Parents’ insider guide to family travel: Four Seasons Jackson Hole

Parents’ insider guide to family travel: Four Seasons Jackson Hole

By on October 2nd, 2013

Hiking with the kids in summer? Skiing and boarding in winter? Bike ride or sleigh ride? Wyoming’s Jackson Hole, in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, is family vacation gold. Here’s how to enjoy it with the whole family along.

Fishing is a simple pleasure. But with Wyoming’s Grand Tetons as a backdrop, fly-fishing in Jackson Hole is a serious bucket list checker-offer.

My husband Jake is always itching to fish. So we headed to Jackson Hole—the lot of us—myself, Jake, our four-year-old daughter Molly and my mother, Susan, who had just retired after 20 years of teaching kindergarten. When we asked her to join us on this trip, she exhaled a long breath. After working 12-hour days with 30+ kids in her class for two decades, she knew she was in for a good pampering. She knew Four Seasons would treat her right. She knew she deserved this.

And so we checked in at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, where the fly-fishing was superb, kids were catered to, moms could relax and retired grandmas could amble along on their rented bikes, straight towards the Grand Tetons.

Four Seasons Jackson Hole

Why go?

• With Four Seasons in Grand Teton National Park, Mother Nature in all her glory is at your doorstep.

Epic skiing and snowboarding during the winter months.

• Warm-weather outdoor adventure playground, even in early fall: downhill biking, horseback riding, paragliding, hiking, fishing, white water rafting, inner tubing up String Lake… (When we visited in September, the weather was a perfect 70-degrees and breezy.)

The laidback, cowboy vibe. Pack your boots, 10-gallon hats and your jeans, and work on that handlebar moustache, Dad. It’s Wyoming!

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

What the kids will love:

Animal sightings. Moose, bear, chipmunks, buffalo, horses, bison, hawks, a stealthy wolf or fox if you’re lucky.

The Extras. Molly found a stuffed moose on the bed, along with a book teaching her about the wildlife of Grand Teton National Park.

Scavenger hunt. Four Seasons staff gave Molly a list of places to see around the resort in exchange for stamps. At the end, an ice cream cone was her reward. She loved this!

Horseback riding. Arranged by the resort, we were given a car to drive out to Dusty Stables. Kids three and up can even ride their own horse! Molly was so excited to be riding her own horse that she talked non-stop through the entire one-hour ride into the majestic Wyoming mountains. (We think we saw her horse Mickey attempt to bite his own ears off.)

The pool. The staff walked around offering foot massages and Molly was offered complimentary milkshakes. We could have stayed all day.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

Stargazing—we set out for a night of stargazing with the resort’s astronomer and wildlife biologist. After they set up some delicious snacks and poured wine for the grown-ups, we looked at galaxies, comets, nebulae, double stars, planets and the moon with a state-of-the-art Schmitt-Casigranian telescope. (Ask the concierge.)

Stargazing at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

What you will love:

A happy kid. We parents know that when our kids are happy, we are happy. Without the light pollution of where we live in California, Molly was literally blown away when the night sky lit up with stars. She beamed (and chatted) while horseback riding—and she even got to pet a strange, friendly horse (I hoped he wasn’t rabid) who peeked over the fence during our bike ride.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

Picnicking. The resort prepared a gourmet picnic basket for us. So after our morning horseback ride, we drove our Four Seasons Mercedes Benz (not nearly as fancy as our Toyota Scion back home) into Grand Teton National Park and set up our amazing feast alongside Jenny Lake, complete with lobster salad and flourless chocolate cake.

Fly fishing on the Snake River. Jake indulged in this once-in-a-lifetime activity. Read more.

