Located in central Wyoming, the city of Casper is a great place to plan an active vacation. While I had been to Wyoming in the past to spend one day in Yellowstone and one day in Grand Teton, I hadn’t been to this part of the state and was excited to explore it.
From a variety of outdoor activities to an impressive selection of local food and drinks, here are some of the best things to do in Casper, Wyoming.
Casper Travel Tips
Casper has its own small airport (Casper Natrona County International Airport) that you can take direct flights from cities such as Denver or Salt Lake City. You can also drive, as Wyoming is a great place to go on a road trip.
If you visit in the winter, make sure to bring plenty of warm clothes and snow boots. The weather varies quite a bit, as I had blizzard-like conditions one afternoon and clear blue skies the next. They can also get strong wind, which makes it feel much colder than it is.
There are plenty of hotels in Casper to choose from. Residence Inn Casper provides free breakfast, pool, fitness center, and kitchens in each room, so it’s a good choice if you’ll be spending a few days in the area.
10 Exciting Things to Do in Casper, Wyoming
1. Learn About the History of Casper
When I travel, one of my favorite activities is to learn about the history of the area first. That’s why I recommend stopping at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center as one of your first things to do in Casper, Wyoming.
Casper was a significant stop for all pioneers headed east, whether they were going out for the California Gold Rush, the Oregon Trail, or the Mormon Trail.
Fort Caspar was a place those in wagons or stagecoaches stopped to rest and get supplies before continuing on their journey. This is due to South Pass being west and slightly south of Casper and the most accessible place to cross in the mountains.
2. Go Hiking
Casper Mountain has plenty of places to go hiking if you want to get outdoors. An easy one with a great view is Garden Creek Falls. This short hike goes along a river and leads to a waterfall.
The hike is even better in the winter, as the waterfall freezes over. While the hike isn’t strenuous, you’ll want a good pair of snow boots if you go in the winter.
As with any winter hike, use caution when stepping on snow and make sure you’re not close to any water. The last thing you want is to fall into the water.
3. Explore Downtown Casper’s Shops
There are so many cute shops in downtown Casper. Here are a few I recommend:
- Donells Candies – This chocolate store has been around since 1956, so it’s a local favorite. You’ll want to get a box to go, as these chocolates are incredible.
- Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters – An even older store, this has been the place to get your western gear since 1919. Whether you need boots, a saddle, or clothes, this store has it all. There are nine stories in the shop with huge sections for both men and women, and the friendly staff is happy to help you find exactly what you need.
- WY Shirt & Gift – If you’re looking for souvenirs for your trip, this shop has all things Casper and Wyoming at reasonable prices.
4. Lace Up Your Skates
Downtown Casper has a small ice skating rink at David Street Station. They’re open from 5 to 9 pm on weekdays and 12 to 9 pm on the weekends. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for those 12 and younger, and $3 to rent ice skates.
David Street Station is a fun place to go for a date, with little kids, or with a group of friends. You’re within a minute’s walk of downtown Casper restaurants and bars, so this is a great activity to do at the start of your night. They have small fire pits around the outside of the rink in case you need to warm up.
5. Try Fat Biking
If you’re looking for a new activity to do in winter in Wyoming, give fat biking a try. This is relatively easy to learn if you already know how to ride a bike. The main difference is the tires are much wider, and you’re riding on snow.
Casper Trails has 50+ acres to explore, so it’s possible to have part of a trail entirely to yourself. There’s a variety of terrain depending on your comfort level, including flat, straight trails, and hills to challenge yourself on. You may also share the trails with cross-country skiers or snowmobilers, so make sure to be aware of your surroundings.
The parking lot at the lodge fills up quickly, so I recommend getting an early start to your day. The lodge has restrooms, breakfast, lunch, and beverages available for purchase.
6. Snowboard at Hogadon Basin Ski Area
Nothing gets me more excited than snowboarding on a small ski hill, so it’s no surprise that snowboarding at Hogadon Basin Ski Area was one of my favorite things to do in Casper. While this may not be a huge Wyoming ski resort, that’s why I loved it.
Hogadon Basin Ski Area is the perfect size, as they have about a dozen different runs but no wait time for the lifts. There’s a pretty even variety of green, blue, and black runs, so skiers of every level can find one that suits them. If you visit during winter in Wyoming, you’ll want to add this to your itinerary.
The lodge is only a few years old and provides stunning views of Casper from the top. They have a cafeteria open for breakfast and lunch, and a bar is open on the weekends.
