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Family Travel in the Northern Rockies
Create Family Memories on the Top Ten Drives of the Northern Rockies
Enjoy Outdoor Adventure, Rugged Beauty & Colorful Family Attractions
||Family vacations are nothing short of unforgettable in the Northern Rockies. Some of the best family attractions in the region span Montana and North Central Idaho.|
|Pack the family in the car for a a vacation destination that will get you in touch with not only nature's beauty but also with the family your everyday life makes it difficult to fully appreciate. Forge even stronger bonds of love and loyalty while hiking, camping, or driving through awe-inspiring landscapes. Take spectacular family photos amidst mountains, valleys, and wilderness. Marvel together at breathtaking wildlife, explore a national park, or enjoy Wild West re-enactments complete with gunfights and Native American dancing. No matter what your family interests are, the Northern Rockies can provide the ideal escape to bring your family closer. Click on any of the following interests for more details.||
Rafting (Idaho) – Enjoy a day trip on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River with ROW Adventures. North Central Idaho is a great introduction to rafting,...
Rafting (Idaho) – Enjoy a day trip on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River with ROW Adventures. North Central Idaho is a great introduction to rafting, with some Class II rapids that are perfect for families
Trail of the Cedars (Montana) -- A wheelchair-accessible nature trail through a mature cedar and hemlock forest. Also the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail, a 2 1/10-mile (3 km) hike to the foot of Avalanche Lake, one of the most popular day-hikes in the park.
Hidden Lake Trail (Montana)-- One of the best places to encounter mountain goats, especially near the Hidden Lake Overlook. The trail and Hidden Lake itself are located in excellent Grizzly Bear habitat.
Big Sky Waterpark (Montana)– Located in Columbia Falls. Big Sky Waterpark features a wading pool and mini-slide for younger children, larger straight slides for kids too big for the wading pool, and giant slides with twists and turns for older sliders. Try a river ride on inner tubes. Many picnic tables are located around the slides and a snack bar is available. There is also a hot tub and the brand-new Shredder Extreme Tube ride Out-of-water amenities include an 18-hole mini-golf course, gas-operated bumper cars, catapulting water balloon game, beach volleyball, and a kids’ arcade.
Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous (Montana) -- Step back in time with reenactments of America's Westward Expansion. More than a simple show to watch, Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous allows your family to experience the life. The encampment is complete with a Trader's Row for the various skillsman from blacksmiths and craftsmen to hunters and fur traders. Visitor admission is free at this must see attraction is located in West Yellowstone.
Montana Vortex and House of Mystery (Montana)– Located in Columbia Falls. The Montana Vortex and House of Mystery is among the few areas in the world where the natural laws of physics are bent, if not broken all together. Featuring picnic spots and a gift shop. Open April to September.
Virginia City (Montana) -- Step back in time and relive the Montana frontier gold rush of the mid- to late-1800s. The Virginia City of old survives in a uniquely...
Virginia City (Montana) -- Step back in time and relive the Montana frontier gold rush of the mid- to late-1800s. The Virginia City of old survives in a uniquely engaging relationship with the present, and remains a historical treasure. Kids can learn how to pan for gold and rubies in the nearby “River of Gold” or take a stagecoach or fire truck tour. A vintage steam engine runs between the towns of Nevada City and Virginia City during the summer months.
Nevada City (Montana)-- Old West aficionados love Nevada City. The buildings remain true to the time period and look as if their proprietors and residents just stepped away for a minute. See history come alive as re-enactors recreate the Old West. History lessons were never this entertaining. The Living History program consists of thematically interpreted events following the time line of Montana's history. There are exciting daily happenings, skilled interpreters, live demonstrations, a blacksmith, a saloon keeper, a miner's widow, a laundress, prospectors, school teachers, spinning and weaving, and more. More recently Nevada City has been a popular location for filmmakers during the last 30 years.
Living History Program at the Nevada City Open Air Museum (Montana)-- May 28 to September 12, 2010. You’ll also enjoy Victorian children's programs and interpretive talks. See history come alive as re-enactors recreate the Old West. History lessons were never this entertaining. The Living History program consists of thematically interpreted events following the time line of Montana's history. There are exciting daily happenings, skilled interpreters, live demonstrations, a blacksmith, a saloon keeper, a miner's widow, a laundress, prospectors, school teachers, spinning and weaving, and more. You’ll also enjoy Victorian children's programs and interpretive talks.
A Carousel for Missoula & Dragon Hollow (Montana)– Missoula maybe the city around these parts, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of fun to be had here. Dragon Hollow and a carousel for Missoula are located next door to each other making it a great stop for the whole family. Dragon Hollow is a magical play land is the combined effort of artists, consultants, and local play area experts -- the students of many local grade schools. On sunny days, the air in Dragon Hollow rings with the sound of children's laughter. Even on very cold days, a few brave souls venture into the play area. Dragon Hollow is open to the public from dawn to dusk each day. Adjacent to Dragon Hollow is A Carousel for Missoula. From little more than dreams, hard work, and love, a carousel was created by hundreds of volunteers -one of the first fully hand-carved since the Great Depression. The Carousel has 38 horses and two chariots. The chariots allow for family members with disabilities to ride along, so bring the whole family.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation & Elk Country Visitor Center (Montana)– The Elk Country Visitor Center features hands-on conservation and hunting heritage exhibits for all ages. The Center also includes a Lewis and Clark display, an impressive collection of world-record elk mounts, a western wildlife diorama, and a state-of-the-art conservation theater.
