You want to go to visit a wonder of nature, Yellowstone National Park and its famous geysers? And also going to visit the surrounding area, especially one of the symbols of the United States, that is to say Mount Rushmore? Follow me to find out the route I took.

GUIDES - WYOMING AND SOUTH DAKOTA: just down below, you can find guides of the different places to visit:
Grand Teton National Park: 2 days to visit Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone National Park: 4 days to explore Yellowstone National Park
Mount Rushmore : 2 days to go to see Mount Rushmore and its surroundings
Expenses of my 8 day trip to Wyoming and South Dakota

Grand Teton National Park- view on the Teton Range Yellowstone National Park - Grand Prismatic Spring Mount Rushmore Badlands National Park - view on eroded rocks
Click to enlarge images.

The area going from Wyoming to South Dakota is full of natural wonders. First there’s Grand Teton National Park where you’ll find beautiful mountain landscapes, then there’s Yellowstone National Park and its famous geysers, and finally there’s Mount Rushmore where sculptures of presidents faces were carved into the rock. Around it, you can also go to visit Badlands National Park which is made of eroded rocks and fossils. And last but not least, is Devils Tower which is a kind of large stone tower.

The most important thing to know when visiting the area is that you’ll have to drive a lot. First, Yellowstone is the second largest national park in the United States (excluding Alaska), and second, about an eight-hour drive separate Yellowstone from Mount Rushmore.

Map - from Wyoming to South Dakota, itinerary

When to go?

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are both located in a mountain area, therefore it’s pretty cold over there. The hottest months are of course July and August, but you should keep in mind that Yellowstone is one of the most visited parks in the United States, so necessarily, you’ll be overwhelmed with tourists. So the ideal period to go in terms of temperature and crowds is the end of September. Otherwise, June can also be a good period.
Back then, I’d been there in early October, and even though we were pretty alone in the parks, it was snowing quite often. And the problem when snowing is that some roads can be closed.

Anyways, roads and sightseeing places are mainly closed between November and April.


I spent eight days on this road trip in order to visit the main sightseeing places of two American states. But it’s up to you to stay a few more days, if you want to be able to explore each place deeper.

Schedule - Wyoming - Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
Click to enlarge the image.

First of all, I recommend arriving in Wyoming through Jackson Hole Regional Airport. But since it’s not an international airport, you’ll necessarily have to make a stopover in Salt Lake City (or maybe in another city in the United States according to each airplane company). Even if you could land in Salt Lake City and rent a car from there, there’s still a five-hour drive to get to either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks. So if you like driving you can take this option, but knowing that you’ll already be driving a lot when visiting, It’s not a good idea to me.

About the itinerary, back then I’ve landed at Jackson Hole Regional Airport which is located inside Grand Teton National Park. From there, you kind of have to drive through the park in order to get to Yellowstone.
When I arrived at the airport, it was the end of the afternoon, so I started visiting. For that I drove the US 89 / US 191 scenic road which passes outside the park. And the next day, I drove the road that passes inside the park. That road leads to the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Then I spent the next four days exploring all the different parts of Yellowstone National Park, which by the way is really huge!

Schedule - South Dakota - Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park

Once you’re done exploring Yellowstone National Park, it’ll be time to drive to Mount Rushmore, and along the way, stop at Devils Tower. And for your last day, head to Badlands National Park, and don’t forget to make a stop at the Minuteman Missile Historic Site, it’s quite interesting. Once your tour is over, it’ll be time to head to Rapid City Regional Airport in order to take your return flight back home.

Tip 1: for the plane ticket, it’s possible to buy a multi-city instead of a round trip, that is to say that the flight arrives in one city and leaves from another, instead of arriving and leaving from the same city. To do so, you can book a flight on an online website or you can also do it in a travel agency. Here for example, you could do Paris-Jackson Hole / Rapid City-Paris.
Tip 2: for car rental, if you’ve opted for the multi-city flight, then you’ll need to pick the car up at the airport you’ve arrived in and to return the car at the airport you’ll leave from. In this case, you’ll have to rent the car from Jackson Hole Regional Airport and to return it at Rapid City Regional Airport. Of course, it’ll be a bit more expensive than renting and returning the car to the same place, but it’ll save you a ten-hour drive. Plus, it’ll save you a day off your stay and it’ll also save you some petrol.


