Destination: Teton National Park and Jackson, WY
When Brian and I went our first Airstream road trip, Jackson, WY, and Grand Teton National Park was by far one of our most favorite locations to visit. We originally had intended to drive through the small town and just do a pit stop for lunch. But we were so taken with this charming town that we changed our plans and decided to stay overnight at Teton National Park. Isn’t being able to do last-minute changes one of the joys of doing an Airstream road trip? And it made for one of our most unforgettable experiences of our whole trip.
How To Get There
Getting out to Wyoming from California is, as you can expect, quite a trek. We were on our 3-week road trip and had gone to Zion National Park first (read all about how to get to Zion here). From Zion, it is still a 9 hour drive so we split it over two days by stopping at Salt Lake City, UT. If you are going to go directly to Jackson from California, it is an 18 hour drive. So we recommend splitting it over 3 days with a stop in Reno (a 4 hour drive), then a haul to Salt Lake City (a 7 hour drive), and then finally to Jackson (4.5 hour drive). For recommendations on where to stay in those cities, we highly recommend consulting the app AllStays (it’s what we use when we’re traveling on the road). And yes, that’s a lot of driving, but once you’re out there at the last frontier of the old Wild West, I promise you won’t regret it!
Glamping at Grand Teton National Park
Again consulting the AllStays app, there are several RV parks located within Jackson, including Jackson Hole Campground and the Jackson Hole KOA. If you want to camp within the Grand Teton National Park, the closest campground within the park is Gros Ventre CAmpground and is only 20 minutes north of town. Unfortunately, this campsite is only first-come-first-serve and no reservations can be made for its 300 sites. Also there are no hook-ups at this campground. However, if you’re staying during off-peak season you have a good chance of snagging a spot, and this is our first choice of campgrounds.
If you are going during peak season we recommend snagging a spot in a RV park that allows for reservations. There are only two reservable RV parks in Grand Teton and both are about an hour north of Jackson Hole. The first one, about 50 minutes away, is Colter Bay RV Park. The wonderful thing about this RV park is that all sites have full hook-ups and you’re only a 5 minute walk from Jackson Lake. I should also note that the Colter Bay RV Park is different from the Colter Bay Campground which is non-reservable and also doesn’t have hook-ups. The second reservable RV park, about an hour an 15 minute north of Jackson, is Headwaters Campground at Flagg Ranch, and these sites also have full-hook-ups. If you’re on your way up to Yellowstone National Park as part of your road trip then this RV park is halfway between the two national parks. For a quick look at all your RV camping possibilities within Grand Teton, go here.
What to do there
I love charming towns in the middle of nowhere and Jackson is especially charming. There is a rustic chic vibe all around. But what’s even better is a charming town located right next to a breath-taking national park like Grand Teton. Now you have the best of both worlds.
The great thing about Jackson is that they have free parking for your trailer (though not overnight parking). We went during the off season so we didn’t have any issues finding a spot but I’m not sure how busy it is during the peak season. Thus Jackson is such a great little town to stop off in to grab something to eat or kill some time before heading into Grand Teton National Park. We enjoyed walking into stores like MADE (which focuses on hand made items from the Wyoming Area) and Mountain Dandy. We ate at Local, which served a fresh locally sourced menu that was really delicious.
For the more outdoorsy type, Grand Teton National Park has everything you want from fishing, boating, climbing, and horseback riding. We spent our time there mostly hiking and doing the scenic drives. To learn more about the hikes they offer, go here. And for those who prefer the scenic drives, you can find out more here.
Where to go next
From Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park is a short 45 minute drive north and so we highly recommend seeing both national parks in one trip. If you are driving south and had made Yellowstone your first stop, then heading down to Zion National Park is about a two days drive. Or if you’re limited on time, you can head back to California via Salt Lake City and Reno.