You can buy breakfast at one of the many restaurants in West Yellowstone on your way to the park. For a quick meal, McDonalds is near the West Gate.
Pack a sandwich or eat at one of the several dining options near the Old Faithful visitor center inside Yellowstone.
The dinner theater at the Yellowstone Playhouse is a perfect way to wrap up your day. At less than 4 miles north of Starlight Retreat, it’s on your way back from a fun filled day at Yellowstone.
We also highly recommend “Cafe Sabor” (Mexican food) or “The Parlor” (Wood fired pizza) as great dinner options in Island Park.
Yellowstone must do:
Old faithful, the worlds most iconic geyser. It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for 1.5 to 5 minutes and erupts to a height of 90 to 184 feet. Witnessing it is something that should be on everyones bucket list. After, enjoy the adjacent visitors center.
Very few places in the world have such a diversity of wildlife. No where else can you find buffalo, grizzly bears, wolves and many more all in one place! Your chances of seeing buffalo are very high, please don’t block traffic and enjoy them from a distance.
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
For awe inspiring views of Yellowstones own grand canyon, make sure to add this to your bucket list. You can drive to many different overlooks and there are many hiking trails to further explore this region of Yellowstone.
Grand Prismatic Spring
The grand prismatic spring is on the way to old faithful. It’s colors are astounding and absolutely worth a stop. Parking can be tough at this lot, so show up early.
Yellowstone has many other geysers to explore. Each one is unique, expect anything from bubbling paint pots, to constantly erupting geysers, to crystal clear pools with every color of the rainbow.
Near the North Gate, you’ll find a place where the river meets a large hot spring. The two temperatures mix to create a perfect outdoor swimming spot. It’s a half mile hike from the parking lot to the river. It’s free to use but it closes when the river rises so plan to visit during late summer or fall.
Island Park must do:
For bookable activities, please reach out to us, we’ve negotiated special packages, just for our guests, with many of these vendors. You can book these through our in house event/activities coordinator (Ask for Megan) by emailing, calling/texting us.
Island Park is home to some of the best fishing on the planet. Anglers travel from all over just to fish these rivers and lakes. You’ll find a wide variety of trout. Fishing guides are available upon request.
Float down Henry’s fork in this crystal clear spring fed river. You have a chance of spotting Moose, Elk and even the occasional buffalo right on the rivers edge. Not to mention all the fish! Float trips are bookable activities and all equipment available.
You’ll find several side by side and ATV rental shops in Island Park where you’ll have access to hundreds of miles of mountain trails.
An amazingly powerful set of waterfalls, Mesa falls is located on the southern end of Island Park. If you love witnessing the raw power of nature, this is a must go.
Johnny Sack Cabin
Johnny Sacks cabin is at the natural spring mouth of big springs. It’s a historic cabin at a stunning location of one of the most powerful natural springs in the country. It pushes so much water that it creates it’s own river.
Harriman State Park
An amazing wildlife refuge with miles of river with one of the worlds best fly fishing streams. Perfect hiking, biking or of course fishing locations.
Get to Yellowstone Early
Yellowstone is the first/oldest national park on the planet. People travel from all across the world to see it. During peak season it can get busy, especially at the main geyser parking lots. So beating the crowds by getting there early helps a lot when it comes to getting around and parking. The grand prismatic spring probably has the toughest parking at the park.
Plan on 2 Days Minimum
If you want to quickly see everything at Yellowstone, you’ll want 2 days at least. Mostly because the park is so spread out. If you want to spend more time at a slower pace to really enjoy your time, or take on some backcountry hiking, you may consider 4-7 days more appropriate.
Pick at Least One Activity
Most memorable vacations include some kind of activity. Especially one you’ve never tried before. You may want to try fly fishing, mountain biking, astro-photography, wildlife photography, hiking, soaking in the hot springs, kayaking, river rafting, yoga, horseback riding and many others. You can find guides and rentals for all of those with a little effort.
Spend Time in Island Park
Most people visit to experience Yellowstone. But Island Park has a lot to offer as well. It has miles of world class fishing rivers plus Henry’s lake is a fishing destination on it’s own, Mesa Falls (pictured above) is stunning, and Big Springs has water clearer than what you’re drinking. Plus if you love mountain biking, hiking, side X sides, or dirt bikes. Island Park has hundreds of miles to explore.
Let’s face it, when you travel, you want to eat well. Treat yourself during your trip and it’s amazing how it will seem to smooth out everything else.
Remember to Relax
With so much to do it’s easy to forget to relax. It’s common for people to get back from a vacation and say “I need a vacation from my vacation!”. Sometimes it even helps to schedule your relaxing time in. Find a field, bring a blanket, read a book, and enjoy!