Archived Q&A and Reviews
A professional training I'd like to attend is being held in Whitefish, MT in June. I'm having this fantasy about turning it into a family vacation, but I've never been to Montana, let alone this particular region. Has anyone been there to tell about it? It would have to be done on the cheap side of things for us, to be able to work. Driving there, most likely. If anyone has any opinion about the drive, that place, what there is that's attractive/fun/interesting, etc., I'd love any input. It would just be me, my husband, and our 8 year old son. jenny
I think Whitefish Montana is a beautiful place to take the entire family. There are many outdoor activities you can do with kids, hiking, fishing, horse back riding...you name it. There are also a few water parks in the vicinity so if your kids enjoy swimming they will have tons of fun. Whitefish is in the Northwest of Montana. The surroundings are clean, serene and simply gorgeous. And it is close to one of the most beautiful places on earth, Glacier National Park. We enjoyed tremendously. Gloria
I went to the E Bar L Ranch in the early 1990s. It is a working dude ranch - very beautiful, spacious, lots of horses, places to white water raft nearby. You eat your meals in the lodge. People are friendly. I think it's gotten expensive but it was a wonderful vacation. Enjoy! Kate
Last summer, we (2 parents and 2 kids ages 5 and 8) went to a dude ranch in Montana. It was a super experience, or as my daughter said ''Best vacation ever!'' I chose this particular ranch based on what we saw on their website. It was sight unseen and nobody we know had been there; we were not disappointed. I should start off by saying that there are 3 categories of vacation ranches: resort, dude and working. A great website for the options in Montana is http://www.montanadra.com/montana_ranches.aspx You'll need to decide which type you want, and this website does a good job of explaining the differences. We opted for a smaller, family run dude ranch called Laughing Water in Fortine, MT. It's about an hour from Kalispell (and the airport). The owner grew up there as a child and turned it into a dude ranch. It is horseback riding oriented and has amazing kid ''camps'' depending on your child's age. The kids camp was a big selling point for us as they allowed my 5 year old to ride and have his ''own'' horse for the week. Many ranches have a higher age limit. It is an authentic Montana experience, but I would not call it a cowboy ranch; these are real Montana people who work there in all their rural glory. Everyone was nice, accommodating, and friendly and the food was great. They do offer cattle drives at different times throughout the year, but that isn't for kids. I think you can get a real feel for the ranch from their website: http://www.lwranch.com/ I subsequently learned that what sets Laughing Water apart from other ranches is that you ride out directly from the ranch; many ranches have you bus out to where they keep their horses. Here, they are kept on property and you ride out each morning to remote locations. We cannot say enough good things about Laughing Water Ranch. We'll most likely return there (as many people do year after year).
Re: Grandparent-Friendly Family Camp
I would encourage you to look at dude ranches. My family has taken grandparents in wheelchairs, teenagers, and kids to ranches in Montana and Wyoming and everyone had fun! Ranch accomodations range from superluxurious to bunkhouse. Here are a few web sites to explore:
www.duderanches.com/ www.virtualcities.com/ons/dude.htm www.duderanch.org/ www.ranchweb.com/ gorptravel.gorp.com/dude_search_main.asp Connellan