Looking to explore the great West? There are so many exciting things to experience in Wyoming that you’ll have trouble choosing which to do first.
From the ski slopes of Jackson Hole to the natural attractions and spectacular scenery of Yellowstone National Park, there’s something for everyone in Wyoming. With its breathtaking landscape and mountain views, endless opportunities for interactions with wildlife, and rich history of the old, wild West, it’s no surprise that Wyoming is one of the best places to visit.
One of the things that make Wyoming great is you can take things at a slower pace, relax and enjoy life, and appreciate the true natural beauty of Earth. The state is overflowing with things to see and do – from exploring museums dedicated to the old West or the National Museum of Wildlife Art to ghost towns and national parks; there is a myriad of exceptional places to visit in Wyoming. Below are the top attractions and best things to do in Wyoming.
Table of Contents
- Fun & Best Things to Do in Wyoming
- 1. Yellowstone National Park
- 2. Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum
- 3. Bighorn National Forest
- 4. Wyoming Dinosaur Center
- 5. Wyoming State Museum
- 6. National Elk Refuge
- 7. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
- 8. Hot Springs State Park
- 9. Devils Tower National Monument
- 10. Grand Teton National Park
- 11. Jackson Hole
- 12. Buffalo Bill Center of the West
- 13. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
- 14. Ames Brothers State Historic Site
- 15. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
- 16. Explore Wyoming’s Ghost Towns
- What is the best thing to do with kids in Wyoming?
- What are some fun things to do in Wyoming?
- What are some things to do in Wyoming when it’s raining?
- What are the best tourist attractions in Wyoming?
Fun & Best Things to Do in Wyoming
1. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park tops our list of the best things to do in Wyoming, and for a good reason. Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is the first and oldest national park in the USA.
Spread over 2.22 million acres, Yellowstone National Park contains over 10,000 hydrothermal features that include geysers, mud pots, and fumaroles. In addition to Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, it also has a diverse landscape with other spectacular lakes and limestone canyons, mountain meadows, pine forests, valleys, rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs.
On the list of the best national parks, it’s no surprise that Yellowstone National Park is home to some of the best wildlife viewings around. Bison, grizzly bears, elk, antelope, gray wolves, and bald eagles are common sightings. It’s truly the best place for nature lovers.
If you’re searching for the best hiking trails in the country, Yellowstone is home to more than 900 miles of crisscrossing hiking trails. Prior to heading into the park, stop by the Yellowstone Visitor Center, a ranger hut with brochures, souvenirs & films detailing the park & its best-known features.
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2. Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum
Address: 500 W Walnut St, Rawlins, WY 82301
The Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum is formerly Wyoming’s first state penitentiary. After serving the state for eighty years, the prison closed its doors and sat abandoned until 1987, when a low-budget movie titled “Prison” was filmed on location. The movie was one of Viggo Mortensen’s first and featured several other well-known actors. Significant damage was done to the prison grounds during filming because it had yet to be considered a historic site.
In 1988, a joint powers board assumed ownership of the penitentiary, dubbed it The Wyoming Frontier Prison, and established it as a museum. The Wyoming Frontier Prison has since been listed on The National Registry of Historic Places and offers tours to approximately 15,000 visitors annually.
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3. Bighorn National Forest
Address: Buffalo, WY 82834
Consisting of over 1.1 million acres, including Cloud Peak Wilderness’ 189,000 acres of accessible wilderness, the Bighorn National Forest offers a little for everyone with breathtaking scenery, a diversity of recreation experiences, and over 1,200 miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore.
While grizzly bears have not inhabited the forest since the early 20th century, black bears are widespread. Grizzly bears have made a comeback in the decades. Other large mammals include cougars, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and moose. Coyotes are also present in this forest. Numerous lakes are found within the forest, and most are naturally stocked with trout and at least 100 other fish species.
The Bighorn National Forest operates one visitor center: Shell Falls Interpretive Site. Shell Canyon is named for the shell fossils found in the sedimentary canyon walls.
Campgrounds and trails in the Bighorn National Forest are subject to severe winter weather conditions year-round. Due to this variability, the Forest cannot guarantee that all facilities will continue to be open throughout the season.
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4. Wyoming Dinosaur Center
Address: 110 Carter Ranch Rd, Thermopolis, WY 82443
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center is a rare dinosaur museum devoted to the advancement of education, outreach, and research. It is one of the best things to do in Wyoming with kids.
The Center provides outstanding hands-on geologic and paleontological experiences that are engaging and enjoyable for visitors of all ages. This world-class facility has over 58 mounted skeletons of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, in addition to thousands of fossils from across Wyoming and around the world.
