Official Cruise Guide Classification System

So, technically they’re bison … but they do roam freely, as do the bears, moose, wolves and other animals that call Yellowstone National Park home.

To explore America’s first national park (created in 1872), I flew in and out of Jackson Hole, Wyo., an ideal starting point for exploring the park through its South Entrance via the magnificent Grand Tetons. A stay at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole put me in a prime location for access to the park — in winter, visitors can practically ski in and out of the hotel’s lobby.

Many of America’s national parks, including Yellowstone, have a network of lodges ideally situated for easy exploration. The historic Old Faithful Inn, for instance, is mere footsteps away from Old Faithful, Yellowstone’s famous geyser, and is one of the largest log-built structures in the world. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel & Cabins, meanwhile, is located below the steaming limestone terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, near the North Entrance to the park.

Over the years, I’ve found that staying in a prime location is more important than saving a few dollars on lodging. If clients are up for it, the payoff of more time exploring and enjoying the destination is well worth the investment.