Montana is full of group-friendly attractions


From scenic wonders to historic treasures, here are some of the crowd pleasers route planners can put on their radar.

Glacier National Park

Since the 1930s, Red Bus Tours’ fleet of vintage vehicles have been offering guided tours of the park’s iconic sites. road to the sun, one of the most scenic roads in the world. Glacier Park Boat Company, another park concessionaire, offers 45- to 90-minute narrated trips on McDonald, St. Mary’s, Swiftcurrent, Josephine, and Two Medicine lakes. Some cruises include a guided walk or hike. Sun Tours offers guided bus tours of the park from the perspective of the Blackfoot tribe.

Bigfork Summer Playhouse, Bigfork

The North West’s top professional repertory theater, now in its 63rd season, brings Broadway-caliber acting and singing talent from across the country to this arts-focused town at the north end of Flathead Lake . Shows this year in the air-conditioned 435-seat ‘Theater by the Bay’ include Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia! and The full Monty.

Charlie Russell Chew Choo, Lewiston

All aboard for the Montana Dinner Train, a 56-mile round-trip adventure through the rolling hills and vast ranches of central Montana’s Big Sky Country. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, the Charlie Russell Chew Choo serves a prime rib dinner and Western entertainment during the 4.5-hour journey (select weekends, May through October) in vintage wagons from the 1960s. 1950s that run through three historic trestles, through ghost towns, and gliding through a half-mile-long tunnel. Wildlife sightings might include antelope, eagles, deer, hawks, and coyotes.

Conrad Mansion Museum, Kalispell

Built in 1895 for Charles E. Conrad, the founder of Kalispell, this 26-room mansion has been restored to its Victorian splendor, and more than 90 percent of the furnishings and artifacts are original to the house. Innovative features included a hoist, hoist, integrated fire hoses and a communication system with an electric call box, intercom and talking tube.

The CM Russell Museum honors one of the great American Western artists.

CM Russell Museum, Great Falls

This museum complex, spanning an entire city block, pays homage to Western artist Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926), famous for his depictions of cowboys, Native Americans, and Montana landscapes and wildlife. The galleries feature Russell’s published watercolors, oil paintings, sculptures, drawings and illustrations. Also on display are works by Russell’s contemporaries who captured the traditions of Northern Plains Indian life.. The campus also includes the Artist’s House and the Log Studio.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

In the Little Bighorn River Valley in southeastern Montana, see where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the 210 men of his 7th The Calvary Regiment made its last stand against several thousand Lakota, Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne. A national cemetery, museum exhibits, and various monuments and memorials tell the story of the Native American victory. Crow Nation’s Apsaalooke Tours offers van tours departing from the Visitor Center. A step guide by Indian Battle Tours will provide a memorable perspective of the battle from the perspective of Native Americans and cavalry.

Last Chance Tourist Train, Helena

This one-hour commented tram ride through Montana’s capital features the original and current Governor’s Mansions, the State Capitol, St. Helena’s Cathedral, the opulent Mansions District, a restored mining village called Reeder’s Alley, and the charming Victorian buildings of Last Chance Gulch, now a pedestrian mall with shops and restaurants.

Fort Peck Dam Interpretive Center, Fort Peck

Adjacent to the largest earth-filled hydraulic dam in the world, the center features a cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex known as Peck’s Rex, exhibits on the history of the dam, wildlife from the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge nearby and large aquariums housing Fort Peck Lake fish and the Missouri River. Tours of the power plant can be arranged.

Mining World Museum, Butte

This 44-acre site on the grounds of the former Orphan Girl silver and zinc mine highlights Butte’s heyday as a mining center with large-scale exhibits, equipment on display in the yard of the mine and Hell Roarin’ Gulch, a recreated 1890s mining town with more than 50 buildings filled with antiques. Visitors don helmets, headlights and batteries on underground tours led by former miners.

By Randy Mink

Main image: Red Bus Tours to Glacier National Park and its Going-to-the-Sun Route


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