Full of history and outdoor adventures, Casper, WY, should definitely be on your list for your next family vacation. We spent a long weekend there checking out all the amazing museums, learning about the area’s history and trying our luck at fly fishing. Here’s what you need to add to your must-do list when you visit Casper.

1. Visit the Tate Geological Museum.

Casper College is home to this awesome (and free!) museum that the whole family will enjoy. Little paleontologists will be amazed from the minute they walk in and spot Dee the Mammoth. Discovered nearby in 2006, Dee is part of the museum's Pleistocene Exhibit where kids can learn the difference between mammoths, mastodons and elephants. Little visitors will especially love visiting the Dino Den where they can explore touchable fossil casts, do fossil rubbings and play with dinosaur toys. 

Tate Geological Museum
Online: caspercollege.edu

2. Book a guided fly-fishing trip.

Give yourself a view of the gorgeous Wyoming landscape from a boat on the North Platte River when you book a day with Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing as your guide. Half-day and full-day trips are available where even beginners can experience the fun sport of fly fishing.

On our recent visit, our guide John started the day by giving us an overview of the basics of fly fishing before we set off down the river to try our luck. He knew all of the best spots for catching rainbow trout and provided instruction along the way that led to catching four fish under less-than-ideal circumstances (snowmelt made the river cloudy). We saw Bald Eagles and other wildlife along the way and stopped for an included lunch. This was definitely a trip highlight and an experience we'd recommend to Casper visitors.

Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing
Online: crazyrainbow.net

3. Head downtown for some shopping and dining.

You'll love the quaint feel of downtown Casper and all the small shops like Donnells Candies and Mustard Seed where you can find unique gifts and treats to bring home with you. Wyo Shirt & Gift is your go-to stop for all the beanies and Wyoming hoodies that your crew is looking for. 

If you are downtown for mealtime, head to the Branding Iron for fried green tomatoes, wings and burgers (there's over a dozen to choose from). We recommend the Yellowstone burger—a bison burger that's topped with Cajun aioli and pepperjack cheese for a spicy kick. It goes particularly well with a rootbeer float. 


4. Explore history at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.

You'll love your visit to this free museum from the moment you arrive as its vantage point provides an expansive view of Casper and the mountains that surround the city. This museum's exhibits bring you information about the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express Trails that brought over 400,000 pioneers west from 1841-1868. Kids will especially love the interactive exhibit where they can test their strength at pulling a covered wagon to see how they'd fare as pioneers (we wouldn't have made it, that's for sure!). Special kids programs are offered on Saturday mornings and they have tons of free enrichment activities, especially in the summer months. 

National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Online: nhtcf.org

5. Take a drive to Fremont Canyon.

Do yourself a favor and put Fremont Canyon on your must-see list while you are in Casper. A little less than an hour's drive from Casper, you'll be amazed by the gorgeous sandstone and limestone formations in this area of Wyoming. Bring a picnic to enjoy along the shores of Alcova Reservoir and bring your mountain bikes to enjoy the landscape on two wheels. 

6. Visit Independence Rock.

While you're on the road, continue past the town of Alcova a little while and you'll come to Independence Rock State Historic Site. This monument tells more of the area's history with thousands of names of hopeful pioneers carved into the rock. You can follow the trails around the large rock to look for names yourself. The oldest recorded inscription (now weathered away) was carved into the ancient landmark in 1824 by M. K. Hugh. What's the oldest inscription you can find? 

7. Stay awhile.

There's plenty to explore in Casper, WY no matter when you visit. Make sure you head up Casper Mountain to the lookout to take in a view of the city from above during your stay. There are hiking trails nearby that are perfect for all levels. 

The Hampton Inn & Suites is your ideal home base in Casper as it's just a short drive from the airport and downtown. An expansive breakfast is included with your stay (hello, waffle bar!) and the kids will love spending their evenings in the hotel's indoor pool. Right up the road from the hotel is another great dining option for families, Ludovico Farm to Flame. Serving loads of kid favorites like pizza and pasta, the restaurant is located in the Gruner Brothers Brewery. 

For more information on what to do and see while you are in Casper, head to the Visit Casper website

—story and images by Kate Loweth

Editor’s Note: This trip was paid for by Visit Casper but all opinions belong to the writer. 


Insider’s Guide to the Best Family Trips for Every Age & Stage

20+ Places to Take Kids Who Love Dinosaurs

18 Trips in the USA That Will Make Your Kids Smarter

The Country’s 20 Best Science Museums for Kids

Your daily dose of joy and connection
Get the Tinybeans app