9 Best Places To Stay in Glacier National Park
With a total area of over one million acres, Glacier National Park requires several days to fully experience. While its location may seem remote, several historic hotels and motor inns within the park offer perfect dwellings for visitors.
Another option is to head outside the park, where numerous small and quaint communities offer hotels, inns, and house rentals for park-goers. While staying within the park has its advantages, the history and culture of these towns will undoubtedly add to your Montana experience.
If you’re planning a trip to Glacier National Park and can’t decide where to stay, HearHere is here to help. Here are our favorite places to stay in one of the country’s most beautiful national parks.
Live It Up at the Lake McDonald Lodge
Built in 1913, this luxuriously rustic lodge has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is one of the nation’s finest examples of large-scale Swiss chalet architecture. What does this mean for its visitors? It means they get to enjoy log furnishings, stone fireplaces, and an outdoorsy vibe that any outdoor-minded traveler will enjoy.
Even better, the aptly named Lake McDonald Lodge is situated directly on the shores of Lake McDonald. The largest lake in Glacier National Park is landmarked by the colorful rocks beneath its crystal-clear water. Here, you can set out on a boat tour of Lake McDonald or rent a boat of your own.
There’s also nothing better than enjoying a hot cup of coffee on the lake’s shores before setting out on your park activities for the day. Lake McDonald is conveniently located near Going-to-the-Sun Road, which provides easy access to the rest of the park.
Lake McDonald Lodge is on the shores of Lake McDonald on the west side of the park.
Enjoy the Views at the Many Glacier Hotel
Another option within the park’s boundaries, this large hotel shares many similarities to Lake McDonald Lodge. It’s inspired by Swiss chalet architecture, situated along the shores of a picturesque lake, and has easy access to the rest of the park.
Staying in the Many Glacier Hotel means unrivaled views of Swiftcurrent Lake and its surrounding area. Many of the hotel’s 200-plus rooms offer stunning views of the shimmering glacier water and jagged peaks. Adjacent to the hotel in Grinnell Point, a mountain often photographed for its dramatic beauty, especially during sunset.
In addition to Grinnell Point, tons of nearby trails provide unparalleled views of Glacier National Park’s scenery–ancient glaciers, rapid waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. After a long day of exploring, you can enjoy the Ptarmigan Dining Room, which offers the finest dining in the park.
Further adding to the Swiss themes of this hotel, Many Glacier Hotel staff dress in traditional lederhosen. If your dream vacation is the Swiss Alps, this is the next best thing.
Access the Apgar Village Lodge and Cabins
The Village Inn provides a wide range of lodging options, conveniently located in Apgar Village, which offers boutique shops, restaurants, and various park activities. In the Lodge, you have motel-style rooms suitable for single travelers to large families. The Lodge is also right on the shores of Lake McDonald, so head to Apgar Village to take out a canoe for the day.
The Village Inn also offers a dozen standalone cabins with kitchens and several options for bedding arrangements. A perfect option if you like to do your own cooking.
Enjoy the Value of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn
Situated in the Northeast end of the park, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is less than a mile from Swiftcurrent Lake and offers nearly 100 reasonably-priced rooms and cabins.
Each motel room has its own bathroom, but some cabins do not and instead share a centrally located bathhouse. Nonetheless, each dwelling includes running water.
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is also conveniently located near a restaurant and fully-stocked camp store, where you can buy food, outdoor gear, and any other provisions you might need. On top of that, it is close to many of the park’s stunning hiking trails, including Iceberg Lake. This hike passes through wildlife-packed terrain and rewards you with an amazing view of the glacier-carved Iceberg Lake.
Take in the History of the Rising Sun Motor Inn
Like the last two entries on this list, this property comprises motor inn rooms and rustic cabins. No matter how large or small your group is, the Rising Sun Motor Inn can accommodate you.
The closest dwelling to the park’s east entrance, this inn is just a short drive to St. Mary Lake, the second-largest lake in both the park and state of Montana. Towering peaks and vibrant evergreens surround this crystal clear lake.
This inn first opened to the public in 1940, and keeping to its old-fashioned roots, there are no televisions or air conditioning. Visiting a national park is about immersing yourself in nature, so many appreciate the serene environment.
One of the best ways to embrace this inn’s history is to embark on a Red Bus Tour. A famous staple of Glacier National Park, these vintage 1930s buses provide one of the most unique touring experiences of any national park. In fact, these buses are considered the oldest touring fleet of vehicles anywhere in the world.
Embrace the Adventure at Glacier Guides Lodge
If you want ample access to the park’s most adventurous opportunities, Glacier Guides Lodge is the choice for you. Operated by Glacier Guides, this lodge is located less than a mile from the west entrance of the park in West Glacier.
Some of the activities led by Glacier Guides include fly-fishing, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting. Not only do you get a place to stay, but you also get plenty to do.
In addition to the adventures that this lodge provides, you can also appreciate its craftsmanship. Glacier Guides employ local woodworkers and artists to furnish and decorate their lodge, so you’ll experience an authentically rustic Montana lodge.
If you’re traveling with a huge group, you can rent the Glacier Guides Guest House, which comfortably sleeps eight people.
Find Value and Views at the Vista Motel
Another great option outside the park, the Vista Motel offers a wide range of rooms and cabins at some of the most affordable prices you’ll come across. Furthermore, it is less than one mile from the park’s West Entrance, so you won’t feel out of the way.
Staying outside the park doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the views, as this lodge is flanked by quintessentially picturesque Montana scenery.
In addition to free WiFi, this lodge has a community BBQ pit for its guests. When you’re done exploring the park, head back to the Vista Motel to grill some grub and share your experiences with the other guests.
Embrace the Family Values at Whistling Swan Motel
Unlike many of the entries on this list, this family-owned establishment comes with satellite television. On top of that, you will enjoy reasonable rates and a family-friendly environment just a short drive from the Two Medicine entrance of the park.
This pet-friendly motel is also close to East Glacier Park Village, where you can find plenty of restaurants, shops, grocery stores, and saloons.
Go All-In on the Lodge at Whitefish Lake
While this entry is the furthest from the park, it is also the most luxurious. Located within an hour’s drive from the park, this four-star hotel sits along the shores of Whitefish Lake. Best for extended stays, this lodge more than makes up for its distance to the park.
Jetting out from the hotel into Whitefish Lake is the marina. There, you can rent ski boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes. You can even take a cruise on the Lady of the Lake––a 31-foot classic wooden boat.
Other nearby activities include hiking, water-rafting, plane tours, and fishing. The lodge is also within close proximity to Whitefish Mountain Resort, which boasts such activities as mountain biking, zip-lining, and alpine sledding. Plus, during the winter, Whitefish Mountain Resort operates as one of the best ski resorts in the state. Other winter activities include snowmobiling, dog-sledding, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.
When you’re done with your adventures for the day, you can relax in the pool, enjoy the spa, or listen to live music while sipping on a fireside cocktail. While it’s your traditional national park experience, The Lodge at Whitefish Lake knows how to kick it up a notch.
Get the Lowdown With HearHere
Are you looking for something to listen to on your drive to Glacier National Park? Whether you just hopped in the car on a whim or are embarking on a long-planned vacation, you can download HearHere for insider information.
Whether you find yourself among nature in Glacier National Park or somewhere else that’s just as wondrous, HearHere can make your trip one of a kind. We curate content based on your interests – from sports to history to local culture – and package it into a high-quality “road trip companion” you can access at any time, so you don’t miss a thing.
Check out HearHere today. The world is waiting for you.