When you plan your getaway at Big Sky, Montana, you can easily ski your cares away on a powdery sea of white snow. Providing a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, the city of Big Sky offers hiking, biking, and rock climbing in the summer, as well as various winter sports activities in the winter. Big Sky vacation rentals range from rustic cabins along the ridgeline to cozy cottages tucked away in the peaceful woods. At this magnificent resort town, you can spend the day relaxing at a local spa, or going out to shop, dine, and tour local museums. Check out the most noteworthy areas in Big Sky to stay at and visit.

1. Big Sky Mountain Village

houses between the mountain and the lake
Source: Flickr/Greg Gjerdingen

Choose a vacation rental in Big Sky Mountain Village to enjoy the comradery of other vacationers and to stay close to the action of the city. In the summer take a zip line tour through Big Sky, bring your mountain bike and traverse the challenging trails, or take the kids on a scenic lift ride to get spectacular views of the valley below. There’s also whitewater rafting, horseback riding, or stand up paddleboarding at the Lake Levinsky Marina. The area is best known for its winter sports. Head down the slopes at Lone Peak or sign up for a snow tour at Moonlight Basin.

2. Gallatin River

pine trees at the mountainside
Source: Flickr/Pat (Cletch) Williams

Enjoy the soft sounds of the water when you paddle the day away on the Gallatin River. Bring poles and fishing equipment from your vacation rental or bring your own and go fly fishing on the banks to catch some rainbow trout or salmon. Sign up with one of the local outfitters and rafts down the rapids. You can also take the kids to the Lone Mountain Ranch, which hosts various activities for the younger set, as well as hiking, snowshoe trails, and sleigh ride dinners.

3. Crazy Mountains

mountain ranges
Source: Flickr/Kimberly Brown-Azzarello

The Crazy Mountains is a 66-mile trail system with some of the best hiking in Montana. You can enjoy all skill levels, which is ideal when you bring kids along. Rent a four-wheel drive and take off on a Rocky Mountain Expedition, and you can even stop and enjoy some cross country skiing in the winter. The highest peak is Crazy Peak, which has an elevation of over 11,000 feet. Here you can take some excellent pictures of the region.

4. Emigrant Park

white mountain peak
Source: Flickr/Sean Wolf

Escape the city and look for vacation rentals near Emigrant. Miles of the river provide a quiet respite for fishing and canoeing. Take a horseback ride tour through the foothills of the Rockies, or visit Dailey Lake for hiking, kayaking, or swimming.

5. Ennis

beautiful landscape
Source: Flickr/Spend A Day Touring, LLC

Located along the backroads to Yellowstone, Ennis offers mountain views in a western-type atmosphere. Explore the Madison River by boat, or bring your skis and go water skiing. Spend some time on the Madison Meadows Golf Course, or take the kids to the playground at the Lion’s Club Park.

6. West Yellowstone

painted buffalo statue
Source: Flickr/frazgo

West Yellowstone is a quaint town located near Yellowstone National Park. The downtown streets are noted by the painted buffalo of different colors and themes. Enjoy the views of the dramatic canyons, hot springs, and gushing geysers. At night, take the kids to the Playmill Theater for a live performance. The Grizzly and World Discovery Center lets you watch these animals play and relax up close, or you can sign up for a bus tour downtown.

7. Gardiners

stone arch
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

Gardiners is located near the Roosevelt Arch at the beginning of Yellowstone. This picturesque town offers a variety of cabins vacation rentals to choose from. Set out on an adventure with the kids and go rafting and tubing down the Yellowstone River, or go ziplining or tubing. If you enjoy horses, sign up for a horseback riding tour of the region, or when the weather is warm, you can rent Segways for the family and scoot around the valleys.

8. Bozeman

mountain reflection on the lake
Source: Flickr/laurascudder

Located in the Rocky Mountains, Bozeman is in the center of the action. The historic downtown has lovely architecture, quaint boutiques, and a multitude of restaurants to suit any appetite. If you prefer to be outside, Bozeman provides hiking, biking, golfing, and rafting. If you plan your trip in August, the annual Sweet Pea Festival is a fun-filled event for all ages. Listen to various musicians perform, watch the dance troupes, or spend time at one of the art workshops for families.

9. Livingston

diners and shops at the roadside
Source: Flickr/Tracy Hunter

Spend your vacation shopping at one of the downtown shops in Livingston. Float along the Sacajawea Park and head out on the center of the lake and fish for trout. Visit the Livingston Depot Center to learn about the history of the town, you can also take the kids to the Yellowstone Gateway Museum to learn about the attractions in Yellowstone Park. Bring your hiking boots and set out on the Pine Creek Trail, where you will encounter waterfalls and various wildlife. At night, enjoy a drink at one of the local bars, or make reservations at one of the downtown restaurants.