Places to swim in Glacier National PArk include here - Swiftcurrent Lake at sunset

Best Places To Stay Near Glacier National Park

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Glacier to Yellowstone Road Trip

 

Places to Stay in Glacier National Park 

There are hotels and campgrounds within Glacier National Park and I cover them in this article about planning a trip to Glacier National Park.

So why stay near Glacier rather than in Glacier? 

  • You may not be able to get a reservation for lodging inside Glacier National Park. 
  • Staying inside the park is generally more expensive than outside the park.
  • If you pick your locations right, you can be more centrally located to everything you want to see and do in Glacier National Park. 
  • There is a lot to see and do outside the park. The mountains, rivers, and wild places don’t stop at Glacier’s boundaries. And there are other fun things to do near Glacier including a water park, roadside attractions, whitewater and scenic rafting, ax-throwing, dining, and more.
glacier national park,montana,usa. glacier national park sign in the entrance.
The entry sign welcoming you to Glacier National Park

 

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park

In Glacier National Park, where to stay very much depends on what you want to do.

I recommend staying in two places if you have time. It’s a long way around the park, so spend part of your time on the west side and part on the east side.

Where you stay when may depend on your vehicle reservation. Yes, you need a special reservation beyond your park pass to get into Glacier National Park. And they can be tough to get. That said, go ahead and book your lodging first if the vehicle reservation window isn’t open yet. 

At the end of this article, I cover the vehicle reservation system in depth and tell you how to visit Glacier without a reservation. 

Towns Near Glacier National Park 

sign that says "welcome to Whitefish"
Welcome to Whitefish

 

When you are looking for places to stay around Glacier National Park it’s good to get an idea of the layout of towns near Glacier and their proximity to the Park’s entrances. 

West Glacier and St. Mary are on either end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road which bisects the park. 

West Glacier, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Kalispell, and Polebridge are on the west side of Glacier. Essex is to the south. East Glacier, St. Mary, and Browning are on the east side of Glacier.

  • West Glacier — at the West Entrance
  • Columbia Falls — 20 minutes to West Entrance
  • Whitefish — 35 minutes to West Entrance
  • Kalispell — 45 minutes to West Entrance
  • Polebridge — 5 minutes to Polebridge Entrance, 50 minutes to Apgar Village
  • Essex — 30 minutes to West Entrance, 45 minutes to Two Medicine Entrance
  • East Glacier Park —15 minutes to Two Medicine Entrance, 50 minutes to St. Mary Entrance
  • St. Mary — at St. Mary Entrance, 1 hour to Two Medicine Entrance, 25 minutes to Many Glacier Entrance
  • Browning —  30 minutes to Two Medicine Entrance, 35 minutes to St. Mary Entrance, 50 minutes to Many Glacier Entrance

 


Best Places to Stay Near Glacier National Park 


Great Northern Hotel in West Glacier Montana

 

West Side: Best Places to Stay Near Glacier National Park

The west side is what most people think of as where to stay when visiting Glacier National Park. There are more towns, more amenities, and more “attractions.” 

You’ll find waterparks, ziplines, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, roadside attractions, and more on the west side. 

Best Hotels Near Glacier – West Glacier and Coram

Belton Chalet Hotel near Glacier National Park

 

Belton Chalet

One of the best places to stay near Glacier National Park in terms of proximity is the Belton Chalet, which is practically on the doorstep of the West Entrance. The Belton Chalet has 27 well outfitted rooms, a garden, terrace, restaurant, and a bar/lounge. It’s a lovely lodge to hang out at before and after a day in Glacier.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at the Belton Chalet.

Great Northern Resort

The Great Northern Resort is former train depot turned into a cute lodge. The resort include both cozy cabins near Glacier National Park and lodge rooms. The cabins have kitchens, fireplaces, and all the amenities you need to self cater. The hotel rooms are clean and modern. 

The Great Northern Resort offers rafting and fly fishing excursions.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at the Great Northern Resort. 

Evergreen Motel

The Evergreen Motel is modest, cabin-style motel on Highway 2 is 7 miles from the West Glacier entrance Coram. This basic motel offers cabins, studios, and motel rooms with balconies or patios, refrigerators, and microwaves.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at the Evergreen Motel.

