55 Exciting Things To Do In Montana With Kids

Are you ready to learn about the most exciting things to do in Montana with kids? You’ve come to the right place!

Things to do with kids in Big Sky Country are easy to find! Children will love panning for gold and jewels, seeing gorgeous wildlife, hunting for dinosaur bones, and running through the Montana wilderness!

Known as Big Sky Country, Montana is overflowing with breathtaking views! If you are visiting Montana for its natural beauty, you won’t be disappointed! On the other hand, you may be excited to see Montana in all of its historical glory. Montana has played a huge role in United States history. You can find important historical sites scattered all over the state. From Bozeman to Kalispell, and from Billings to Glendive, you will not be disappointed in the awesome things to do in Montana with kids!

Whether you are going to Montana to explore the state’s cities, to hike through the mountains, or to chase history, the treasure state will not disappoint!

lake in the mountains in Montana

What Is Montana Best Known For?

Montana is known most of all for its natural beauty. The national parks, state parks, and general landscape are the most memorable features.

What Is The Prettiest Place In Montana?

There are many pretty places to visit in Montana. Glacier National Park is usually on the top of everyone’s list of pretty places in Montana!

What Is The Number One Attraction In Montana?

Glacier National Park. This Montana attraction draws in around three million visitors per year!

River through mountains

55 Exciting Things To Do In Montana With Kids

Visit Museum Of The Rockies

Located in Bozeman, Montana, this museum is one of the most popular museums in the region and is famous for its large collection of dinosaur fossils. They also have exhibits on Yellowstone, the history of the area, and a planetarium. {children under age 5 are free!}

Zoo Montana

When traveling with kids, a zoo is always a hit. This zoo in Billings, Montana is an accredited educational facility. It’s a reasonably priced large zoo that is full of fun animals, including bison, koi, lynx, and more, making it one of the most exciting things to do in Montana with kids!

If you’re visiting in the summer, you can also enjoy the botanical gardens on the grounds. Plus, they have a live bear cam that you can watch right now!

Day Trip To Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular things to do in Wyoming. It is located in the northern part of the state, so if you find yourself in southern Montana, a day trip to Yellowstone may be in order.

Hike Custer Gallatin National Forest

If you prefer outdoorsy things to do in Montana with kids, you should consider adding the Custer Gallatin National Forest to your Montana bucket list! This national forest is a beautiful natural wonder of Montana. Spend quality time outdoors with your kids by hiking some of these family-friendly trails in Custer Gallatin.

Grotto Falls: This 2.4 mile out and back trail is rated easy. The trail is lined with fir trees and is completed by a waterfall and breathtaking mountain views.

Drinking Horse Mountain Trail: 2.1-mile loop trail that gives spectacular mountain and valley views. Bring your little ones along for the hike on this moderate short loop trail.

Ousel Falls: 1.6 out and back trail is super popular in the national forest. Its short length and water feature make it a great option for family travelers.

things to do in Montana with kids, lake in the mountains
Custer Gallatin National Forest

American Computer & Robotics Museum

Kids 9 and under are free at this Bozeman, Montana museum! At this museum, you can see the first at-home video game, the Apollo 11 moon mission computer, and some of the very first computers, PDA’s, and smartphones. The free admission to this museum makes it one of the best things to do in Montana with kids.

Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park is one of the coolest places to see in Montana! See cave paintings and artifacts that are thousands of years old. Admission is cheap, there are toilets, picnic shelters, and plenty of natural and historical beauty to be seen at Pictograph Cave State Park in Billings, Montana.

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

If you’re looking for educational things to do in Montana with kids, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is for you! Located in Great Falls, Montana, the Lewis and Clark center overlooks the Missouri River in the Giant Springs Heritage State Park. You can learn about Lewis and Clark’s expedition through Montana, how they received help from Sacagawea and other Native Indians as well.

You can also enjoy the natural beauty along the trail outside of the center. Your kids will love looking for wildlife along the water’s edge.

Drive Going-To-The-Sun Road

This road is a super scenic mountain road through the Rocky Mountains near Canada. If you are looking for breathtaking views that you will never forget, be sure to add this to your Montana bucket list!