Fly Fishing at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

Evening with the Wolves. Travel with a Four Seasons naturalist to see wolves and their pups interacting in their natural habitat—from a safe and ethical distance. Guests enjoy a specially prepared dinner before hiking to watch the wolves with a high-powered spotting scope. We’re soooo coming back to do this next year! (July through September; ask regarding availability which may vary)

A couple’s massage at the spa for you and your spouse, while taking advantage of the resort’s babysitter services. Teens can entertain themselves at the Kid’s Club, where they have access to games room including a pool table and video games.

Look for:

The Handle Bar moustache pretzel.

Eat this:

Dine in—
Dinner at The Westbank Grill was divine. After indulging in a charcuterie platter, where we sampled housemade venison sausage and buffalo jerky, plus local cheeses, I tried the Sarsaparilla Braised Buffalo Short Ribs. The decadent meat literally fell off the bone and was accompanied by shared sides dishes of Truffle Potato Purée with Fried Shallots, Roasted Farm Mushrooms with Garlic Brandy Confit and Spicy Broccolini with Garlic and Oregano. Jake feasted on the half roasted duck, while my mom loved her light Alaskan Halibut. Read more on Taste!

The Westbank Grill also offers breakfast. Molly ate more on this trip than she has anywhere… ever!

The Westbank Grill at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

The Handle Bar offers food that is just as delicious in a more casual setting. We started to eat our dinner outside, but a freak sudden thunderstorm (typical to Jackson Hole) brought us inside. Although some might grumble at this, with our being used to consistently mild Southern California weather, this was quite thrilling! (I know. We’re annoying.)

Chef brought over the classic Handle Bar moustache pretzel, as well as Lobster Corndogs with whole grain mustard crème fraiche for dipping, Crispy Chicken Wings and Handle Bar Nachos.

The Handle Bar Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

Right off the lobby, Ascent Lounge serves an extensive list of inspired sushi rolls, appetizers, sushi and sashimi. We had to try the Snake River Wrangler roll, wrapped in Wagyu beef locally sourced from Snake River Farms. To die for!

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

Dine out—
If you want to eat off-property, take a free gondola ride to the top of the mountain where happy hour is served with million-dollar views. There’s also a fine dining venue, Couloir Restaurant, for those who want to make a night out of it.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

5 Family to-dos:

*…for summer and fall time in Jackson Hole. Read more on winter family activities.

1. Balloon Rides. When the first pink rays of the sun are peeking between the Tetons and the winds are the calmest of the day, depart at 6 am for a breathtaking balloon ride above the roaming wildlife of Jackson Hole (best-suited for teens and their parents).

2. Pool day. An easygoing lunch at The Pool Café while the kids play in the crystal blue water.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

3. Wildlife safari. The resort is all about nature and the preservation of the wildlife we as guests are lucky enough to enjoy. Educating children (and us grown ups) about the land—home to elk, moose, wolves, bison, bald eagles, coyotes and antelope—can be an amazing experience for the entire family.

4. Tram. Take the tram to the summit of Jackson Hole Mountain, where you can hike any of the trails that lead into rustic backcountry, or just enjoy the never-ending valley views. You can rent a Kelty Baby carrier to tote babies up to one year old.

5. Hike. Head to base camp, or visit the concierge to have your family hike at Grand Teton National Park mapped out for you by a professional. The resort chef can prepare a custom picnic for you to take along, too.

Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole

Read more about Jackson Hole in Four Seasons Magazine

Read our “Concierge Recommendations” for Jackson Hole in Four Seasons Magazine

Read about “Hiking with Kids in Jackson Hole” in Four Seasons Magazine

Post Author
Laura Gosselin

After receiving her undergraduate degree in English from Cal State University Long Beach in California, Laura Gosselin completed her MFA at Stony Brook Southampton. She has since served as a reporter for a local newspaper in New York, an editor for a national magazine in Vancouver, Canada, as well as senior copywriter for a marketing firm. She currently lives in southern California with her husband and daughter where she works as a producer for various Four Seasons' online platforms including Have Family Will Travel and Taste by Four Seasons.

View all posts from Laura
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