Guests can take a peek into their preparation lab, where they can watch paleontologists expose the past or visit active dinosaur dig sites only 10 minutes away from the museum. Sign up for a Dig for a Day or Shovel Ready and experience paleontology firsthand as your personal paleontologists lead you on an adventure you will never forget. As one of the best places to visit in Wyoming, guests will have an unforgettable experience at one of the Top Ten dinosaur museums in the world.
5. Wyoming State Museum
Address: 2301 Central Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001
One of the most well-known museums in Wyoming is the Wyoming State Museum. It contains information about coal, wildlife, fossils, Native American culture, the Yellowstone National Park Service as well as many other exhibits that tell Wyoming’s story.
The museum also hosts various temporary exhibitions and provides travel exhibits to museums, libraries, schools, and other cultural institutions throughout the state.
One of the current exhibits is called the Hands-on Habitats Room. In this interactive room, children (and adults) can learn about the wildlife and habitats of Wyoming. Experience Wyoming’s night sky, play, cook around the campfire and see the natural world up close with a digital microscope. The museum is surely one of the best things to do in Wyoming with kids.
The Wyoming State Museum hosts various events throughout the year, such as lectures, exhibition receptions, and family events. Family day activities provide children and their families opportunities to explore Wyoming’s natural and cultural resources. The Wyoming State Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Wyoming State Museum and all of its programs are free.
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6. National Elk Refuge
Address: 675 E Broadway Ave, Jackson, WY 83001
The National Elk Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA. It was established in 1912 to guard the habitat and provide sanctuary for one of the largest elk herds. The National Elk Refuge is home to an average of 7,500 elk every winter.
The Refuge is controlled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. With a total area of 24,700 acres, the National Elk Refuge is bordered by Jackson on the southwest, Bridger-Teton National Forest on the east, and Grand Teton National Park on the north.
Visitors to the Elk Refuge may experience their Refuge through a number of utdoor recreational opportunities. Hunting, fishing, photography, wildlife watching, educational programs, and mountain biking are among the numerous activities available.
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7. Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Address: 965 Grey Rocks Road, Fort Laramie, WY 82212
Originally established as a private fur trading fort in 1834, Fort Laramie evolved into the largest and best-known military post on the Northern Plains before being abandoned in 1890. Now the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, it witnessed the entirety of America’s western expansion and the Indian resistance to encroachment on their territories. This is one of the top Wyoming destinations.
History buffs will definitely be in awe at this historic site. Filled with restored historic structures, it will take you back to the era in America when the West was, well, wild.
The Fort Laramie National Historic Site is a great place to visit for the entire family. Take a walking tour and explore the historic buildings of the museum. Then, check out the visitor center, and watch its 18-minute history video. There’s also a museum housing artifact, weapons, and uniforms.
Kids can become a Fort Laramie Junior Ranger and earn their Junior Ranger Badge! Pick up a Fort Laramie Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center. It’s a scavenger hunt to find information and clues about the fort.
Fort Laramie National Historic Site is open year-round. The park grounds are open from sunrise until sunset every day of the year. The Fort Museum and Visitor Center is open daily (with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day). Admission to the Fort Laramie National Historic Site is FREE.
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8. Hot Springs State Park
Address: 220 Park St, Thermopolis, WY 82443
The Hot Springs State Park consists of a group of springs that are natural sources of thermal water and is located in Thermopolis, Wyoming. The majority of the Hot Springs State Park is free to visit. There are two main attractions on site, which can be purchased separately or as a package that includes parking, entrance, and use of the pools.
The first attraction is a series of hot spring pools. The waterfalls into pools are graded by temperature, ranging from 110 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the temperature, the more expensive the fee for use. The lower grades do not charge people and mostly consist of children playing in the water.
The second attraction is a full-service spa that incorporates massage therapy with traditional spa activities such as facials and manicures. It also has an in-house bar and restaurant, which serves meals from a set menu.
The park is open year-round for both attractions, with the exception of some holidays. The pools are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays to allow for upkeep. Admission prices vary according to the size of the party, season, special events, and promotions. A combination ticket is also available if both attractions are purchased. However, the park is best enjoyed by family and friends.
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9. Devils Tower National Monument
Address: WY-110, Devils Tower, WY 82714
The Devil’s Tower National Monument, also known as Bear Lodge Butte, is among Wyoming’s natural wonders and is comprised of igneous rocks in the Bear Hut Ranger area of the Black Hills. The National Monument rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and is 867 feet from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet above sea level.
The Devils Tower is the first national monument in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt established it on September 24, 1906. The boundary of the Devils Tower National Monument is an area of 1,347 acres. Approximately 1% of the 400,000 annual visitors to the monument have climbed the Devil’s Tower, mainly using original climbing methods in recent years. Visit the National Parks Service website for more details on the hours of operation and admission fees of The Devils Tower National Monument.
10. Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park spans nearly 310,000 acres of grassland, marshes, valleys, and spectacular mountain scenery and wildlife. Grand Teton is a mountain in the Teton Range, which extends from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to southern Montana.
The first Anglo-American to see the Teton peaks is believed to be John Colter. After traveling with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter left the expedition during its return trip down Missouri in 1807 to join two fur trappers headed back into the wilderness. He spent the next three years wandering through the northern Rocky Mountains, eventually finding his way into the valley at the base of the Tetons, which would later be called Jackson Hole.
The park contains the largest bison herd managed by the federal government. There are nearly 1,000 bison living in Grand Teton National Park. In October, bison migrate between 2,500 miles (4,000 km) through Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho to winter in Yellowstone. Beyond bison, you can find bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and deer roaming around Grand Teton National Park. Wolves and grizzly bears are rarely seen, while coyotes and red foxes are more common.
Compared to the rest of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, Grand Teton National Park is located at a lower elevation, and it has a milder climate, which is why many animals still roam here during the winter months when others stay within the shelter.
When it is cold, most of Wyoming’s landscape is covered by snow. In winter, adventurers can go skiing and snowshoeing. The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park is when it’s not too hot and not too cold. The hottest months are July and August, and the coldest months are December and January. So plan accordingly. In warmer months, visitors take lake cruises or experience whitewater rafting, horseback riding, and hiking.
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11. Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole is one of the most popular Wyoming destinations. This well-known valley is formed by the Teton Mountains and the Gros Ventre Mountains. The nearby city of Jackson in western Wyoming has a population of around 10,500 people. Jackson Hole is best known for its skiing, fly fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Skiers and snowboarders can carve up the slopes of Snow King Mountain or Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Teton Village surrounds the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Thanks to its more than 2,500 acres of precipitous and often powder-packed ski terrain, it’s frequently voted one of the best ski resorts in the USA.
The nearby Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa offers ski-in access to an amazing grand mountain lodge. Indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, including the 22-person rooftop hot tub, plus the new SpaTerre and the lively Spur Restaurant & Bar, are the highlights of this Teton Village favorite.
With countless hiking trails, breathtaking scenery, and abundant wildlife, hiking in Jackson Hole is among the best things to do in Wyoming. Breathe in the fresh mountain air while exploring the wide variety of trails.
Visit their website for more information on Jackson Hole, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Teton Village. Finally, visitors to Jackson will also marvel at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. This family-friendly activity will have its guests inspired by artists’ interpretations of local wildlife, as well as art from around the world. For more information and to purchase tickets to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, visit their website.
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12. Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Address: 720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center of the West, previously the Buffalo Bill History Center, is made up of five museums, as well as a research library including wildlife art and artifacts of the western United States located in Cody, Wyoming.
The five museums are the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, the Draper Natural History Museum, and the Cody Firearms Museum. The Buffalo Bill Center was established in 1917 to look after the heritage of Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody.
Guests to the Buffalo Bill Center can experience all the thrills of living in the West by exploring cultures, trailblazing cowboys and cowgirls, classic and modern western artworks, and more.
Ten minutes down the road is the Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center. Visitors to the Buffalo Bill Dam can learn history and facts about the concrete arch dam through various films and taxidermy and catch some awesome up-close views of the reservoir.
It is the most senior and extensive museum building in the West. The New York Times once described it as “one of the most outstanding museums in America.” When looking for the best things to do in Wyoming, guests to the Buffalo Bill Center or Buffalo Bill Dam are sure to have a great time.
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13. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
Address: 4610 Carey Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001
The Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The museum was established in 1978. The museum is a charity organization devoted to explaining, protecting, and displaying the historical culture of Cheyenne, Cheyenne Border Day, Wyoming, and the western United States.
The museum houses the Cheyenne Frontier Hall of Fame. Permanent exhibits include Western horses and carts, the history and souvenirs of Cheyenne’s border riding celebrations, Cheyenne’s local natural history, pioneer handicrafts and clothing, and Western and folk art.
The Old West Museum of Cheyenne Territory homes “the world’s biggest outside rodeo and Western commemoration” and permanently display the Cheyenne Territory’s history. Clayton Danks, the winner of three CFD competitions before 1910, is the model cowboy on the horse Steamboat on the Wyoming trademark, the Bucking Horse and Rider.
His surviving family members donated the saddle, which Danks won in the CFD tournament in 1907, to the museum in September 2013. Shirley E. Flynn, director from 1987 to 1991, pinned the Frontier Days celebration’s history in her 1996 book Let’s Go! Let’s Show! Let’s Rodeo! The History of Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Across the street is the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. This beautiful botanical garden has a variety of landscapes plus a solar-heated conservatory and play area for kids. Guests and visitors to this area of town should plan a visit to both the Cheyenne Frontier Days Museum as well as the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens for a day filled with rich history and beautiful nature.
