Home to two national parks and some of the country’s most untouched places, it’s no wonder that Montana is a must for families. Anchored by Yellowstone National Park in the south and Glacier National Park in the north, Montana is best explored on a park-to-park road trip itinerary that takes travelers to and through the state’s most special places.
While there are endless options to take you from Glacier to Yellowstone (or Yellowstone to Glacier), there are a few routes that will put you front and center with family-friendly activities, accommodations and offerings that are sure to keep everyone happy.
One such drive—appropriately named the Rocky Mountain Front Route—starts in Glacier National Park and travels south along some of Montana’s most impressive landscapes.
Departing from the east side of the park, this 365-mile-long route follows U.S. Highway 89 along the Rocky Mountain Front. Before traveling too far south, plan to visit Glacier Park Lodge and the Museum of the Plains Indian.
From Browning, continue on U.S. Highway 89 into the heart of dinosaur country and to the small Montana towns of Bynum and Choteau. A town of about 31 residents, Bynum is home to the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, an interactive museum that welcomes visitors to participate in their public dig programs. While they have a few options to choose from, their short digs are ideal for families, with choices that include half-day to three-day offerings, making it easy to dig into Montana’s rich history of paleontology.
Additional stops along the Rocky Mountain Front include the Old Trail Museum and ice cream parlor in Choteau, as well as its neighboring community of Augusta. In Augusta, locally recommended stops include the town’s 117-year-old general store—Allen’s Manix Trading Post—and Latigo & Lace, a charming gift shop and art gallery that features many Montana artists.
Continue toward Yellowstone National Park with a stop in the capital city of Helena. On your way, take a guided boat tour of the Gates of the Mountains, then stop in Downtown Helena to visit the carousel and peruse local shops on the walking mall before ending your day with ice cream at Big Dipper.
Round out the second half of your route with a visit to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. A favorite among families, Lewis & Clark Caverns offers 10 miles of hiking trails, campsites and guided tours into the heart of the caverns all summer long. End the day camping at the caverns, taking a soak in nearby Norris Hot Springs or continuing to West Yellowstone to visit the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center before venturing into Yellowstone National Park.