Home to barren, craggy rocks to the south; lush forests to the north; rolling grasslands in the west; as well as the great Teton Mountains in the east, Wyoming is an awe-inspiring destination. During Memorial Day weekend, these disparate terrains and ecosystems offer phenomenal outdoor adventures. You can soak in hot mineral springs, or go rafting through surging rapids. Book a stay at one of many incredible Wyoming vacation rentals near these exciting cities and attractions.
Considered one of the most beautiful places in the country (at least by those who have been there), Jackson, Wyoming, is the ideal place to get back into nature after months of winter. For instance, the rivers are swift and swollen due to mountain runoff, making kayaking, rafting, and fishing some of the top activities. Rendezvous River Sports and Mad River Boat Trips both offer equipment rental and guide service down Snake River. Jackson lies within the Grand Teton National Park with plenty of wildlife within a short drive or hike. Sign up for wildlife viewing with Scenic Safaris, fun and educational for all ages. A range of animals call this place home from wolves and coyotes to bison, bald eagles, and bears. May is also wildflower time here, so hiking amid a display of color is a treat. Jackson’s Old West Days Celebration takes place during Memorial Day weekend. The entire family can participate by watching the rodeo, enjoying the parade, and enjoying the live music. If it’s an adult-only weekend vacation, the celebration also boasts The Old West Brew Fest featuring some of the best local craft brewers.
2. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is always a great place to visit, especially on Memorial Day when summer kicks off before full-on heat descends. It’s also the time of baby animals and cuteness. Book a spot on the Brushbuck Wildlife Tours or Yellowstone Safari Co. to see some of Yellowstone’s favorite animals – deer, wolves, and bears (oh my) – with their young tagging along. In May, bears are just waking up and wandering around with their cubs, the bison are calving, and wolf dens are full of newly-born pups. Covering about 2.2 million acres with 1,300 miles of trails, Yellowstone offers an array of hiking paths. Uncle Tom’s Trail, Lava Creek Trail, Mount Washburn Trail, and Fairy Falls Trail are all popular hiking options. Finally, visit the Midway Geyser Basin and West Thumb Geyser Basin for a water show that the Bellagio could never hope to duplicate.
The end of May might mean warmer weather, but in Wyoming, this doesn’t necessarily mean summer weather, which is why visiting Thermopolis, home of the largest hot mineral spring in the country, makes perfect sense. Not only are the waters at the bathhouse in the Hot Spring State Park free for lounging, but it’s a cozy 104 degrees. However, you can pay a little and relax in steam rooms, pools (both indoor and out), and water slides, a little something for everybody in the family. While in Thermopolis, catch Highway 20, the Wind River Scenic Byway that runs through the river canyon to the Boysen Reservoir and State Park. Not only does the road take you on a beautiful journey through geologic wonders, but you end up at a place you can go hiking and boating.
Casper’s about history, from geological history to World War II history. In fact, the Casper Army Air Corps Base, back during World War II, was located here. Now it’s the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum, the perfect place to visit during Memorial Day weekend. Go back a little further in time, and visit the Tate Geological Museum with bones and stones dating back millions of years. Settle between the two-time frames and peruse the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center celebrating the Old West and pioneering from the 1800s. Thanks to the North Platte River that flows through the town and Soda Lake, May means fishing time. Use Wyoming Anglers, Wyoming Fly Fishing Guide Service, or Grey Reef Anglers when looking for the best fishing spots.
Cody also does the Wild West in style. The Buffalo Bill Center is a collection of western-themed museums including one dedicated to the center’s namesake. The museums also cover the local natural history, Native American history, and firearms history. After learning about Western life in all its guises take the Old Trail Town tour through the historical sites, and top it off with a ride through the craggy landscape with Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tour. Because the locals believe in remembering those who came before, there’s an annual Wild West Show that’s better than any Memorial Day parade.
Pinedale lies between the Teton National Forest and the Wind River Mountain Range with its collection of finger lakes. Memorial Day means the beginning of outdoors season here: hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, and exploring. Get a vacation rental on the lake. Bring (or rent) a kayak, and spend lazy days boating through the calm waters; add a fishing pole to that, and you have it made. Explore the rolling foothills on horseback; nothing says Old West quite like riding a horse. Try Bald Mountain Outfitters, Green River and Bridger Teton Outfitters, or Half Moon Lake Lodge for horseback riding guides.
7. Flaming Gorge
The Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area stretches from northeast Utah to Green River, Wyoming. This far south, summer comes a little earlier in the year, making a Memorial Day weekend getaway the perfect combination of mild weather and fun activities. The spring snowmelt makes for some wicked rapids; ride them via the good folks over at Flaming Gorge Recreation Services. Afterwards, try some trout fishing at what’s considered one of the top trout-fishing spots in the country. Finish your vacation with a hike along the Canyon Rim Trail. This 6.5-mile road is all about the breathtaking views, scenic overlooks, and picture-perfect moments.
Buffalo lies in northern Wyoming between the Bighorn Mountains and rolling grasslands, offering you a unique Memorial Day weekend option. Head southwest to the Bighorn National Forest where you can hike or just take a drive along the Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway. Head southeast to the Thunder Basin National Grassland for rolling fields dotted with wildflowers, native prairie grass, and mountain peaks in the distance. Pinedale’s foothills and meadows also make for great off-roading. Stop at Ultimate Outdoors for an ATV tour.
Lander sits among the eastern foothills of the Wind River Mountain Range just south of the Wind River Reservation. Lander is well-known for its fat biking trails at the Sinks Canyon State Park. Rent a bike at Gannett Peak Sports, The Bike Mill, or Outpost Wilderness Adventure, and hit the park’s North Slope Trail. Hiking is also popular at the park. The Middle Popo Agie River culminates in a bond nestled within a canyon, a great place for a picnic before hiking home. Between outdoor adventures, get your fill of the Wild West at the Museum of the American West and the Fremont County Pioneer Museum.
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