Kraft Family Vacation 2021 is underway! Get ready for a lot of photos ☺️
Last year we had our inaugural Kraft Family Vacation, where Jordan’s parents, his brother Morgan and wife Jewels, other brother Brian and his daughter, and our family headed to the Outer Banks for a week and a half.
While traveling last year we decided that this year would be the time to do our family trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Park!
This year, we were able to round up most of the Krafts again, including the parents, Morgan and Jewels, Jordan’s sister Meghan and her husband and daughter, and our family of four (soon to be five!).
Our trip began on Monday with an early flight from DFW to Bozeman, Montana. Three of our families were on the same flight, so we had extra help with the kids which was fantastic. Morgan and Jewels drove their converted van up from Texas to help carry a bunch of food and gear.
We booked an Airbnb in Island Park, on the west side of Yellowstone for our first week. If you’d like to rent the same cabin, you can check it out here.
After arriving in Bozeman we stopped for a quick bite to eat with the kids and grabbed some necessities at Costco, then headed to Island Park to settle into the house.
Since we had 8 adults and three small children on the trip we planned home cooked meals for dinners and easy snacks (granolas, chips, fruit, gummy snacks for the kids), as well as sandwiches for lunches. Dinner the first night was a yummy crustless sausage quiche. The kids went to bed without a fuss and the adults had some good catching up to do with a few beers and glasses of wine. We tucked in pretty early as we had a long day of travel and planned an early start.
The kids had us up even earlier than expected (ours were up at 4:15am), so we got packed up and hit the road before 7am. Our drive into Yellowstone was about an hour and a half.
We headed to Old Faithful first, correctly assuming it would be mobbed. The park was already quite busy, so we were thankful we made it in on the early side.
After watching the geyser erupt, we took everyone on a walk down to Morning Glory Pool.
After meandering down the 1.5 mile trail and back, we headed over to the cars to grab some lunch. The kids demolished their PBJs and chips, and then we packed up to drive up to Mammoth Hot Springs. We hoped the hour and a half drive would give the kids a chance to nap in the car.
Once we arrived at Mammoth, we popped the kids in their baby carriers and trekked up the side of the spring. The kids enjoyed their sun shades while we climbed what felt like 600 stairs.
After our brief stop at Mammoth we headed into the town for some much needed ice cream and coffee. The kids were pretty worn out and we had a long drive back to the house so we hit the road.
Unfortunately due to people slowing down and not pulling off the road to look at animals, we ended up sitting in an additional hour of traffic on our way out of the park. It was pretty rough with the kids, so we planned future departures earlier in the day.
The next morning we again hit the road bright and early with the kiddos (although thankfully they slept a little longer!). Our goal today was to hit the Painted Pots area (Fountain Paint Pot Trail), including Biscuit Basin and the Lower Geyser Basin.
The kids loved running up and down the boardwalk looking at all the springs and geysers.
After the Painted Pots we headed just up the road to the Fairy Falls trail. The hike round trip is about 4 miles, and not only took us to a beautiful hidden waterfall, but also gave us a less crowded overlook of the Grand Prismatic Spring, which was completely packed most days if you wanted to walk the boardwalk.
We ate lunch with the whole family out at Fairy Falls, but beware if you choose to eat out here with kids, the chipmunks are incredibly aggressive! They’ve clearly been fed by too many hikers.
After our hike we headed up to the Norris Geyser Basin where we could let the kids roam the boardwalks again. Norris was where Jordan and I stayed on our first visit to Yellowstone, and also near where we went on our ranger-led hike.
Shortly after our hike at Norris we headed back to the house for a well-deserved early evening. We set crock-pots most days so that food would be ready for us when we got back to the house, and the green chili stew we had this evening was a delicious welcome home after a long day of hiking with the kids.
The next day we continued on our journey through Yellowstone (our last day here!), stopping at the upper rim of Yellowstone Falls for some gorgeous views. Morgan and Jewels took the morning to go fishing while we explored the waterfall.
We meandered our way down to the beautiful old Yellowstone Lake Hotel, also stopping by the Mud Volcano and Dragon’s Mouth Spring along the way. Charlie just had to walk the boardwalk with her Ruby dragon to see the spring.
The kids enjoyed running around the Yellowstone Lake Hotel, and Parker especially enjoyed playing in the old phone booth with its pay phone. Jordan grabbed some ice cream sandwiches for everyone from the nearby general store, so we cooled off with those before getting back on the road.
We tucked in for an early evening after a long few days with the family, ready for our day trip to Grand Tetons in the morning! This will be Jordan and my first time visiting that park, so we are excited to add another National Park to our list!
We’ll be back soon with another update!