Big Sky is a community in south Montana tucked away amid the mountains of the Bear Creek Wildlife Management Area. The area’s rich in forests, mountains, and hills, the perfect place to relax. Just north of Yellowstone National Park, it’s close enough for a day trip to Old Faithful and far enough away to avoid the crowds. Spend your time breathing in the cool mountain air, embracing nature, and reconnecting with the family. After booking your Big Sky vacation rental, consider these top family activities when making your itinerary.

1. Visit Yellowstone National Park
yellowstone park

Yellowstone National Park lies just south of Big Sky. You could spend days exploring the 3,500-square mile area. Stop at Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs before heading to Tower Roosevelt for an Old West experience. You get to ride in horse-drawn wagons, enjoy a cookout, and tour the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch. Other than the old log barn, bunkhouse, and other historic buildings, you can also see herds of domesticated bison. Enjoy the scenery of the park by hiking to Tower Fall. This waterfall with its 132-foot drop is one of the most famous sights in Yellowstone. Another great hike takes you to Calcite Springs Overlook where there are geothermal springs and a scenic view. You can also take the family boating at Yellowstone Lake or stroll through Canyon Village.

2. Go Hiking

hiking trail
Source: Flickr / Greg Gjerdingen

You can go hiking closer to home as well at Andesite Mountain and Lone Peak. The Summit Climb trail takes you to the top of Lone Peak. At 11,000 feet, it gives you a great view. If you have small kids, take the Easy Rider trail, which meanders through the forests and up the mountain. Beehive Basin, a 6.4-mile hike, is considered one of the greatest hikes in the world. As you climb, you cross snow-fed creeks and flower-covered slopes, ending up at a lake surrounded by pine trees.

3. Go Whitewater Rafting

white water rafting
Source: Flickr / Greg Gjerdingen

Add more adventure to your vacation with some whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River. Geyser Whitewater Expeditions offers rafting trips ranging from intense to gentle, and you can also enjoy zip lining, horseback riding, and biking as well. Another service is Montana Whitewater, which offers adventure on Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, and Madison River. Yellowstone River is perfect for families because of its gentle rapids and easy currents. In addition to rafting, you also can go fly fishing, river tubing, and kayaking.

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4. Go Horseback Riding
horseback riding

If you’re tired of hiking or you have little ones passionate about horses, go horseback riding. Outfitters include Jake’s Horses, Canyon Adventures, and Cache Creek Outfitters. Go on a guided horseback tour with Canyon Adventures. You get to travel through Gallatin Canyon, climb hills, and even forge across a river or two. Tours vary from one hour, perfect for small children, to three hours. With Jake’s Horses, you can combine trail rides with fishing or hunting trips for the ultimate adventure.

5. Visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
wolf in snow

Explore the local wildlife at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Here you and the family get to see real bears and wolves. The animals that live at the Discovery Center are rescues from all over the continent. The bear habitat is large and includes a pond where the animals can find fish. The wolf habitat boasts tall grass, trees, and a waterfall to provide a home for its wolves.

6. Go Hunting and Fishing
lake fishing

If your interests lie toward living off the land, then do some hunting and fishing. All sorts of game are available, from elk and deer to bighorn sheep and bison. If you have smaller children, fishing might be more appropriate, and you can teach your children patience while relaxing. The Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone rivers are flush with fish, especially trout.

7. Enjoy Adventure Mountain
ziplining through forest

Adventure Mountain is like a playground in the trees for the entire family. Go on a zip line through the trees, try your hand at the climbing wall, or bounce on the Bungee Trampolines. Children can take part in the fun at the Challenger Kids zip line. The Giant Swing is just like any swing, but better and higher.

8. Go Mountain Biking

mountain biking
Source: Flickr / Zach Dischner

If you didn’t bring your own bike, rent some for your family at Grizzly Outfitters Ski and Backcountry Sports, Brothel Bikes, and Gallatin Alpine Sports to enjoy the many trails in the area. Just head to Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin for a range of biking trails, or head up to Lone Mountain for some more intense trails.

9. Opt for Winter Activities

snow skiing
Source: Flickr / Zach Dischner

There are just as many winter activities in the Big Sky area as summer choices. Take your family on a cozy sleigh ride or rent some snowmobiles to wind around the mountain and enjoy the winter wonderland. Go ice skating with the kids or sledding down the hills. Naturally, with all the mountains surrounding it, Big Sky is also a great place to go skiing and snowboarding. You can even do some dog sledding, a truly unique experience.

 
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