Montana Family Vacations: Best Escapes With Your Kids

Have you ever imagined a place where the skies stretch on forever, the mountains embrace the horizon, and the air is as fresh as the flowing rivers?

Welcome to the heart of family adventures—Montana. Known for its rugged beauty and sprawling landscapes, Big Sky Country is the perfect backdrop for unforgettable family fun.

As we delve into the world of Montana family vacations, you’ll discover a treasure trove of activities that cater to every age and interest. From the awe-inspiring vistas of Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks to the hands-on excitement of dinosaur trails and interactive museums, our journey will cover it all.

Whether it’s horseback riding through open meadows or splashing around in the cool waters of a waterpark, this article will serve as your mini-guide to planning a vacation that your family will talk about for years to come.

So, are you ready to discover the best family-friendly spots in Montana? Let’s embark on this journey together, and I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

7 Key Takeaways for Family-Friendly Activities in Montana

  1. Glacier and Yellowstone Park offer interactive programs for kids, making them ideal for family adventures.
  2. Montana’s Dinosaur Trail brings a unique opportunity to see real dinosaur fossils and engage in hands-on learning.
  3. The Children’s Museum of Montana and Montana Science Center offers fun and educational experiences for children of all ages.
  4. From Sweet Grass Ranch to other options, Montana’s horseback riding scene caters to all ages and skill levels.
  5. Electric City Water Park and Big Sky Waterpark provide a refreshing break during hot Montana summers.
  6. From ZooMontana to guided tours, get up close with Montana’s diverse wildlife while respecting their habitats.
  7. Big Sky Resort and Whitefish Mountain Resort offer family-friendly slopes and a range of winter activities.

Family Things to Do in Montana

A family visiting Montana walks together in a field at sunset, enjoying their vacation.

Montana isn’t just for adventurous adults; it’s a playground for the whole family.

From wildlife encounters to horseback riding adventures, there’s a wide range of adventurous family vacation ideas that will keep both young and old entertained.

Here are a few of my favorite family-friendly experiences that capture the essence of Big Sky Country.

1. Visit Montana National Parks

A rainbow arcs over the mountains, serving as a stunning backdrop for a Glacier National Park sign.

Montana’s National Parks are not just popular tourist attractions; they’re also fantastic places to create lasting family memories.

Two must-visit spots are Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Here’s why Glacier National Park is perfect for family adventures:

  • Junior Ranger Discovery Talk – Discover what makes Glacier National Park unique during this hands-on, interactive Junior Ranger Discovery Talk.
  • Junior Ranger Explorers Walk – The Junior Ranger Explorers Walk is an interactive hike exploring the fascinating connections between plants, animals, and non-living material.
  • Family Program – Learn about Glacier’s wonderful wildlife, geology, fascinating history, and much more through these interactive family programs geared toward kids aged 5–12.
  • Animal Olympics for Kids – Animal Olympics for Kids is a fun, interactive program where children can test their abilities against Glacier Park’s animal athletes.
  • Native America Speaks – Learn about Native American History where local tribal members share their rich history and culture through singing, storytelling, presentations, and hands-on learning.
  • Logan Pass Visitor Center – Kids will have fun with their interactive exhibits, both inside and outside the building.

Here are activities making Yellowstone National Park an ideal destination for families:

  • Become a Junior Ranger – Yellowstone National Park has a self-guided Junior Ranger program for children 4 years and older.
  • Ask a Ranger – Kids ask Yellowstone rangers questions and cool facts about Yellowstone.
  • Explore as a Young Scientist – Kids 5 and older can become Young Scientists when visiting Yellowstone National Park.

Both parks offer a fantastic perk for fourth graders: free access for an entire year to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters.

It’s a great incentive to get the whole family involved in outdoor activities.

So, when planning your awesome family fun vacation in Montana, make sure to include a visit to one (or both!) of these incredible National Parks. 

Read more about Montana Vacation Plans for Families.

