Your guide to a Yellowstone National Park vacation

Aerial view of Yellowstone National Park landscape
Mountain view from a Vacasa Big Sky, MT vacation rental

Ever wanted to embark on a Yellowstone National Park vacation, but don’t know where to start? The myriad natural wonders, endless recreation possibilities, and multiple park entrances can make visiting this national treasure seem overwhelming, but don’t despair! Once you’ve established a comfortable West Yellowstone cabin or Big Sky vacation rental as your home base, the rest is simple.

Don’t put off your Yellowstone dreams another year—plan your trip with this breakdown of Yellowstone National Park vacation rentals and must-see features.

Marvel at Yellowstone’s otherworldly geysers and springs

Of all the wonders in Yellowstone, the geysers are perhaps the most famous, and for good reason. The park sits on top of an underground volcano, whose heat creates wild and colorful thermal features like geysers, pools, and hot springs. Visit the Upper Geyser Basin for a glimpse of Old Faithful, the park’s most famous geyser. The Midway Geyser Basin nearby is home to the fantastically hued Grand Prismatic Spring, as well as a few other photo-ready hot springs. A West Yellowstone cabin rental offers you a comfortable stay close to all the geothermal action.

Stay near Yellowstone National Park in a West Yellowstone cabin rental.

Seek out Yellowstone’s waterfalls, hoodoos, and petrified forests

You don’t have to be a geology geek to appreciate Yellowstone’s extraordinary natural features. Make sure to investigate the fossil forests—tree trunks turned into stone—throughout the northern part of the park. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone boasts three waterfalls, as well as spectacular hoodoo rock formations. If you’re staying in a nearby vacation rental, plan on dedicating a day or two to exploring the park’s spectacular landscape.

Stay near Yellowstone National Park in an Island Park vacation rental.

Explore Yellowstone via kayak, horse, bike, or foot

A Yellowstone National Park vacation in the summer means endless opportunities for playing outside. Book a whitewater rafting trip, or paddle the lakes of Yellowstone in a kayak. Book a trail ride to explore the park via horseback, or take to the trails on foot for a hiking experience like no other. Find an outfitter in Big Sky or another surrounding town and plan to spend plenty of time outdoors, basking in the beauty of the park.

Stay near Yellowstone National Park in a Big Sky vacation rental.

Admire Yellowstone’s extraordinary wildlife

Yellowstone is world-renowned for its spectacular wildlife. While you’re in the park, keep an eye out for bison, bears, moose, eagles, and more. Serious nature lovers can book a wildlife tour for better odds of seeing roaming herds of bison or bumbling baby bears. Stay watchful around your Yellowstone vacation rental, too—if you’re staying in Big Sky or another nearby town, the odds of seeing wildlife are still pretty good!

Stay near Yellowstone National Park in a Big Sky vacation rental.

Check out the surrounding area’s events

From special deals to cowboy poetry, there’s always something going on in the Yellowstone area. Free park entrance days, held several days a year, are always a huge hit for vacationing families. Get the true Wild West experience at a rodeo in Sheridan, Cody, or Helena, or gather at one of the countless other cowboy events in the Yellowstone area. If you vacation here in August, the annual Shoshone-Bannock festival celebrating indigenous culture is not to be missed. Whether you stay in West Yellowstone, Big Sky, or elsewhere, there’s never a shortage of local events.

Stay near Yellowstone National Park in a West Yellowstone vacation rental.