Flathead Lake

In Whitefish, Montana is the otherworldly beauty of Flathead Lake. The lake has all of the best lake activities right there in one place.

Try your hand at SUPing or kayaking. If you’re wanting to try something new on your travels, you can try the popular sport of fly fishing on Flathead Lake. If your kiddos are too small or not interested in SUP or kayaking, they can play in the sand and in the water at the beaches along Flathead Lake.

If you like to incorporate educational opportunities into your travels you can visit one of the many museums in the Flathead Lake area. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can elevate your experience at the lake by camping at one of the campsites nearby!

restaurant overlooking flathead lake in montana
Flathead Lake

Montana Grizzly Encounter

This attraction in Bozeman is one of the best things to do in Montana with kids! The Montana Grizzly Encounter is a wildlife sanctuary for orphaned bears and bears that were born into dangerous captivity situations that unfortunately have made it to where they can’t be released into the wild.

See the beauty of these wild beasts in a safe manner at the Montana Grizzly Encounter.

Giant Springs State Park

Giant Springs State Park is one of the best attractions in Montana. The park is a super beautiful part of the state and the springs in the park produce more than 156 million gallons of water each day. If you enjoy spending time in nature, then you will love hiking and picking at this Montana state park.

Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

This museum in Missoula houses exhibits that tell the story of Fort Missoula in 1877 as well as local history. You can also see an old schoolhouse building and old locomotives as well. 

One of the coolest Montana activities for family travelers is located in Missoula. The carousel is beautifully crafted and has brought joy to kids (and adults) in Missoula since 1995.

Glacier National Park

Continuously ranked as a hikers paradise, Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful things to do in Montana. Since you’re going to have your kids in tow when you visit, let’s take a look at some great short and easy ranked hikes in the park.

St. Mary and Virginia Falls Trail: 2.9 miles out and back trail that is easy enough for kids as young as 3 or 4. Enjoy the falls, natural beauty, and if you’re lucky a black bear sighting.

Trail of The Cedars: This is a .9 mile loop trail that only gains 49 feet of elevation. The trail is a boardwalk hike through the woods and along a river. If you’re traveling with a kid who has just started to walk or an older kid that hates to hike, this trail is a great option.

Baring Falls via Piegan Pass: This 1.9 mile out and back trail is ranked easy! If you want a trail in Glacier National Park that gives you beautiful blue lake views, is ranked easy and includes an epic waterfall… this one is for you!

mountains and body of water in montana
Glacier National Park

C.M. Russel Museum

The C.M. Russel Museum is one of the best places to visit in Montana! Located in Great Falls, this is a super nice museum that is great for family travelers. 

Bozeman Hot Springs

Enjoy the natural healing properties of the Bozeman Hot Springs. They have multiple pools to soak in, ranging between 57-106°. This is great for family travelers because you don’t have to worry about the waters being too hot for your little ones! Check out their prices and hours here.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Located in Fort Smith, Montana, the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area straddles the state-line between Montana and Wyoming. If you have been looking for things to do in southern Montana, this should be on your list!

Garnet Ghost Town

This ghost town in Missoula, Montana is truly a Montana bucket list item! At the Garnet Ghost Town, you can step into the past. Your kids will love seeing what life was like back in the day.

“Wait! You mean there were no TVs?!”

The homes and buildings in the Garnet are still occupied by relics of the past. You can see the stoves they used, the saddles that sat on their horses, and even the shoes they wore. Besides the fascinating history, you can also enjoy the beautiful land that Garnet sets on by walking one of the walking trails or sitting at one of the picnic tables for lunch.

wood cabins in the forest

Malmstrom Museum and Air Park

This is one of the Montana attractions that you should add to your list of things to do in Montana with kids!

Western Heritage Museum

The Western Heritage Museum is one of the best things to see in Montana. This is a very large museum and it is packed with information about the Treasure State. If you’re a family traveler traveling with homeschool kids or if you are simply a history-driven traveler, you will love this Montana attraction!