Glacier National Park (Montana) – Explore through a seven-part video series about each of the varied areas that make up the world's first International Peace Park: Click here to experience the Glacier National Park
Yellowstone National Park (Montana)– Explore each of the varied areas that make up America’s first National Park through an eight-part video series: Click here to experience the Yellowstone National Park
Northwest Passage Scenic Byway (Idaho)– History lives in this part of the Idaho Rockies, which traces the Lewis and Clark Expedition route through the ancestral home of the Nez Perce people. From the west, this beautiful drive (202 miles length in total) begins at the Washington state line on Hwy 12 and traverses west through north central Idaho, following the winding Clearwater River Canyon, passing through the Nez Perce National Historical Park areas of Spalding and Kamiah, and the towns of Lenore, Orofino, Kamiah, and Kooskia. At Kooskia, the byway splits, with one route continuing on Hwy 13 south to the Camas Prairie and the town of Grangeville, while another heads east on Hwy 12 along the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River and the Lochsa Wild and Scenic River, toward the Montana border. The Bitteroot Mountains provide a breathtaking backdrop to this section of the byway. Fun family adventures and memories can be found along every stretch of this All American Road.
Yellowstone-Grand Teton Loop (Montana)– Experience the most active geothermal region on Earth : Yellowstone National Park. If you come June through August, catch the Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo, complete with a special calf scramble for the kids. If your children are looking for an amazing animal adventure, they can see live bears and wolves at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. Just down the road from those fierce forest animals are the towns of Cooke City and Silver Gate. They’re located along the northeast entrance to Yellowstone -- a nice transition to the “most scenic road in America,” the Beartooth All-American Road.
Explore each of the varied areas that make up America’s first National Park through an eight-part video series about Yellowstone National Park: Click here to experience the Yellowstone National Park.
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Loop (Montana) – Glacier National Park offers some of the Northern Rockies’ most scenic locales, and there are countless ways for your family to see them. Fun and unique tours are available with the Jammer ‘red bus’ tours, Native American-inspired Sun Tours, water-based Glacier Park Boat Company tours, or exploring on horseback the way cowboys did it over 200 years ago with Swan Mountain Outfitters.
Explore each of the varied areas that make up the world's first International Peace Park through a seven-part video series: Click here to experience the Glacier National Park.
Montana Scenic Loop (Montana)– Much of Montana’s rich history is here. History might not be your child’s favorite subject, but the interactive and unique heritage of the Montana Scenic Loop ranges from ancient and Native American to western expansion and into the present day. Visit the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum -- where your family can view the world’s longest dinosaur, the Seismosaurus. Experience Native American history in Crowning each mid-July during North American Indian Days. Get a taste of the Wild West at the Augusta American Legion Rodeo and Parade, one of Montana’s largest rodeos. After a day of adventure, relax at the Izaak Walton Inn, where you can stay in an actual train caboose.
Festival of Nations (Montana)– Held in early August. The Red Lodge Festival of Nations honors its roots as a coal mining town by celebrating the diverse...
Festival of Nations (Montana)– Held in early August. The Red Lodge Festival of Nations honors its roots as a coal mining town by celebrating the diverse groups that worked and settled the area. Sample ethnic food while enjoying a variety of cultural activities and performances.
Pig Races at the Bear Creek Saloon & Restaurant (Montana)– The Bear Creek Saloon and Restaurant is located in Bear Creek, a historical mining town near Beartooth Pass. It’s also an award-winning steakhouse, earning accolades from “Taste of Red Lodge”. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, lively pig races are held each Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There are 12 nightly races on a 15-minute schedule, featuring porky stars such as Makin' Bacon, Knuckles, and Nota Hot Dog. It’s an oinkin’ good time.
North American Indian Days (Montana)– Each mid-July (July 7-10, 2010). North American Indian Days -- the largest and most impressive of Blackfeet tribal events -- brings Native Americans from every region of the United States and Canada. Featured events include traditional drumming and dancing contests, the crowning of Miss Blackfeet, a parade and fun run, and more.
Augusta American Legion Rodeo and Parade (Montana) – Augusta American Legion Rodeo and Parade – June 27, 2010. This is one of the largest one-day rodeos in Montana. It features a parade, the Old-Time Wild Cow Milking, and a rodeo. Let Montana show you what it's like to live a day in the life of a bullfighter - or rodeo clown to you and me.
Seeley Lake 4th of July Celebration (Montana)-- Seeley Lake hosts a renowned parade and spectacular fireworks. Enjoy kid and family games, competitive sports, a pig roast, arts and crafts, and delicious food.
Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo (Montana)– West Yellowstone -- June 3 to August 28, 2010. First created to ease cowboys' boredom, today's rodeos are pure excitement! Bareback Riding, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Breakaway Roping, Bull Riding, and a special “calf scramble” for kids are just some of the scheduled events. Held each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the summer, performances begin at 8 p.m. in the rodeo arena, just four miles west of West Yellowstone.
Whitefish Mountain Resort (Montana)– Located in Whitefish. Enjoy scenic gondola rides, hiking trails, and even a Walk in the Tree Tops. A Walk in the Tree...
Whitefish Mountain Resort (Montana)– Located in Whitefish. Enjoy scenic gondola rides, hiking trails, and even a Walk in the Tree Tops. A Walk in the Tree Tops is a 2.5-hour guided tour offering a unique view of the forest from an elevated boardwalk. It's one of the only walks of its kind in the United States. Reservations are highly recommended as these popular summer tours sell out quickly.
Chico Hot Springs Resort (Montana)– Chico Hot Springs Resort offers the quintessential Montana experience. Established in 1900, currently on the National Historic Register, Chico is a year-round destination resort offering lodging, conventions, fine dining, saloon, gift shop, full-day spa, natural hot springs pool, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, dog sledding, and cross country skiing. Additionally, Yellowstone National Park is in our backyard! Take a horseback ride, a dogsled ride, or enjoy a soak in our hot springs pool.
Izaak Walton Inn (Montana)– Watch the trains go by or even take one to get here. Sleep in a caboose at night and explore Glacier National Park by day -- just minutes from this historic lodging. In the winter, take a guided cross-country or snowshoe trip into Glacier and experience nature’s tranquility.
Nez Perce National Historical Park Museum (Idaho)-- Stop at the visitor center, open daily year-round, for orientation, films, exhibits, and ranger-led programs....
Nez Perce National Historical Park Museum (Idaho)-- Stop at the visitor center, open daily year-round, for orientation, films, exhibits, and ranger-led programs. Learn about the Nez Perce Indians and their culture. Park admission is free.
Two Medicine Dinosaur Center (Montana) – See the world's longest dinosaur: a skeletal model display of a Seismosaurus. Two Medicine paleontologists designed and built this natural-looking, 137-foot model with a curved the neck and tail. Other displays include the first baby dinosaur remains found in North America (recently featured on CNN) and the actual remains of other new dinosaur species. Participate in dinosaur digs lasting from half a day to a week. Kids can learn how to identify dinosaur bones and enjoy Montana’s prehistoric history at this attraction – one of 15 stops along the Montana Dinosaur Trail.
Old Trail Museum (Montana)– This museum reflects the rich natural and cultural history of Montana's pristine Rocky Mountain Front region. Explore fossils, dinosaurs, Native American artifacts, grizzly bears, and diverse and colorful local history. Open May to September.
Hockaday Museum of Art (Montana) – Exhibitions focus on the art and culture of Montana and the artists of Glacier National Park. Children will enjoy a Discovery Gallery featuring hands-on activities, which change in theme along with the rotating exhibits. Open year-round, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Smokejumper Visitor Center (Montana) – The Smokejumper Visitor Center is a unique opportunity to learn about this unusual, demanding, and dramatic occupation. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tours are held daily at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m.
Yellowstone Historic Center (Montana) – Experience the lure of Yellowstone National Park. The museum contains displays on stage coach and railroad companies that brought tens of thousands of visitors to the park, wildlife of the area, and the “Fires of 88”. The young and young at heart can try on a cowboy duster, make the “earth shake,” or sit in a stagecoach. Open mid-May to mid-October, daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Beartooth Nature Center (Montana)– A nonprofit educational center with over 60 native animals that cannot be returned to the wild. View native wild and domestic...
Beartooth Nature Center (Montana)– A nonprofit educational center with over 60 native animals that cannot be returned to the wild. View native wild and domestic animals such as elk, deer, pronghorns, bear, mountain lions, wolves, bobcat, foxes, and more. Offers a concession stand, gift shop, and picnic area.
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center (Montana) – Get a fascinating glimpse into the worlds of live bears and wolves. Watch the bears forage for food, play in their ponds, and frolic with each other. Early morning and evening, visitors may witness active wolf packs howling. Activities include Keeper Kid's (in which kids help hide food for the bears), Wolf Enrichment, a Karelian Bear Dog, live bird-of-prey demonstrations, Safety in Bear Country Programs, Yellowstone Park Ranger talks, and intriguing films and staff presentations. You’ll also enjoy “Explore Bears: Imagination & Reality” -- an interactive world-class exhibit. Visit the Naturalist Cabin to see exceptional views of two separate wolf packs through immense floor-to-ceiling windows. Other highlights include daily “Pack Chats,” a National Geographic film on wolves, and a life-sized wolf model.
Dworshak National Fish Hatchery Complex (Idaho) -- Part of the Children & Nature Network and Let's Go Outside programs. Watch fish spawning, tour the hatchery, or attend Family Activity Days.