flowing off this HUGE water fall. And if you are scared of heights… it is a long way down.
Our little guy even made the hike…. slow and steady!
We could see the upper falls on our hike down to the lower falls. There is a longer hike to go to the upper falls but we didn’t feel like we could do everything in a day, so I was glad we got to see the upper falls from afar!
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
You can also see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone on your way down to the lower falls. It is simply breathtaking and gorgeous from any view.
Mammoth Hot Springs
This was our last stop and well worth the drive. This hot springs is changing all the time, the amount of water flowing is changing all the time. When we were there minimal water was flowing but it was still so pretty.
It was such a fun day, but….I think this photo says it all!
Mesa Falls in Idaho
The next day we hiked down to Mesa Falls. Wow, it was so pretty… and there was even a rainbow!
That afternoon we rode horses… this was my first time ever riding a horse! Other then being super sore from the ride I LOVED it! Too bad I already have so many other hobbies or I might just need a horse. When we got home my girls were coming up with plans on how they were going to earn money to buy their own horses… ha ha ha. (Not to mention, where on earth they would put them!)
The last day of our trip was spent in West Yellowstone and visiting with family. It was a nice relaxing day before we had to say goodbye for another year!