Experience a summer vacation to remember with a trip to kid-friendly Missoula, as you whitewater raft, go horse back riding, hike, or take in a baseball game.
- Missoula offers tons of summer activities the whole family will love.
- Don't miss the Children's Museum in downtown Missoula.
- Whitewater raft down the Clark Fork River.
- Giddy up and hit the trail with a bit of horseback riding.
- Hire a guide and let them stress about the planning, while you sit back and enjoy your family.
What to do for Kids Summer Fun
- Mountain Biking
Mountain biking can be an awesome way to get out and have some fun. Don't worry if you didn't bring your own bike, there are plenty of rental shops in Missoula. The older kids may enjoy the thrill of this sport, but make sure they wear a helmet. There are tons of biking trails that cross through both Pattee Canyon and Blue Mountain Recreation Areas. The entire family will love a ride down the Kim William's Trail, which runs along the Clark Fork River and cuts through downtown Missoula. Stop and have a picnic along the way or try one of the restaurants near the trail.
Pack your bag with some snacks and head out on a family friendly hike. Blue Mountain, Pattee Canyon, and the Rattlesnake Recreation Areas are located right in Missoula and offer scenic, easy hikes that everyone in the family will love.
Fishing can be a bit tricky with kids but the thrill and excitement when they catch a fish far out ways any of the frustration. Frenchtown Pond State Park is a great place to try fishing with kids. For older kids who may want to learn how to fly fish, get a guide and head out to Rock Creek.
Do like the locals, and grab an inner tube from the Army Surplus Store in downtown Missoula for a float down the gentle Blackfooot River. For something a bit more technical, let the older kids try paddling a canoe or kayak on one of the many mountain lakes. Or, rent a motor boat for the day and head out to Salmon or Seeley Lake for a great day of water skiing and tubing.
- Horseback Riding
Every child pretends to be a cowboy, why not put a smile across their face and let it become a reality? Whether you go for 2 hours or multiple days, the outfitters and guides around Missoula are happy to take you out on the trail.
- Horsepack Trips
Escape into the back country for a night. Everyone in the family will like a day horseback riding into the beautiful mountains, spending a night under the stars, and roasting marshmallows by the fire. Guides will provide you with most everything you need for this unforgettable summer excursion!
- Scenic Floats
Take a canoe, a kayak, or a raft to the Blackfoot River for a scenic float trip. This is the perfect way to cool off and see some wildlife in its natural setting.
- Whitewater Trips
Kids love the thrill of a whitewater adventure. Hear them giggle and screech as you bounce over the waves and get splashed by water. The Alberton Gorge is a great spot for a whitewater trip. A guide is needed to ensure a safe trip down the river.
- Wildlife Expeditions and Tours
Drive the short distance north to the National Bison Range for a chance to view bison in their natural habitat. The kids will be amazed at the size of these animals. Enjoy a lunch in the picnic area.
Kid Friendly Summer Attractions
- Dragon Hollow and Carousel Park
This magical playground, built to resemble a dragon's body, was designed by kids and is filled with the sound of laughing children. Let the magic continue with a ride on the beautiful carousel. You won't be able to get the kids to leave. Both are located in Caras Park.
- Missoula Osprey Baseball
Who doesn't love the ballpark? Come out and see the Missoula Osprey, minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Monday night is family night, receive 4 general admission tickets, hot dogs, chips, soda, and one game magazine for the incredible price of $25 with the donation of 4 non-perishable food items. Can't beat that!
- Missoula Children's Museum
Located right downtown, this is a museum kids will actually enjoy. Fun, interactive, educational displays and hands on activities, like the soapy bubble lab or the dinosaur dig area, will keep the kids busy for hours. Unfortunately, these exhibits are only offered to kids 0 to 8 years. Open Tues- Sat. 10:00am to 5:00pm . Admission is $4.25, children under one are free, all ages welcome.
- Missoula Children's Theatre
All children should be applauded once in their life and the Missoula Children's Theatre is just the place to help kids shine. The focus here is on kids, so spend an evening watching one of their amazing kid friendly productions. Yourchildren may even want to start doing a bit of acting when they leave.
- Downtown ToNight in Caras Park
Every Thursday evening during the summer, Cara Park fills up with food vendors and outdoor music. While you relax and listen to some music, the kids can enjoy some of the weekly activities including gymnastics, obstacle courses and art projects.
- Saturday Farmer's Market and People's Market
Stroll through the isles of the market and peruse all the beautiful seasonal fruits and vegetables as you snack on fresh, local bread. Want a souvenir or unique piece of art to take home, check out the People's Market. The kids will love looking at all the beautiful yet sometimes a bit interesting art.
- Smoke Jumper Visitor Centerpiece
Come visit the largest active smokejumper base in the nation. The visitor's center provides a unique opportunity to learn about this demanding job. Take the kids inside the replica of a 1930's lookout tower, tour the ready room and load masters room where the smokejumpers get ready to go out into the field. Tours are available free of charge at 10:00am, 11:00am, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm daily.
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
This fun and interactive center will help you understand the beauty and importance of elk and elk country across our land. The kids will enjoy the interactive displays as they listen to the bugle of the elk, identify animal tracks, and try to lift the massive elk antlers. A walk along the wooded nature trail may produce some wildlife sightings. Buy a souvenir at the gift shop. Open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Mon to Fri and 9:00am to 6:00pm on weekends.
Kid Friendly Winter Activities
Skiing is a great family activity and a huge winter pass time in Missoula. The varied terrain at many of the ski hills provide nice gentle slopes for beginners and deep bowls and glades for the more experienced. Lessons are also available at all ski hills.
The slopes aren't just for skiers anymore. Kids tend to gravitate to snowboarding and its hip image, so why deny them the fun. All of the ski areas around Missoula offer both skiing and snowboarding, so the family can still stick together even if you are split on how to get down the mountain.
- Ski Resorts
Missoula skiing has yet to reach the headlines, so lines tend to be short, prices are reasonable, and the terrain is awesome. You won't find spas, fancy restaurants or even accommodation at many of the ski hills, just cafeterias and tons of snow. For a full on resort experience, head two hours north of Missoula to Whitefish Big Mountain. The family will be entertained from arrival to departure.
- Night Skiing
Mix up the ski vacation with a night under the lights. Mom and dad can enjoy the sunset while the kids hit the slopes. Night skiing is available during select months at Whitefish Big Mountain Resort. Don't miss the lit terrain park.
Hitting the backcountry can be an incredible experience for kids who are looking for something a bit more challenging. The avalanche safety courses will teach your kids how to be responsible and safe. The power of knowledge mixed with adventure will prove to be an awesome experience for you and your kids.
- Cross Country
Not all winter fun needs to be downhill. Cross country skiing is a great way to head into the mountains on a snowy winter day. Kids pick up the gliding motion quickly and will find going up hill to be a fun challenge.
The feel of the cold wind rushing past your body as you speed through the winter landscape is one that can't be beat. Head up to Seeley Lake, over to Lolo Pass, or up Blue Mountain for a fast and furious snowy adventure. Kids can't drive until they are 18, but being a passenger won't disappoint.
Strap on those shoes and start bounding through the thick snow. This is an easy activity for all age levels, if you can walk, you can snowshoe. Blaze your own path as you snowshoe your way under snow covered canopies and past frozen rivers.
- Ice Skating
You've seen it in old movies; the kids racing to the frozen pond, skates slung round their necks, and smiles plastered across their faces. Head over to Frenchtown Pond State Park where you can experience the same enjoyment as you and the family glide along the frozen pond.