Aerial view of Jackson, Wyoming.

6 Most Vibrant Towns In Wyoming

Wyoming has much to offer as one of the Western United States' foremost symbols of beautifully rugged natural scenery and historic settler culture. There are majestic wide-open grass plains in Buffalo, tales of history and culture in Cody's museums, and top-quality hiking trails and activities for every outdoor enthusiast in Green River. This popular list of the six most vibrant towns in Wyoming is essential for any traveler searching for the heart of Western American culture through Wyoming's iconic character.  


The Black Bear Inn, a small motel in downtown Dubois, Wyoming.
The Black Bear Inn, a small motel in downtown Dubois, Wyoming. Editorial credit: melissamn /

Dubois displays the best in beautifully barren mountain ranges in central Wyoming. Wind River runs through the town, accented by divergent streams of Horse Creek that flow by attractions like the Clarence Allison Memorial Arena, where the popular Dubois Friday Night Rodeo pulls the attention of the small town's residents and passes by the popular accommodation of the Chinook Winds Lodge, built and staged in a class Western-settler style. Visitors should spend time at the National Bighorn Sheep Museum, equipped with information and histories on the inside and real bighorn sheep on the outside ranch, take a hike along the Recreation Area Scenic Overlook and Bike Trail, or stop at the interactive Antler Workshop & Gallery.  


Aerial view of Buffalo, Wyoming which is at the base of the Bighorn Mountains
Aerial view of Buffalo, Wyoming located at the base of the Bighorn Mountains.

Buffalo is a beautiful small town beside Wyoming's Big Horn National Forest. Buffalo is surrounded by wide-open plains, making for beautifully scenic grasslands best experienced from the Mountain Plains Heritage Park and its Bull Creek or from the Clear Creek Trailhead that brings hikers past Western-style farms and grazing herds. The Mikesell-Pots Recreation Area is also a popular stop for outdoor enthusiasts aside from Lake De Smet. Travelers can learn about the town's history at the Jim Gatchell Museum, stay at the Historic Occidental Hotel, a historic saloon from 1908, or enjoy a round of golf at the Buffalo Golf Club. 

Green River

The scenic Green River area in Green River, Wyoming.
The scenic Green River area in Green River, Wyoming. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

Green River, Wyoming, is the barren homeland of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. This reserve features dramatically rocky mountain ranges accented by low foliage and the wide and winding Green River that crosses the Wyoming-Utah border. While the riverside closest to town offers fantastic kayaking and hiking through the Scott's Bottom Nature Area and the Wilkins Peak Trailhead, the most popular natural attractions follow the river further to the extraordinary scenery of red mountains and rocks around the Firehole Canyon Campground. The downtown area also has a scenic trail through Island Park for more tamed explorers or fantastic dining options like the Mi Casita Mexican Restaurant or Penny's Diner. 


Downtown Laramie, Wyoming.
Downtown Laramie, Wyoming.  Editorial credit: Nagel Photography /

Laramie is a small town that is a testament to Wyoming's cultural history. Aside from the town's distinction as the home of the state's higher education through the local University of Wyoming, there are also important landmarks of Western American character. The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, for example, provides guided lessons on the region's settler past. The Laramie Plains Museum also offers key historical insights with its extensive representation of Victorian fixtures and life in 19th-century Wyoming. The largest attraction, however, is the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument, standing 12 feet tall and built in 1959. More family-friendly options include the Geological Museum, which brings dinosaurs and other ancient ancestors of natural history to life.  


Cody, Wyoming.
Historical settings in Cody, Wyoming.

Cody is the heart of small-town Wyoming. This is a premier destination for travelers of Wyoming because of its multiple offerings. Museums absorb the popular attention of many; the Cody Dug Up Gun Museum has unique and authentic insights into the real cowboy history of Wyoming, and Old Trail Town is the living place museum of real-life experience in the small and character-filled Western settler existence. But its historical significance aside, Cody also offers some of the state's best in outdoor adventure. Buffalo Bill State Park offers top-quality hiking and biking lookouts over the Buffalo Bill Reservoir, while the Shoshone National Forest combines the beautifully barren landscape with dramatic lakes, rivers, and greenery. 


Downtown Jackson, Wyoming.
Downtown Jackson, Wyoming.

Jackson is the star of Wyoming's iconic Jackson Hole Valley, a famously scenic area between the Gros Ventre and Teton mountain ranges. The town's proximity to these dramatic ranges creates a fantastic winter sporting experience on popular resorts like the Snow King Mountain ski resort or creates a sheer majestic backdrop for popular historic landmarks like the Miller Cabin. Another unique natural attraction is the National Elk Refuge, which offers educational tours and winter sleigh rides through this important area for bison, elk, wolves, and bighorn sheep. The downtown area is also lively with activity: Jackson Town Square (George Washington Memorial Park) has vibrant event venues like the Center for the Arts and the Jackson Hole Playhouse, while the Jackson Hole Rodeo has represented a pinnacle of Wyoming sport and culture since 1880. 

The Bottom Line

Many prospective travelers may recognize Wyoming as offering the best in Western cowboy character and small-town settlement culture. But a trip to any and all of these vibrant towns in Wyoming represents much more. Whether visitors are drawn by the call of dramatic natural scenery like the mountains of the Grand Tetons that surround Jackson, by the underground culture uncovered in one of Cody's important museums, or by the rugged and barren scenery that defines Green River, there is something for every traveler in Wyoming. 

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