You’ve probably heard of Banff National Park – the internationally famous area of extreme natural beauty in Canada. But did you know we have our own slice of gorgeous Rocky Mountain glacier scenery just south of the border in Montana? Simply scrolling through pictures of Glacier National Park will have you itching to grab your camera bag, camping supplies, and a hiking map!
We love camping, but there are also some great options for those that prefer something a bit more comfortable. Figuring out the best places in Glacier National Park can be tricky – especially since most towns only have a few hundred people (or less)! You don’t want to get lost in the wilderness, so you have to get a good idea of the area before you arrive.
Which is where we come in! We’ve combined our own travel experience with local advice and online reviews to bring you this guide to the four best places to stay in and around Glacier National Park. If you want to stay close to a town, you’ll probably have to stay in the outskirts, but travelling in and out is a piece of cake.
So, pack up your backpack and let’s explore!
- Where to Stay in Glacier National Park
- Glacier National Park Neighborhood Guide
- Glacier National Park’s 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- #1 Columbia Falls – Overall Best Place to Stay Near Glacier National Park
- #2 West Glacier – Best Place to Stay in the Heart of Glacier National Park
- #3 East Glacier – Where to Stay Next to Glacier National Park on a Budget
- #4 Somers – Best Off The Beaten Path Destination Near Glacier National Park
- Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Glacier National Park
Visiting the Glacier National Park if you’re an outdoor enthusiast during your backpacking USA trip is a no-brainer. Luckily, there are plenty of unique accommodation options across Glacier National Park and on the outskirts. Here are three of our favourites!
Budget Friendly Holiday Home Near Glacier National Park – Creekside Bungalow
This quirky little dome house is perfect for a couple on a tight budget this summer! There is a double bed, a fridge and a small heater to keep you cosy and well-stocked at all times of the year. Guests also have access to a private fire pit – perfect for cooking some marshmallows at the end of the day. There is also a charming creek a few steps away.
Lakeside Yurt Near Glacier National Park – Flathead Lake
Is it really the most unique accommodation in Glacier National Park? We certainly think so! You might be more likely to see yurts in the Mongolian steppe, but they’re starting to become more popular in scenic locations across America. This particular yurt comes with stunning views of Flathead Lake and is only a short drive from Glacier National Park.
Luxury Camping in Glacier National Park – Under Canvas Glacier
Want to try camping this year but find the idea of pitching a tent a bit daunting? These luxury tipis are a great alternative to ease you in! Located in Coram, the national park is only a five-minute drive away – as well as some larger towns in the opposite direction for grabbing supplies. It comes with a communal atmosphere, making it a firm favourite among social butterflies.
Despite its small size, Columbia Falls is one of the most popular towns for people to stay in while visiting Glacier National Park.
West Glacier is the largest town within the national park itself, making it our top pick for staying close to all the best parts of the region!
We’ll be honest; East Glacier doesn’t have a lot of things to do within its boundaries – but Glacier National Park is only a two-minute drive away!
Aside from being a great off the beaten path destination, Somers is also an excellent choice for getting to know the locals! The bars and cafés here are super friendly, so you’re sure to be welcomed with open arms.
Glacier National Park’s 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Whether you want some epic hiking trails, scenery or somewhere a bit off the beaten path, there’s a bit of everything in the area surrounding Glacier National Park. Keep reading for our top four picks – plus the best accommodation and activity options in each!
Despite its small size, Columbia Falls is one of the most popular towns for people to stay in while visiting Glacier National Park. It’s only a 20-minute drive away and is close to Flathead National Forest – two awe-inspiring places of natural beauty for one! The warm community atmosphere and convenient services make this a great spot for families.
We also think Columbia Falls is a great pick for those wanting to discover a slice of authentic Montana life! Friendly locals aside, the town comes with quirky little bars and locally-owned restaurants. It’s also a good spot for those that aren’t so keen on camping, as most accommodation in the area is either cabins or hotels. If you’re looking for a stop-over on your Montana Road Trip, Columbia Falls is a great choice.
