Today I’m sharing our Jackson Hole travel guide.
I grew up going to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone every couple of summers.
My dad would meticulously pack our camping gear into the back of his Ford Club Wagon, shuffle my mom, siblings, and me into the rows of bench seating, and then barrel up the I-15 to begin the three-day road trip to Wyoming. (And yes, he still drives that van. How else do you transport four kids, significant others of said kids, and four grandkids?).
We’d camp for weeks at a time, usually splitting our time between the Colter Bay area of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. We’d hike, ride bikes, cook way too many hot dogs over the campfire, and drive around looking for bison and grizzly bears.
I’m forever grateful to my dad for giving us a childhood spent in nature, even though at the time we couldn’t have been bigger brats about the mosquitoes, waking up with pine needles in our hair, and constant (dramatic) fear of a bear attack.
We would always stop in the perfect town of Jackson Hole on these trips because it sits just south of the entrance to the Grand Tetons.
Needless to say, when Tyler’s brother, Tim, and his girlfriend, Jenna, invited us to join their springtime ski trip to the area, I was ALL over it.
Tim had secret motive for inviting us. He planned on proposing to Jenna and wanted us to help capture the moment and celebrate with them!
We also had our friends Regan, Daniel, and their adorable son Cal join us for the first couple of days we were there which was a blast.
Jackson Hole is such an awesome town with tons of restaurants, shopping, and skiing. Jackson Hole is most famous for its proximity to the iconic Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Many people use Jackson Hole as base for exploring the area.
I didn’t know this as a kid, but apparently it’s a huge celebrity destination in the winter months.
We sadly ended up having to shelve a lot of the activities we had planned up in the national parks because the heavy snow caused several road closures. We also did not see a ton of wildlife, outside of our experience at the Elk Refuge (more on that later).
We had an amazing time in Jackson Hole. We wanted to share some of the spots that will be at the top of our list for when we return! At the end, we also included a few things to do in the winter, as the options are somewhat limited comapred to the summer.
This was my first time experiencing it in the snow. Although I have to say I still prefer the area in warm weather, it was still SO beautiful.
If you are into skiing or winter sports, winter is the obvious choice of when to visit Jackson Hole. The vibes couldn’t be cozier and there is still a ton to do even in the snow.
I think there’s something extra special about Jackson Hole in the warmer months though. There is nothing like adventuring around Wyoming in good weather: hiking, swimming, horse back riding, camping–it’s all heaven on earth in that area. It does get crowded in the summer time, so in an ideal world I’d plan your trip to Jackson Hole in either May or September, when they weather is still pleasant enough to adventure outside but the parks aren’t overrun by tourists/families with school-aged kids.
If you aren’t continuing on to camp in the national parks and want to use Jackson Hole as your base to explore the area, there are a few awesome hotels to choose from right in the downtown area.
SpringHill Suites was an ideal budget-friendly hotel. It was within walking distance of everything- like a two minute walk. It has new, clean, and spacious rooms that are a step above your average chain hotel. Also, the outdoor pool and spa with views of the snow-capped mountains above made the perfect happy hour spot.
Hotel Jackson is #hotelgoals. If you can afford to splurge, this is the most hip spot in Jackson Hole. If we ever make it big as travel bloggers or win the lottery, we will be coming back and staying here, no question.
Tyler was his over-the-top self in this wine shop / tapas restaurant. The front of Bin22 serves as a wine shop, with hundreds of wines from around the world on display. We didn’t have a reservation and used our “20-30 minute wait” to check out all the wine. For dinner, make sure you order one of the the mozzarella cheese plates. And on your way out, grab a bucket of the mini ice cream sandwiches from the freezer in the wine shop for dessert.
