Visitors to Southeast Wyoming will find plenty of fun things to see and do in the region's cities, Laramie and Cheyenne, and you don't have to drive too far away from these population centers to find even more attractions and activities. Here are some recommendations for fun things to do in the area.
A two-hour drive north of Cheyenne, the Fort Laramie National Historic Site began as a fur trading fort during the 1830s and transformed into one of the largest Western military forts that served during the pioneer and homestead eras. Over the years, Fort Laramie was a major stop along Westward migration routes, serving such pioneers as Marcus Whitman and the Donner Party. The California Gold Rush of 1849 spurred the establishment of the Fort Laramie military fort. Your visit should begin at the Fort Laramie Visitor Center, where you can view a film on the history of the fort and see exhibits that include significant fort artifacts. After that, you can walk around the fort's extensive grounds, learning more about life in a 19th-century military fort. Informative audio tours of the complex can be rented at the visitor center.
Wyoming's first and now-historic state penitentiary is located in the town of Rawlins. Housing criminals from 1901 to 1981, the "Old Pen" can now be experienced on a guided tour filled with history and stories both amazing and creepy. You'll see actual cells, the gas chamber and gallows, solitary confinement, the exercise yard, and more. Along with the tour, visitors to the prison complex can also explore exhibits in the museum, visit the gift shop, and walk around the grounds.
This scenic drive follows Highway 130 through Medicine Bow National Forest, past granite mountains, flower-filled meadows, and clear lakes. As you make your way through the high mountain pass, you'll be treated to vast panoramic views. You can stop along the way for fishing, day hiking, or biking, or overnight at Ryan Park campground. If you do, be sure to stop by a ranger station for maps and current conditions. Because of the high elevation and heavy snowfall, summer is the best time to drive Snowy Range Scenic Byway.
The main attraction at this Wyoming State Park is the huge Seminoe Reservoir behind a dam on the North Platte River. The lake is surrounded by mountains, making it a fun and scenic playground. Water recreation of all kinds is popular, including trout and walleye fishing, swimming, and boating. Wildlife watching and hiking are other major activities. Campgrounds are located all around the lake shore.
The hot mineral springs at Saratoga, Wyoming, have attracted people and wildlife for centuries. One popular way to experience Saratoga's hot springs is the town's public "Hobo Hot Pool," which is free and open 24 hours every day of the year.
The Saratoga hot springs inspired the creation of various tourist amenities, including the destination Saratoga Resort & Spa. Along with mineral water pools large and small, the full-service resort offers accommodations, a restaurant and pub, and access to the region's wealth of outdoor recreation.