Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, Whitefish Lake and Jewel Basin provide some pretty fantastic natural playgrounds for families. But we know how kids are. Sometimes it takes more than a nature hike to keep them enthused. Fortunately, our area has plenty of other pursuits swimming, bumper cars, horseback riding, whitewater floats and the famed Walk in the Treetops at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Woodland Park — All accounted for, 30 parks complement the city of Kalispell. The city’s largest and oldest, 38-acre Woodland Park is the perfect place for families to go play. Besides two miles of walking trails, a playground and a skateboarding park, families come to cool off in Woodland Water Park’s lap pool, dare to drop down two totally awesome waterslides, or cruise on ‘tubes on the lazy river float. Little tikes love the shallower activity pool’s toys, sprinklers and fountains.
Whitefish Mountain Resort — Experience fun, learning and adventure. SUMMER: Walk In The Treetops is a 2 1/2-hour nature walk offers a unique view of the forest from an elevated boardwalk. Alpine Slide is fun for all ages as you grab a sled and race down the slide controlling your speed through straight-aways and around banked curves. The Zip Line puts you in a paragliding-style harness in a choice of six zip tours for riders of all ages at least 54 inches tall and 60 pounds. WINTER: Awesome skiing!
Foy’s Lake — Where families take a cool dip on warm summer days. A boat dock, public dock for sunbathing, and park for picnicking and Jet Ski watching.
Bar W Guest Ranch — An authentic and unforgettable Western vacation awaits your family on this handsome dude ranch just outside of Whitefish. Horseback riding, sleigh rides, rodeo action, fishing, cookouts and more. Open year round. 1-866-828-2900.
David Olseth Memorial Skatepark in Whitefish lays out 15,000 square feet of concrete, two deep bowls, steep walls and a street course; helmets required.
Big Sky Waterpark — Four swimsuit-yanking slides from the Bonzai to the 70-foot Geronimo rattle the nerves of even the most fearless speed demons; or bump along the River Ride, warm up in a gigantic hot tub or grab some sun by the jumbo children’s activity pool. The 18-hole miniature golf course will challenge even grandpa. Horseshoe pits, barbecue grills, an arcade and carousel add up to an all-day fun fest. 406-892-5025.
House of Mystery — Popular roadside attraction and site of Montana’s only vortex where the laws of nature are turned upside down. You’ll think you entered “The Twilight Zone.“ 7800 U.S. 2 E., Columbia Falls. 406-892-1210.
Amazing Fun Center — Lose yourself in the life-size Glacier Maze! Go carts, bumper boats, miniature golf and bankshot basketball. 10265 U.S. 2 E., Coram. 406-387-5902.
Hungry Horse Dam — The nation’s 11th highest dam in the best dam town in the Northwest. Free guided tours from the Visitor Center mid-June through September. 406-387-5241.
Northern Lights Laser Tag Park — The ultimate outdoor interactive laser experience. Remote NASCAR, sailing regattas and blimp racing. They don’t call it Full Throttle Entertainment for nothin’! 4966 U.S. 93 S., Whitefish. 406-862-0541.