If you’re a little rusty, you can sign up for ski lessons with one of their instructors to refresh your memory. This Wyoming ski hill is an excellent place for that, as it lacks the crowds of other larger resorts.
You can also rent any gear you may need for your ski trip, including skis/snowboards, boots, and gloves. Just head down to the bottom level, and the staff will get you set up.
My rental snowboard was being a bit finicky, and one of the staff members even volunteered to go outside with me to make sure I could strap it correctly.
7. Check Out the Local Events
One of my favorite parts of traveling to new places is getting to know the local scene. When you’re looking for things to do in Casper, I recommend asking around to see what events are happening that week.
When I was there, they had the Second Annual Great Bug Battle at Frontier Brewery. This was a local fly-tying battle that fly fishermen participated in to see who could win different categories. Some of their challenges included making flies out of teddy bears or into the shape of Mickey Mouse.
Ask the front desk at your hotel or your waiter or bartender to see if they know of anything interesting going on. You’ll also get a chance to talk to locals, which always gives you more insight into the area.
8. Visit the Nicolaysen Art Museum
The Nicolaysen Art Museum is an art museum in Casper with an impressive array of local and national artists. They continuously change out their display, so you’ll likely see new pieces even if you go every month.
I love how much they involve the community as well. They have many different children’s events and programs to encourage kids to get into art. There was a program going on when I was there, and the kids seemed genuinely thrilled to be there.
The art museum also has events for adults that involve boozy beverages. These events include brunch with mimosas and evening events where you can meet some of the current artists displayed.
9. Go Fly-Fishing on the North Platte River
A little known secret is Casper may be one of the best places to fly fish in the country. Learning to fly fish or even just tie flies is one of the best things to do in Casper, Wyoming.
I had no experience fly fishing and had never even tied a fly before, but the staff at Ugly Bug Fly Fish are available to help you with any questions you have. They can help you tie flies, buy equipment, or set you up on a tour.
I found it fascinating how much detail goes into some of the flies and the reasoning behind them. I took a fly-tying class and made ties that looked like mice and birds.
The point of them is to imitate the type of creature that might attract the fish you’re after. Tiers will go as far as to put fake “eyes” on the fly or a streak of silver, so it looks as close as possible.
10. Enjoy Fancy Cocktails
You can easily make a night out of visiting Backwards Distilling Company. This family-owned distillery started at a family dinner, where an idea that grew into the now-popular distillery.
The entire family still works here, so I recommend talking to one of them for a few minutes if you get a chance.
They have a fun circus theme to the distillery and creative names for the cocktails like Ursula the Polar Bear Princess (I had to order that when I saw the name). The company also makes almost all their drinks with local ingredients.
Where to Eat in Casper
Need a few recommendations on where to eat or drink in Casper? Here are a few places to check out.
Johnny J’s Diner – This Casper diner has a 50s theme to it and is the local place to go for breakfast. They have plenty of classics like omelets, pancakes, and fresh cinnamon rolls.
Eggington’s – As the name indicates, egg-related dishes are their specialty. In addition to regular breakfast options, they have a unique assortment of eggs benedicts, such as the Greek Florentine.
Metro Coffee – This downtown Casper coffee shop has live music some nights, local pastries, and a large area for groups.
The Branding Iron – When you’re in the mood for a good burger, you’ll want to head to this downtown Casper restaurant. They have appetizers like toasted ravioli and award-winning burgers such as the Kona burger.
Rib & Chop – This is the newest restaurant in Casper and doing very well for itself thanks to the vibe and menu. Whether you want to watch sports with your friends in the bar or celebrate a special occasion with your whole family, this restaurant works well. I recommend getting the fried green tomatoes and BBQ shrimp.
FireRock Steakhouse – The place to go when you want to treat yourself to a fancy dinner. They have a large selection of steak, seafood, salad, and more. I recommend the pistachio-crusted bass and ending with one of their amazing desserts, like a giant slice of chocolate cake.
Gruner Brothers Brewing – Two brothers started this Wyoming brewery and have been making great beer since. I recommend getting a sampler os you can try a bit of each one. They also have Mouthful Burgers and Wind City Sweets & Treats if you’re hungry.
Frontier Brewing – This Casper brewery is unique in that they have a self-serve model. They give you a card when you first get there that keeps track of your tab all night. To use it, you walk up to the beer you want, put your card in the slot, and it measures how much you pour and adds that amount to your card. I had never seen anything like it before and loved it.
You’ll love all the fun things to do in Casper, Wyoming during your trip. The hardest part will be deciding which ones to do!