 

West Glacier Vacation Rentals

If like us, you prefer a vacation rental when you travel, you are in luck. West Glacier and the surrounding area has plenty of vacation rentals. A couple of great things about choosing a house or cabin as your accommodation near Glacier National Park are being able to cook or prepare food there and having a comfortable place to kick back and relax between adventures.

There are rustic cabins away from it all and lovely chalets with a view. Click through the map above or see them on the VRBO website – put in your Glacier vacation dates to get the most accurate price.


Best Hotels Near Glacier – Columbia Falls Hotels

Front of Cedar Creek Lodge a wooden hotel near Glacier National PArk

Cedar Creek Lodge

The Cedar Creek Lodge and Conference Center is the main hotel in Columbia Falls. It boasts the comfort of a mountain lodge with modern style. The rooms have refrigerators and microwaves. They also have an indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center. A good hot breakfast is included.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Cedar Creek Lodge.

Meadow Lake Resort and Condos

You’ll find both hotel rooms and condos at Meadow Lake Resort and Condos. The resort is on a golf course with a spa and an American-style restaurant onsite. Kids will appreciate the playground and arcade room. They have indoor and outdoor pools and an outdoor tennis court. 

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Meadow Lake Resort and Condos.

Wonderstone at Glacier

The Scandinavian-feel rooms at Wonderstone at Glacier are clean, modern, and spacious. They have a fridge and comfortable, big beds.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Wonderstone at Glacier.

Click through the map to see the best hotels Glacier National Park has to offer near the West Entrance.

 

Columbia Falls Vacation Rentals

From a cute robin’s egg blue house on the Flathead River, to a lofted cabin with a wall of glass and a hot tub, to a modern downtown condo, you’ll find a wide range of vacation rentals in Columbia Falls


Best Hotels Near Glacier – Whitefish Hotels

Whitefish Lake with ski area in background
Beautiful Whitefish Lake near Glacier National Park

 

Good Medicine Lodge 

Homey Good Medicine Lodge feels more like a B&B than a standard hotel. They are known for great breakfasts and conviviality. The library communal area is charming. The Lodge is a short walk to downtown and to the City Beach on Whitefish Lake. You can even rent the whole lodge and sleep 22 people!

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Good Medicine Lodge.

river rock fireplace at Grouse Mountain Lodge near Glacier National Park

Grouse Mountain Lodge 

One of the things I love most about staying at Grouse Mountain Lodge is the beautiful river stone fireplace that gives it such a mountain lodge feel. Plus it’s a ten minute walk to downtown Whitefish (or a free shuttle ride) and on a golf course. You can also get to or from the Amtrak station or the airport with the shuttle. 

The rooms also have log cabin inspired decor along with the standard mini-fridge and coffee maker. There’s an outdoor fire pit, hot tub, pool, and an on-site bar and grill.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Grouse Mountain Lodge.

 

The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River, Ascend Hotel Collection

With two pools and access to the Whitefish River, The Pine Lodge is great for water lovers. A riverside trail is accessed just outside the hote. Standard rooms and suites are clean and comfortable and include a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee machine. 

A free shuttle takes guests to and from the airport and nearby Whitefish Mountain Ski Area.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River

Lodge at whitefish lake with swimming pool on edge of lake
The Glacier Lodge at Whitefish lake has an amazing location and views

 

Lodge at Whitefish Lake 

As the name implies, the Lodge at Whitefish Lake is right on the lake. Along with an award winning restaurant, a full service spa, and a gym, the Lodge has fireplaces in each guest room for extra coziness. (Often summer nights are cool enough for a fire!). 

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake.

Chalet Inn

The newly renovated and cute Chalet Inn is about five minutes from downtown Whitefish. It has the vibe of a 50s motor inn with all the modern amenities in a boutique motel. Rooms have a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. 

Large windows look on the surrounding forest and lake. The spacious rooms are comfortably furnished and warmly decorated in wood, leather and plush linens. Rooms also have microwaves and mini refrigerators. Lakeside suites are available.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Chalet Inn.