2. See Dinosaur Fossils

A museum in Montana displays a fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur.

Montana’s Dinosaur Trail is like a prehistoric treasure hunt for kids and adults alike.

It’s a statewide expedition that connects 14 locations, each offering a window into the ancient past.

Two of the most popular stops on this trail are Makoshika State Park and the Museum of the Rockies.

At Makoshika, over 10 different dinosaur species have been unearthed, turning it into a real treasure trove for paleontology.

You can see the complete skull of a Triceratops horridus, the fossilized remains of an Edmontosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus rex, and even a nearly intact skeleton of the rare Thescelosaur.

And then there’s the Museum of the Rockies, a great place for dinosaur enthusiasts.

The exhibits here are truly mind-blowing, featuring the growth series of Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex, Montana’s very own T. rex skeleton, and the famous “Big Al” Allosaurus specimen.

Here’s why you and your family should go see dinosaur fossils in Montana:

  • Learn About Dinosaurs – It’s an educational experience that’s both fun and fascinating, offering a hands-on approach to history.
  • Witness Real Dinosaur Fossils – The Montana Dinosaur Trail is a unique opportunity to see real dinosaur fossils in their natural habitats.
  • Experience History – These locations are not just museums; they’re time capsules that let you get a glimpse at the historic discoveries in the state.

When I took my family to these sites, the kids were enthralled. It was a vacation they still talk about.

If you’re planning a family trip to Montana, don’t miss out on the dinosaur trail. 

3. Visit Kid-Friendly Museums

The Children's Museum of Montana

When it comes to museums, Montana offers a surprising range of options that will keep your little ones engaged and excited.

While there are several worth exploring, I want to highlight two gems: the Children’s Museum of Montana and the Montana Science Center.

The Children’s Museum of Montana is not only the largest but also the oldest children’s museum in the state.

I’ve taken my kids there, and they loved it. Designed for ages 0-12, this museum takes a hands-on approach to learning.

The exhibits are real-life play models that foster creativity and cognitive development.

On the other hand, the Montana Science Center is a hub of interactive, educational exhibits that focus on science and technology.

Your kids can try their hand at craft tables, be mesmerized by a bubble wall, or even marvel at a 110-gallon aquarium.

The emphasis here is on inspiring creativity, innovation, and real-world application.

Why should you make time for these museums?

  • Fun and Educational – Your kids won’t even realize they’re learning as they immerse themselves in the various exhibits.
  • Age-Appropriate – Both museums cater to a wide age range, ensuring everyone in the family has a good time.

So, whether your child is a budding scientist or a future artist, these kid-friendly museums in Montana offer a blend of entertainment and educational experiences that are hard to beat.

4. Go Horseback Riding

A family on horseback enjoying a scenic field during the golden hour while on their Montana vacation.

Montana and horseback riding are like old saddle pals—nearly inseparable.

The state’s vast, scenic landscapes practically beg to be explored on horseback.

And hey, it’s not just for adults; there are fantastic options for the little wranglers in your family too.

One such place is the legendary Sweet Grass Ranch, which started as a kids camp years ago, this dude ranch has been hosting youngins from ages 9 to 19 for entire summers.

They’ve got a stable of horses that are as kid-friendly as they come, offering everything from pony rides for the young to proper riding lessons for the older ones.

But it doesn’t stop at horse-related fun. Sweet Grass is a playground for kids, with a variety of options for activities such as:

  • Soccer, volleyball, softball, and paintball
  • Campfires
  • Natural waterslide and pool
  • Cards and board games
  • Chance to help feed pigs and bum calves

For parents in need of some adult alone time, Sweet Grass has got you covered.

They offer adult-only rides through the stunning Montana terrain and can even arrange babysitters with a bit of advance notice. So you can saddle up and hit the trails, worry-free.

5. Soak at Waterparks

A boy enters the pool through a water slide during their Montana family vacation.

