Wyoming boasts a rich history peppered with tales of rugged frontiersmen, cowboys and pioneers. Tucked away in towns like Laramie, Sheridan and Cody, saloons from the Wild West are now the local watering holes serving as living relics.

In downtown Laramie stands the iconic Buckhorn Bar, founded in 1900 and steeped in Wild West lore. Its weathered exterior belies a lively interior where locals and visitors alike gather for cold drinks and tall tales. Meanwhile, in Sheridan, the Mint Bar holds court, a mainstay since 1907, offering a glimpse into the town’s colorful past with its classic Western ambiance and friendly atmosphere. And no mention of historic Wyoming bars would be complete without the Irma Hotel in Cody, built by Buffalo Bill himself in 1902, housing the legendary Irma Saloon. Patrons can sip on a cold brew beneath the watchful gaze of a magnificent cherrywood bar, a gift from Queen Victoria to Buffalo Bill.

These venerable establishments not only provide a glimpse into Wyoming’s storied past but also serve as beloved community hubs where the spirit of the Old West lives on.

Sheridan’s Mint Bar, a mainstay since 1907, offers a glimpse into the town’s colorful past with its classic Western ambiance and friendly atmosphere. Photo courtesy of Wyoming Office of Tourism

For more information on Wyoming, visit TravelWyoming.com.

Feel the drum beat. Hear the singing. See the colors. Admire the detailed regalia, skilled footwork and precise movements. This is all part of a Native American powwow.

In Wyoming’s Wind River Country, there are three large powwows. The Eastern Shoshone Indian Days Powwow is Wyoming’s largest. The Ethete Celebration Powwow is held in July, and the Northern Arapaho Powwow, held in September, is Wyoming’s oldest powwow.

Each powwow begins with a Grand Entry on Friday night, where elders bring in eagle feathers and flags, and all dancers enter the arena. There are also two Grand Entries on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Admission to powwows is free. Once there, you’ll find vendors selling fry bread, Indian stew and Indian tacos, as well as jewelry and other items.

Powwows today can include games, food and plenty of socializing, but the dancing remains the main event. There are traditional dances, as well as modern dances. Some are competitive, and dancers follow a powwow circuit dancing for prize money.

A powwow is an incredible way to experience the blending of the present and Wind River Country’s history. For more information, click here.

A powwow is an incredible way to experience the blending of the present and Wind River Country’s history. Photo courtesy of Wind River Country Suite 1491

For more information on Wind River Country, visit WindRiver.org.

Southeast Idaho is full of hidden local treasures. Here are a few from each city:

  • American Falls: Attend the Free Family Birding Festival each May.
  • Pocatello: The city hosts an Art Walk in historic downtown every first Friday. Dine at the Yellowstone or Café Tuscano.
  • Fort Hall: Stop at the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel or attend the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival, a kaleidoscope of dance, tradition and regalia every August.
  • Blackfoot: Visit the Idaho Potato Museum and enjoy an all-American burger and milkshake at Rupe’s Drive-in or sweets at the Candy Jar.
  • Lava Hot Springs: Locals and visitors love Idaho’s world-famous hot spring. Dine at Portneuf Grill & Lounge or Eruption Brewery.
  • Preston: See sites from the film “Napoleon Dynamite.” Dine at Sydney’s Restaurant, followed by Polar Bear for ice cream.
  • Soda Springs: Oregon Trail history is spread across town. Don’t miss the Applegarth Apothecary or the Main Street Diner (voted Yelp’s best diner in Idaho).
  • Bear Lake Valley: Hike the stunning Bloomington Lake Trail, followed by a raspberry milkshake.
  • Malad: Don’t miss the Malad County Fair Rodeo in August, followed by Ganache Pastry & Gelato.
  • Montpelier: Explore the National Oregon/California Trail Center, followed by El Jaliciense for mouthwatering tacos and enchiladas.

Hike the stunning Bloomington Lake Trail, followed by a raspberry milkshake, in the Bear Lake Valley. Photo courtesy of Southeast Idaho High Country

For more information on Southeast Idaho, please visit IdahoHighCountry.org.

Get off the beaten path like never before in South Dakota’s northeast region, or more familiarly known as the “Glacial Lakes and Prairies” region. History, scenic roads, cultural touch points, and even the world’s largest pheasant are all on tap in this area.

Start your trip by walking the same grounds as Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the biographical children’s story “Little House on the Prairie” in the quaint little town of De Smet. View her historic home or check out the outdoor pageant and see local actors bring Ingalls Wilder’s stories to life.

Venture into Aberdeen – or the Hub City, as locals call it – and experience family fun at its finest. Aberdeen is famous for its Land of Oz at Wiley Park, where visitors and locals alike can follow Dorothy and Toto’s journey on the yellow brick road.

When you leave Aberdeen, make sure to stop at Sica (she-cha) Hollow State Park, where nature, history, culture and lore all mingle into one recreation paradise. The park, part of the Coteau Hills, offers a wide variety of year-round activities and is the source of many eerie Native American legends.

Walk the same grounds as Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the biographical children’s story “Little House on the Prairie” in the quaint little town of De Smet. Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota

For more information on South Dakota, visit TravelSouthDakota.com.

Discover the delight of dining in the lesser-known but beloved eateries of Rapid City, South Dakota. Hidden in plain sight, these unique local favorites offer mouthwatering options.

Jambonz Deux, known for its Southern soul food with a kick of spice, is top on the list. Another must-visit is Sumo Japanese Kitchen, serving delicious authentic Japanese cuisine, located near the South Dakota School of Mines campus. Step into Rapid City’s first Bangladeshi establishment, Bengal Kitchen, where authentic flavors reign supreme thanks to a passionate husband-and-wife duo. Savor the flavors found at the Thai Thai Restaurant, known for its large portions of delicious creations. Finally, don’t miss The Mud Hole, a breakfast spot treasured by locals for its simple yet delectable fare.

