Family-Friendly Things to do During the Winter

Girl with a mug of hot cocoa next to a fireplace. Photo by Alex Hanich

It's getting to be that time of year, right smack in the middle of winter, when you sometimes need a little nudge to get the kiddos out to explore! Fortunately, Montana's Yellowstone Country is full of family-friendly indoor and outdoor activities, making it a prime spot for a winter vacation.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

One of the biggest draws is the downhill skiing and snowboarding at Red Lodge MountainBridger Bowl, and Big Sky Resort. All three have excellent ski schools and a wide variety of terrain, so don't fret if your family is new to alpine sports. And, if your kids are too young or not as eager to ski all day, Bridger Bowl and Big Sky offer childcare services so older siblings and parents can explore more of the mountain and enjoy the day!

Family skiing at Big Sky Resort Photo by Alex Hanich

Nordic Ski Trails

If Nordic skiing is more up your alley, Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Crosscut Mountain Sports Center in Bridger Canyon, Red Lodge Nordic Center in Red Lodge, and Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone all offer miles of groomed trails, rentals, and lessons. (Check out the sleigh ride dinner if you opt for Lone Mountain Ranch!)

Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary

If you visit West Yellowstone, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a must-do. Children can participate in the Keeper Kids program, a hands-on, 30-minute presentation where they learn about grizzly bear feeding habits. They then accompany the naturalist into the bear habitat to hide food and watch as they use their sense of smell to find it. Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary in Red Lodge and Montana Grizzly Encounter in Bozeman are also great. 

Family on a snowcoach tour in Yellowstone National Park Photo by Alex Hanich

Take a Snowcoach Tour through Yellowstone National Park

A snowcoach tour into Yellowstone is a great way to get the kids out to explore. These over-snow vehicles keep you warm as you tour the winter wonderland with steamy geysers, frozen bison, and miles of snow-covered beauty. Tours are available from West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana.

Step Back in Time in One of Our Museums

If Bozeman is on your agenda, stop at the Museum of the Rockies, a Smithsonian affiliate, with rotating exhibits and an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including the fully mounted Montana's T. rex skeleton! Many of the museums in Yellowstone Country are full of history and lend insight into these quaint little mountain towns.  

T Rex at Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana Photo courtesy Museum of the Rockies

Soak in a Hot Springs

Montana's Yellowstone Country has three exceptional hot springs, each unique yet beautiful. Bozeman Hot Springs has twelve pools of varying temperatures indoors and outdoors, with dry and wet saunas and a cold plunge. Chico Hot Springs has two pools, casual and fine dining, and a lounge adjacent to the pools. Yellowstone Hot Springs, just outside of Gardiner and nestled between two mountain ranges, offer stunning views. 

Stock Up at a Candy Store

YC also has some fantastic candy stores. We suggest trying the milkshakes and hot cocoa in Bozeman at The Chocolate Moose and La Châtelaine Chocolat Co., which have excellent selections. And in Red Lodge, Montana Candy Emporium is the place to go for nostalgic old-time candies and handmade delicacies. 

Montana Candy Emporium, Red Lodge, Montana Photo by Jonathan Finch

 For more trip planning ideas, order your free travel packet