Yellowstone Art Museum

If you love a good art museum but aren’t sure about taking your kids along with you, this may a good option for you. This museum in Billings, Montana features a few interactive options that your kids will like. Plus, numerous colorful and attention-grabbing works of art keep your kids from totally losing it in the museum.

World Museum Of Mining

When it comes to interesting Montana attractions, the World Museum of Mining is at the top of the list. Located in Butte, Montana, the museum has been open since 1965. The museum has 50 exhibit buildings and an underground mine tour as well.

Gates Of The Mountains

This natural recreational area is the place to be to see beautiful Montana beauty. You and your kids will love taking a boat ride through the canyon. Your guide will tell you about the history of the river and how Lewis and Clark discovered it.

The boats are covered so you can still take the boat tour even if it’s a drizzly day. Plus, your boat guide might even let your little ones steer the boat!

body of water surrounded by mountains in montana

Beartooth Highway

Driving the Beartooth Highway is one of the best things to do in Montana near Yellowstone. This highway is an iconic route in the state for amazing mountain views.

Dine at Horn and Cantle

This is a fine dining restaurant in Big Sky, Montana that is absolutely dreamy. The rustic log cabin and cozy dining room make for a remarkable and memorable experience. There are a lot of good Montana restaurants for you to choose from on your travels, but Horn and Cantle is without a doubt one of the very best restaurants in Montana.

Garfield County Museum

The Garfield County Museum is one of the best things to do in Montana with kids! They have dinosaur bones and other fossils. You can learn about the county and the archeological findings that have happened at the museum.

Copper Mountain Coffee

Copper Mountain Coffee has locations in Kalispell, Missoula, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Polson, and Libby. These little coffee shops have bakery items like cookies, biscotti, and bagels. They also have their own “moonshine menu.” When making your list of places to go in Montana, be sure to include Copper Mountain Coffee.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

This Montana state park is a nature preserve and public recreation area in Jefferson County, Montana. You can find ten miles of hiking trails, limestone caverns, and campsites. You can hike, enjoy spending time out in nature, camp at one of the 40 campsites, or take a tour of the caverns during your visit. 

Bison Range

The National Bison range is 19,000 acres of grasslands where roughly 500 bison roam the land with other wildlife like deer, bighorn sheep, and elk. The range is super beautiful and it is so cool to see the bison out in nature. 

Pictograph Cave State Park

If you are looking for adventurous things to do in Montana, consider hiking at Pictograph Cave State Park. Prehistoric hunters slept in the caves in the park and left behind rock paintings and artifacts. The oldest art found in the caves was from more than 2,000 years ago. You can check out the pictographs, go hiking, have a picnic, and take in the stunning scenery and wildlife. If you aren’t much of a hiker, check out the Interpretive Walking Trail which is one .75 miles.

Valley County Pioneer Museum

The Valley County Pioneer Museum is in Glasgow, MT. The museum has many taxidermy animals and items from a time past in Wyoming. For travelers who like to step back in history and learn about the past of the destination you are traveling through, the Valley County Pioneer Museum makes a good addition to your list of places to visit in Montana. 

Little Bighorn Battlefield

The Little Bighorn area memorializes the 7th cavalry and the plains Indian tribes that fought on the battlefield. More than 250 soldiers and thousands of warriors died during the battle and today you can drive the 4.5-mile road along the battlefields and learn about the history of the area at the pullouts along the way.

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald is a huge lake in Big Sky Country. It dives to nearly 500 feet deep and was made from glacial carving. It’s one of the most popular lakes in Montana as the lake bottom is covered with pretty colorful rocks. 

Garden Of One Thousand Buddhas

In Arlee, Montana you can find a garden of buddhas. The garden was created to bring sacred arrangements and align positive properties based on the Dharma wheel. The goal is to bring positivity to those who visit in a world where negativity reigns. 

Moss Mansion Museum

The Moss Mansion in Montana is a beautiful turn-of-the-century home that was built in the early 1900s. The house and the grounds are beautiful and are open for you to tour.

Virginia City

Visiting Virginia City, Montana is one of the best things to do in Montana for couples. You can shop and still along the boardwalk, learn about the vigilantes in the old boomtown, visit the town’s two museums, ride the train to Nevada City, and more in this cute small town. 

