Wherever you go in Jackson Hole, there they are: jagged granite peaks decorated with pristine glaciers (your kids will love it when they realize one even resembles an electric guitar). Kids are captivated by the rich natural and cultural history of the region as it unfolds against a backdrop populated by massive mammals usually glimpsed only in documentaries. Jackson Hole is an outdoor Mecca, with ample ways to take advantage of the spectacular scenery -- take your pick from rock climbing, camping, bicycling, hiking, rafting, fishing, or just sitting quietly and letting its beauty astound you as the kids skip stones on Jackson Lake.
Jackson Hole is fun any time of year, but for access to all the region has to offer, summer is the best time to visit. While skiing is a popular winter activity here, many of the park roads and mountain passes are closed during winter months due to the tremendous amount of snowfall in the valley and surrounding mountains. Spring can be temperamental here, with widely varying temperatures and both road and river access dependent upon snowmelt. Savvy visitors take advantage of fewer crowds in the autumn (though days are shorter and temperatures slightly cooler than during the summer months).
Summertime in Jackson Hole, which sits at about 6,800 feet in elevation, is typically hot and dry, hovering in the 80s during the day, with frequent but brief afternoon thunderstorms. As is common in high altitude locations, it gets chilly at night, dipping as low as 40 degrees even in July. Jackson Hole receives about 150 inches of snow annually; temperatures range between 10 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit on cloudy or snowy days. Fall temperatures average in the high 60s to high 70s, with shorter days and cooler nights than in summer months. Spring is the most fickle season, with both snowmelt and rainfall to contend with; temperatures can vary widely from the 30s to the 60s.
The Jackson Hole Airport, located about eight miles nouth of Jackson, is the only airport located within a national park. Six major airlines service the airport, but direct flights can be expensive. Many travelers opt to fly into Idaho Falls, Salt Lake City, or even Denver, rent a car and drive the rest of the way. AllTrans Airport Shuttles provide ground transport from the airports in Jackson Hole, Idaho Falls, and Salt Lake City to the town of Jackson.
If you don't drive to Jackson Hole, you'll probably want to rent a car when you arrive, particularly if you plan on exploring Grand Teton National Park. Most major car rental companies can be found either in Jackson or at the Jackson Hole Airport in nearby Grand Teton National Park. START (Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit) offers a free shuttle around downtown Jackson, in addition to bus service to nearby Teton Village and Star Valley. The National Park Service site for Grand Teton National Park has a page that details road closures due to construction and natural events.
Online trip planning guide All Jackson Hole lists discounts and vacations offered by various local resorts. If you've settled on a specific resort to visit, such as Snow King Resort or Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in nearby Teton Village, check their individual websites for specials. For access to Grand Teton National Park and other federal sites, visitors can purchase the new Interagency Annual Pass for $80 per year. (The pass is $10 for senior citizens and free for people with permanent disabilities.)
It's entirely possible to skip the resorts, hotels, and town living altogether and camp while visiting the Jackson Hole area. There are both private and public campgrounds in the area, and all are affordable whether you're roughing it in tents or riding in style in a recreational vehicle.