Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country! If you don’t book at least 18 months in advance then you will not be able to get booked into one of the on-site lodges (despite there being nine!)! Instead, most people who want to stay in hotels or lodging that isn’t camping or an RV, will need to stay outside of the park. In this guide we round up the best places to stay near Yellowstone National Park to make the most of your vacation!
Best Places to Stay Near Yellowstone National Park
Where to Stay Near Yellowstone – A Comparison Guide
When looking to stay outside of Yellowstone National Park there are four main areas that people tend to consider staying in:
- West Yellowstone
West Yellowstone is the closest town to a park entrance. Merely a couple of minutes drive. From the West Yellowstone Park Entrance you are about 40 minutes away from the Old Faithful Geyser. In my opinion this is definitely the best place to stay outside of Yellowstone National Park. This area is also good for families travelling to Yellowstone as there are plenty of restaurants and also the Grizzly and wolves centre.
This is the town closest to the North Entrance. This town is the best place if you want to be close to the Mammoth Hot Springs, and Boiling River and is ok for visiting the Lamar Valley. I would not advise staying here for your whole Yellowstone trip but only a day or so if you want to be closest to Mammoth Hot Springs.
- Cooke City
Cooke City is the closest place to the North East Entrance to the park. Like, Gardiner, I would only recommend staying at Cooke City for a couple of days of your Yellowstone trip as it is quite far away from lots of sites. It is however a good place to locate yourself if you want to get in the park early to see wildlife in the Lamar Valley!
- Grand Teton National Park & South Entrance
Many people wish to combine a trip to Yellowstone with a trip to Grand Teton National Park. However I would not advise staying at the Grand Teton end of Yellowstone as it is simply not practical for most of the sites and would be a big commute.
If like us you want to stay in one place during your Yellowstone Vacation then we definitely recommend staying in West Yellowstone of all of the outside park entrances. However if you don’t mind moving during your Yellowstone itinerary then you could rotate where you stay to cover each entrance. This is beneficial for those who want to be at certain areas of the park very early and late especially if you are prioritising wildlife viewing.
Please note; if you are not travelling in summer it is worth checking which entrances are likely to be open as most of the entrances to Yellowstone are seasonal! For more information on which entrances are open when check out this guide!
Advantages to Staying In Yellowstone Versus Near to Yellowstone National Park
Advantages of Staying In Park
- You can get in the park early before the crowds
- Less travel time to sites
- Better for those prioritising wildlife spotting
- Easier to take a break in the middle of the day
Advantages of Staying Near Yellowstone
- You don’t have to be so organised. The in park lodges require advance planning and organisation because of how far in advance they become fully booked. If you are travelling more last minute then the outside lodges are better for you
- More amenities
- Less expensive
- More choice of restaurants!
Best Places to Stay In West Yellowstone
While we were in West Yellowstone we stayed at the Days Inn West Yellowstone. While the rooms were nothing fancy they were clean and spacious and the hotel had a pool with a good slide which is great for littles that need to blow off some steam at the end of the day! It is also conveniently located at walking distance from everything in the centre of West Yellowstone itself! So if you are looking for a more budget option (for Yellowstone) with good amenities, walking distance to restaurants and easy acmes to the West Yellowstone entrance then the could be a great choice for you.
Other Choices in West Yellowstone with good online ratings are as followed (to check prices and availability please click on the below links):
- Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
- World Mark West Yellowstone
- Explorer Cabins West Yellowstone – a great choice for those wanting some kitchenette facilities in their room.
- Kelly Inn West Yellowstone
- Yellowstone Lodge
- Gray Wolf Inn and Suites
- Clubhouse Inn
For those wanting a more outdoors experience outside of the Park should consider Under Canvas Yellowstone! A perfect glamping experience! Under Canvas has been on my radar for a long time and they pretty much can be found near a lot of the national parks or national monuments. As we booked our trip to Yellowstone last minute Under Canvas was unfortunately fully booked. Relatives of ours are however staying here in the summer and a review will be coming so watch this space.
Hotels near Yellowstone north entrance aka Gardiner Yellowstone Hotels
If you decide that you want to stay in Gardiner for some of your time to get into mammoth hot springs and the boiling river early the following hotels are well located and have good online rankings:
- Super 8 Wyndham Gardiner
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn
- Park Hotel Yellowstone
- The Roosevelt-Yellowstone
- Absaroka Lodge
Hotels near Yellowstone north east entrance aka Best Places to Stay in Cooke City Montana
The size of Cooke City Montana means that there are only a few options for hotels near the Yellowstone North East Entrance. The main hotels with decent reviews online are:
These are perfect for the wildlife enthusiasts who want to be in the park early in the morning and at dusk at the optimal wildlife viewing times!
Hotels near Yellowstone South entrance
Although I do not recommend basing yourself near South Entrance for the whole trip to Yellowstone however if you do decide to spend a night near the South Entrance the following lodge is only 2.1 miles from the entrance and is rated highly.
This might be convenient for those who want to combine both a Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park trip.
When To Book Your Accommodation Near Yellowstone
This is definitely a case of do what I say not what I do. We did a last minute trip to Yellowstone so had no choice when it came to where to stay as lots of places were fully booked or hideously expensive for what they were. Therefore if you can my advice would be definitely to book as early as you can. Accommodation for the following year opens usually a year in advance from May. If you want to stay on site then be sure to find out the exact date to avoid disappoint. I would recommend starting to plan your Yellowstone trip at least 18 months in advance to ensure you have a great pick of accommodation however we are proof that you can do a last minute trip to Yellowstone.
Further Yellowstone National Park Reading
- Yellowstone Itineraries -1-4 Days
- Yellowstone Packing List
- Where to Stay Near Yellowstone National Park
- Best Things to Do in Yellowstone with Kids
- National Park Bucket List
Have you stayed near Yellowstone? Where did you stay and would you recommend it?
Thursday 23rd of April 2020
Great Information, Thank you.
We will be flying to Yellowstone from the East Coast. Which would be the best city/airport to fly into for the West Yellowstone Entrance?
Saturday 20th of April 2019
I've been to Yellowstone but only in the winter. I can't wait to visit in the summer! Your pictures are amazing!