Planning a trip to Jackson Hole? Lucky you! No matter the season, this corner of the world in majestic Wyoming has tons to offer. Here’s our ultimate Jackson Hole guide for where to stay, eat, and play in and around the Grand Tetons.
Ahh, Jackson Hole! What a stunning place to travel. Whether snow skiing or summer vacationing, this area beckons as an outdoor lover’s paradise! There is truly so much to do here, it would be impossible to do it all. So make the most of limited time by studying our guide to the best spots in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and around the Grand Teton National Park.
Ultimate Jackson Hole Guide: Where to Stay, Eat, and Play including in the Grand Tetons
Where to Stay in Jackson Hole
Lodgings are such an important component of travel. Fortunately, the options are as diverse as the Wyoming landscape–from luxury hotels to modern motels, dude ranches, and national park lodges.
White Buffalo Club
The White Buffalo Club is an upscale rustic hotel with great decor like colorful buffalos adorning the walls. Rooms range from a single king to 1-3 bedroom suites featuring large kitchen space with horseshoe bar and flat screen TV. Added bonus: breakfast is included, featuring a waffle maker, yogurt, fresh fruit, pastries, and coffee/tea/juices.
One of the key advantages to the White Buffalo Club is its primo location 3 blocks from Town Square and the included parking. Buffaloes are proud creatures; likewise this hotel is a tad pricey. But with luxe touches like boutique spa, fitness center featuring yoga classes, and an American steakhouse, the benefits justify the price point.
Mountain Modern Motel
When I first saw Mountain Modern Motel, I knew we had to try it. Between the cool decor featuring map walls and a word search chalkboard with names of area attractions and wildlife, Mountain Modern is steeped in Jackson Hole theming. Black and white color palette accentuated by red accents really adds the modern to this made-over motel.
Billing themselves as a base camp for Jackson Hole adventures, Mountain Modern has mini fridges, microwaves, and ample space for all the gear. And it’s in the thick of things at a mere 3 blocks from town square. Ordinarily, I prefer resorts and hotels with interior hallways, but I’m really glad we gave this snazzy motel a chance.
TravelingMom Tip: Bunk bedrooms are highly coveted, so book early to snag one of the rooms with platform beds. My kids would have flipped out to stay in one of these!
If looking for a dude ranch experience, try Goosewing Ranch in Kelly, Wyoming. While it’s off the beaten path (about an hour-ish) from Jackson, that’s what makes it charming. Nestled in the beside the Gros Ventre River, this dude ranch experience is unparalleled.
Goosewing really checked all the boxes for us: from Grand Teton views to first-rate food to fun activities such as archery, target shooting, ax throwing, and fly fishing. Try UTV (utility terrain vehicle) exploring this massive property, provided to every cabin. Or for a twist, the ranch also has a glamping site where guests sleep in covered wagons, and enjoy a dedicated chef and wrangler.
Signal Mountain Lodge
Signal Mountain Lodge should stand for Simply Majestic and Lovely. Located in the heart of Grand Teton National Park, Signal Mountain Lodge boasts some of the best park views overlooking Jackson Lake. Don’t be surprised to spy deer or other wildlife at this family-friendly resort offering lakeside suite-style accommodations and cabins. We chose a 2 bedroom cabin with a shared bath, which was plenty of space for our family of 4.
With a marina and situated on Jackson Lake, water-based activities are in ample supply, including fishing, scenic river float trips, canoeing, and kayaking.
Signal Mountain Lodge appeals to my desire to stay inside the national parks. There’s something about getting to see the sunset and sunrise while IN the national park. With a full service 3 restaurants, gas station, gift shops, and general store, Signal Mountain is a perfect spot for an overnight stay/pit stop before hitting the road. Open May 10-October 13 for the 2019 season.
Where to Eat in Jackson Hole
Funny how most of my travel memories are centered around food. Yet I know I’m not alone. So diving into some great eats when traveling is a must do.
When I think about this place, I’m reminded of a song my kids used to love when they were little: “Do You Like Waffles?” Before that little ditty gets in your head, let’s talk about having waffles at 10,450 feet.
Take the Teton Village Aerial Tram to the aptly named Rendezvous Peak, waffles simply taste better! And these aren’t just any waffles – these are made to order with delicious toppings like brown sugar butter, Nutella and strawberries, lemon glaze, and peanut butter and bacon. Corbet’s Cabin also has a great selection of hot and cold drinks, beer, snacks and tram souvenirs.
Pinky G’s Pizzeria
Late night munchies demand PIZZA! And the quintessential spot for this tasty staple is Pinky G’s Pizzeria. Their ooey-gooey cheese pizza and cannoli for dessert converted us from famished to fabulous after our wildlife tour.
Pinky G’s has been featured on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives with Guy Fieri. Specialty pizzas include the Funky Chicken with mozzarella, oven roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, red onions and ricotta cheese on house made basil pesto, and for Ferris Bueller fans, the Abe Froman pizza with spicy sausage. So for late night pizza noshing and people watching, Pinky G’s hit the spot.
Trio lives up to its name as a restaurant that fuses food, drinks, and atmosphere into one culinary concoction. I’m always attracted to local restaurants instead of chains, and Trio fits the bill as owned and operated by two local chefs. Small world department: the executive chef is from my hometown and my former music student. He’s gone from masterful musician to an expert conductor in the kitchen!
