When you picture a trip to Montana, you may imagine climbing mountains and enjoying the clear blue skies. Additionally, the landlocked state of Montana is also home to pristine beaches and some of the country’s most coveted swimming areas. Your trip to the “Big Sky Country” state will be full of excitement and wonder. Book a stay at a Montana vacation rental to ensure you’re always close to the action. Vacation rentals are perfect for large families and great for extended trips. Stay at an accommodation near one of the 10 best beaches in Montana for an unforgettable trip!

1. Mystic Lake

A trip to Montana isn’t complete without a good hike, and the Beartooth Mountains are the perfect place to start your adventure. The six-mile hike to Mystic Lake is fairly easy and worth the view. Campsites are plentiful at the trailhead or you can camp closer to the lake. Bring along your fishing poles and bait for a fresh rainbow fish dinner or just enjoy the long sandy beaches this mystical lake has to offer. If you’re not up for camping, stay at a cozy vacation rental in Billings.

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2. Fort Peck Lake

There is so much to do and see at Fort Peck Lake in northeastern Montana, you’ll want to stay a week! Start your stay off with a beautiful hike around the fifth largest manmade reservoir in the United States. Then, take the family to the beach and enjoy the scenes of wildlife and clear waters. The area is home to historic buildings from the Depression era and tours are offered daily to visitors. Anglers will rejoice in the variety of fish available at the lake including walleye, lake trout and chinook salmon. Don’t forget to bring the camera for your big catch or just to capture family memories!

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3. Lake McDonald

Although this glacial water may be too cold for swimming, there are still so many activities to enjoy at this lake in Glacier National Park. Even if you’re not an avid hiker, you’ll want to experience the stunning views of this national treasure. Trail of the Cedars is one of the easier hikes in the park that gives a great view while being wheelchair accessible. There is also guided hiking and backpacking throughout the park for those wanting to see more hidden areas or you can take a boat tour on Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park.

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4. Flathead Lake State Park

There is nothing quite like summertime in Montana, and you’ll get the full experience at Flathead Lake Sate Park. As you drive in to the park in northwestern Montana stop at a local fruit stand for fresh cherries, apples and more during your stay. Then, stop by a gas station or local grocery store to get a recreation permit, which you’ll need if you’re visiting the southern part of the lake on the Flathead Indian Reservation. As the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake has so much to do and see. Big Arm Bay is a great place to fish and swim or you can try out white-water rafting. Campsites are located throughout the park or you can book a vacation rental in Polson.

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5. Bozeman Beach

Staying in Bozeman is a great option for those who want to be close to the mountains and still have city amenities. What’s even better is that Bozeman has its very own pond with sandy beaches, volleyball courts and playgrounds. Take the kids for a nice swim or rent a kayak and enjoy the great outdoors. Vacation rentals in Bozeman vary from small apartments downtown to large houses or a quaint cabin near the pond. Bring along a picnic and walk or bike to Bozeman Beach from your vacation rental.

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6. Brush Lake State Park

The white sandy beaches of Brush Lake State Park and clear blue waters make this Eastern Montana park one of the best places to swim in the state. The park also has a boat ramp perfect for a day out on the lake. Getting to Brush Lake is easy from your vacation rental in Plentywood and you’ll be close to beautiful destinations in North Dakota and Canada.

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7. Avalanche Lake

Another beautiful lake in Glacier National Park is Avalanche Lake, situated about an hour north of Whitefish. This lake is a bit harder to get to but is certainly worth the views. The hike to Avalanche Lake actually begins on the Trail of the Cedars and is about a 4.5 mile hike roundtrip. Bring your camera to capture the mountains reflecting in the water and several waterfalls around Avalanche Lake.

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8. Cooney Reservoir

Just south of Billings, Montana and outside of Yellowstone National Park is Cooney Reservoir. This popular recreation area is perfect for a day trip or to stay a whole week. With great beaches, public restrooms, a playground and much more, you’ll want to make your trip to southern Montana and annual occasion. Another perk is that Cooney Reservoir is pet friendly, so bring along man’s best friend! Staying at a vacation rental near Cooney is perfect for exploring the area and being near Yellowstone.

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9. Whitefish City Beach

This 7-mile long glacial beach has swimming areas, docks and fishing rentals. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards here or launch your own boat at the boat dock. The town of Whitefish offers a variety of vacation rentals near shopping, restaurants and outdoor activities.

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10. Canyon Ferry Lake

Make your way to Canyon Ferry Lake for even more Montana spirited fun. Just north of Bozeman, this reservoir has public swimming, a boat launch and possible wildlife sightings. While in the area be sure to check out historic sites of where the Lewis and Clark trail went through Montana.

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