It’s tough to find a better value than a national park vacation—a small entry fee grants you access to countless free activities inside the park, from hiking and snowshoeing to photography and wildlife watching. Yellowstone National Park offers the same budget-friendly attractions within its borders, plus, the surrounding area’s destinations also feature plenty of free fun on your way to and from the park.
Here are 16 of our favorite cheap or zero-cost activities in and around Yellowstone.
Cheap Things To Do Inside Yellowstone Park
The park museums, including (2) Norris Geyser Basin Museum, (3) Museum of the National Park Ranger, and (4) Old Faithful Visitor Education Center are also free.
Nearby Natural Wonders – It’s Free to Look
Wyoming and Montana house lots of scenic—and free—attractions.
(5) Just northwest of the park, visit Earthquake Lake, formed by a 1959 earthquake and home to an interpretive center.
(6) In Thermopolis, Wyoming, head to Hot Springs State Park for a soak in the natural springs at the free state bath house.
(7) Dinosaur aficionados can head to Greybull, Wyoming, to see fossilized tracks at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite.
(8) Ayers Natural Bridge Park near Douglas, Wyoming, offers a chance to see a rare rock arch and free camping.
And wildlife fans can get a glimpse of the West’s iconic wild horses at (9) Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range and (10) McCullough Peaks on the Wyoming-Montana border, and the (11) Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop Tour between Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming—both free to drive (minus the cost of gas, that is).
Nearby Culture and History for Free
Each summer, the (12) Grand Teton Music Festival’s Inside the Music concert programs are open to everyone each Tuesday night (free ticket required).
In West Yellowstone, pick up a free map at the Chamber of Commerce and stroll the (13) Historic Walking Tour.
In Cody, Wyoming, catch a free reenactment of a Wild West gunfight at the (14) Irma Hotel six days a week in summer.
Farther south, the (15) University of Wyoming Geological Museum and Art Museum in Laramie always offer free admission. You can also visit the (16) Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana, on one of the museum’s free days (check artmuseum.org/events for a schedule).