Spring has arrived in Western Montana’s Glacier Country, which means Mother Nature has decided to stretch and wave her wand to wake up the country-side. As spring is one of Montana’s shoulder seasons, it means fewer people and lower prices for rooms and activities, while still offering many options for group travel during April and May.

Here are my top 20 spring group tour activities in Western Montana.

1.    Libby DamLibby, Montana

  • Highlights: views of Lake Koocanusa, 422-foot tall dam, picnic area
  • Open seasonally
  • Tours: large groups by appointment only, daily tours small groups begin Memorial Day weekend
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: no

2.    Glacier Park Boat Company, Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier National Park

  • Highlights: historic boats tours, Lake McDonald, views of Glacier National Park including this magical lake, valley and mountains carved by glaciers centuries ago in the heart of the Apgar Mountain Range in the Rocky Mountains
  • Open seasonally
  • Spring tour: Lake McDonald Tour, begins May 23
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

3.    Red Bus Tours, Apgar Visitor Center or Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier National Park

  • Highlights: historic boat tours, departs from Lake McDonald Lodge and views of glacial-carved terrain in Glacier National Park
  • Open seasonally
  • Spring tour: Huckleberry Mountain Tour, begins May 23, 2015; ends June 18, 2015
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

4.    Conrad Mansion Museum, Kalispell, Montana

  • Highlights: pre-1900 mansion, 90% of the original family furnishings, beautiful grounds
  • Open seasonally; year-round by appointment
  • Tours: Begin May 15, 2015
  • Bus parking: yes
  •  Fees: yes

5.    Hockaday Museum of Art, Kalispell, Montana

  • Highlights: 100-year-old turn-of-the-century Carnegie Library Building, Glacier National Park art and culture including: A Timeless Legacy – Women Artists of Glacier National Park and Plein Air Glacier – Exploring Glacier’s Timeless Legacy
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

6.    Lone Pine State Park, Kalispell, Montana

  • Highlights: 7.5 miles of trails, breathtaking overlooks of the Flathead Valley, visitor center with gift shop
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes (permit must be secured in advance)

7.    Stumptown Historical Museum, Whitefish, Montana

  • Highlights: historic Great Northern Railroad Depot, operational depot for Burlington Northern and Amtrak’s Empire Builder, gift store, located in downtown Whitefish
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: self-guided
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: no

8.    Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Bigfork, Montana

  • Highlights: live professional theatre, Broadway-caliber acting and singing talent
  • Open seasonally
  • Spring production begins May 15
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

9.   Port Polson Players, Polson, Montana

  • Highlights: live community theatre and performing arts on Flathead Lake
  • Open seasonally
  • Spring production: yes, begins May 8
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes
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Sunrise on Flathead Lake near Polson, Montana

10.   National Bison Range, Moiese, Montana

  • Highlights: Bison, wildlife and bird watching, 350 – 500 bison roam free, visitor center
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

11.   St. Ignatius Mission, St. Ignatius, Montana

  • Highlights: landmark Roman Catholic mission, located on the Flathead Indian Reservation, 58 original paintings by Brother Joseph Carignano, open for worship and visitors
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: self-guided
  • Bus Parking: yes
  • Fees: no

12.   Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana, Charlo, Montana

  • Highlights: located across from Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, memorializes the history and culture of the Flathead Indian Reservation and early Montana, gift shop
  • Open seasonally, April 1 – November 28
  • Tours: by appointment year-round
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes
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View of the Mission Mountains from Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana

13.   The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Missoula, Montana

  • Highlights: historic Fort Missoula (1877-1947), Alien Detention Center between (1941 – 1944), home of the first US Military Infantry Bicycle Corps
  • Open year-round
  • Spring tours: Tuesday – Sunday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Closed Monday
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: no

14.   Missoula Downtown, Missoula, Montana

  • Highlights: vibrant downtown district, shopping, dining, breweries, distilleries, museums, entertainment, farmers markets, visitor information center
  • Open year-round
  • Bus parking: yes
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Surfing and kayak viewing on Brennen’s Wave in Downtown Missoula

15.   Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Visitor Center, Missoula, Montana

  • Highlights: interactive displays, world record elk mounts, gift shop, walking trail
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: no

16.   Travelers’ Rest State Park, Lolo, Montana

  • Highlights: only archaeologically verified campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, walking trail, gift shop, visitor center
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes (permit must be secured in advance)

17.   Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, Stevensville, Montana

  • Highlights: 2,800-acre refuge, hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education and interpretation
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: no

18.   Historic St. Mary’s Mission, Stevensville, Montana

  • Highlights: first pioneer settlement in Montana, Salish encampment, where Indian and European cultures merged
  • Open year-round
  • Tours: Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. *tours are also available by appointment
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

19.   Hamilton Players, Hamilton, Montana

  • Highlights: live community theatre and performing arts
  • Open seasonally
  • Spring production: yes, began April 17
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

20.   Daly Mansion, Hamilton, Montana

  • Highlights: historic home of Montana Copper King Marcus Daly, Queen Anne style Victorian home, arboretum and botanic garden
  • Open seasonally
  • Spring tours: by appointment *opens for season on May 10
  • Bus parking: yes
  • Fees: yes

As a bonus, the views of the snow-capped mountains and green valleys are free and available for viewing your entire trip–no appointment necessary.

Spring in Montana awaits you,

RF

April 20, 2015

Related: Group Tours, Tour Operator

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