To take the tours from West Yellowstone to begin your US National Park trip in this season. Last year’s 100th anniversary of America’s national park system put national parks on the travel radar of a lot of families. Many have discovered what so many others have known for so long – national parks are unique and breathtakingly beautiful destinations that have the added benefit of being budget-friendly. It is no wonder attendance is up nationwide.

At Old Faithful, some recommend walking around and watching the eruption from the far side, where there aren’t as many crowds. Depending on the wind, you may also get some spray in that direction though. We got lucky and walked right up maybe 15 minutes before an eruption. A ranger was giving a talk and people were sitting on the benches. By standing directly behind the people on the benches, we had an unobstructed view and the crowd didn’t bother us at all (until we wanted to get lunch after.)

If you are going to the Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin, be aware that the parking lot is very small and gets really backed up. You may be better off parking on the street but it is only available on one side. If you are heading north from Old Faithful, once you pass the parking lot, there is no parking on that side of the street for another mile. So either park where you see a spot before you get to the parking lot or take your chances in the lot. Also, Grand Prismatic Spring is very popular and the boardwalks are very narrow so hold hands with your little ones so people squeezing by don’t knock them off the boardwalk.

If you are wearing a hat in the geyser basin areas and it is windy, hold on tight! We saw quite a collection of hats in the springs.

Bring binoculars! If you see a bunch of people pulled off the road with binoculars or zoom lens, chances are they have spotted some wildlife. It makes sense to keep your binoculars and cameras within easy reach. We were so lucky to spend some time watching a grizzly bear chow down on a dead bison in the river. Having binoculars brought the experience up close (closer than we would want to be in real life that is for sure!)