Y’all, Wyoming is truly as great as you’ve heard it to be. I recently spent a month on the road exploring the western part of the United States with my two year old and four year old. There was so much I wanted to see, but I couldn’t help but to spend most of the time in Wyoming. A Wyoming road trip is just too glorious to pass up!
I wanted to give you something that isn’t obvious. We all know that the Teton’s and Yellowstone are popular and incredibly beautiful. Here are 10 Wyoming cities that aren’t what people first think of when you hear “Wyoming”. They’re full of delicious food, historic significance and serious family fun in the equality state.
The western part of Wyoming may get all the hype for the Tetons and Yellowstone, but you’d be crazy to skip the south easter part of the state. Cheyenne being the capital city of Wyoming lets you know it’s going to be chock full of fun things to do with the kiddos.
What makes Cheyenne worthy of a stop on your Wyoming road trip?
That’s easy. The food is to die for, the museums are fantastic, an epic free botanical gardens, and they’re home to the Cheyenne Frontier Days where they have concerts, rodeos, food festivals, carnivals and much more!
To learn about traveling to Cheyenne check out my post on visiting Cheyenne with kids! —> My full post on Cheyenne with kids is here!
There are two main things to do in Gillette. This is nice because depending on if you’re more of a #optoutside traveler or someone who likes to be in the city or indoors, there’s something for you in Gillette!
Gillette is home to the Rock Pile Museum (which we love!) and the Fronteir Auto Museum. Gillette also has the Eagle Butte Coal Mine. This is a good option for homeschoolers or education driven travelers. You can make a reservation at the visitors center in Gillette and check out this coal mine, see how mine equipment works, and more.
Last but not least is the Durham Bison Ranch. When I was 15, I toured a bison ranch in Indiana and have been way into bison farms ever since. I can’t recommend checking out the the buffalo ranch enough. They are such interesting animals, you can get bison products straight from the source, and seeing the inner workings of a ranch is fascinating.
An ideal small town for family travelers with young kids because they have a children’s museum! As a mom of a toddler and a preschooler, I get excited when I see a town has a children’s museum or a children’s garden at the local botanical gardens. If you have kids this age, I know you do too.
There’s also an awesome Museum of The American West which focuses on Native Americans, military, and settlers of the American West. Then you have the Fremont County Pioneer Museum which has a huge main indoor exhibit to check out, as well as outdoor sites to see around the museum that kids will love.
Surprisingly, in the wide open country state of Wyoming, you can get a wide variety of cuisine: Korean, Chinese, Italian, Thai, and more! However, if you’re wanting some typical “cowboy cuisine”, they have you covered for that too.
A good option is The Oxbow on Main Street in Lander. It’s a family family restaurant where you can chicken fried steaks, ribs, country gravy, and fried chicken.
Oh, Buffalo! Given the name you’d probably expect more bison, but no.
Buffalo actually has a wool mill! You can watch the employees take the wool through all of the equipment and purchase the wool or products made from the wool. This is another good option for education driven travelers as well as people who are crafty! You can buy beautifully colored yarn for crocheting, knitting, and crafting your next project.
Buffalo is also home to the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum. Besides it being a must visit museum, it’s also in a perfect location. There are more than 15 restaurants within a .3 miles of the museum! So perfect to be able to see the museum and grab lunch within walking distance.
Heading west out of Buffalo you can take the iconic US Highway 16. This road is no joke one of the most BREATHTAKING roads you can drive on in the United States. I actually hadn’t heard about it until my GPS just happened to take me on it. You go through the mountains and canyons, by the river and if you keep going, you’ll reach the little town of Ten Sleep in the Big Horn Mountains.
If you are able, please please drive along US HWY 16 between Buffalo and Worland, Wyoming. It’s something I wish everyone could see in the lifetime; no pictures could ever do it justice.
Start your time in Dubois at the Dubois Museum. It’s a small museum but is great because it allows children to interact with exhibits. An engaged kiddo is a happy kiddo! Your kids will also love Dubois Town Park. They have a walk trail and an awesome play ground.
The star of the show in Dubois is the National Bighorn Sheep Center. They have an interpretive museum that teaches not only about the big horn sheep but about other wildlife in Wyoming, as well as Native American history in Wyoming.
Look for a those huge cowboy portions of food that you can get in Wyoming? Dubois is where it’s at! Head to the Cowboy Cafe. They’ve got huge breakfasts, trout, burgers, and you can get a slice a pie with ice cream scooped on top that is the size of your head. seriously. It’s such a small town Wyoming gem that’s complete with an old west wooden exterior and decor.
You probably won’t be hearing people tell you to visit Worland while you’re on your Wyoming road trip… but you absolutely should. Over tourism is a serious problem. For a lot reasons, but for you as a traveler, it sucks because they’re too many people everywhere, long lines, packed parking lots, and it’s hard to enjoy places when there are so many people around.
