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Affordable Family Vacations Around Montana

The best part about being in Montana is that you don’t have to travel far in order to have the kind of vacation that people travel across the world for. And you don’t need to spend a fortune, either. Here are a few ideas for how to spend your family’s vacation days in Montana while on a budget.

Car loaded for a family vacation in Montana.

Camping at Lewis & Clark Caverns 

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is a one-stop hub for whole-family fun. Reserve a spot in the campground, and have access to 10 miles of trails, a river put-in just two miles from camp, and a playground near your site. It goes without saying that you should bring your mountain bike for morning rides. And you’re not far from exploring Whitehall, Three Forks, or Ennis for an easy day trip. 


Book your cave tour in advance and get a guaranteed spot on this underground guided exploration. You have a few options during the summer tour season, running from May to September. But whether you choose the Classic or the Paradise Tour, you’re guaranteed an up-close look at otherworldly geology. 


Glacier National Park, Montana

Backcountry Trip in Glacier 

While everyone’s talking about ticketed entry to Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, insiders know that the true magic of Glacier comes when you trade roads for trails. If you have backcountry camping permits with trailheads inside the ticketed corridor, your reservation serves as your entrance ticket—but don’t forget your park pass! If you can score a $10 backcountry permit, you only pay $7 per person per night on top of that. And if you don’t have your own gear, you can save by renting from local outfitters instead of buying your own. 


If you don’t feel confident backpacking with the whole family, you can always choose a guided trip instead. Or you can just bring along that friend you know will be most likely to survive the apocalypse. Plus, some of the backcountry campsites are only a few miles from the trailhead, making for a less-daunting trek. Just be sure to brush up on your camping etiquette and animal safety before you head out. 


A Winter Visit to Yellowstone 

National park trips in the peak summer season can get expensive. But the beauty of living in Montana is that you can take advantage of the savings that come from traveling outside the busy season. Though many services shut down at the end of summer, year-round lodging options tend to be less expensive off-peak. In winter, many park roads close to normal vehicles, and you can travel over snow with fewer crowds. 


If you want to drive, take the route from Gardiner to Cooke City through the Lamar Valley, one of the few roads plowed in winter. If you have your own snowmobile, put in for the permit lottery to be able to travel deeper into the park. Or you can go on a guided trip or on a snowcoach to reach classic destinations like Old Faithful (even though it’s technically in Wyoming). If you want to ditch the engines altogether, renting cross-country skis or snowshoes is a budget-friendly way to get into the park. 


Butte History Tour 

Butte is often underrated as a destination. But with a long and dramatic history in this mining town, not to mention the natural areas nearby, there are plenty of ways to spend a vacation. Escape to the forest along the Continental Divide Trail, where hiking and mountain biking reign supreme. And the railroad trestle trails in Thompson Park up the adventure as you travel high above the ground. 


In town, trips to the Mineral Museum, the Butte underground tour, the Berkeley Pit, and other historical spots can give everyone in the family a new perspective on Montana history. And with art galleries and shops to browse, you can take home a few souvenirs that don’t have to break the bank. 


Kids tent camping in Montana

Looking for more savings tips? RMCU has you covered. And when you’re ready to invest in the gear to make your next Montana vacation even more fun, a personal loan can help you get there.

Non RMCU links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Rocky Mountain Credit Union of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. RMCU bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external sites.

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