Things to Do on the Way to Yellowstone
Many people who visit Yellowstone National Park opt to fly into Idaho Falls, ID or Jackson, WY, both of which are 2.5 hours or less from the park by car. However, I’d like to suggest Boise, ID. Sure, it’s nearly seven hours away from West Yellowstone, but it’s generally cheaper to fly in and there’s a lot to see and do on your way to Yellowstone National Park.
Plan to sled down sand dunes, take in a huge waterfall and even pose with a giant baked potato (don’t worry, everyone does it when they stop at the Idaho Potato Museum). And, it’s a lot more fun to make these get-out-of-the-car stops than to simply drive straight to the park. Here are five of my top picks for things to do on the way to Yellowstone:
1. Take a Tour of the Idaho State Capitol Building.
You can’t go to Boise without taking a free self-guided or group tour of the Idaho State Capitol. Before you go, click over to Idaho’s Capitol for Kids, a website where kids can watch videos and play games to learn more about the state capitol building before seeing it in real-life.
2. Go Sledding on Sand Dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park.
Located about an hour southeast of Boise, Bruneau Dunes State Park is a fun place to go skiing, sledding or boarding on the sand dunes. Rent sleds from the park or bring along a good piece of wax-covered cardboard and get ready for some serious sliding down the sand dunes.
3. Take in the Wonder of Shoshone Falls.
Known as the Niagara Falls of the West, Shoshone Falls is best viewed in the spring and summer. There are plenty of grassy areas and hiking trails that offer perfect vantage points for viewing the falls. Just ten minutes off I-93 in Twin Falls, it’s worth a stop to see these falls cascading into the Snake River.
4. Pose for a Selfie with a Giant Baked Potato.
How can you not stop to pose for a selfie with a giant baked potato? Located along I-15, make a stop at the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot. Inside you’ll find the history of the potato, a short video on how the potato industry developed, even the largest potato chip made by the Pringle’s Company.
5. Hike Across Lava Tubes at Hell’s Half Acre.
Give the kids a break and get out of the car at Hell’s Half Acre rest stop near Idaho Falls. Hike across hard lava rock formations and take in the unique geological features. Try the Lower Loop, which is less than half-mile and takes about 30 minutes to walk. Wear comfortable shoes to explore this high desert area.
What are your favorite things to do on the way to Yellowstone?
Photo Credits: clfraser1 (Bruneau Dunes State Park), Nick Varvel (Hell’s Half Acre)