That being said, I am a huge advocate for encouraging people to truly travel off the beaten path. It’s good for your overall travel experience and for small towns who need tourism to stay afloat.
This is why you need to visit Worland on your Wyoming road trip!
First, check out the Washakie Museum & Cultural Center. We visited a lot of museums in Wyoming and some were more entertaining for my daughters than the others. This one was a hit! There’s a lot of interactive aspects that are actually on their level and tons of dinosaur fossils which was fascinating.
They also tell the history of the Native Americans of the area which I really love. I think we should all make an effort to learn about the original custodians of the land that we’re travelers on.
Your kids will love walking where the dinosaurs walked at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. The site is interesting for education driven adult travelers as well. The Red Gulch site use to be near a beach, closer to the equator than where Cancun, Mexico is today! And the best part is that there is more than 20 restaurants within 5 miles of the site which is always a positive for roadtrippers.
Getting breakfast in Worland? The choice is easy, The Brass Plum. Or if your looking for a cheap family sit down lunch or dinner, I recommend Maggies. They’re a small country type restaurant that really immerses you in what Wyoming culture is like.
A Wyoming road trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Cody. And a trip to Cody wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. It’s known to be one of the most interesting museums in Wyoming and is a must visit for your road trip! After you tour the museum, you can stop for a bite to eat at one of the more than 30 restaurants within .75 miles of the museum.
Cody is also home to the Plains Indian Museum, the Cody Firearms Museum, and the quirky Cody Dug Up Guns Museum.
You should also check out the Old Trail Town while you’re in Cody. 27 historic frontier town buildings have been reconstructed along with wagons used in the old west. One of the coolest things in the Old Trail Town is that they have the Hole In The Wall Cabin where outlaws of the “hole in the wall gang” would regularly visit.
You can walk through the same door as Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid and other outlaws of the gang. How cool is that!
You can see natural hot springs and buffalo in Wyoming without ever stepping foot in Yellowstone.
Travel like a local in Wyoming by going to Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis.You can bike around the park next to the bison heard, soak in the free healing waters of the natural spring, walk across the swinging bridge and let your kids play on the playground.
Also in Thermopolis is the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. If you don’t already know, you soon will find out on your Wyoming road trip that archeology and dinosaur digs/finds is a large part of Wyoming tourism. Tons of fossils are found throughout Wyoming, and Montana & South Dakota as well.
They have a super impressive collection of fossils and dinosaur bones. They’re also one of only a few dinosaur museums that have an excavation site within driving distance. You can actually dig there yourself and so can your kids. Finding and digging up a fossil or dinosaur bone would be the best Wyoming road trip activity ever!
“What did you do in Wyoming?” “Oh you know just discovered and dug up a dinosaur fossil. No big deal!” haha
Read my full post on Thermopolis with kids is here!
Laramie will be the town of museums and food on your Wyoming road trip. It’s the home to the University of Wyoming so education is a big part of the towns culture.
You should start at the University of Wyoming Dinosaur Museum. For family travelers, dinosaur museums always hop to the top of the list. In Laramie the University of Wyoming Art Museum is also a good option.
Now you may be thinking, “There’s dinosaur museums and art museums everywhere in Wyoming. Is there anything unique to do in Laramie?” Why yes, yes there is. You should check out the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Site.
The site is a former government prison built in the 1800’s. It held violent outlaws like the famous Butch Cassidy during the turmoil of the wild west. You can see the cells and personal items left behind by the convicts that were housed there. If you don’t get the chance to stop by the prison site, check out the inmates here. It’s so cool to read about the different people held there and what their crimes where.
Casper easily makes this list of towns to visit on your Wyoming road trip because there’s an abundance of things to do in the town. It’s a good town to choose to stop for a night or two in Wyoming.
If you’re the type of traveler that always likes for there to be something to do that’s made for kids on your travels, Casper is another good choice. The Science Zone in Casper has hands on interactive activities that kids will love. It’s a great way to keep the kids moving around and engaged for a couple hours on your road trip.
For more dinosaurs, head to the Tate Geological Museum. For learning about the history of Casper, there’s the Fort Casper Museum and the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.
If you’re looking for a free and kid-friendly museum in Casper, check out the Werner Wildlife Museum. They have an array of taxidermy animals from around the world that will have your little ones intrigued.
Anything else you need to see while you’re in Casper? YES! You should check out the Casper Planetarium. You wouldn’t expect a small town like Casper to have such a nifty planetarium, but they do! You can check their calendar for show times and see shows like “Earth, Moon, and Sun” for around only $3.
When you’re planning your road trip it’s so hard to narrow your list of things to see down enough to fit into your road trip time frame. I get it! These cities made this list because they have a lot to offer people traveling with kids. Full of history and natural beauty, these cities would be perfect for a Wyoming road trip with kids or solo!
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