Montana Family Vacation

Jul 23 - 27, 2023

“Every day we make deposits in the memory banks of our children”

CHARLES R SWINDOLL

This trip can be booked as a private tour for four or more people, recommended for families with kids aged five and up. In 2023 we are also offering a public group tour for families with Teens and Young Adults (ages 15 – 30) from July 23 – 27, 2023.

Discover one of the cutest small towns in one of the biggest states in the country! Our Montana Family Vacation is chock full of family fun, based from a family-friendly hotel in Red Lodge, Montana, Travel Montana’s world headquarters. Have questions about our Family Vacations? Check out our answers.

We start our week with horseback riding, suitable for ages 6+, where we’ll head up onto the plateau above town where we’ll get wide-open views of the Beartooth mountains and rolling wheat fields. We’ll take a fun but safe rafting trip down the Stillwater or Yellowstone River. We’ll have age-appropriate hikes, including a trail to an alpine lake on top of the Beartooth Pass, one of America’s scenic highways. You’ll stop to enjoy the beauty of Montana, looking for animal tracks and skipping rocks into lakes. On top of fun outdoor pursuits, you’ll experience an authentic Western Rodeo in nearby Cody, Wyoming (named after Buffalo Bill Cody), pig races, and the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary. All this takes place in a classic small-town Montana atmosphere with its cute main street, ice cream and candy shops, and fun restaurants.

Organized family tours with Travel Montana are not like a typical family vacation for multiple reasons. We provide a structure that offers group activities when you can enjoy life with your kids while at other times we separate adults and kids, allowing you to have a nice glass of wine with a fancier dinner or a long hike while we take care of your brood.

Speaking of that, vacation is simply easier when our guides are in charge. It is they who are responsible for driving, directions, reservations, planning, and answering “Are we there yet?” We are locals and know the best activities, trails, and restaurants so you don’t have to do the research or guesswork.

Join us for some small town family fun in Big Sky Country!

Offered in partnership with our sister company, Zephyr Adventures.

Benefits of Taking a Guided Vacation with Travel Montana >> By taking a guided tour your vacation will be even more amazing than it would be if you were on your own. Our guides are experts – not just in the outdoors – but in knowing the best restaurants, the best times and locations to view popular sights, the history of the region, and in interpersonal dynamics and creating group fun. It means you can let our team take care of every detail so you can actually relax and enjoy your vacation!

Looking for more family vacation itineraries? Check out our Yellowstone Family Vacation!

Travel Montana is an authorized permit holder of the US Forest Service and equal opportunity service provider
Main Image Credit: Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Private Tour Info

Private tours can be arranged for groups as small as four people.

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Details

  • Activities: Hiking, Horseback Riding, Rafting, plus small town activities
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Price Per Person
          4 - 5 people: $2,750
          6 - 7 people: $2,600
          8+ people: $2,500
  • Single Supplement: $800
  • Other Info:
    > Kids staying in a room with their adult(s) receive a 15% discount.
    > For private tours this trip is recommended for kids aged five and up.
    > The 2023 public tour is designed for families with kids who are Teens and Young Adults, aged 15 to 30.
    Public Tour Price $2,500
    > Adults wishing to have their own room can pay a single supplement of $800.
    > Aunts, uncles, and grandparents are welcome, too!

  • Public Tour Date: July 23 - 27, 2023

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Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy the family-friendly setting of Red Lodge, Montana - a small town under the Big Sky
  • Hike to waterfalls, around alpine lakes, and up mountain trails in the Beartooth Mountains
  • Horseback ride with sweeping views of the open plains and rugged mountains
  • Drive the stunningly scenic Beartooth All-American Road
  • Pool time, ice cream and a stop at the best candy shop ever for the kids
  • Authentic Western rodeo in Cody, Wyoming
DAY 1

We meet you in Billings, Montana at 9:30 AM and after a brief orientation head to nearby Pictograph Caves State Park to become amateur archaeologists and contemplate the origins of human habitation in Montana.  After a picnic lunch, we'll shuttle to Red Lodge and go straight to our horse camp to meet our wranglers for a 1.5-hour ride up onto the plateau, where we'll have sweeping views of the mountains on one side and plains on the other. This evening we'll dine at Bogarts, a family-friendly local eatery also known for its margaritas. After dinner (depending on the day of the week), we'll reconvene to drive over the hill to watch the pig races at the Bearcreek Saloon - to our knowledge, this is the only place in the country where you can do that! These adorable and humorous races were created to attract tourists but also to raise money for a scholarship fund for local students.

