Explore the legends, traditions, and monuments of the American frontier with your family on a historical adventure through the legendary Wild West. From bison to Buffalo Bill, we’ve outfitted this adventure with a roster of age-friendly activities ideal for the entire family, and with an intimate small-group environment of just 26 travelers or less, you’re guaranteed to make unforgettable memories — but without all the stress of logistical planning — and the services of an Adventure Leader, to boot!
Following in the footsteps of indigenous peoples and intrepid explorers alike, your family will explore mainstays of Americana while discovering the scenery, geysers, and wildlife on an exploration of Yellowstone National Park. You’ll also cruise through Jenny Lake at the foot of Grand Teton National Park, uncover a rainbow of color at the Fountain Paint Pot, attend a raucous rodeo in Cody, and embark on a scenic float adventure down the Shoshone River. Along the way, explore Native American culture at the Crazy Horse Memorial and Tatanka; learn how America’s “manifest destiny” came to fruition; and practice your presidential wave with a visit to Mount Rushmore.
Featuring a convenient Saturday-to-Saturday itinerary, Vantage’s Wild West Adventure is perfect for family getaways, traveling alone, or with your spouse or favorite travel companion. Solo travelers, take note: Vantage offers limited free Single Supplements on every departure! Spend an extra three days in Jackson Hole on an optional pre-trip extension, and lasso even more adventure on this educational — and fun — journey through the Wild West.
Arrive in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Your Wild West family adventure begins when you arrive in Jackson Hole, an equally historic and scenic Wyoming valley town. Upon arrival, a Vantage representative will meet your family and assist with the hotel transfer.
Family Feature: This evening, start your adventure right as you join your spouse, friends, and family for a lively Western dinner show at the Jackson Hole Playhouse.
Jenny Lake cruise, tales of the Old West
Today's adventure kicks off on Jenny Lake, situated at the base of Cascade Canyon in Grand Teton National Park. Unforgettable Moment: We’ll embark on a cruise tour of this pristine lake, learning about the geology of the area and admiring the surrounding flora and fauna as we go. Remember to bring your camera — the opportunities for nature photography are second to none here! After an included lunch, head back to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Perhaps you'll indulge in the hotel's indoor pool and hot tub — or explore downtown Jackson Hole by foot or by bike, which are available from the hotel!
Exploring the wilds of Yellowstone, visiting Old Faithful
Revel in magnificent views of the soaring Tetons during this morning’s drive from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone’s high plateaus. Cultural Discovery: Along the way, we’ll stop for a visit at the Colter Bay Indian Arts Museum, home to a collection of rare Native America artifacts, before beginning our explorations of Yellowstone National Park from the south gate. The world’s first national park, Yellowstone is a wilderness of craggy peaks, alpine lakes, stunning canyons, and a variety of wildlife including moose, elk, bears, and bobcats.
The splendor (and legend) of the Wild West
We’ll trek along the Gibbons River this morning, passing cascading Gibbons Falls along the way, reaching Canyon Village in time for lunch and some free time to explore the Visitor Center’s interactive exhibits on regional nature. Continuing along Yellowstone River this afternoon, stop to marvel at Yellowstone’s Lower Falls before continuing through Hayden Valley, an area rich with wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for bison, grizzly bears, and other animals as you go! Crossing through the scenic Sylvan Pass delivers us to Cody this evening, the charming Western outpost named for William Fredrick Cody — better known in the West as Buffalo Bill.
Please note: The rodeo is only available June – August.
Shoshone rafting adventure, scenic journey to Sheridan
Family Feature: This morning finds us on the banks of the Shoshone River, where we’ll board rubber boats for a scenic white-water (Class 2!) adventure! Cultural Discovery: Our guide will point out Native American Pictographs carved into the red rock canyons and teach us wildlife-spotting techniques and the natural history of the area. Back on dry land, we’ll head next to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for fascinating insight to the region before an included lunch. This afternoon we depart for Sheridan, Wyoming, stopping along the way to admire sights including Tongue River Valley, a scenic spot overlooking the mountains. After checking into our hotel this evening, enjoy an included dinner.
The mysteries of Deadwood and Lakota traditions
Set off for the historic town of Deadwood today. Known as the wildest town in the West, Deadwood is the final resting place of several notable legends, including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. You’ll have some time to enjoy lunch and explore on your own before continuing to Tatanka: Story of the Bison. Cultural Discovery: Located north of Deadwood, Tatanka greets us with a behemoth bronze sculpture of the noble bison that once roamed these plains in vast numbers. Meaning “big beast” in the Lakota language, Tatanka tells the story of these bison and the Lakota people who relied on them for food, clothing, and shelter. While it’s estimated that more than 60 million bison once called this region home, you’ll learn how they were decimated, bringing the number of present-day bison down to around 400,000. This evening, we’ll reach Rapid City, where the remainder of your evening is at leisure.
A presidential day of discoveries
Practice your presidential wave with a walking tour of the City of Presidents this morning. Kids will love this lesson in American history as you make your way through Rapid City’s historic downtown area, where a series of life-size bronze statues of past presidents line the sidewalks. Family Feature & Unforgettable Moment: Our next stop is a must-see for history lovers: renowned Mount Rushmore. Sculpted to honor America’s most prominent presidents, solo travelers and family groups alike will get a rush out of seeing this famous monument in person. You’ll have time to enjoy lunch on your own before visiting our next monument, Crazy Horse. The world’s largest mountain carving honors the rich Native American culture of this area. Returning to our hotel this evening, enjoy time to unwind and recap the day’s discoveries.
Enjoy an included breakfast at the inn this morning before transferring to the Rapid City airport for your flight home.
Please Note: All sightseeing is subject to change due to road conditions, repairs, and weather conditions. Seasonality may affect the frequency and availability of ranger activities within the national parks.
Please Note: In the national parks, and in some of the more remote areas, you will stay in lodges that are basic but comfortable. Although not rated by the Hotel & Travel Index, they have been personally inspected by Vantage staff. On some departures, your hotel accommodations may be substituted with similar accommodations.
*All park and hotel accommodations are nonsmoking.