More Whitefish Hotels

If you are looking for your favorite chain hotel (you can use your points!), you just might find it in Whitefish:

See more reviews and the best deals on all of the hotels in Whitefish near Glacier National Park.

 

Whitefish Vacation Rentals

There are a bunch of vacation rentals in Whitefish to choose from. From a charming three-bedroom house in downtown to a new, modern downtown condo, to a newly renovated cottage, to a secluded Montana luxury bungalow, you can find a vacation rental in Whitefish. 

See the wide variety of vacation rentals in Whitefish, Montana.


Best Hotels Near Glacier – Kalispell Hotels

interior of Glacier International Lodge with river stone fireplace, wooden bear and Rocky Mountain theme
Glacier International Lodge lobby

Kalispell Grand Hotel

The Kalispell Grand Hotel stands as a beacon of elegance and comfort, seamlessly blending modern luxury with the charm of the region’s rich history. Nestled in the heart of downtown Kalispell, this boutique hotel offers a unique and inviting ambiance. 

Each room is a sanctuary of relaxation, providing guests with a tranquil retreat after a day of exploring the picturesque surroundings. The Kalispell Grand Hotel also boasts top-notch amenities, from a well-appointed fitness center to a refined on-site restaurant. 

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Kalispell Grand Hotel.

Glacier International Lodge

Formerly the Country Inn by Radisson, the Glacier International Lodge combines contemporary comfort with warm hospitality. The charming exterior and well-manicured surroundings set the tone for a relaxing stay. Inside, guests can expect tastefully decorated rooms and suites, each thoughtfully appointed for a comfortable experience. 

The hotel’s amenities include a fitness center, indoor pool, and complimentary breakfast. 

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay a the Glacier International Lodge

SpringHill Suites by Marriott

SpringHill Suites by Marriott is a contemporary hotel that seamlessly blends style with functionality, offering spacious and well-appointed suites. The inviting lobby sets the tone for a comfortable stay, and the friendly staff ensures a warm welcome. 

Each suite has a separate living and sleeping areas, providing ample space for relaxation. Guests can enjoy modern amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a complimentary breakfast buffet to kickstart their day.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at SpringHill Suites by Marriott 

More Kalispell Hotels

See more reviews and the best deals on all the hotels in Kalispell near Glacier National Park.

 

Kalispell Vacation Rentals

There are plenty of vacation rentals on the west side of Glacier National Park in Kalispell. 

Check out a quaint two-bedroom cottage, to a brand new modern guesthouse, to a “barndominium,” to a modern loft, you’ll find many options in Kalispell.

See a bunch of vacation rentals in Kalispell, Montana.


South Side: Best Lodging Glacier National Park

Highway 2 connects West Glacier and East Glacier. If you don’t have a reservation for the Going-to-the-Sun Road, this is how you get from one side of the park to the other. North of Highway 2 is the southern boundary of the park, and to the south lays the Bob Marshall Wilderness and other protected public lands. 

Lodging on the southern border of Glacier National Park is sparse and has a wilder feel than the town lodging on the other sides of the park. This can be a good place to find cabins for rent near Glacier National Park.

Best Hotels Near Glacier – Essex and Highway 2 Hotels

Mountain goat, Glacier National Park
Mountain goat at Goat Lick Wildlife Viewing Area on Highway 2

 

Glacier Haven Inn (Pinnacle, Montana)

The Glacier Haven Inn has both motel rooms and small cabins. They have a gift shop and offer breakfast, takeaway lunches, and home-cooked dinners. There is a campground on the property and some of the cottages share the campground bathrooms. 

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Glacier Haven Inn.

Boy walking in snow to a red caboose turned luxury lodging near Glacier
One of the awesome “cabins” at Izaak Walton Inn near Glacier

Izaak Walton Inn (Essex, Montana)

The historic Izaak Walton Inn was originally built by the Great Northern Railroad and it’s one of my favorite places to stay near Glacier National Park. And it’s open year round with groomed cross-country ski trails luring winter visitors. We stayed there as part of our winter Montana road trip.

Hotel rooms in the main lodge were renovated in 2023-2024. In addition to the lodge (with restaurant and bar) there are converted train cars and cabooses to stay in, as well as cabins. 

