You’ve heard about the magnificent Grand Teton Mountains, Yellowstone, and the epic skiing around Jackson Hole during winter, but what else does Jackson, Wyoming have to offer? With an eclectic combination of outdoor enthusiasts, art-aficionados, and Davy Crockett-types, the area of Jackson Hole has more than just hiking and skiing. For some family-friendly options off the beaten path, just dig a little deeper and check out the options below. There are more things to do in Jackson Hole than you’ll have time for, so do your research and choose wisely. You’re guaranteed to have an adventure or two along the way.
Play at The Playhouse
Wondering what to do in Jackson Hole once the lifts stop and the chill sets in after sunset? Warm your body and your spirit at The Jackson Hole Playhouse, a quaint dinner theater in the heart of downtown Jackson. Built-in 1915, the Jackson Hole Playhouse is Jackson’s oldest building and has been a livery stable, a bowling alley, a mercantile, and a post office in its diverse past. Known for its fun ambiance and talented actors, the Jackson Hole Playhouse is an experience in itself. While you can opt out of the food portion, you’ll also miss the serenading servers and delectable dinner. Shows start promptly at 8:00 p.m. after an entertaining 7:30 p.m. preshow. The theater takes reservations for dinner at 6:00 p.m. Learn what shows are playing and book your tickets on their website.
Sunday Nights at the Stagecoach
Ever seen a Western movie and wanted to be in the woody bar with the thick glass mugs rocking out to live country music and seeing cowboy hats everywhere? Then you can’t miss the Stagecoach Bar (a.k.a. the ‘Coach), especially on Sunday nights with live music. We think Frank L. from Durham, North Carolina says it best: “It’s a long tradition – Sunday night at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson, Wyoming about 20 minutes from downtown Jackson. C+W (Country and Western) band, very good Mexican food and burgers at affordable prices, people of all kinds come from all around to dance, eat, drink and have a good time. When you hear a local saying they are going to Church on Sunday evening, the Stagecoach is what they mean. Not to be missed.”
Not into Country music? Reminisce and shake your groove thang with Disco Thursdays. Visit the Stagecoach and you’ll have a memory for the books. Happy hour every day from 4:30-6:00 p.m. and open 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. seven days a week.
Dip in at Astoria Hot Springs
Most people hit Granite Hot Springs southeast of Jackson, while others prefer to check out Astoria Hot Springs, the closer hot springs just south of Jackson. Best time to visit? We’d highly recommend dipping in during the winter when the water is hot, and the mountains are sparkling with fresh powder. The contrast of snow and natural hot springs is magical, in a word. Astoria Hot Springs can be found right by the Snake River with jaw-dropping views. Choose from a couple of different pools and let your stress melt away like snow in spring. Reservations required and COVID protocols in place. Learn more and book your soak here.
Touring the National Museum of Wildlife Art
A must-see stop for the family, rainy day or not. While the word “museum” might sound the same as “boring” to your kids, this small treasure will charm visitors of any age. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is packed to the brim with over 5000 pieces of wildlife art from over 550 artists. Visitors can learn the history of wildlife through art and sometimes spot live wildlife roaming in the valley below the museum’s panoramic view of the National Elk Refuge. A Children’s Gallery complete with animal costumes, a reading nook, and a puppet theater is reason alone to bring the little ones in for a visit. Still have energy? Go explore the almost mile-long Sculpture Trail for some wild surprises. Currently, masks are required on explorers 5 years old and up and admission is $15 for adults and $8 for children 5-18 years old (free for 4 and under). For more information, visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s website.
Hop on a Horse
When you visit the great state of Wyoming, it’s nearly a requirement to get atop a stallion for an adventure. Whether you want to take a mild trot with the family to get out in nature or gallop at full speed with experienced guides, Jackson Hole horseback riding caters to all ages and experience levels. Bring out your inner cowboy and get out on the trails for anywhere from an hour to multi-day pack trips. There are a ton of choices to ride with, so use your trusty friend, the internet, to find your preferred horseback riding guide. Prefer to watch horses than getting on them? Catch the Jackson Hole Rodeo on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.
Savor the Seasons
There are so many things to do in Jackson Hole throughout every season, not just skiing in the height of winter. Join the swarm of nature-lovers to listen to the elk bugling in Grand Teton National Park from mid-September to mid-October. Visiting in the summer? Those 21 and over can enjoy a “sloshie” (delicious booze-spiked slushie) to loosen up on their vacation. Hit the water for a white-water rafting tour (before the sloshies) or go on a fishing adventure. No matter the season, there are so many things to do in Jackson Hole and each season offers unique opportunities.
Private Sightseeing Tours
Sometimes you need to make a bit of an investment to get the best experiences out there. You can hire qualified, knowledgeable, and friendly guides for just about any activity you can think of in almost any season—for a price. In winter, go on a helicopter ski trip or track wild animal prints in the snow on an overnight adventure. In the warmer months, have guides get you to the most active fishing spots, prime hunting, and family-friendly camping and hikes. Just know that if you hire a guide, you’ve got someone who knows the area, has first aid covered, and can help you find the most peaceful or exciting spots in Jackson Hole. There are many tours, tons of guides, and they are all worthy of a call to book your next family adventure in Jackson Hole.
Drive, Drive, Drive
When you’re wondering what to do in Jackson Hole and you can’t think of anything, just hop in the car and go for a drive. Maybe you’ll find a new trailhead beckoning you to adventure or you’ll see some wildlife or mountain views that will take your breath away. Look up Moose Wilson Road, Inner Park Loop Road at Grand Teton National Park, Jenny Lake Scenic Loop, Kelly Loop, Teton Pass, and Snake River Canyon to see if any of these scenic drives are up your alley. Each of these routes has unique geographical features that will have you glued to the windows, though we suggest rolling them down if the weather allows.
Wing it at the Raptor Center
Get your family up-close and personal with eagles, hawks, owls, and more at Jackson Hole’s Raptor Center. An engaging and exciting activity for all ages, the “Public Raptor Encounter,” is a fun hour-long program that lets visitors see these powerful birds up close and witness what they are capable of. With impressive wingspans, terrifying talons, and razor-sharp beaks, this is an experience that will stick in your memory bank. Make reservations online for shows Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. beginning June 2021.
Discover the Abandoned Mansion of Yellowstone
This one-of-a-kind spooky structure can’t be missed as you approach Yellowstone National Park. Four million people a year drive by this abandoned mansion and so few know about its historic past. The house was once a grand tribute from Lee Smith to his wife and kids that turned into an unhealthy obsession that tore apart his beloved family. This rickety 75-foot-tall pile of 2×4 boards, logs, and nails all put together by hand is at the same time gorgeous and ghastly. The only reason the mansion stopped crawling up to the sky is because Mr. Smith fell off one of the pagoda towers one too many times and fell to his death at 48 years old. Locals have stories upon stories about Mr. Smith and the structure he built. It’s worth a stop to admire the architectural work of one man with no blueprints besides an idea in his head. Currently, there are no tours, but the mansion was sold in October 2019 to another owner, so hopefully, we’ll see some conservation efforts soon, as it’s one of the most unique things to do in Jackson Hole.