Yellowstone Vs. Yosemite

Updated on March 05, 2011
F.A. asks from Zirconia, NC
9 answers

My husband and I are thinking about taking a BIG across country trip in the next 2-3 years. We are outdoorsy, camping type people and would love to visit either Yellowstone or Yosemite. Yellowstone seems a bit more doable for us as we do live in North Carolina. When we go, we will be traveling with a 5 and 3 year old.

Has anyone traveled to either of these places? With small children? Any suggestions on methods of travel (by land or air)? Also, any must sees in these parks would be helpful also. This would be a big trip for us but also a dream trip for my husband so planning ahead is a MUST.

Thanks for any info mamas!!

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answers from Phoenix on

I have been to both. They are wonderful. Yellowstone over Yosemite for me. But Yellowstone is more costly and need a good week or so to see it all. Can do Yellowstone in one day. Unless you camp. They are beautiful. Have a great time.

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answers from Eugene on

I'm a Montana native and used to tour guide in Yellowstone! I've heard Yosemite is beautiful but really crowded and Yellowstone can be pretty busy during the summer as well. If you want my take...go to Glacier National Park in Montana--it's is the most amazing place in the world (I think I literally mean this...). What time of year do you plan on visiting? Montana can be pretty cold and icky till after the fourth of July--if your 5 year old isn't in school the week after Labor Day would be a beautiful time of year to visit either Yellowstone or Glacier. Yellowstone has lots of odd and beautiful features (Old Faithful, Artist Falls, etc), but Glacier will absolutely take your breath away every second (I was also a tour guide there). You can private message me if you have other questions. I would say to fly to somewhere like Bozeman (for Yellowstone) or Kalispell (for Glacier) and explore the areas. Both parks are just as beautiful outside as they are inside. If you go to Yellowstone be sure to spend the night at Chico Hot Springs--it's beautiful, relaxing and has a old timey natural hotsprings pool! Glacier is also nice because it is adjacent to the Blackfoot Reservation so you can add that cultural component to your trip. I'm jealous!

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answers from Augusta on

Go by car to Yellowstone!
If you can take your time and see other things along the way!
Take a good week or 10 days , and see the country while you do it!
I SO want to do a trip like that with our kids in the future!

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answers from San Francisco on

Have been to both places with preschool/early elementary age kids and personally think that Yellowstone has more to see within easily walkable distances than Yosemite does - the boardwalks surrounding the various geyser basins make for easier walking for the little ones and there's plenty of places to stop and sit down and wait to see if a thermal feature will erupt :-). We drove to both places (we live in northern California) so I don't have any experience with other means of traveling there

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answers from Houston on

We have been to Yosemite in the winter and went without kids. Very beautiful but the hiking seems to be more up than other places we've been There are certainly family hikes but to see the really breathtaking views and not fight the crowds, you have to hike a bit. It was busier than I expected that time of year but heard it was crazy crowded in the summer.

We went to Yellowstone in early August a couple of years ago it is by far one of my favorite vacations ever! (and we have traveled internationally). There is a fair amount of walking but as one other poster mentioned, it is primarily on boardwalks that you can access from parking lots so you can decide how little or how much you want to walk on it. Definitely get some guide books so you don't miss the "must sees" (although many of the "off the beaten path" places are great too). We saw tons of wildlife there and on our way out went through Grand Tetons Nat'l. Park (south of Yellowstone) which was amazing. We flew into Denver (b/c we were vacationing near there) and then drove to Yellowstone. Just FYI! Wyoming is a BIG state and it took a lot longer in the car than we planned (partly due to an unexpected road closure). If you fly, I would suggest looking into flying into Jackson Hole, WY, Salt Lake City, UT or Bozeman, MT.

One other thought if you are driving and want a family friendly nat'l. park...for the last 30 years or so my family has been visting Rocky Mtn. National Park in Estes Park, CO. We stay at the YMCA of the Rockies which has programs (included) and is really ideal for families IMO. But the town of Estes has lots of other lodging and things to do. We do plenty of hiking in the Nat'l. Park also. We just love it and have made it a tradtion with our own children ever since they were babies!

Have fun planning!

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answers from Atlanta on

I haven't been with small children, although we're contemplating Yellowstone this summer with our 4 and 2 year olds. It's FABULOUS! One of the best vacations of my whole life was to Yellowstone when I was 11 with my parents. We flew into Jackson Hole, rented a car and drove around Wyoming, Montana, the Black Hills of South Dakota and back into Cheyenne for Frontier Days. We stayed at Yellowstone and just loved it.

Yosemite is also amazing! It's really hard to pick between the two, but I think your kids would enjoy Yellowstone more at their current ages, because of the wild life. They're going to see buffalo, elk, probably wolves and possibly bears at Yellowstone. Pretty cool for kids! You can do Yosemite when they're a little bit older, because it really shouldn't be missed either.



answers from Honolulu on

I loved Yellowstone. Still do. Same with Rocky Mountain. We are a hiking family and like looking at geological formations more than animals though. Yosemite was a big let down for me. It was overwhelmed with Japanese and European tourists, which is fine but at the same time annoying. The Europeans have very little ... well, they are very open with nakedness. While the Japanese I saw were more modest than many Americans. Reactions were priceless but embarrassing. Also alot of Yosemite was only accessible via extreme rock climbing. The animals were amazing in Yosemite. Yellowstone had a fire 2 years before we visited and as such hiking was limited but there was still plenty to see and do.



answers from Dallas on

I have never been to Yosemite, but I really love Yellowstone. We went there when my daughter was 5, and she loved it. I wasn't sure how she would handle being in a car for so long, but she was just as amazed by the scenery and wildlife as my husband and I were. We are planning to back this summer.


answers from Chicago on

I went to Yellowstone when I was 8 and that is about the youngest I would reccomend brining ... the majority of the site seeing is done by vehicle, the rodeo is FUN but crowded, we camped, fished and stayed in a hotel in Jacksonhole it was great but I really think 8 is a good age for this one.