Wyoming may be the least populous U.S. state but it is one of the most frequently visited. Spouting geysers, bubbling mudpots, multicolored hot springs. Pronghorn, grizzly bear, buffalo. Craggy mountains, open prairies, a supervolcano. Lodgepole pine, sagebrush, quaking aspen. Cowboys, wild west, rodeo. Frontier days, pioneers, wagon trails. Native Americans, powwows, reservations. Fossils, dig sites, dinosaurs. And there are lots of great lodges and good restaurants. What's more, kids are welcome everywhere and many of the activities are geared to families. So what's the catch? Getting around requires time and a car.
Getting to Wyoming isn't as easy as it sounds. Amtrak doesn't stop here. Wyoming is long drive from most anywhere. And large commercial planes don't land at any of the state's 10 regional airports - Jackson Hole (JAC), Casper (CPR), Cheyenne (CYS), Rock Springs (RKS), Cody (COD), Riverton (RIW), Laramie (LAR), Worland (WOR), Sheridan (SHR) and Gillette (GCC). What does one do? Take a connecting flight. Combine Wyoming travel with sites north and south. Drive from Salt Lake City, Utah or Denver, Colorado, 6 and 10 hours respectively.
A Wyoming vacation is a road trip by another name. Unless you travel by bus, there are no alternatives to the automobile. Greyhound offers bus service between the larger towns in Wyoming. The Wind River Transportation Authority services the Wind River region and offers bus service between Casper and Jackson. Alltrans provides a shuttle service between Jackson Airport and area hotels and resorts as well as a daily shuttle service between Jackson and three Idaho airports - Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Salt Lake City. Renting a car? Take note of the following: Distances are great. There are few interstates. Gas stations are far between. Much of the state is mountainous. Animal crossing are a common occurrence. Many roads are subject to closure in winter. Wyoming is not a place to speed.
The saying 'Wyoming has two seasons - winter and august' may not be entirely accurate but it renders the idea wholly. Winter is long (October to May). Summer (July and August) is short. Spring (June) and fall (September) are virtually non-existent. Higher elevations are significantly cooler than the low-lying areas. The nighttime lows are significantly cooler than the daytime high. Rain is likely in summer. Snow is possible from September through June and at higher elevations it can snow at anytime of the year. Pack warm cloths and plan to dress in layers whether you visit in June or December.
Dehydration, altitude sickness and wildlife encounters are the main health risks in Wyoming. Carry plenty of water (4 liters per person per day is recommended when hiking in summer) and encourage the children to drink regularly. Don't drink the water in the lakes, river or streams unless you have boiled or filtered it first. Select activities that are commensurate with the age and ability of the kids and give your body a chance to acclimate before you play hard. View wildlife at a safe distance and never feed animals, no matter how small. Be bear aware at all times; carry bear spray and store food and discard debris in apposite bear safe containers.