Administrative part

To go to the United States, EU citizens and citizens of some other countries don’t need a visa, but an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) for a stay up to 90 days. Application fee is $14 and the ESTA is valid for up to 2 years. You’ll also need a valid passport that has to be valid 6 months after the date of your return. Normally you don’t need to bring your ESTA to the airport as the request is electronically linked to your passport. For more information about the ESTA or to find out if you are eligible to apply for an ESTA, you can go to check the website

What to bring there


USA - wall socket

In the U.S., power outlets have 2 flat pins. And I recommend buying an adapter before going on your trip, that way you’ll be able to choose it (a cheap one, a convenient one, …). By the way, I also highly recommend bringing a triple socket, otherwise you’ll only be able to plug one device at the time (or you’ll need to buy several adapters).

Tip: the best thing to do is to buy a universal adapter. That way you won’t need to buy a specific one each time you travel to a country you’ve never been to.

Last thing to know, over there the voltage is 110V, but many devices like smartphone or camera chargers can use voltage from 110V to 220V. So unless you want to bring your own hairdryer or shaver, you normally won’t need a voltage converter. However, double check what is written on each of your devices before going to buy a voltage converter.


American dollars

To get American dollars, there are to me, 2 excellent ways:

  • Global Alliance: if your bank is a member of this alliance, then you can withdraw cash at any of the cash withdrawal machines of the Bank of America or Bank of the West with your credit card. They don’t take commission and have one of the best rates. But note that in the Yellowstone area, there are only 2 cities where you’ll find Bank of the West cash withdrawal machines: Jackson and Cody.

Tip: for example, the Global Alliance members are:

  • Scotiabank in Canada
  • Barclays in the UK
  • Westpac in Australia and New Zealand
  • BNP Paribas or Hello Bank in France
  • Currency exchange offices: if you choose this method, I recommend changing money in your country before going, because it won’t be that easy to find a currency exchange office over there.

However, if you book hotels before going, you won’t have to spend that much money while there, it’ll just be food and petrol. So in the end you won’t have to carry that much cash.



In the U.S., all stores display prices without tax. The tax is approximately 5% in Wyoming and 6% in South Dakota. So you just need to know that prices will be higher at checkout. However there’s an exception on all unprocessed food because the tax doesn’t apply.


If you are planning on going to the restaurant, be aware that the bill can quickly become very expensive because on top of the price of the meal is added the 5% or 6% tax and you also have to add 15% tip.


First, instead of always choosing hotels located into the area you are visiting, when you have a long drive, consider booking a hotel located halfway on the drive. It will not only allow you to have a break, but it may also be cheaper.

Second, try to book hotels that offer free breakfast, it’s quite common in North America. That way, you won’t have to worry about figuring out where and how to have breakfast. And more than that, it’s not necessarily much more expensive!

Tip: in most hotels and motels in the U.S., rooms are made of two double beds, so it’ll be the same price whether you’re two or four people. That way being four travellers can become very economic, especially since it’s the same thing for car rental! So you can easily share all the expenses.


Plane tickets

Plane tickets to go to North America are not very expensive, especially when it’s not school holidays, like in September for example. And multi-city flights can also be a great choice in such a big country because it can save you a lot of time!


Renting a car to visit the United States is kind of mandatory, and especially when it comes to visiting national parks! Moreover, you won’t need an international drivers licence for a trip up to 3 months. Just remember to take out CDW (included into Gold Mastercards and Visa Premier cards) and LIS insurance when renting a car.


To be able to find your way when driving the car, there are several options available:

  • Google MAPS: it works even without any connection, it’s just that there won’t be traffic information. All you have to do is to save the maps before going or even once there, as long as you have an internet connection. To do so, on your smartphone, in the application, click on your profile picture at the top right of the screen, then click on « offline maps ». And then click on « select your own map » and zoom out the map until you see the area you want to save. You have to repeat the operation several times if the area to be saved is too large.
  • GPS rental from the rental car company: you can rent an optional GPS from the rental car company, but it’s pretty expensive and you won’t have traffic information either. In my opinion, this is not an option to consider. However, if you are renting a high-end car, there is frequently a GPS already available in the car, so without extra charge. But you won’t know it until you get on board, because no one will tell you, either at booking or when getting the keys.

To know

America The Beautiful Pass

The pass costs $80 and gives access to all national parks in the United States for one year (for one car or four people where per-person fees are charged). It’s a good option only if you’re visiting at least three parks in the same year. For example, I bought this pass on my previous trip to the Hawaiian Islands, and could re use it for this road trip. Moreover, you can put 2 names on the pass, so if you know someone who is also planning a trip among America’s national parks, you can share the fee.

Thanks for reading :)