If you’re looking for an exciting weekend escape, Wyoming’s cowboy country offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and relaxation. From the majestic splendor of Devil’s Tower to fabulous skiing in the Tetons and pioneer trails perfect for history buffs, Wyoming is sure to fulfill your need for adventure. Book a Wyoming vacation rental in one of these top getaway locations for a break from your day-to-day responsibilities and a chance to unwind.

1. Evanston

Source: Flickr/theilr

Located just an hour’s drive from Rock Springs or Salt Lake City, Evanston is the perfect getaway for railway enthusiasts and those who love the outdoors. Wake up to gorgeous mountain views in every direction, and then head into town for breakfast at Jody’s Diner or Ana’s on Main Street, both known for fabulous French toast and a dedication to using local ingredients. Spend your day checking out the marvelous restored railroad buildings scattered throughout town, and be sure to spend some time at The Roundhouse, the last roundhouse left on the old Union Pacific line. If you’re a real history buff, continue your explorations with a guided tour at Fort Bridger State Historic Site. Otherwise, spend some time exploring nature by hiking or mountain biking at Bear River State Park. Keep your eye out for the bison and elk that call the park home. Evanston also offers fantastic fishing right in town on the Bear River.

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2. Thermopolis

Source: Flickr/Charles Willgren

Thermopolis offers serious relaxation in a size suitable for a weekend escape, and it’s only a couple of hours away from Caspar or Laramie. Start your adventure soaking up the beautiful Wyoming scenery with a hike at Hot Spring State Park, and then enjoy the ultimate in relaxation with a soak in one of the park’s free bathhouses. Hot Spring State Park also features fabulous picnic areas, so be sure to bring your lunch, and don’t leave without stopping at the Big Spring to see the amazing technicolor display of hot turquoise mineral water cascading through a serious of pools into town. For dinner, check out the One-Eyed Buffalo Brewing Company for fabulous microbrews and spectacular homemade macaroni and cheese, including unusual varieties such as Greek, beer brat, and buffalo chicken flavors.

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3. Pinedale

Source: Flickr/Manny Moss

Pinedale’s beauty includes the Wind River Mountain Range and river vistas of the New Fork River and the Green River peppered with lakes too numerous to count. Escape to Pinedale from nearby Idaho Falls or Rock Springs for a fantastic weekend exploring the Wild West. After you book your vacation rental, take the time to reserve a spot in a trail ride with Bridger Wilderness Outfitters or 7 Lazy K Quarter Horses, and explore the Wyoming wilderness on horseback, just the way the cowboys did in days past. For breakfast, enjoy the cowboy-sized portions at the Wrangler Cafe. Check out Pitchfork Fondue Western Cookout at dinnertime for authentic Western cuisine, eaten al fresco with a fantastic view of the Wind River Mountains. If you have time, stop in at the Museum of the Mountain Man to learn more about the area’s past, or play a round of golf at the beautiful course at Rendezvous Meadows.

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4. Meeteetse

Source: Flickr/USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Step back in time with a weekend getaway to Meeteetse. This quaint town’s wooden sidewalks, hitching rails, and turn-of-the-century architecture sets a gorgeous backdrop for a weekend full of relaxation. Spend some time wandering through the Meeteetse Museums, a group of buildings dedicated to promoting and preserving the natural, cultural, and artistic heritage of the region, and then pick up some fantastic chocolate treats at Meeteetse Chocolatier to savor back in your vacation rental. For a meal with the atmosphere of the Wild West, head to the Cowboy Bar, thought to be the oldest bar in the West. After a fabulous dinner or ribs or steak, sidle up to the ancient cherry bar, and ask the bartender to give you the history of some of the bullet holes still remaining from gun fights of days past.

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5. Jackson

If you love outdoor activities, Jackson is a great place for a getaway every season of the year. Jackson offers challenging hiking, top-rate skiing, and the chance to watch wildlife, such as swans, elk, and bighorn sheep, right from your vacation rental’s porch. Plan your weekend getaway for winter to spend your time skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or Snow King Mountain Resort. Visit in fall to ride the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain and see the expansive view of the colorful autumn foliage. For the best chance for wildlife viewing including bison, grizzlies, and black bears, sign up for a half-day wildlife expedition with Teton Science Schools with knowledgeable guides to answer all your questions about the animals you see. To enjoy a cozy romantic dinner for two, head into Jackson’s downtown area to the Blue Lion; fresh specialties including elk tenderloin and Idaho rainbow trout that bring you the delicious flavors of the region.

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6. Sundance

With an other-worldly view of Devil’s Tower, and a chance to learn about some of the infamous characters of the Wild West, plan a weekend getaway in Sundance. Cinnamon rolls at Higbee’s Cafe are a must before visiting the tower for an up-close view of its natural wonder. In the afternoon, take a tour of the Crook County Museum to learn more about Butch Cassidy the Sundance Kid, who spent 18 months in the jail that is now part of the museum. Take the short drive to the Vore Buffalo Jump for a look at an archaeological dig where scientists are unearthing information about the lives of Plains Native American tribe as they lived long ago. Be sure to stop by some of Sundance’s eclectic shops, including the 1875 Gallery, which offers a variety of locally produced art products and music, perfect for souvenirs of your trip.

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7. Cody

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A getaway in Cody, located about three hours northwest of Caspar, is ideal for lovers of wine and Old West history. Cody’s Buffalo Jump Winery specializes in making fine wines out of grapes grown right in Wyoming, and they offer a full program of activities for wine lovers. Start with Friday Night Wine Down for a light dinner of cheese, fruit, freshly-baked breads, and tantalizing wine pairings. Head back to the winery on Saturday for a tour, including the winery’s fine art gallery. If you’re a creative type, take a seat in the winery’s weekly sip and paint class for a fun art lesson and some more delicious wines. If you have a little extra time, take a stroll through Old Trail Town, and visit the historic home of Buffalo Bill.

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8. Saratoga

Source: Flickr/CAJC: in the Rockies

For the best of rural Wyoming, head to Saratoga. Saratoga offers great wildlife viewing, beautiful scenery featuring the North Platte River, and natural hot springs to help you relax. For a fabulous Italian dinner with homemade bread and desserts, Bella’s Bistro doesn’t disappoint. Once you’re full, consider a late night soak in the hot springs that are open 24 hours a day, right in the center of town. Get a post-soak drink at the historical Hotel Wolf Saloon with its authentic Western-style swinging door and peanut shell-covered floor. A vacation rental in town makes it easy to explore Saratoga’s night life, including the Rustic Bar, which features live musical talent most Friday and Saturday nights.

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