If it’s park activities rich in family memories that you seek, then you have come to the right place. Montana is home to two of our country’s most famous national parks — Glacier and Yellowstone National parks — but Montana also boasts a vast number of lesser-known state parks. As you plan your trip through Big Sky country, make sure to put these on the list.
Yellowstone National Park
When most folks think of Yellowstone National Park they think of grizzly bears and the Old Faithful geyser. It is so much more than that! Not only is Yellowstone a super-volcano, it is also a super wildlife, fish and floral habitat. The views are unparalleled, which is why you will see people from all corners of the globe when you visit Yellowstone. One of the best attributes of this family vacation staple is that it literally has something for all ages. The park is a huge loop — therefore, much of the sights and wildlife can be seen from your vehicle if you have young children. For more active vacationers, there are miles of trails, backpacking opportunities and boardwalks that weave visitors through the thermal areas and geyser parks. Yellowstone is also home to over 290 waterfalls and the largest high altitude lake in North America. Yellowstone is truly an unforgettable and unique vacation experience.
Glacier National Park
The question to ask yourself when considering a visit to Glacier National Park is not what will you do, but what will you do first? Glacier Park is over a million acres of mountains, meadows, lakes and forests, making it home to an abundance of wildlife — including bears, wolves and lynx. Going to The Sun Road provides travelers with one of the most unique and scenic driving experiences our country has to offer. Glacier National Park, with its rare scenery and glacier valleys, will provide long lasting family memories.
Lewis and Clark Caverns, Whitehall
Few things pique human fascination like a maze of underground caverns made up of stalactites, stalagmites and columns. This intricate cave system, first discovered in 1892 (not by Lewis and Clark) is alive and well, and provides a one-of-a-kind family activity. Thanks to the vast improvements that have taken place over the years, visitors no longer have to stand on a wooden spiral staircase with a 90-foot drop over the side of it to enjoy this unusual ecosystem. This is one trip the kids are guaranteed to talk about for years to come.
Bannack State Park, BANNACK
Step back in time to the days of pioneers and gold rushes. When gold was discovered in Grasshopper Creek in 1862, 3,000 people rushed to what is now a deserted ghost town. More than 50 buildings line the main street, many of which are open for visitors to go through. Little kids love Bannack because it feels like life-size doll houses to them. If you’re afraid big kids might be bored by Bannack, entice them with movies about the Old West and the pioneer spirit. You can also pique their interest with ghost stories — they don’t call old, deserted places “ghosts towns” for nothin’! Families will enjoy looking through the old school house and prison and imagining the people who came before them.