This was probably our favorite restaurant experience, although I’m sure all of the excitement from the proposal earlier that day helped with that. The staff at The Kitchen was kind and helpful, and the food was on another level. If you do one thing right while you’re in Jackson Hole, go to The Kitchen and order the Luxury Shrimp. Tyler and Tim were so obsessed they got a second order. When does that happen? Our server told us that they once took the shrimp off the menu and faced a near-mutiny from a group of regular customers. Thankfully, it’s back on the rotation for good.
Sigh. We LOVED this place. I honestly think it is one of my absolute favorite bakeries we’ve been to in the world, and it might even take the top spot. I ordered the hot chocolate, topped with a giant house-made marshmallow, every single day (and I don’t even like hot chocolate that much usually). We ate a full breakfast at Persephone Bakery a couple of mornings, and don’t even get me started on the pastries. Just exquisite.
The perfect spot for a pizza night. Order some take-out and have a pizza party in your hotel room. We enjoyed our Pinky G’s while watching the season finale of The Bachelor, as one does.
Cowboy Coffee, our second favorite coffee shop, offered Tyler a safe haven to satisfy his compulsive 2pm cold brew craving each day. Shockingly, Tim has this exact same habit.
There aren’t many places that can match the western vibes of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. This is one of the must-see stops in Jackson Hole. Tim and Tyler battled out a game of pool while Jenna and I pretended to care about the outcome and browsed online for wedding dresses on the surprisingly comfortable horse saddles/bar stools.
Check out Snake River Brewing for a local beer and one of the best pretzels we’ve tried. If it seems like there’s a theme here, every single place we went to in Jackson Hole had amazing food.
A few more places you might want to note for your trip: Check out Nora’s Fish Creek Inn for their famous breakfast, Pearl Street Market for a deli sandwich to go, Teton Tiger for a great Asian dinner, Roadhouse Tap Room for great beers with awesome labels, and Jackson Hole Winery for some wine tasting. Calling these “honorable mentions” doesn’t do them justice.
I just delighted by the shopping scene in downtown. There are SO many cute stores, but I especially loved MADE for the home decor, Roam for watercolor prints and stationary, and MTN Man Toy Shop (aka the bougiest knife store you could imagine) to make sure Tyler and Tim didn’t completely lose their minds.
We also stopped by Vertical Harvest, which is a vertical farming operation housed in a beautiful building across the street from SpringHill Suites. They sell their hydroponic produce in their storefront and to local restaurants and grocery stores.
ALSO. Don’t forget to check out the antler arches on each corner of the park in the town square–they are real!!
If you are a skier, you can’t go wrong with the ski resorts near Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village is the spot, or so I hear. Snow King is also a great choice. Make sure to get your lift tickets in advance, as they are not available for purchase at the resorts.
This was one of our favorite things we did the entire trip. On our last morning in Jackson Hole, the sun finally came out, so we decided to make a last minute trip over to the National Elk Refuge before catching our flight (classic).
We paid $23 for an hour-long sleigh ride through the fields of the refuge. During the winter, the thousands of elk that call the refuge home migrate down to the meadows below the mountains, so we were able to see a TON. Our guide was funny and knowledgeable, and the elk were majestic. Highly, HIGHLY recommend this experience on any winter trip to the area.
You should be able to drive through the majority of Grand Teton National Park in the winter, as they do plow the main highway. Depending on the weather, you’ll be able to see the insanely beautiful Tetons from the road. This is one of my favorite drives in the world. We got pretty unlucky with the weather and drove out almost every day to find the Tetons covered in clouds. We finally saw them on our last day, right as we got to the airport. Check out the Mormon Barn and the Wedding Trees by Lower Slide Lake for a great photo ops. If you have time, check out the Teton National Forest nearby.
This is pricey, and you’ll have to make a reservation in advance. Yellowstone National Park, just north of the Tetons, is accessible only by snowmobile or snow bus in the winter. If you’re dying to see Old Faithful, this is probably your best option. We passed on the splurge this time around but would definitely do it if we found ourselves in the area in the winter again.
Tyler and I are already planning a return trip for an upcoming summer, and we can’t wait to go back!
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?