When the summer sun in Montana starts to sizzle, you’ll be grateful for the state’s refreshing waterparks.

Two standout options are Electric City Water Park in Great Falls and Big Sky Waterpark in the heart of the Rockies.

For Electric City Water Park, here’s why it’s a perfect destination for families:

  • What to Expect – Montana’s largest heated outdoor swimming pool, perfect for those cooler summer months.
  • Why You’ll Love It – The pool is a hit with everyone, but adults can’t resist the thrill of the Power Tower Plunge — 2 slides launching from a 20-foot tower. Meanwhile, kids can giggle in the Squirt Zone, a dedicated children’s area.

For Big Sky Waterpark, here’s why it’s a hit for families:

  • What to Expect – A waterpark extravaganza with 10 water slides, a massive whirlpool, a kid’s activity pool, and even non-water activities like mini-golf, an arcade, and bumper cars.
  • Why You’ll Love It – Big Sky Waterpark is Montana’s largest waterpark, so there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

So, whether you’re seeking respite from the heat or just a fun family day out, Montana’s waterparks are a no-brainer. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

6. Wildlife Viewing

A red panda curiously peers down from a wooden platform in its enclosure at a Montana zoo.

When you think of Montana, it’s hard not to envision its sweeping landscapes and the abundant wildlife that calls it home.

From the majestic elk grazing in open meadows to the soaring eagles in the sky, Montana offers a wildlife viewing experience like no other.

Your wildlife adventure can begin right at ZooMontana, a 70-acre zoo and botanical park in Billings.

Not only is it Montana’s only zoo, but it’s also a hub for animal conservation and education.

Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect at ZooMontana:

  • Over 80 animals from 56 different species, including alpacas, bison, wolves, miniature donkeys, dwarf goats, and tigers.
  • Guided tours that are both informative and fun, perfect for kids who want to learn more about their favorite animals.

Whether you’re observing deer or bears, wildlife viewing in Montana is an experience that will stay with you and your family forever.

Just remember to respect the incredible creatures that share this beautiful state with us.

7. Ski in the Winter

A family skis down a snowy slope during their Montana vacation.

When it comes to skiing in ski resorts, Big Sky Country is one of the top places to visit.

With 14 ski areas and over 15,000 acres of terrain, you’ll find yourself gliding through deep, light powder in Montana.

Two resorts that stand out are Big Sky Resort and Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Big Sky Resort, in particular, is a skier’s paradise with an average of 400 inches of powder falling on 5,850+ skiable acres and 4,350 vertical feet. 

At the ski resort, the family fun doesn’t stop on the slopes.

Big Sky Resort in Big Sky offers kid lessons for skiing and snowboarding such as:

  • Family Private Lesson – Spend time with your family and improve your skills
  • Small Fry Group Lesson – Skill-building group ski lessons for 3-year-old children
  • Mini Camp Group Lesson – Ski & snowboard lessons tailored for the learning needs of 4-6-year-olds
  • Kids Camp Group Lesson – Lessons focused on technique building for skiers and snowboarders ages 7-14
  • Teen Mountain Experience – Lessons for teens to explore the mountain with less formal instruction

Whitefish Mountain Resort is equally enticing, with half of its 3,000 skiable acres dedicated to beginners and intermediates.

The other half? A playground for the more advanced skiers in your crew. Family-friendly group lessons and child ski-and-play programs make it easy for everyone to have a blast.

Skiing is not just a sport in Montana; it’s a way of life. And with family-focused programs at both Big Sky and Whitefish Mountain, it’s an experience in the winter snows that the whole gang can enjoy. 

Family-Friendly Accommodations in Montana

A two-story cabin sits amid lush greenery in Montana.

Finding the perfect family-friendly accommodations in Montana can sometimes feel overwhelming.

So, I’m here to guide you through some standout lodges and family resorts that will cater to your family’s unique needs and preferences. 

1. Lone Mountain Ranch

A rustic log cabin nestled in the picturesque Montana countryside, offering a serene getaway for unforgettable family vacations.