DAY 2

Rise and shine! After breakfast prepared by your guides, we'll drive to the nearby town of Absarokee for a fun and splashy family-friendly raft trip down the Stillwater River. We'll practice our paddling, listening to our raft guides for instructions on what to do and when to do it. On a hot summer day, stopping at our favorite swimming hole will seem like a good idea, won't it? Once back on dry land, we'll enjoy a picnic along the river before returning to Red Lodge. In the afternoon, we'll visit the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary to see incredible wildlife like wolves, bears, bison, big cats and raptors up close. The sanctuary provides a lifelong home to non-releasable native Montana wildlife while sharing a message of conservation and education. For those who want to play, we can enjoy a leisurely game of disc golf or do a scavenger hunt in town afterwards. Should we tell your kids about the world's greatest candy store, which happens to be on main street in Red Lodge? That is up to you! This evening for dinner, let our guides entertain your kids at the pool with a pizza party while you eat at our favorite local tapas restaurant.

DAY 3

Today is a day for hiking in the Beartooth Mountains. These are some of the most rugged and isolated mountains in the continental United States. Yet, at the same time, there are excellent family hikes. We'll choose one that meanders along the a small creek, meaning we'll make slight uphill progress but never get beyond the skills of our littlest members. (Adults can choose to go ahead a bit more quickly if they wish.) In the afternoon, we'll jump in the van for a drive over the border into Wyoming and the small town of Cody, named for Buffalo Bill. We'll learn about the history by visiting Old Trail Town, where Cody himself started the town, to view a slew of old buildings and artifacts. We'll watch a fun Wild West Show in front of the Cody Hotel and enjoy a western style dinner. After dinner, we'll head over to the Cody Stampede Rodeo, an authentic small-town Western experience. Some of our troop might get a few winks on the drive back into Red Lodge after such a long day.

DAY 4

This morning we will have some free time before we head up into the mountains for a spectacular drive along the Beartooth Highway, a National Scenic Byways All-American Road. This 68-mile road winds its way up and through the Beartooth Mountains, through southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming, and leads into Yellowstone National Park at its Northeast Entrance. We'll not be driving the entire road but we'll stop along the way to stretch our legs, take a sip of some of the freshest water you'll ever drink (right out the side of the mountain!), throw some rocks in a few lakes, and get out for a couple short hikes. Back in town we'll have a final dinner at a taco joint that is beloved by kids and adults.

DAY 5

Today you can choose to sleep in or take a short early morning hike on the bench above Red Lodge with mountain views in every direction. We check out and head back to Billings, arriving in time to take an early afternoon flight back home, or extend your travels by renting a car.

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHTS 1 - 4 >> CHATEAU ROUGE / RED LODGE

Located at the foot of the Beartooth - Absaroka Mountains and in walking distance to the center of town, this family-friendly hotel offers comfortable condo-style accommodations and an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. It is perfect for families.

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Arrival & Departure

We meet you at 9:30 AM at the Northern Hotel in Billings on the first day of the trip, allowing us to maximize our day. This means you will most likely need to arrive the day before, as there are limited flight options that arrive before the tour start time. The last day of the tour we will drop you off at the Billings airport by noon, making it possible to book your flight home after 1:00 pm.

What's Included?
  • One local Travel Montana guide will accompany each trip. Additional guides added depending on group size.
  • Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. You have the option to pay the single supplement to get your own room if you don’t want a roommate. If kids stay in your room, they get a discount of 15% off the tour price.
    • For private trips: If your private group has an odd number of participants, the single supplement for the person getting his/her own room becomes mandatory.  You also have the choice to put three people in one room.
    • For public trips: Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you are traveling solo, you can pay a supplement to get your own room or we can attempt to match you with another solo traveler of the same gender, in which case a supplement will not be charged if we are successful.
  • All meals except one lunch are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All trail fees and permits are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED Beverages, one lunch, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
When to Travel

The season for outdoor activities in Red Lodge generally runs from May through September. In the summer months of July and August, highs average 80 degrees so the days can be warm. June and September are about ten degrees cooler, making them a wonderful 70 degrees on average for daytime highs, while in May high temperatures average in the low 60s. In June, the hills are green while, in September, they are a golden brown.

Type of People Who Will Enjoy This Tour

Kids of any age are welcome but this trip is most appropriate for kids five through 18. We as guides can vouch that kids are the true experts at having fun and it makes this tour special for everyone. This trip includes activities that both kids and adults will enjoy, sometimes together and sometimes separately. We know you love your little darlings, but we realize it is nice to have an occasional break for an adult drink or longer hike — our guides are more than happy to oblige you in this! We plan a couple of separate activities and dinners for kids and adults (your older teenagers can make up their minds which group they would like to join these times!). Keep in mind that our definition of family is quite liberal: traditional nuclear families, single parent households, and aunts, uncles, and grandparents are all welcome.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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