National Parks have long been an important part of that age old American tradition of the family road trip, so it is understandable that the self-guided driving tour is one of the most common ways to see them. For many though, there is that nagging voice telling them to dig just a little deeper; If that feeling rings a resounding bell, consider one of these unique options to see Yellowstone in a whole new light.
Get away from it all
To truly leave the world behind, Far and Away Adventures offers the once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit a southern arm of Yellowstone Lake, part of one of the most remote regions in North America. Their family friendly two night itineraries include boat transportation to and from camp, hiking, paddling, fishing or just some rest and relaxation. And the icing on the cake? The end of the day will bring a gourmet meal complete with tablecloths and stemware, and camping luxury in a large canvas tent with all the accompaniments of home (less the big screen and broadband, of course!).
Take a ride back in time
Many people think of the iconic red Jammer buses in relation to Glacier National Park, but often do not realize that Yellowstone has a historic fleet all their own. Fully restored and returned to use in 2007, these canvas topped touring cards are a throw-back to a more leisurely age of park travel. In-park concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts offers partial day tours that depart from most in-park hotels, custom charters for those who want to personalize their experience and multi-day package itineraries.
Add some education to the adventure
A long-time steward of the park which began as a research library in 1933, the Yellowstone Association offers field seminars for all ages and interests; take a look into the park's human history with 'Ghost Hotels', spread your wings with 'Soaring Over Yellowstone: Eagles' or hone your skills of observation with 'Mammal Signs: Interpreting Tracks, Scat and Hair'. Courses are held in Gardiner, Mont., the Buffalo Ranch nestled in the heart of Lamar Valley and at other locations within the park based on their subject, immersing participants in their surroundings from beginning to end.
Bundle up and hit the snow
When winter rears its head and blankets the park in frost, Yellowstone takes on a whole new face and only a mere fraction of the 3 million annual visitors will ever see these sights. Steam overtakes the landscape, colors appear more vivid against the snowy white backdrop and wildlife sightings are shared with just few others at a time. The interior park roads are open for the winter season from December 15 through March 15 and snowcoach and snowmobile tours are offered from the north, east, south and west entrances, with overnight accommodations available at Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful Snow Lodge from around December 18 through the first weekend in March.