Yellowstone is a fantastic national park to explore when you are visiting Wyoming. But, if you are also looking to see some other attractions or places to visit within short driving distance from the park there is a lot of cool and unique places to visit. Below are suggestions of places to visit near Yellowstone National park and cool places jut outside the park area.
What to see outside of Yellowstone
Grand Tetons National Park
A very close drive from Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons National Park is a wonderful place to explore the national park and other cool places around the park areas with historic or cultural places of interest. There are some nice drives around the park along with scenic hikes worth doing around popular attractions that can only be accessed hiking through trails. For those just looking for scenic places to photograph, there is a map of attractions that can be followed on their handout of places to explore within the park area. For more images and details of the park experience check out this Grand Teton post here for more inspiration.
A little over an hours drive from Yellowstone and just south of the Grand Tetons National Park is the trendy western city of Jackson Hole which has become a very upscale and trendy place to hang out and enjoy the Wyoming lifestyle and vibe. The city of Jackson is filled with chic restaurants, art galleries, trendy stores and shops, world-class hotels and other attractions you will find in first class type of getaway.
Exploring Virginia City
On the western side of the Yellowstone National park along Highway 287 is the turnoff at Ellis for visiting the historic city of Virginia City which is a really fascinating place to explore. The city is actually an actual working city and an open air style museum combined that gives a real life and historical perspective and experience to an old-time city in Montana. Even though the city has more of a tourism focus, Virginia City’s main drag is well-preserved and fun to explore to see each establishment as it would look like during its active timeframe. This is a fun location to visit outside of Yellowstone and the scenic drive to get to Virginia city is spectacular with other towns along the way to enjoy.
A living museum at Nevada City
Nevada City located in the southeast region of Montana and just a short drive west of Virginia city, is a very cool living museum. Developed as a typical western city in Montana, buildings from all around Montana slated for demolition were brought to Nevada city and saved by a thoughtful senator. Nevada City represents a typical Montana style town with the various businesses that would support this type of community in the state and a unique look into that lifestyle and business.
Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming
There has been a lot of dinosaur bones discovered around the state of Wyoming and many of the finds are displayed at the Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Located in the central Wyoming region west of the west entrance of Yellowstone park, The Dinosaur Center is a cool place combining a museum with beautiful exhibits, visits to current dig sites and activities and programs that actually let you take part in a current digging program with their ” Dig for a Day” program that lets you actively participate in a bone bed formed by an ancient stream that have been buried under layers of silt. To find out more about this program and visiting the center, check out this website here for more details and prices for the various programs.
Western town of Cody
Located outside the western entrance of Yellowstone is the city of Cody which typically is like a real western town typical of Wyoming but still catering to a tourist crowd visiting the area and national parks. The downtown area is lined with cool galleries and stores with western motif and merchandising and just on the skirts of town is the very popular Rodeo that has events happening regularly throughout the summer and daily rodeos during the peak season. Cody is also an easy place to find cheaper hotel accommodations for staying in the area and also have easy access to Yellowstone National Park and the Shoshone National Forest.
Pow Wows at various Native American reservations around Yellowstone
Attending a Native American Pow Wow is an excellent way to understand the native Indians that live in the immediate area east of Yellowstone National Park. There are two active Pow Wows happening during the year that are open for visitors to attend at the Wind River country and is a fabulous opportunity to see the dances, music and other tribal traditions that mark these special events and are perfect photography opportunities to capture at the events. There are other Pow Wows that also occur just outside of the park area in reservations, for more information about visiting and attending a Pow Wow, check out the website here for more details and information.
Visit the Shosone National Forest Reserve
The Shoshone National Forest Reserve located about 30 minutes east of the East side entrance to Yellowstone National Park is one of the most scenic national forests that is not on the radar of most visitors through this area but is also worth driving through especially if you stay in the areas around Cody. The Shosone forest reserve offers gorgeous scenery and endless recreational activities for visitors from fishing, horseback riding, camping, hunting and hiking with over 1300 miles of trails created in the park and over 32 campgrounds. There are a few beautiful driving areas for scenic driving in the park worth doing for those with less time to explore the reserve. Check out the Shoshone National Forest Reserve information site here for more details and recreational activities available in the park area.
Checking out the cool and hip spots around Livingston, Montana
On the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park right on the border city at Livingston, Montana – you’ll find a very cool and hip city and with a fun old city center worth exploring. Livingston has that old western vibe but updated with hip new eateries, shops and galleries and other fun attractions for visitors to enjoy while having a nice meal or just checking out the downtown scene. It’s very walkable and compact so you can spend an easy morning and meal visiting the city before heading out into the park or using Livingston as a base to explore Yellowstone and other popular attractions in the vicinity.
Yellowstone National park is definitely a must visit in Wyoming, but if you have more time to explore the beautiful countryside and other attractions outside of the park, there is plenty to do and see based on your interest in outdoor adventure, cultural and historic attractions and other scenic landscapes to explore outside of the national park.
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