Soothing Dome House in Columbia Falls – Creekside Bungalow
We love this quirky little dome house – especially if you’re on a tight budget! The interior is quite basic, but is definitely a step up from a tent if you’ve never gone camping before. The small creek nearby creates a peaceful atmosphere that will soothe you to sleep in the evenings. There is also a fire pit where you can try your hand at outdoor cooking.
Cosy Family Lodge in Columbia Falls – Mountain View
Just outside Columbia Falls, this secluded gem is perfect for getting away from it all for a few days! Sleeping up to ten guests in four bedrooms, this is a popular choice with larger families looking for the perfect mountain home. There is a pool table, a private bar and a large theatre room – so you’ll have plenty to do on the odd rainy day.
Stunning Apartment in Downtown CF – Beautiful CFalls Condo
A bit of luxury and a great location – these are two of the many things this amazing condo has to offer. Built in 2017, it’s a super new and bright space in Downtown Columbia Falls, the gateway to Glacier National Park. You’ll have your own parking spot and lots of dining and shopping options around. The well-equipped kitchen is perfect to prepare a nice meal at the end of the day. The condo sleeps 6 people, perfect for a group of friends as well.
Things to See and Do in Columbia Falls
- Big Sky Waterpark is pretty basic, but a great spot to cool off if you’re visiting with the family over the summer.
- If winter is more your thing, head straight to Swan Mountain Snowmobiling – they also have some short introductory sessions for beginners.
- Clip in and admire the views of the river – Glacier Ziplines offers fun for the whole family throughout the year.
- Want to mingle with the locals? Backslope Brewing is a popular drinking spot for both visitors and long term residents.
West Glacier is the largest town within the national park itself, making it our top pick for staying close to all the best parts of the region! It is also a little bit quieter than the larger towns outside of the park, making it the perfect getaway spot. If you’re here for hiking and scenery, this is the place for you.
Just north of West Glacier, the town of Apagar provides stunning views of Lake Macdonald! Many visitors opt for Apagar instead, so you can admire the scenery without having to leave your accommodation – especially sought after in this time of social distancing. It’s only a two-minute drive from West Glacier, so you can easily move between the two.
Lakeside Chalet in West Glacier – Apagar Village
Though actually in Apagar Village, this charming abode is only a short drive from West Glacier. We chose it because of the stunning views across Lake Macdonald and the surrounding mountains. It comes with a private decked porch and a fire pit – as well as access to communal outdoor sports courts and equipment. This is great for smaller families.
Awe Inspiring Home in West Glacier – The Glacier House
Not the cheapest, but absolutely stunning, this amazing home is the perfect place to stay in Glacier National park if you just want to get away, relax and explore the area. The massive house sleeps 6 people, so you can bring your freinds and family along as well. From a fully equipped kitchen to an outdoor BBQ, there’s nothing this home can’t offer.
Fully Serviced Campsite Near West Glacier – Under Canvas Glacier
This is easily our top camping pick in West Glacier! Take all of the stress out of setting up your tent and preparing meals at this luxury campsite. It comes with communal fire pits and cooking areas, as well as volleyball courts and playgrounds where you can socialise with other guests. Want to head out? It’s a great starting point for hikes, and bicycle hire is available.
Things to See and Do in West Glacier
- Glacier National Park! This is the gateway to the area of stunning natural beauty, with some of the best hiking trails in the country.
- Speaking of hiking, we love the John F Stevens Canyon Trail – the first hour or so is pretty easy, and more experienced hikers can continue to Lincoln Lake.
- West Glacier River Access Boating Club is the place to go for boat rental, plus a few family-friendly activities such as river rafting.
- Just need to chill out over a round of golf? Glacier View Golf Club is one of the most scenic courses in the world!
Want to travel on a shoestring? East Glacier is the place for you! This is the eastern gateway to the national park, but as it is technically outside, it is considerably cheaper than the other towns mentioned in this guide. It is also where the main Amtrak Station is located, connecting you with bigger towns and cities further afield.
We’ll be honest; East Glacier doesn’t have a lot of things to do within its boundaries – but Glacier National Park is only a two-minute drive away! We recommend bringing a car, but during peak season, you will find a few tour operators offering guided trips into the park.
