I always joke that if I could only go to a few places for the rest of my life, then Jackson Hole Wyoming would be one of my four places (yes, I’ve narrowed it down to four destinations). It’s no secret to Rhyme & Reason readers just how much I love Jackson. In my opinion, it is the shining star of the ‘wild west’ because of its natural beauty and because Jackson Hole offers so much to do and so many activities. Between exploring Grand Teton National Park, Skiing Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or Snow King Mountain, enjoying the Snake River, shopping around town square, and more there’s something for everyone and something for every season.
Speaking of seasons, I shared the best time to visit Jackson Hole so you should be ready to plan a trip (I get much more specific than just saying holidays like President’s Weekend, Memorial Day, and Labor Day). If you have any lingering questions after these posts, then visit my complete Jackson Hole Travel Guide. Consider me your visitor center!
Things To Do In Jackson Hole
Grand Teton National Park
A bunch of the activities I include in this guide can be done or are done in the park (i.e. rafting, hiking etc.) but there is just so much to do and see in the park that it deserves its own shout out! I truly love going for drives in the national park as it has some of the most stunning landscapes you’ll ever see. It’s one of the best spots to experience Jackson Hole wildlife too as you can see moose, elk, deer, bears, beavers, bald eagles, and more. Grand Teton National Park borders up to Yellowstone National Park so you can explore there too!
Stroll around town square and take photos in front of one of the four elk-antler arches. The main shopping and restaurant area is surrounding the square. In the summer, the square plays host to the farmer’s market and in the winter there is an ice skating rink! See my complete Jackson Hole Travel Guide for all my shopping recommendations.
Ski and Snowboard
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is often voted the premier ski mountain resort in the country for good reason. The skiing is incredible and the village is so fun! I learned to ski here so it will always be my favorite mountain in the world! It is known for being a steep mountain and an absolute mecca for advanced skiers; however, there is plenty for beginners too! In Jackson, you can also ski closer to town at Snow King Mountain.
P.S. In the summertime, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort turns into an outdoor playground for kids with ropes courses, rocking climbing walls, mountain biking, and more.
There are tons of amazing hikes in Jackson Hole. Enter Teton Nation Park and the hikes are endless! My family loves hiking Phelps Lake, String Lake, and Jenny Lake in the national park the most. You can also hike the Grand, which is quite an accomplishment! There are tons of great hikes outside of the park that we love as well including the Ski Lake Trail and the Cache Creek trails.
Scenic Float Raft Trips
In Jackson, you can do scenic floats trips and whitewater rafting trips along the Snake River. Both are SO beautiful and such a blast! I can’t recommend the scenic float raft trips enough. My family always goes in the evening and brings beer and wine so we turn it into a booze cruise! The views of the Tetons from the water are unbeatable and you can see Ansel Adams’ famous lookout point!
In Jackson, you can do scenic float rafting trips and whitewater rafting trips along the Snake River. Both are SO beautiful and such a blast! The rapids get up to class 3-4 so they are super fun. The whitewater rafting in Jackson is good ole fashion F-U-N.
In the summertime, one of the best ways to enjoy a day outside in Jackson is to spend it fly fishing on the Snake River. It is such a nice way to be outdoors and see wildlife like bald eagles, beavers, and (obviously) fish! I learned to fly fish in Jackson and we do it every summer! We love fishing with Grand Teton Fly Fishing, Snake River Anglers, and Westbank Anglers.
Go to the Lake
Teton National Park has a handful of fun lakes where we grew up swimming, tubing, and water skiing. Jackson Lake is the biggest so you will find the most water sports there! Phelps Lake is known for its rock jump. Jenny Lake, String Lake, and Leigh Lake are great for swimming, beaching, tubbing, and paddle boarding.
One of the most fun and most spectacular ways to see the beauty of Jackson Hole is to take it in while on a trail ride. The land really sets Jackson apart and it’s fun to get a glimpse into what it would have been like to travel the West on horseback. I recommend horseback riding with Teton Village Trail Rides or Spring Creek Ranch (both offer rides for all comfort levels).
Jackson is really a town for active and outdoor enthusiasts. My family has gone paragliding off of the Tetons and had a blast every time! This is such a fun activity for adventure seekers!
If your legs need a break from skiing in the winter, then consider a snowmobiling adventure. We have done a handful of different snowmobiling trips over the years but our favorite is to Granite Hot Springs. Pack a swimsuit because they let you stop and swim in the hot springs! P.S. you can visit the hot springs in the summer too!
National Museum of Wildlife Art
Wildlife enthusiasts don’t want to miss this beautiful museum. The National Museum of Wildlife Art sits on a hillside that overlooks the National Elk Refuge and Sleeping Indian Mountain and holds over 5,000 artworks that represent wild animals from around the world with an emphasis on the wildlife of the West.
National Elk Refuge
The National Elk Refuge was established mainly for the conservation of elk after the town of Jackson was settled and development disturbed the natural migration pattern of the elk at the turn of the 20th century. Now, in the winter, the refuge becomes full of thousands of elk that descent into the valley to eat. Visitors can take horse-drawn sleigh rides among the elk herds in the elk refuge. It is definitely touristy but it’s amazing to see the animals up close.
Old Time Photos
I can’t even explain the laughs these photos produce especially when you’ve taken many of them over the years like my family has. Dress up as cowboys, saloon girls, etc. and take hysterical black and white photos. This is hokey but fun!
Bar J Chuckwagon Dinner
This is a really fun way to spend an evening for families with kids. We loved going to chuckwagon dinners when we were growing up! The good ole fashion western music and food are super family-friendly.
Jackson Hole Playhouse
ThThe Jackson Hole Playhouse is housed in a historic building dating back to 1915 that pays homage to Jackson’s wild west history. The playhouse showcases western comedy and fun dinner theatre. It’s touristy but entertaining.
Photography by Edwin Eversole and Carrie Patterson
Do you have a suggestion for a photographer to shoot for a family in the summer? Thank you!
YES! Carrie Patterson! She’s the best! xx