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14. Ames Brothers State Historic Site
Address: 210 Monument Rd, Buford, WY 82052
The Ames Monument is a giant pyramid in Albany County, Wyoming, created by Henry Hobson Richardson and devoted to brothers Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames Jr., who were Union Pacific Railroad financiers.
It marked the highest point of the First Transcontinental Railroad, reaching 8,247 feet (2,514 m). The town of Sherman rose around it, but then Union Pacific moved south, leaving Sherman as a ghost town. From 1866 to 1871, Oliver served as the president of the Union Pacific Railroad, while the U.S. representative from Massachusetts, Oakes, declared almost complete control of its construction.
In 1873, investigators charged Oakes with fraud related to railroad financing. Congress then condemned Oakes, who resigned in 1873 and died shortly after. The Ames Monument is open year-round, weather permitting.
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15. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Address: 1501 N Poplar St, Casper, WY 82601
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is an 11,000-square-foot center located on Interstate 25, northwest of Casper, Wyoming. The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center provides interactive programs, exhibitions, multimedia presentations, and special events pertaining to life on the road, from packing wagons to crossing rivers.
The Center commemorates Native American history, early explorers, and the travel corridor of the Oregon Trail, California Trail, as well as the Mormon and Pony Express trails. In addition, visitors can learn about the Bridger and Bozeman trails through hands-on, interactive exhibits, multi-media programs, and virtual education opportunities. Visiting the center is one of the best things to do in Wyoming with kids.
The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, Wyoming, is open April through October from 8 am to 5 pm and from November to March from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The Center is closed on Federal Holidays. Visits to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center are free.
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16. Explore Wyoming’s Ghost Towns
Checking out the different ghost towns is among the best things to do in Wyoming. The most well-known ghost towns in Wyoming include:
1. south pass city
South Pass City boomed with the discovery of gold in the late 1860s, and as a result, it became one of the busiest cities in the region.
Historians estimate that roughly 2,000 miners lived in run-down housing around the city, hauled their gold to the assay office, and spent their scores in the local community’s then-thriving businesses. By 1872, work at the Clarissa Mine dwindled, and most of the miners moved on, leaving behind the town they had created.
Visit this deserted settlement, which consists of more than 20 authentically restored structures, and partake in new pastimes such as panning for gold in Willow Creek and ordering a sarsaparilla soda at the Smith-Sherlock General Store.
2. Atlantic City
This town was decimated by the fire, making it look like a ghost town from afar. It started out as a railroad destination and quickly grew into an agricultural center for the region.
The day of the fire decimated all of the buildings and railroads, leaving very little behind to explore in this area. Atlantic City is haunted because of its tragic history. Heart-breaking things happened here, and they left a trail that can’t be forgotten.
The fire that destroyed this town had one very fortunate side effect: the fire drove all the residents away, so now there’s no one to shred their clothes or call things up out of thin air. It’s too bad Atlantic City isn’t more accessible than other towns. Setting foot in this place would make for excellent ghost hunting!
3. Rock Springs
In 1868, prospectors discovered coal in Wyoming, and things started to take off. Mining became Wyoming’s most profitable trade that bolstered the economy for things like farming, ranching, and other things.
The railroad was crucial in moving people, and things like coal, faster across Wyoming. At its peak, there were as many as 12 mines operating, making it one of the most profitable locations. Today, there are some things left over that have been refurbished, but most things are still present, making it one of the best things to see in Wyoming.
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What is the best thing to do with kids in Wyoming?
When traveling with kids and looking for the best Wyoming attractions, there’s no shortage of options. Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, the Buffalo Bill Center, and the National Museum of Wildlife Art are among the best places to visit with kids.
What are some fun things to do in Wyoming?
With its Wild West Heritage, there are plenty of fun things to do in Wyoming. Skiers can hit the slopes in Jackson Hole. Nature lovers can visit any of the several parks and forests. Visiting the Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and Hot Springs State Park will surely provide anyone with plenty of fun things to do in Wyoming.
What are some things to do in Wyoming when it’s raining?
Unfortunately, being known for its parks, spectacular scenery, and overall amazing outdoor experience, it would be pretty disappointing if it rained during your vacation in Wyoming. Nevertheless, the best options to make the most of it would be checking out any of the local museums: Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, National Museum of Wildlife Art, or the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. Keep an eye on the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum as well. They provide many family-friendly exhibits, activities, and events around town.
What are the best tourist attractions in Wyoming?
Without a doubt, the world-famous Yellowstone National Park tops the list of the best tourist attractions in Wyoming. If you’ve already been to Yellowstone, or are just looking for something different, then the Grand Teton National Park is another excellent attraction for nature lovers, and visiting the town of Jackson and Jackson Hole will provide an endless stream of tourist attractions and fun activities for adults, children, or the entire family.
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