Adorable Tiny House in East Glacier – Double Dot Ranch
The tiny house movement is going strong, and where better to give it a try than one of the country’s most beautiful national parks? Previous guests rave about the gorgeous sunset views across the mountains and peaceful location. They welcome pets (though they must be crated if you’re leaving them alone in the house) and the town is only a short walk away.
Cute Guest Cottage in East Glacier – Timber Frame Home
Nestled in the woods at the edge of Glacier National Park, this secluded cottage oozes charm! There’s a log burner in the living room, making it a cosy environment throughout the year. It only has one bedroom, but there is also a sofa bed, making it a budget-friendly option for families. Guests are given complimentary access to sports equipment and bicycles.
Budget Hotel in East Glacier – Glacier Park Lodge
Just looking for the comfort of a hotel? We totally get it; this cosy little lodge lets you enjoy that while experiencing some of the rustic charms of Glacier National Park! The on-site restaurant offers typical American ‘comfort food’, while the bar makes an excellent location for socialising with other guests. You can also enjoy a reasonably priced breakfast in the morning.
Things to See and Do in East Glacier
- There’s one hiking trail in East Glacier – it starts on Midvale Creek Road and takes you through the outer mountains of the park to the town of Essex.
- Blackfeet Nation Sculpture is a monument dedicated to the indigenous population from the region built entirely out of scrap metal.
- Serranos Mexican is an excellent restaurant on the main street with budget-friendly tacos and other Mexican treats.
- Need a few drinks to unwind after a day of exploring the stunning beauty of Glacier National Park? Trailhead Saloon is a popular watering hole for locals.
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Glacier National Park is becoming increasingly popular for visitors from across the United States. Want to avoid the crowds in the year of the staycation? Head to Somers! It’s about 30 minutes from Glacier National Park, but only ten minutes from Flathead Forest. Flathead Lake provides a scenic backdrop to some of the most unique accommodation picks in the region.
Aside from being a great off the beaten path destination, Somers is also an excellent choice for getting to know the locals! The bars and cafés here are super friendly, so you’re sure to be welcomed with open arms. It’s also a great starting point for road trips through Montana’s National Parks.
Renovated Barn in Somers – Flathead Luxury
Nestled right in the heart of Montana, Somers was once a popular farming area. The buildings left behind, including this barn, have since been converted into unique accommodation. It is surrounded by a working farm, with waterfowl as your neighbours. The kitchen has up to date appliances, though the oven is outside. This is the perfect space for a family of four looking for something a bit different without having to be too adventurous.
Unique Holiday Home in Somers – Flathead Lake
Get back to basics with this spacious yurt right on the banks of Flathead Lake! It is elevated on its own decked platform, giving you magnificent views towards some of the best scenery in the region. Yurts are similar to large tents but have some extras to give you a more comfortable experience. Guests also have access to the main house for showers.
Secluded Cabin in Somers – 1940 Lake Cabin
This lakeside cabin from the 1940s is a real blast from the past! You will have your own decked pier where you can admire views across the lake, jump in for a swim, and even cast a few fishing lines. The living room windows can be opened wide in the summer to enjoy the peaceful setting, and there is a rock fireplace to keep it cosy in the winter.
Things to See and Do in Somers
- Flathead Lake is huge, with plenty of boating activities on offer – we recommend North Flathead Yacht Club for the best rates.
- Flathead National Forest might not have the dramatic mountains of Glacier, but it is a haven for tree lovers.
- Nearby Bigfork has some more typical tourist attractions if you need a good day trip – Eagle Bend Golf Club has great views across the lake.
- For such a small town, Somers knows its coffee! Enjoy third wave delights at Sudden Rush Espresso, or maybe a simple cup of joe at Somers Bay Café.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Glacier National Park
There’s no other way of putting it – Glacier National Park is simply stunning! Dramatic mountain ranges, adrenaline releasing adventure activities, and peaceful hikes are found everywhere. If we had one piece of advice, it’s to make sure you have spare camera batteries.
We don’t like to play favourites, but if this is your first time, we recommend staying in West Glacier! This is the town closest to all the best-known attractions. It also comes with some great tour options if you want some help in discovering the best scenery.
That being said, Glacier National Park is a diverse region, and each town comes with its unique charms. We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
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