Beyond these local favorites, the city offers an array of options suiting various preferences. From steakhouses to ice cream shops to bakeries and even ramen shops, you’re spoiled with dining options. Explore Rapid City’s diverse dining scene on your next visit!

Savor the flavors found at Rapid City’s Thai Thai Restaurant, known for its large portions of delicious creations. Photo courtesy of Visit Rapid City

For more information on Rapid City, visit VisitRapidCity.com.

The natural splendor of the International Peace Garden is a hidden gem bordering North Dakota and Manitoba that some get to call their backyard or even temporary home. This 2,300-acre area is covered in over 155,000 flowers, beautiful foliage and iconic structures, and is a testament to the partnership between the United States and Canada. Hike scenic trails, hop on a kayak, camp amongst the beautiful outdoors and even snowshoe and cross-country ski in the winter.

For a touch of culture, head to the Garden’s Conservatory and Interpretive Center. Explore the new succuent and cacti garden that makes up one of the largest collections in the world with over 5,000 different species.

But you can’t travel like a local without enjoying the local businesses in the area, too. In the evening, ditch the fancy restaurants and head to Bottineau to enjoy a slice at Denny’s Pizza or a few cocktails at Marie’s on Main Street. Then head to Lake Metigoshe State Park for a sunset on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Sakakawea.

Replace the crowds with an endless feeling of nature and explore the International Peace Garden and surrounding area like a local who knows it best.

The International Peace Garden is covered in over 155,000 flowers, beautiful foliage and iconic structures, and is a testament to the partnership between the United States and Canada. Photo courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

For more information on North Dakota, visit NDTourism.com.

 

Take a walk back in time following the largest footsteps in history and discover an exciting and fun adventure along Montana’s Dinosaur Trail. This statewide trail is made up of 14 locations with a wide range of opportunities to explore and learn about the state’s prehistoric residents, including unique paleontology displays, interpretations, replicas, and actual skeletons of dinosaurs and other fossils found in Montana.

Trail sites also feature public education programs, guided tours of the paleontology displays, and field digs that are open to the public. These family-friendly digs are hosted on active fossil sites and allow the public to get their hands dirty and participate in activities like fossil identification, surface mapping, rock removal and maybe even bone extraction.

While on the dinosaur trail, make sure to visit some of Montana’s best burger joints by following along the Southeast Montana Burger Trail. Follow the trail and taste mouth-watering burgers from some of the most unique small-town eateries throughout southeast Montana. Don’t miss a local favorite: the scrumptious French onion burger, covered in onion rings, caramelized onion, garlic aioli, and Swiss and Havarti cheeses. These friendly establishments will make you fall more in love with Montana, bite after bite.

Take a walk back in time following the largest footsteps in history and discover an exciting and fun adventure along Montana’s Dinosaur Trail. Photo courtesy of Montana Office of Tourism

For more information on Montana, visit VISITMT.COM.

Visiting Buffalo, Wyoming, is an opportunity to step back in time to the authentic Old West.

Here are some tips to make the best of that experience:

  • Stay in the heart of downtown at the Historic Occidental Hotel & Saloon. It’s no secret, but for good reason. Founded in 1880, the hotel’s rooms are decorated with antiques and feature modern conveniences, including private bathrooms. Arrange a tour of the property for the afternoon. The bullet-riddled saloon comes alive in the evenings with live music, especially for the Thursday Night Bluegrass Jams.
  • Also downtown: The Clear Creek Trail and – for fans of the Longmire Mystery Series – the Busy Bee Cafe and the Bucking Buffalo Supply Co. The award-winning Gatchell Museum tells the story of significant events in the county that shaped the West.
  • In the summer, there’s a good chance you can include a night at the rodeo as part of your stay.
  • The Western steakhouse experience is alive and well at Cattleguard SteakhouseBozeman Trail Steak House and the Cowboy Bar & Grill. Other options like Pie Zanos offer excellent meals as well.
  • Stop by Mountain Meadow Wool to see the mill turn wool into yarn, hats, scarves and more.

In the summer, there’s a good chance you can include a night at the rodeo as part of your stay in Buffalo, Wyoming. Photo courtesy of Johnson County Tourism Association

For more information on Johnson County, visit VisitBuffaloWY.com.

Looking for smaller crowds or local favorites? Explore these lesser-known yet still impressive Idaho destinations.

Perrine Coulee Falls vs. Shoshone Falls

  • Shoshone Falls draws major crowds, but Perrine Coulee Falls offers better access. Take the walking trail to the base and behind these incredible falls descending 200 feet (61 meters).

Castle Rocks State Park vs. City of Rocks National Reserve

Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes vs. Route of the Hiawatha

  • The Route of the Hiawatha is a popular rail to trail in northern Idaho, but don’t pass on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes – a paved, 73-mile (117-km) path winding through Native American territory and along Lake Coeur d’Alene. Glimpse eagles, deer and spectacular scenery as you ride.

Garden City Wineries vs. Sunnyslope Wine Trail

  • Sunnyslope Wine Trail is southwest Idaho’s renowned wine country, with its 17 wineries and vineyards. But if you prefer a wine-tasting experience a short bike ride from Boise, visit the urban wineries in Garden City – some providing beautiful riverside views.

Don’t miss the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a paved, 73-mile (117-km) path winding through Native American territory and along Lake Coeur d’Alene. Glimpse eagles, deer and spectacular scenery as you ride. Photo courtesy of Visit Idaho

For more information on Idaho, visit VisitIdaho.org.