Northwest Montana History Museum

Located in Kalispell, this museum walks you through the fascinating history of Northwest Montana. Learn about how the settlers who settled the very land you stand on long before your time and more importantly, learn about the Native Indians who cared for and shaped the land long before the settlers arrived.

This is a great opportunity to travel on foot around the town of Kalispell. You can choose from more than THIRTY restaurants within .3 of a mile from the Northwest Montana History Museum. Plus there are more than ten attractions within walking distance as well.

Old West Antiques & Candy Store

This candy shop in Darby, Montana has rows and rows of jelly beans, fudge, and chocolate candies. This shop is huge, making it one of the best things to do Montana with kids. 

Makoshika State Park

If you like the badlands of South Dakota, you will love Makoshika State Park. The park has beautiful rock formations and fossils of various prehistoric life have been found there, including a triceratops and T-Rex.

Cathedral of Saint Helena

If you plan on visiting Helena, you will want to check out the Cathedral of Saint Helena. The exterior is beautiful and inside you can find delicate and colorful stained glass windows and ornate gold and marble design.

Carter County Museum

If you are looking for things to do in eastern Montana, the Carter County Museum is a must-see. More than 75 species of dinosaurs have been found in Montana and you can see some of those species at this museum.

Montana Coffee Traders

Montana Coffee Traders has locations in Whitefish and Kalispell. A visit to Coffee Traders is more than just a visit to a coffee shop as they have a variety of other merchandise there including snacks, travel mugs, hats, tea, tea kettles, and other novelty items.

Central Montana Historical Museum

This museum is in the small town of Lewistown, Montana, and is one of the best things to do in central Montana. Aside from the history and artifacts displayed in the museum, they also have fossils and dinosaur bones, including a triceratops skull that kids will love. 

West Yellowstone

There are so many things to do in West Yellowstone. You can go mountain biking, visit the Museum of Yellowstone, and stop by the Bear county Bakery where you can get fruity cupcakes, pies, fresh bread, and sandwiches. 

source: Michael Thomas Allen shutterstock.com

Roadhouse Diner

If you like big burgers with heaps of unique toppings, you will love the Roadhouse Diner. You can eat the menu of hearty American cuisine from breakfast to dinner in Great Falls, Montana. 

Montana Natural History Center

In Missoula, you’ll find the Montana Natural History Center. If you are looking for things to do in Montana with kids, this attraction is a must. It has a children’s microscope area, touch tables, a kids discovery room, a naturalist lab that is hands-on, and more! Keep in mind that the center is closed Sunday and Monday.

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream has locations in Missoula, Bigfork, Kalispell, and Whitefish. They serve up both classic and unique ice cream flavors like lemon dill and Madagascar vanilla. flavors that are made in Montana. Their ice cream cones are highly instagramable with their vibrant colors and candy or cereal toppings.

Museum Of The Northern Great Plains

Located in Fort Benton, the Museum of the Northern Great Plains is one of the best museums in Montana because it’s enjoyable for both children and adults, making it a great place to visit for family travelers.

Kootenai Falls

This waterfall in Libby is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Montana. The emerald green water, rock cliffs, mountains, and suspension bridge create a super beautiful locale that you are going to want to see for yourself!

Museum Of The Plains Indian

This museum was founded in 1941 and it proudly displays the art and history of many plains tribes including Crow, Sioux, Arapaho, Flathead, and Cree. The museum is in Browning and contains various traditional costumes, tribal art, and more can be found at the museum. 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

The elk foundation has a variety of taxidermy animals and information about the land and habitats in Montana. If you’re traveling with kids, you should consider stopping at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Missoula.

Boxcar Bistro

This restaurant in Missoula has an amazing atmosphere and interior. The elegance of the restaurant extends to every aspect, from the plates and silverware to the food and wine menu, this restaurant is a lovely place to be if you find yourself in Missoula. 

Nez Perce National Historical Park

This historical park is a combination of 38 different sites that cross throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The sites have been designated to commemorate the history of the Nimiipuu and their interactions with fur trades, soldiers, steelers, miners, and other people as they moved through this multi-state area. 

