family camping in grand teton national park!

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in july, our family camped in grand teton national park (we also explored yellowstone for a day since it was about an hour drive from our campsite- photos below). camping was high on our list of something we wanted to attempt this summer together, and since we were planning to see family in wyoming towards the end of july, we figured it was a great excuse to tack on a national park out west to our itinerary and explore the grand tetons together. overall, we had a great time! it was our first time camping with all 5 kids (we had camped twice before with our older 3 and josh and i had camped just once before we had kids), but this felt like a little bit of a bigger endeavor since both baby girls are just walking and i wasn’t sure how this all would play out.

since this was our first time camping with 5 kiddos, we decided to go for a campsite at colter bay village, which meant they had a small grocery store, a restaurant, and a laundry and showers facility within walking distance from our site, about a mile away. it just felt a little more doable knowing we had access to those things if needed (not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing to admit we never took advantage of the showers or laundry for those 5 days though! we all smelled and looked great by our final morning. we did, however, take full advantage of the hot cinnamon rolls at the grocery store two of the mornings we camped! #worthit.)

i’d say our biggest saving graces that made this trip comfortable and pleasant (and as stress free as you can get with two 14 month olds) would be having our stroller with us (we always had them strapped in when the fire was going as a safety precaution), having really comfortable blow up mattresses under our sleeping bags (the only way to camp in my opinion!), the girls’ snow bunting suits which they slept in since temperatures dropped in the nights to about 35 to 40 degrees (although they hated wearing them and i’d have to sneakily put them on after they’d fallen asleep, you can see a visual of that in this video right here, HAHA), and having bug spray on hand at all hours because the mosquitoes in this area were bigger and more aggressive than i’d ever seen.

i’d say the other thing that made this trip comfortable and pleasant was keeping a very flexible itinerary each day as well as an open mind for the week. we took it one day and one night at a time, and while we ended up shaving one night off on our final day (we packed up just before bedtime instead of the following morning) having that mindset made each day (and night) feel like a win.

we kept cooking on the simpler side for this trip. for breakfast, we cooked bacon and eggs or oatmeal and hot chocolate and fruit. we also brought pancake mix but ended up doing cinnamon rolls and muffins at the grocery store a few times because they were so good! we did some sandwiches and homemade ice cream (with our ice cream ball) and josh made steak and potatoes one night and corn and hot dogs another night (we did the restaurant once after boating and also ate at yellowstone.) we also did plenty of s’more roasting because – #camping!

for practicality purposes, we left our camping gear in wyoming at josh’s parents’ home since we plan to do more of our camping out west in the coming years (i really want to camp at zion or moab in utah again like we did a few years ago because desert camping is seriously my favorite.)

photos below…

is it weird that i love my marshmallow super burnt around the edges? i kept telling the kids during this trip, if your marshmallow catches fire and starts to burn, don’t throw it away! i’ll eat it!

went rented two boats (our family was too big for just one) and boated around jackson lake one afternoon which was a major highlight for all of us. so. much. fun. and also, so freaking beautiful everywhere we went. proud of these babies for keeping life jackets on (i was very worried because on shore they really fought them) but once they got distracted by the water and helped steer a bit, neither touched them again. beatrice ended up falling asleep on me as we boated around, which was very sweet to have a tiny cuddle buddy snuggled close as we circled around.

leg kicks on bear hunts (you can see all of our lake photos from this hike right here if you missed them when i shared last month. one of the prettiest spots – and a short hike from our site at colter bay village as well.)

conrad took this photo of me and madalena smooching! he also took about 30 photos of my shoe and the table bench, but this one! this one! gold!

we did a little day trip and drove up to yellowstone where we did old faithful and the grand prismatic spring since it was just about an hour and a half drive from our campsite. full disclosure, we were so stoked for yellowstone but it was so incredibly overly crowded the day we went that you’d have to wait close to an hour just to find a parking spot at some of these popular spots. i understand that is what you get when you go to some of these incredibly iconic attractions like old faithful, but after having had such incredibly quiet and peaceful moments at grand teton national park over the prior couple days, yellowstone was trickier for us to enjoy. we’d for sure love to give it another go in the future because the majority of people i know who have been speak so fondly of it, but for us, grand teton was the big win out of both parks this trip.

how absolutely stunning is this grand prismatic spring?!

a little bit of a funny comment from conrad as we were watching old faithful erupt– josh leaned over and asked conrad what he thought of it. conrad shrugged his shoulders and asked, “so, when we going back to new york?!” bless him.

the older kiddos didn’t care to be in this photo with old faithful but eleanor still snapped a photo of the baby girls and josh and me in front of it on my phone! thanks, eleanor. :)

this little butterfly (moth?!) friend landed on samson maybe 7 or 8 times one afternoon! it was adorable how many times the pair reunited in the woods over the course of a half hour or so. samson was elated.

camping with these two meant for about every 5 seconds, 3 of them were a little bit stressful. ;) i definitely just tried to chill and allow them to explore and touch the dirt and rocks and be free to really discover and play. they had the best time out there just roaming around the site. we were all so very dirty by our final day, but especially these two. even when i was trying to keep them wiped down rather frequently. glad mountain dirt doesn’t really seem dirty to me.

this sweetheart spent many hours consumed by her books. :)

papa’s tiny sous chef!

a fantastic trip that we all really enjoyed. we’re anxious to make more memories camping in the years to come, especially as the kids grow older and we can possibly look into longer hikes or bigger outdoor activities.

  1. Brenda

    That rope obstacle course looks so cool! Was that from L.L.Bean as well?! Would be a great addition to our cottage :)

    • josh

      The kids loved playing on it. Slackers Ninjaline.

  2. Katie

    Can you share with us what books Eleanor likes? And the other kids? I have children almost the exact ages of yours—except my last baby is single—no twins! 😊

  3. Steve Goldston

    I loved your stories, pictures, comments. My wife and I actually worked in Colter Bay for 3 of 7 years total in the GTNP. We lived it but if you ever get another chance to camp, I would highly recommend the Gros Ventre campground on the southern fringe of GTNP. It is where we worked and luved the other four years of our Teton adventure as workampers. Keep the kids outside and enjoy your lives.

    • josh

      Steve, thank you so much for your comment. What a great tip! And thank you for working hard at making the Park so enjoyable.

  4. Sonia


    Your trip looks awesome! Are those the fat brain ropes/climbing set? What watches are your older kiddos wearing? Thanks !

    • josh

      Thanks, Sonia. Slackers Ninjaline. Freestyle Shark Classic Mini watches.

  5. Chelsey

    Utah girls, lovin’ the mountain dirt. There have to be nutrients in there, right!?

  6. kelly

    Can you please share Eleanor’s favorite books?

  7. ashley

    How did you pack for this? Or did you purchase all camping gear (coolers, air mattresses, tents, cooking stove etc) in Wyoming once there? Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing!

    • josh

      Hi Ashley,

      Since we went straight from the airport to the National Park and campground, we prepped everything here in New York beforehand and brought it with us on the plane. (We tested out a lot of the gear at home before heading out, which is important.) We put it all in large duffel bags (organized ahead of time by cooking supplies, sleeping stuff, and recreation/games) and then the tent had its own bag. We chose a campground that had a general store/grocery store near by, so that we could buy some groceries, firewood, and ice our first morning there and start having fun right away. That’s it!

  8. Ashley

    Please tell me that you weren’t out on boats with the kiddos WITHOUT lifejackets??? Yikes. Otherwise looks like a great trip.

  9. Mary Ellen Mitchell

    I’m wondering how you got such a private campsite. Our experience with national parks is that campgrounds are like parking lots.