Although Wyoming is known for being the least populated state, Jackson Hole offers proof that it's still possible to have an unforgettable winter vacation there. Known primarily for its skiing and snowboarding, there's a lot more to do in this vast patch of wilderness than you might expect. Here's a quick look at some family-friendly winter activities in Jackson Hole.
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If you enjoy skiing, there are three ski resorts to choose from in the area. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort receives approximately 360 inches of snowfall each year and is equipped with 8 lifts, an aerial tram and a gondola. The Grand Targhee Resort is one of the top 3 ski resorts in North America and sits on over 2,000 acres. Snow King Mountain offers night skiing, tubing and a terrain park. It's also easily visible from Town Square.
For visitors who enjoy watching wildlife, Jackson Hole offers several wildlife tours. You can choose either a full or half-day tour that will take you through various refuge locations where you'll be able to see bighorn sheep, bison, antelope, elk and more in their natural habitat. Expert guides will take care of the driving, allowing you to focus more on the animals and surrounding ecosystem.
Few activities are as exhilarating as gliding across ice. If you've never tried ice skating, Jackson Hole is a great place to begin. Outdoor rinks are scattered throughout the valley. The Snow King Sports and Events Center has an indoor skating rink that's perfect when the weather's too cold.
Dogsledding is another adventurous way to explore the surrounding wilderness. Full and half-day tours are available, provided you make reservations well in advance. Guides recommend dressing in layers, due to the amount of time spent outdoors. Dogsledding season typically starts in November, depending on snow conditions. If conditions hold up, it can run well into April.
Grand Teton National Park
No matter how luxurious your accommodations are in town, a visit to Jackson Hole isn't complete until you've explored Grand Teton National Park. It's so close to town that it's ideal for daytime excursions. Be prepared to encounter all types of wildlife and endless, breathtaking scenery. The best times for wildlife viewing are early mornings and evenings. Tours of the area can last up to 8 hours and typically include lunch, snacks and beverages. Tour guides can provide you with valuable information about the area, including the flora and fauna.
One activity you're sure to never forget is paragliding. Few experiences can rival the sensation of flying in like a bird from extraordinary heights. A typical flight lasts 15 to 20 minutes and is led by a certified pilot in a tandem harness. Don't forget to bring a camera. If you prefer, you can also rent a GoPro camera to record the entire flight.
As you can see, there's no shortage of fun activities in Jackson Hole. Even during the winter, there's no need to limit yourself to whatever can be done indoors. So pack your bags and bring the entire family out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a vacation experience everyone's sure to enjoy.
Angie McNeil is a working mom who is also a Jackson Hole regular with her family. She enjoys sharing her travel tips and insights online and is a regular writer for several lifestyle and travel websites.