Guidebook review — Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park; first-time trip guide for families
by Erin Kirkland
It’s never too late to begin planning next summer’s family vacation, and in the case of national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton, a year may be considered prudent. In 2016, the National Park Service celebrates 100 years of enhancing visitor experiences in America’s most beautiful outdoor spaces, and I can’t think of a better way to wish the agency “happy birthday” than ushering my brood to one of the most unique and accessible parks in the West.
Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks rank in the top-10 of most-visited parks in the system, with around 3 million and 2.7 million eager vacationers driving, hiking, or floating around the areas, respectively. Considered excellent destinations for families due to an abundance of activities, scenery, and wildlife, both parks are also extremely accessible to each other, making for a road trip full of memories.
Authors Michele Whiteaker and Melynda Harrison are outdoor writers who teamed up to create a guidebook families will find useful in planning an inaugural trip to this dynamic duo of national parks. It’s the only Yellowstone and Grand Teton guide written specifically with families in mind from the dual perspectives of Whiteaker and Harrison.
One is a nature guide and scientist who lives nearby (Harrison); the other, a nature-focused family traveler visiting the park for the first time with children (Whiteaker). Together, they present a solid framework for anyone feeling as if they don’t know where, or how, to begin planning a trip through these beautiful parks.
The book was designed to be a practical resource, with its strength coming from sharing details families need to know when trying to figure out where to go and what to see in an enormous swath of real estate. The guidebook will not only help families weigh options for flying, driving, camping, lodging, and sightseeing; readers can easily copy parts of the trip they like — or tailor it to their own family style.
Traveling to a national park involves an investment, and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks will enable parents to save money by sticking to simple and mostly-free activities, and will also save time normally spent searching through general guides for family-appropriate advice.
Update: The 2nd Edition of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks was released December 5, 2016.
Erin Kirkland is managing editor of Outdoor Families Magazine. She lives, works, and plays in Anchorage, Alaska. Connect with her at AKontheGO.com or firstname.lastname@example.org