If you’re looking to give your family a taste of the Old West, this historic ranch is your all-inclusive ticket to the ultimate dude ranch vacation in Montana.

Lone Mountain Ranch, first homesteaded in 1915, has earned its stripes as one of the top guest ranch resorts in the entire country.

Their cozy cabins, complete with two bedrooms, are perfect for smaller families.

But if you’ve got a larger clan, these houses in Lone Mountain Ranch offer ample space and privacy for everyone to spread out:

  • Ridgetop Lodge – Ridgetop Lodge has 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and sleeps 18 people.
  • B-K – B-K has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and sleeps 9 people.
  • Douglas Fir House – Douglas Fir House has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and sleeps 8 people.

And let’s not forget the kids! Lone Mountain Ranch’s Outdoor Youth Adventure Program is a godsend for parents.

While you’re off enjoying adult activities, your little ones (ages 3-14) get to roam, play, and connect with nature in a safe and supervised environment.

So, if you’re yearning for the best vacation in Montana that is equal parts adventure and relaxation, Lone Mountain Ranch should be at the top of your list. 

2. The Resort at Paws Up

Gorgeous log cabins are nestled amid a grassy plain in Montana, surrounded by towering pine trees, with a pond and a small wooden bridge in the foreground.

The Resort at Paws Up is a family-owned haven where you can indulge in the rustic charm of Montana while still reveling in luxury.

There are ample opportunities for accommodations here ranging from sprawling and luxurious homes to the trendy world of glamping.

6 camps, each with safari-style luxury tents, cater specifically to families, ensuring that everyone, from the littlest to the oldest, feels right at home.

The menu for the kids’ awesome adventures in The Resort at Paws Up include:

  • Arena Equestrian Lessons – Your little equestrians can saddle up and learn the ropes in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Go-Karts Adventure – Let your kids channel their inner speed powers on the resort’s very own go-kart track.
  • Kids Corps of Discovery – A chance for your little adventurers to explore nature, learn survival skills, and make lifelong friends.
  • Pony Rides – A gentler introduction to horseback riding, perfect for the younger ones.
  • Snow Tubing – When winter rolls around, the fun doesn’t stop. The resort offers exhilarating snow tubing experiences for the whole family.

Staying at The Resort at Paws Up is not just a vacation; it’s an experience that the entire family will treasure for years to come.

3. Flathead Lake Lodge

Two wooden chairs on a deck in front of a log cabin, perfect for family vacations in Montana.

When you’re at Flathead Lake Lodge, you’re not just on vacation — you’re on a family summer camp adventure.

Flathead Lake Lodge, an all-inclusive resort in Bigfork, Montana, has been hosting family reunions since 1945, and it’s easy to see why it’s been a hit for generations.

The lodge has a unique dining setup that caters to both kids and adults. Children get their buffet starting at 6 p.m., while the adults enjoy a plated dinner at 6:30 p.m.

It’s a small touch that makes a big difference, allowing the kids to have their fun while the grown-ups savor a more leisurely meal.

One of the standout events at Flathead Lake Lodge is the Kids Camp Night where the lineup includes:

  • Teen Trail Ride – If you have teenagers in tow, they can saddle up for a guided horseback ride around the scenic Flathead Lake area.
  • Children’s Arts & Crafts – The younger ones can unleash their creativity with supervised arts and crafts sessions.
  • Afternoon Water Sports – The lodge offers a range of water activities for kids of all ages.
  • Kids’ Campfire & Games – As the sun sets, the little ones can gather around a campfire for stories, s’mores, and good old-fashioned games.
  • Little Buckaroo & ‘Pokes Activity – Designed for the tiniest tots, this activity introduces them to the world of ranching and cowboy culture in a fun and interactive way.

The family summer camp atmosphere in Flathead Lake Lodge makes for an unforgettable bonding experience.

4. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

A view of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in Montana beautifully lit up at dusk.