My mouth waters as I try to choose between entrees such as Grilled elk T-bone and asparagus risotto. Between the blue cheese waffle fries and a wood-fired bread service, Trio is hitting all the right notes.
No list of best places to eat would be complete without covering dessert, right? So immediately my mind jumped to ice cream! Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream near Jackson Square is THE place to enjoy this sweet treat.
Food Network chose a “best dessert” from each of the 50 states, and in 2013, their pick was Moo’s huckleberry flavor as the best in Wyoming. Oh boy, it sure is delicious! Moo’s ice cream is all organic cream, and the sorbets are 99% pure organic fruit with only 1 % cane sugar.
Things to Do in Jackson Hole & the Grand Tetons
Jackson Hole is an outdoor lover’s dream. We were fortunate enough to visit this summer at the height of its beauty and prime weather. But even more important, activities and excursions MUST be reserved in advance to get the best ones. Here are our suggestions:
Grand Teton Wildlife Tour
BrushBuck Wildlife Tours specializes in one-of-a-kind wildlife tours in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well as Alaska, Africa, and South America. Their Grand Teton Dawn or Dusk Half Day Tours are four-hour excursions focused on wildlife observation. BrushBuck is also a 100% military veteran owned company. Hoo-rah!
Highlights included moose and elk sightings, Moulton Barn at sunset, and almost spotting a wolf (our guide did, but it was too elusive for us to find in the scope). This tour is a far more in-depth and educational way to explore the Grand Teton National Park. We learned so much more about the national park’s history, wildlife, and the area than if we had driven through on our own. Our guide Luke was engaging and witty, which only heightened the overall experience.
In 1963, Barker-Ewing started as a small family run business and has remained true to its roots. Offering both whitewater rafting and scenic float trips, THIS is the ultimate summer Western outdoors experience. This experience is all about memory making and appreciation of nature and the gorgeous landscape surrounding the Snake River.
The guides are skilled, and we all had a rip-roaring great time. From the rush of Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter rapids to “riding the bull” in the front of the raft, adrenaline rushes are sure to be a part of whitewater rafting on the Snake River.
What could be more of a quintessential Wild West activity than horseback riding? Saddle up on horses at a dude ranch or a day ranch to try this equine adventure. Brace yourself to be sore in the bum afterward, but it’s well worth it.
Jackson Hole Rodeo
Round up the gang for a trip to the Jackson Hole Rodeo. Running Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and most Fridays in July and August, the rodeo is an authentic western event featuring barrel racing, calf roping, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, and bareback bronc riding.
Ticket prices start at $15, and kids 2 and under are free. Buy tickets online in advance and save $ 5 per ticket.
TravelingMom Tip: Don’t bring backpacks or coolers to the rodeo. Outside food and drinks are not permitted. And since the rodeo happens rain or shine, plan on bringing some rain gear if rain is in the forecast. As the rodeo says, “You won’t find any rain delays here; we’re cowboys.”
Teton Village Aerial Tram
What’s red, a rectangle, and can ascent 4,139 vertical feet in just 12 minutes? It’s the aerial tram at Teton Village. What awaits at the top: 360-degree views of the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole valley.
This is a definite MUST DO between the views and the waffles! But be mindful to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water on the aerial tram day. Keep in mind that the elevation is almost 11,000 feet. A young girl had a serious problem with altitude sickness during our trek up there and needed medical assistance.
TravelingMom Tip: Book online and save! The Family Tram Ticket is a deal for 2 adults and up to 4 juniors: $ 86/$97 peak season. Bonus: Kids 5 and under are free, so make sure you price it both ways to see if you need a family pass or would be better off individually.
This is only a small sampler of things to do in Jackson Hole and the Grand Teton National Park area. The key is to do what appeals to you and try new things, like fly fishing, mountain biking along the National Elk Refuge, and taking a dip in one of the area’s hot springs.
How to Get Around in Jackson Hole
Finally, we must discuss the mode of transportation for a Western road trip. Simply put, a rock solid truck is THE way to travel out West. To save money, we flew into Denver instead of Jackson Hole and turned our vacation into a Western road trip. And oh, what an epic road trip it was thanks to our mode of transportation: a 2018 Nissan Titan.
The Nissan Titan
Between the Sirius XM satellite radio letting us jam out to 80s tunes, Nissan Connect with Navigation (embedded GPS system), a 5.6-L Endurance V-8 engine, and 4 wheel drive system, I can’t imagine touring the Western roads and national parks in anything but this truck.
With two teens, the most important things for them are space and electronics! The Nissan Titan had us covered with a spacious back seat with bountiful leg room (and lots of space so kids won’t be whining about touching each other) and multiple power outlets so no one’s phone ran out of juice.
Road Trip Champion
For me, road trips are all about the tunes! So I really appreciated the Sirius XM satellite radio because we drove through spots where radios stations are nonexistent.
One of our strategies when touring the national parks and dude ranching it is purchasing a cooler when we arrive for snacks, food, and drinks. And the Nissan Titan has room for our purchases AND luggage.
All in all, the Nissan Titan was one sweet ride that took on the rugged roads and the 1,300 miles we logged in it like a champ.
Disclosure: Thanks to Nissan for the sweet ride during our trek from Colorado to Wyoming and back. And to BrushBuck Wildlife Tours, Barker-Ewing Whitewater, and Goosewing Ranch for the complimentary excursions and stay.