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Things for the Family to do in Missoula

Recently, my family and I took a road trip to visit a relative in Missoula, Montana. We fell in love with the city and hope to go back again sometime soon. Aside from the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the eclectic mix of independently owned shops this college town has to offer, we were impressed with all the family friendly things there are to do. We only had a few days to explore the city, so we’ve made a “next time” list for when we go back.

Here are some of the family friendly things we managed to do during our short visit.

Caras Park is a community gathering place in downtown Missoula. It is the location of many festivals, outdoor concerts, and other events. It’s in a beautiful location just next to Clark Forks River.

The Carousel just might be the most memorable activity we took part in. Also located downtown, it is one of the fastest carousels in the country and created by master carvers and community volunteers.

Dragon Hollow playground is located next to the carousel, and it’s no ordinary play structure. With swings, slides, a climbing wall and an obstacle course inside the “dragon,” there’s enough to keep the kids busy for a long time. There is also a separate toddler play area.

Walk downtown Missoula (within walking distance from the carousel) to explore a little more of what the city has to offer. Of particular interest to the kiddos might be the bookshop and the toy store.

Riverfront Trail is a walking/biking path that runs along both sides of the Clark Forks River in downtown Missoula. Families can borrow bicycles at no charge through the Currents Aquatic Center. Be sure to stop at Brennan’s Wave to watch surfers and kayakers hone their skills at the man-made white water feature.

Once we explored some of what the downtown had to offer, we wandered further afield.

Elk Country Visitor Center is just a few miles from the city center. It’s a great place for the family to learn about local wildlife at no charge. You can request a tour or enjoy the walking trail on your own.

Snowbowl is a ski mountain at the edge of town, and it offers great entertainment even if it isn’t ski season. For a fee, families can ride the chairlift up and partake in the summertime festivities happening at the top of the mountain. There’s hiking, mountain biking, berry picking, frisbee golf, and even zip lines for the more adventurous visitors.

This list is just a small sampling of what’s available for families to see and do in Missoula. I can’t wait to return and try out more of what this dynamic city has to offer.

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