Tucked between the beautiful mountains and the crystal-clear waters, The Lodge at Whitefish Lake is a family vacation haven that offers more than just a place to rest your head.

This lodge seamlessly blends into the surrounding natural beauty of Whitefish, while still offering all the modern amenities that make a family vacation comfortable and memorable.

Here’s why The Lodge at Whitefish Lake is a top pick for families:

  • Amenities Galore – The full-service spa is a treat for parents, while the little ones can make a splash in the lakeside pool. With an array of options for dining, there’s something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
  • Accommodations – The lodge offers a range of accommodations, from luxury homes to cozy condominiums and lodges complete with rustic charm and modern comforts.
  • Family-Friendly Activities – The Lodge at Whitefish Lake offers activities for families such as decorating Gingerbread Houses to watching family-friendly movies. As well as the horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides, a favorite among kids and adults alike.

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake offers a balance of adventure and relaxation, making it the perfect base for your Montana family vacation. 

5. Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort

A family-friendly lodge with a beautiful swimming pool nestled in the heart of the Montana mountains.

If you’re planning a family vacation to Montana, let me introduce you to Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort.

Located just a couple of hours away from the majestic Glacier National Park, this resort offers more than just a place to stay—it’s an experience in itself.

Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort is perfect for families, due to:

  • Accommodations for All – With 2 lodges and over 25 cabins, Quinn’s has a range of options to suit families of any size.
  • Natural Hot Springs – Quinn’s boasts five 100% natural flow through hot springs pools. Not only are they a ton of fun, but they also offer a range of health and heart benefits.

The pools in Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort are for everyone, with options including:

  • All Ages – One pool is open to everyone, from toddlers to grandparents.
  • Kid-Friendly Options – There’s a pool specifically designed for children aged 3 and older, and two more for those aged 5 and older.
  • Teen Hangouts – Three pools are exclusively for teenagers aged 14 and above, giving them a space to relax and socialize.

Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort is more than just a place to sleep; it’s a destination within a destination.

Fun Montana Family Vacations Final Thoughts

A family on a Montana vacation looks over a cliff to the valley below.

Montana is more than just a vacation destination; it’s a canvas for unforgettable family adventures.

Whether you’re exploring the state’s national parks such as Glacier National Park, or hitting the slopes during winter in Big Sky Resort, there’s an activity for every age and interest.

The key is to embrace the spirit of Big Sky Country and let the experiences shape your family’s story.

So, why wait? Montana is calling, ready to offer a family vacation filled with discovery, fun, and a deeper connection to nature and history.

As you plan your trip, remember to mix in a variety of fun activities, from horseback riding and museum visits to wildlife encounters and waterparks.

The memories you make here will last a lifetime, and the lessons learned will go far beyond the pages of a travel guide.

Montana is waiting to be your family’s next great adventure!

Family-Friendly Montana Vacations FAQs

1. What Is the Best Time to Visit Montana With Kids?

The best times to visit Montana with kids are during the more temperate spring and fall seasons, as summer, while popular, can become extremely hot.

Spring and fall offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds, providing an ideal environment for family-friendly activities.

2. What Do I Wear in Montana in Winter?

Stay warm during Montana winters with layered clothing, thermal socks, gloves or mittens, sunglasses, and an insulated jacket and boots for cozy and comfortable outdoor adventures.

3. What Do I Wear in Montana in Summer?

For a comfortable summer experience in Montana, opt for breathable and quick-dry attire such as moisture-wicking shirts, quick-dry pants, and lightweight hiking boots.

Don’t forget essentials like wool socks and a baseball cap to stay prepared for outdoor activities in varying terrain and weather conditions.

4. What to Do in Montana?

Discover the stunning landscapes of Montana with visits to renowned destinations like Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

Engage in a multitude of outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, and skiing, to fully embrace the state’s captivating natural beauty.

Want more fun things in Montana? Read on below:

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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