Dear Summer: Bring It On

It’s official. With the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (June 19) and the official first day of summer (June 20), summer is here. And this girl is STOKED. Like hardcore, can hardly wait, super excited for each and every thing that summer has to offer stoked.

Bugs? They don’t bother me. (Okay, they do a little which is why someone invented bug spray). Hot days? Love ’em. (It’s a dry heat after all). Long daylight hours? Don’t mind if I do. (This blondie loves the sunshine. And yes, I lather up with SPF).

To kick off summer, I wanted to share some of the most epic summer activities and events that can be found in Montana during the next few months. May I present to you “Tia’s Terrific Montana Travel Summer List of Pure Fun” or “TTMTSLPF.”

Glacier National Park
Some of my earliest memories are of visiting and exploring Glacier National Park with my family. Back then, it was a magical place filled with bears, waterfalls, giant lodges and ice cold lakes. Today, I’m really happy to tell you that it’s still a magical place. If you haven’t been, it’s a destination that should definitely be on your list of places to explore. My recommendations? Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, take a Sun Tour (where you’ll learn about the park from the perspective of the Blackfeet Indians), hike to Running Eagle Falls in Two Medicine and sit by the fire at Many Glacier Hotel. And most importantly, just get lost in the nature, beauty, power and history of the park.

Hiking to Avalanche Lake with the baby sister.

Clearwater Canoe Trail
Hands down, this is one of my favorite activities for summertime. Located a short drive north (about four miles) of Seeley Lake, this trail meanders its way through a willow marsh before flowing into the north end of Seeley Lake. My recommendation? Paddle this in the early morning hours and soak in the stillness and peacefulness of the trail.

Ah…

River City Roots Festival
This festival is Missoula at its best. It’s a two-day FREE festival with incredible art and live music in the heart of downtown Missoula. Plus, if you have little ones there is plenty of entertainment and activities to keep everyone in your family entertained.

Zip Lining at Whitefish Mountain Resort
A visit to the zip lines at Whitefish Mountain Resort is a MUST. It combines beautiful views with short hikes and speed with giggles and shrieks. Two words to describe it: Pure fun.

Families that zip line together, stay together. (Or something like that).

Lake and River Lounging
In the summer, you have to lounge. And there are plenty of river and lakes in Western Montana that provide prime lounging opportunities. My recommendations? Get your lounge on at Whitefish Lake, Noxon Rapids Reservoir, Lake Como, Seeley Lake, Johnsrud State Park on the Blackfoot River and Flathead Lake.

Bike the Hiawatha
Last summer, my brother and I headed to the Route of the Hiawatha to ride its 15-mile trail through tunnels and across steel trestles. And it was awesome.

Hello beautiful forest.

Eat Ice Cream
This is perhaps the golden rule of summer. Best places to get a scoop (or seven): Big Dipper in Missoula; Sweet Peaks in Whitefish, Bigfork and Kalispell; Eddy’s Cafe in Apgar Village; and St. Mary Cafe in St. Mary (best paired with their pie). My recommendation? Be sure to try the huckleberry ice cream.

Big Dipper in Missoula.

Happy, happy summer.
TT

PS: For more summertime fun, check out these 101 Things To Do.

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