Family camping in Teton National Park is fun and exciting! Learn about the park, tips for camping, and exploring!
Grand Teton National Park is a hidden gem not far from Yellowstone National Park. With almost 500 square miles of beautiful scenery and geological ranges, this park is home to a wide variety of animals making is a great place for camping and hiking.
Like most National Parks, this one has a lot of available camping space for people wanting to take in the sites and explore mother nature. Grand Teton National Park camping has its positives and a few drawbacks, but the overall experience is worth it.
Camping at Grand Teton National Park
If you aren’t into pitching tents and sleeping on the ground, Grand Teton does have RV campgrounds available for reservations, but there are far more available camping locations for those who want to stay camp in a tent.
Unfortunately, the tent spaces available are not designed for huge spring bar tents. Anything bigger than a 10×10 tent isn’t going to fit. So just note that you will need a smaller and more accommodating tent to pack with you.
The park is divided into 2 sides, North Side and South Side.
The South side is mostly first come first serve camping areas (like Jenny Lake). They fill up very quickly so it’s best to plan to get there early. The south side has the grand views of the Tetons and Jenny Lake, but unfortunately, there isn’t a great shore area at Jenny Lake.
There is a lot to do around Jenny Lake including exploring the new visitor’s center and doing the moose ponds trail. Jenny Lake loop hike is great for the kids and the lodge, general store, and other little places are also really fun with kids. Not to mention there is also a fun boat ride that you can take across Jenny Lake.
A short drive away is Signal Mountian where you can take a short uphill walk to a grand view of the Tetons and a good portion of the park.
The North side of the park has even more campgrounds that you can reserve, like Coulter Bay. The Bay Area is really fun for kids and has a lot of shore areas to play on.
Around Jackson Lake, you’ll find a lot of easy hikes to go on and enjoy, they’re not steep and are pretty kid friendly too. On the lake, there are a lot of boats and canoes to rent and play on the lake with.
Things to know if you plan on camping at Grand Teton
1 There Are Bears
Because bears frequent the Teton National Park, every campsite is given a bear box for storage to prevent attracting bears. Some campgrounds may even have to share a bear box. Every scented item that you bring with you should be able to fit inside of the bear box. This includes deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, wipes, food, etc.
You’ll need to be extra cautious with your campsite and keep all food cleaned up and put away unless you’re currently using it. Never place any food inside your tent, backpacks, or pockets. We always pack our backpacks right before we leave to go on a hike or outing and then unpack them as soon as we get back to the campsite.
Because all of your cooking equipment should fit inside of the bear box as well, I do not recommend bringing larger pieces of equipment like dutch ovens or big camping stoves. Being minimal with your cooking equipment by simply bringing a small stove and easy to prepare meals is ideal.
Because of the bear population, you’ll also find brushing your teeth to be a slight inconvenience while camping. While there is water available in the campsites, you cannot use it to wash your dishes, hands, or brush your teeth. These are things that have to be done at a washing station near the bathrooms.
The plus side is that there are toilets available at the campgrounds and most of them are the flushing kind while a few are vault toilets.
If possible you should also take precautions with the type of vehicle you bring with you. Jeeps with a soft-top or pop up tent trailers are not bear proof. You’ll want to bring a vehicle with hard sides because they are much safer and more bear proofed.
2 There Is a Lot of Wildlife to Look For
Besides the bears, there are a lot more animals that live in this National Park including but not limited to deer, elk, moose, bald eagles, golden eagles, water birds, chipmunks, squirrels, and even buffalo. Word of caution, the buffalo and the moose can be just as dangerous as a bear, so never approach them (or any wildlife) and just be cautious.
For the safety of your pets, I recommend leaving them at home or with a trusted sitter. Pets are not allowed on any of the park trails and are only allowed where you can drive a car or on a paved path. With so few places for your pet to go, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the full beauty of this park, and your pet’s smell could attract dangerous wildlife.
3 There is a Lot for Kids to Enjoy
All of the visitor centers have fun and interactive things for the kids to do and enjoy. Although I must warn you that the shops and restaurants are all a tad pricey so I recommend bringing everything that you need so that you can avoid the unnecessary expenses.
With all of the shore play, visitors centers, small hikes, and interactive activities, your kids will have just as much fun here as you do!
When To Go Camping
Most of the park’s campgrounds are open by the first of June and then closed by the first of September, so it’s a very short window to go. The dates can also vary depending on the weather and the snow levels. You’ll want to check the National Park website for the exact dates and for information about road closures too. You can even look at the Grand Teton National Park Map for ideas on how to plot your stay.
In June, the park is still in it’s Spring season, with possible snow on the ground. The nights are cold and average around 30-40 degrees F.
July and August are the hottest months because it’s full-on summer in the park. Due to the high elevation, the weather here can change rapidly so be prepared for a variety of elements.
At the end of August and September, you have the Fall season. This means that in the park, it will start to cool off and become very chilly at night again. Another cool thing about the Fall is that a lot of the animals are active. This is because it’s breeding season, which makes spotting the wildlife easier this time of year.