Finding the Perfect Rental in Yellowstone
My family and I recently visited Yellowstone National Park for a week-long vacation. With dramatic landscapes, incredible wildlife, and the famous geysers and hot springs, Yellowstone did not disappoint! We wanted to fully immerse ourselves in the area, so we opted to rent a vacation home in the park instead of staying at a hotel.
Renting a house turned out to be a fantastic decision that made our Yellowstone vacation extra special. Here are my tips for finding the perfect rental property for a Yellowstone family getaway.
Location, Location, Location
Yellowstone National Park spans over 2 million acres, so choosing the right area to stay in is key. Consider what you want to prioritize – proximity to major attractions like Old Faithful, access to hiking trails, seclusion, etc.
We decided to stay in a rental near the West Entrance to the park in West Yellowstone, MT. This gave us easy access to geyser basins while still providing a charming “home base” with restaurants and shops. Other popular areas to consider are near the North Entrance in Gardiner, MT or near the East Entrance in Cody, WY.
Booking Early is Key
With over 4 million visitors per year, Yellowstone gets booked up fast. I recommend booking your vacation rental 6-12 months in advance if possible. We booked ours 10 months out and there was still limited availability. The earlier you can plan your trip and reserve your lodging, the better selection you’ll have.
Find a Property Manager You Can Trust
Booking through a local property management Yellowstone company is the way to go over a generic vacation rental website. Property managers based in the area know their rentals inside and out. They can match you with the perfect rental for your needs and provide customized recommendations to make your stay exceptional.
We used Yellowstone Vacations and they were fantastic. Our property manager, Wendy, answered all our questions and made the whole booking process smooth and stress-free.
Choose the Right Lodging Style for Your Family
Yellowstone has a huge variety of rental lodging types to meet every family’s needs. Here are some top options to consider:
- Cabins – Cozy and rustic. Opt for a cabin if you want a true wilderness experience. Some have wood-burning fireplaces and front porches perfect for relaxing.
- House – Spacious and homey. Look for a house rental if you need room to spread out. Large dining and living areas make for great family hangout spots.
- Condo/Townhome – Ideal for multiple families. Condo-style rentals provide private bedrooms/bathrooms with shared living areas. The perfect meet-in-the-middle option when vacationing with extended family or friends.
We chose a 3 bedroom log cabin that was absolutely perfect for our family of 5. The big front porch with mountain views was our favorite feature.
Family Activities for Your Yellowstone Vacation Rental Stay
Once you’ve booked the perfect lodging, it’s time to start planning your Yellowstone adventures! Here are some of my top recommendations for family fun:
See the Geysers and Hot Springs
From iconic Old Faithful to the brilliant colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone’s thermal features are jaw-dropping. Take easy boardwalk strolls to safely see these wonders up close. And don’t miss the Fountain Paint Pot’s bubbly mud pots that will mesmerize kids.
Look for Wildlife on a Scenic Drive
Bison, elk, moose, bears (from a distance!) – Yellowstone is teeming with incredible animals. Head out early on a wildlife viewing drive along the scenic Yellowstone River or Lamar Valley for your best chance of animal encounters. Pack a picnic to take breaks and zoom in with binoculars or a camera.
Try Your Hand at Fishing
With abundant lakes and rivers, Yellowstone is a fisherman’s paradise. Fishing licenses are required and there are regulations, so stop by a ranger station or visitor center for information. Then get the family outfitted with poles, tackle and gear for some memorable fishing adventures.
Journey to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
The colors and views of the massive Lower Falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are incredible. Be sure to check out both the North and South Rim vantage points and walk down the paved trail just a bit to feel the power of the waterfall up close.
Relax Back at Your Rental
Don’t try to cram too much in. Leave plenty of downtime to relax at your vacation rental after busy days exploring. Cook s’mores over the fire pit, play board games or cards on the back porch, or justcurl up with a good book – embracing the slower pace is part of a Yellowstone family vacation’s charm.
The Perfect Family Getaway Awaits!
Renting a vacation house in Yellowstone made our family trip everything we hoped for and more. Spending a week “living” right in the park gave us quality time together away from daily stresses. I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.
I hope these tips help you plan your own amazing Yellowstone family vacation rental. The parks awe-inspiring beauty and abundance of activities makes it the ultimate destination. Reserve your perfect lodging spot soon…Yellowstone is waiting!