Great Family Adventures: Austin-Lehman Adventures' 'Yellowstone National Park Family Adventure'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Mminc10/Wikimedia Commons

HIGHLIGHTS: Yellowstone in summer is a sight to behold. It bristles with all of nature’s glory, offering chances to meet its elusive wolves, stand at the edge of iridescent geothermal pools, and look out onto sweeping landscapes peppered with bison. Austin-Lehman’s six-day offering, designed for families, makes full use of all this majesty. First things first, though: Register the kids for Yellowstone’s “Junior Ranger” program. Then expert guides lead you on hikes— into Yellowstone's backcountry, up Bunsen Peak, and to the rim of Yellowstone’s 1,000-foot-deep Grand Canyon—and take you horseback riding, with a fourth-generation cowboy, into the Absarokas. You’ll also raft the Yellowstone River (its rapids are great for beginners). Watch for elk, eagles, and grizzlies during a drive through wild Hayden Valley; see Old Faithful blow; get a whiff of smelly, gurgling Mud Volcano; and soak in an array of natural hot springs. There’ll be comfortable lodgings along the way, and good food, including an adult-only dinner made possible by a poolside pizza party for the kids. This trip is recommended for ages six and older.

OUTFITTER: The founder of Austin-Lehman Adventures, Dan Austin, nurtured his kids on adventure travel. His daughter, Kasey, now oversees the Montana-based company’s family-themed trips—more than 30 active, small-group offerings that go all over the world.

ITINERARY: Bozeman, Montana, to Big Sky, Ousel Falls, Lower Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Lake, Storm Point, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, Lamar Valley, Absaroka Mountains, Chico Hot Springs, and back to Bozeman.

DATES: Departures on June 16, 23, and 30; July 7, 14, 21, and 28; and August 4, 11, and 18.

PRICE: From $2,198 per adult and $1,758 per child, including lodging (at Old Faithful Inn, Lake Yellowstone Hotel , Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, and Chico Hot Springs Resort), most meals, guide services, use of all necessary gear, ground transportation, taxes, gratuities, national-park entrance fees, and a money-back satisfaction guarantee.

INFO:, (800) 575-1540.

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