Glacier National Park 3 Day Itinerary
The Perfect Getaway
So you have decided to make the trek to Glacier National Park with your family or group. Great choice! We know it’s no small feat to get here, so we want to help you get the most out of your time in northwest Montana and give you the best things to do in West Glacier. As Flathead Valley locals (with kids!), we are more than qualified to give you our ideal 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park and the surrounding area. Here is our recommendation for things to do, places to eat, and where to stay during your vacation!
It is important to give yourself a good amount of time to explore and drive the Going-To-The-Sun Road so you will really want to set aside time for that in your schedule. You can do it in an afternoon/evening but you will want to make sure you have enough time to do that. It’s INCREDIBLE and all the pictures you see and will take won’t even do it justice. I mean you didn’t just throw a dart on a map and decide to come to Glacier…. And if you did you should buy a lotto ticket because you’re lucky!
Arrival & Orientation to the Area
After those wheels hit the runway it’s game on! The days are long and we can jam-pack every ounce of daylight to get the most out of your trip to the Flathead Valley! Once you get your luggage and your rental car you can head just about anywhere off Hwy 2. Maybe your home away from home isn’t ready yet? Maybe those airplane pretzels aren’t making the cut? Let’s head to Whitefish to grab a bite!
Our Whitefish Restaurant Recommendations
There are lots of options to eat (mostly off Central Ave. in Whitefish). We love the Buffalo Cafe – they offer a variety of delicious plates for anything you may be craving. Our special trip after to Sweet Peaks Ice Cream (just a block away) makes the trip even more worth your while! Sweet Peaks makes all the ice cream right here in Whitefish and it’s worth the wait in line! They always have some local favorites but then a few rotating flavors that are killer too! Don’t forget to spring for the waffle cone, I mean come on you’re already having ice cream and calories don’t count on vacation anyways! Another good spot for lunch is the Craggy Range in Whitefish. Lots of great food as well. They also have a wonderful patio area where you can soak up the sun and the kids can burn off some of that energy. This patio is complete with a few games for kids to enjoy while they wait for their lunch.
Traveling really wears it out of you so it’s good to take it easy and get settled your first day. After your grabbed lunch and hopefully some ice cream you could head up to Whitefish Mountain Resort and take a ride up the chair lift to really take in the view of the valley! This is a fun way to explore where we ski in the winter and also take in the views of Whitefish Lake and the rest of the valley. When you get to the summit take a peek into Glacier Park. The chair lift is fun for all ages and you can even ride up in a gondola if you would rather. You can watch people bike down the mountain, hikers, some huckleberry pickers if the time is right and even some wildlife if you’re lucky! You could also head to Whitefish City Beach and enjoy the views and take a quick dip in the lake.
Rest Your Head
There’s tons of options for lodging while you are here in the area, something to fit everyone’s needs. We have rentals on our lodging page which are close to all the action being just 10 minutes away from the West entrance of Glacier. If we can’t accommodate you there are plenty of other VRBOs and AirBNBs in the area. Camping? There’s the West Glacier KOA if you like, or plan to camp in Glacier in some of their many campgrounds. Some people do a bit of both while they are here. I would suggest finding one place you can just call home, because there’s a lot of adventuring to do in a short time! You don’t want to have the hassle of having to pack up and relocate during your vacation.
Zipline near Glacier National Park at Glacier Highline
Glacier Highline is a one of a kind park! There’s fun for all ages even the spectating is fun! Our park is created to have hours of family fun from our ropes courses with ziplining, rock climbing wall, inflatable obstacle course and we even have an inflatable waterslide! What’s not to love about that! We center our park around families and have everything you need on site! Fun, adventure, laughs and even food and coffee at our tower grill! You can start your morning here and have the other half of your day to set out on a totally new adventure!
Hike in Glacier National Park
Speaking of a free afternoon? There’s plenty of ways to fill that! You can take a hike in Glacier! We suggest Avalanche Lake Trail. It’s a very well-known trail that’s good for families. It’s especially perfect for hikes with kids! Hike along Avalanche Gorge and into the famous Avalanche Lake you will not be sorry you did! You can stop in at the Apgar after and let your kids swim or just side on the shore and enjoy Lake McDonald.
Fill Your Stomach at Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
You can start your morning with some delicious huckleberry pancakes at the famous Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse. You can also pick up a few souvenirs in their wonderful gift shop! While you are enjoying the Glacier Highline you can have a bite to eat at our Tower Grill. We are serving up plenty of yummy goodies and maybe you can cool off with one of our frozen lemonades! Dinner you could grab food to go from Eddie’s Cafe in Apgar Village and enjoy it on the shores of Lake McDonald and have a peaceful evening with breathtaking views.
Grab a Morning Cup o’ Joe
MT Coffee Traders has a few locations within the Valley and they all serve a great cup of coffee and some yummy breakfasts to fuel your day! Another favorite is the West Glacier Cafe conveniently located right inside West Glacier. Here you will already be well on your way for the day’s adventure starting right in West Glacier.
Ready to ride the rapids of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River?!? Our friends at Glacier Raft are your go-to guides to check this off your bucket list. Whitewater rafting is a fun experience to see parts of Glacier bordering the river and your guides will tell you all sorts of fun stories along the way. Feel the rush through Bone Crusher and many other of the famous rapids making this a trip of a lifetime! They are rollin’ down the river from May thru Sept and you don’t wanna miss this! Wanna save a few bucks? Ask us about our park and paddle raft and adventure park package!
Hit the Road
Time flies when you’re having fun and we hope you enjoyed your short trip to Glacier. Most people leave here already planning their return trip because there’s just so much to do/ see and explore! Our backyard is full of lots of adventure and we are glad to share it with you! We look forward to being a part of that trip you and your kiddos talk about for years to come!
If you’re looking for an amazing, family-friendly activity near Glacier National Park, check out our aerial adventure course at Glacier Highline. High-flyin’ fun, we offer great outdoor fun at our adventure park for everyone in your group! Embark on epic family vacations in Montana!