Powder River Historical Museum

The country museums in Montana give great insight into the life and loss of the people of Montana throughout history. If you find yourself in southern Montana, swing by the Powder River Historical Museum to learn a little something about Big Sky Country.

Polebridge Mercantile & Bakery

One of the coolest things to do in Montana is visiting the Polebridge Mercantile. It is in the northern part of the state, only twenty-two miles from the Canadian border.  You can purchase fresh huckleberry bear claws and other pastries, supplies, jams and jellies, fruits and vegetables, unique beverages, and other items while you’re there. This northern mercantile is a godsend for those camping in the wild northern parts of the state.

Is Montana Safe For Solo Travel Moms?

One of the biggest concerns for moms traveling alone with their kids is safety. For us, traveling in Montana has always felt really safe. As with any location, safety precautions should always be taken!

Some of the most important safety tips for traveling in Montana with kids revolves around safety in the wilderness and around wild animals. Teaching your kids to stay away from bears and other wild animals and to never feed them is really important. You may also want to invest in bear spray. Before going to Montana, watch a few YouTube videos on how the bear spray works so that you will know what you’re doing if you are in a situation where you need to use it!

If you are going to be outside of the major cities in Montana, consider telling someone where you will be hiking, camping, and traveling for the next few days. There’s nothing worse than having your family and friends terrified that something has happened to you when in reality you were just hiking and chilling at a campsite for two days without a signal.

As someone who travels, camps, and hikes solo with her daughters, I like to share my location on my phone with my mom. Additionally, I send a message to a couple of close people in my life to let them know what my plan is for the next 1-2 days.

Best Time Of Year To Visit Montana

You may be thinking that all of this sounds great, but Wat is the best month to go to Montana? Well, if you are visiting Montana for hiking, camping, or natural beauty, try visiting Montana in July or August. All of the best things to do in Montana with kids are open and you’ll get warm temperatures this time of year. Even during July and August, the temperatures at night can dip down to the low 50’s and 40’s. To avoid any colder evening and night temperatures, plan your trip to Montana with kids in July or August.

If you want to avoid rainy weather in Montana, avoid visiting in May. May is the rainiest month in Montana! On the other hand, if you are wanting to avoid the snow, avoid visiting after September. Snowfall has been known to arrive as early as mid-September in Montana!

What to Pack For a Trip to Montana With Kids

Packing for Montana in the summer can be a little tricky. With 80 degree days and 40 degree nights, you will find yourself needing winter and summer clothes. For someone who likes to pack light, this can be annoying! However, warm hoodies and coats can be hard to find in the summer months. To avoid extra trips to the store and breakdowns over not being properly prepared for Montana, I recommend packing the following things!

Make sure to bring along a warm sweater and either a thick hoodie or jacket with you to Montana! In the evenings and early mornings, you will be glad you packed them. If you’re wanting to pack as light as possible, try packing an ear warmer headband for everyone instead of a beanie or other thick winter hat.

For traveling with kids in Montana in the summer months, I like to follow the two shoe rule. For anyone else who likes to pack light, I recommend sticking to just two pairs of shoes per person. First, a pair of closed-toe shoes that are good for hiking, and if they’re waterproof, even better! Secondly, packing a pair of sandals that can get wet, act as water shoes, and are good for just walking around towns or nature trails.

Lastly, despite Montana having such chilly nights, it can still be very hot during the day! Don’t forget your sun hats, shorts, and sunscreen!

boarded trail in the mountains

I hope these things to do in Montana with kids have given you inspiration for your epic family trip to Montana. You’ve made such a great choice in choosing the Treasure State to travel to with your kids. The widespread natural beauty, educational opportunities, and great food of Montana will leave a mark on you and your kids for life. Which of these things to do in Montana will you do first?

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2 thoughts on “55 Exciting Things To Do In Montana With Kids

  1. Great post and incredible photos, Samantha. From the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, Montana has such a diverse terrain not to mention its wide-open spaces and Glacier National Park. Now I wanna go there to see everything in person but I might need to wait until the pandemic crises are over. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely Easter weekend. I hope all is well. Aiva 🙂

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