We spent around a week in July adventuring (and working remotely) in our van in Grand Tetons National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Here, we have compiled our top recommendations for things to do and places to go in the area! This guide is especially helpful for fellow van life friends out on the road.
Dispersed Camping near Grand Teton National Park
When it comes to camping at Grand Teton National Park, there are an abundance of options. There are obviously paid campgrounds in and around the national park. However, we usually prefer dispersed camping since it is free and there are often epic views!
Here are a few options for the area:
- Toppings Lake Road – Our top recommendation. This is where we stayed on this trip. We were able to find a spot here every night we looked!
Pros – lots of spots, epic views, fairly easy gravel road to drive up (at the fork, we took it to the left instead of the right), big-rig friendly
Cons – buggy
- Shadow Mountain – We stayed here back in September of 2018. This was when we were tent camping.
Pros – epic views
Cons – crowded, 4×4 road to get up to some of the “cooler” spots, not particularly big-rig friendly
- Spread Creek – We did not end up camping here but drove up the road to take a look just in case. There were some pretty nice spots, but they were all taken!
Pros – very easy gravel road to get there (it gets harder if you keep going up), big-rig friendly
Cons – there is a big gravel lot where most RVs park that was a pretty big eye sore if you’re trying to go for the views
Remote Working Spots in the Van
While we wish we could have spent all of our time exploring, both of us needed to do some work on the weekdays. We could have gone to coffee shops, but we didn’t want to leave Willow and actually enjoy working in our van with the Starlink.
Here are the 2 spots we enjoyed working at:
- Jenny Lake Visitor Center Parking Lot – We got here early on the mornings we wanted to work because the lot fills up and gets crowded during the day.
Pros – great views, easy access to Jenny Lake for a hike, bathrooms (with a family bathroom we used to clean up), grass for Willow to use, water bottle fill up station, great solar charging for our van
Cons – lots of people around
- Parking Lot Near Jackson Center for the Arts – Free parking lot in the town of Jackson (just can’t legally park here between 2am-7am).
Pros – easy access to shops & restaurants in Jackson, nice bathrooms free to use inside, great solar charging for our van, some grass nearby for Willow
Cons – not the best views (obviously), lots of people around, hot during the afternoon
Grand Teton National Park Recommendations
Here are some recs for things to do in/near the park:
- Jenny Lake Hike to Hidden Falls – About a 6 mile, easy/moderate hike! We did see bears on this trail, though, so bring bear spray.
- Jenny Lake Scenic Drive – great location for a cool road shot of the Tetons!
- Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing – the ultimate place to catch a sunrise in the park.
- Sunrise at Teton Point Turnout – we got some more good shots of the van here at sunrise.
Jackson Hole Restaurants
We try not to eat out too much when we visit places, but here are some spots we visited that we recommend:
- DOG Burritos – A must-visit breakfast burrito place! This spot was not recommended to us; we just stumbled upon it on Google when we were craving breakfast burritos. They have meat & veggie burritos. They were so good that we hoped to go back the next morning but sadly didn’t have time. We also got coffee here when we went (they just have regular hot coffee). It wasn’t anything fancy but did the job!
- Cowboy Coffee – Our favorite coffee shop of the trip. It is a nice place to work for an afternoon, and they have lots of cute western-themed merchandise (fitting for Jackson). Tom got a hot drip light-roast coffee, and Kate had an iced coffee with oat milk. We both thought the coffee was amazing! In addition, we each had a vegan banana pecan muffin that was also very yummy! We noticed this coffee shop in Jackson also has lots of gluten-free, individually wrapped options.
- Jackson Hole Still Works – Frozen sloshies here are amazing on a hot afternoon/evening! They are constantly changing up the flavors they are serving so each day is different. When we went, we got the Mexican Chocolate Sloshies – so good! We also took a tour of the distillery and sampled their vodka and gin. It is some of the best we ever had and bought a couple of bottles. They are a Harvest Host, so you could even spend the night here. FYI – There is also a taco food truck parked out front, and they had some of the best veggie tacos we’ve ever had.
- Snake River Brewing – We loved this spot for beers! We got a table outside near the grass so we could have our dog, Willow, with us. The table had an umbrella which provided some much-needed shade against the heat. We each had the West Coast IPA – amazing beer! We met a couple of other van life couples here and had a fun time visiting into the night.
- Pearl Street Bagels – We thought this place was pretty good. Not a ton of vegan options for our fellow plant-based friends, but they have a fair selection of options otherwise! Tom had a plain bagel with peanut butter, and Kate had an onion bagel with hummus, cucumbers, and onion. In addition, Tom had a hot coffee, and Kate had an iced coffee with oat milk. We enjoyed the coffee!
Other Recs for the Area
- Astoria Hot Springs – We had a great experience here and would definitely return! We think the best time to visit would be fall (lots of aspen trees) or winter to see the snow on the surrounding mountains. We did not make reservations but would recommend it as we noticed the slot after ours was completely full. It was $18 per person which included access to all of the pools (as well as showers)!
As a note, the bridge was under construction when we visited in July of 2023, making it impassible for any rigs over 8′-9′ tall. We were bummed when we saw this, but there is actually a gravel parking lot for fishermen that we parked in just 1/10th of a mile past the turn for the bridge when you’re heading back towards Jackson. We parked here and walked across the bridge to get to the hot springs!
- Mormon Row – This is a neat place to stop, explore, and take some cool photos! We recommend stopping at both the T.A. Moulton barn as well as the Moulton log cabin and pink house. It is free to visit and park.
- Bear spray – After the bear encounter we had on the trail, we’re definitely recommending bear spray to everyone who visits here!
- Bug spray – It is BUGGY! Not as bad in the park, but if you’re camping, you’ll want bug spray.
- Sunscreen – Always a necessity in the sun.
- Water bottle – Stay hydrated! It’s hot!
- Shorts & cool clothes – Have we mentioned it’s hot?
- Swimsuit – For the hot springs!
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