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at the Izaak Walton Inn.

Click through the map to see hotels and VRBOs near Glacier’s southern border.

 

Vacation rentals on Highway 2 south of Glacier National Park

This tiny cabin between Nimrod and Summit is ideal for a couple. This two-bedroom log cabin near Essex sleeps six and it about halfway between West and East Glacier. This newly renovated historic railroad house is very short walking distance from the Amtrak train station. It sleeps six in three bedrooms and is very homey. 

See all of the vacation rentals near Essex. 


brown hotel with green roof and flowers and a tipi out front

 

East Side: Best Places to Stay Near Glacier National Park

This is sometimes considered best place to stay near Glacier National Park, but I don’t think it is very convenient unless you are taking the train. In that case, there is an Amtrak stop right in town and most motels and hotels have a shuttle.

You are on the east side, so you can visit Many Glacier, Two Medicine, or the east end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in St. Mary from here, but it is a bit of a drive to any of them.

Best Hotels Near Glacier – East Glacier Park Hotels

It is important to note that there is a difference between East Glacier (the town) and the east side (Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier) of Glacier National Park. In fact, the town is officially called “East Glacier Park Village,” but it is often referred to as “East Glacier.”

Glacier Park Lodge

East Glacier Park Village lodging is abundant. The most well known is likely the Glacier Park Lodge (also known as the East Glacier Lodge because of its location). The East Glacier Park Lodge was built by the Great Northern Railway and was the first stop for many people on the Glacier National Park vacation as they arrived on the rails. It’s still one of the best places to stay near Glacier National Park.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at the Glacier Park Lodge.

Travelers Rest Lodge 

The 12 cabins at Travelers Rest Lodge have covered porches with seating, and the cozy, unassuming wood cabins come with fireplaces, dining areas, and sitting areas with sofas. All provide kitchenettes or full kitchens; one has a sleeping loft.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Travelers Rest Lodge.

Circle R Motel 

The Circle R Motel is a typical budget motel, but it is a little nicer than some of the other budget motels in East Glacier. It is quiet inside and well equipped. There is a restaurant in the back of the motel and a small but well equipped grocery store, including souvenirs and books.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Circle R Motel.

 

Vacation Rentals in East Glacier Park 

This simple cabin sleeps four and has a waterfall and swimming hole on site. This historic log home has all the modern conveniences and sleeps ten in four bedrooms. Or stay in an historic 1906 barn that has been renovated to a luxury rental.

See more vacation rentals in East Glacier


St Mary Lake with tiny island in middle and mountains on eithe side

 

Best Hotels Near Glacier – St. Mary Hotels

The gateway town of St. Mary has several resorts near Glacier National Park, but they are mostly RV resorts. There’s really only one traditional hotel or lodge, but fortunately it’s made up of several motels, cabins etc.

This is one of the best places to stay at Glacier National Park for visiting the east side. It’s on the east end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road and just 30 minutes from Many Glacier.

You do not need a vehicle reservation to enter the park through the St. Mary Entrance on the Going-to-the-Sun Road!

St. Mary Village 

St. Mary Village has one of the most dramatic backgrounds of any Glacier hotel. The lodge sits near the edge of St Mary Lake with dramatic mountains jutting up behind it.

St Mary Village is made up of 127 guest rooms spread across seven facilities. It also includes dining and shopping outlets. From rustic and budget-friendly motel rooms to modern tiny homes and upscale hotel accommodations, St. Mary can fit every taste level and budget.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at St Mary Village. 

 

Vacation Rentals in St Mary and Babb

The Glacier Quarry is a modern home that sleeps four and overlooks Many Glacier Valley, St. Mary, and two lakes. This cozy cabin sits on Duck Lake and sleeps four (with twin beds in the second bedroom!). Glacier Lookout is a unique and spacious barn-style two story overlooking the East Rockies. The upper deck is at tree canopy height providing almost a tree house experience. 


exterior of a brick building with sign "Museum of the Plains Indian"
Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, MT

Best Hotels Near Glacier – Browning Hotels

Browning is a town on the Blackfeet Reservation. Make sure to visit the Blackfeet Heritage Center and the Museum of the Plains Indian while you are there.

grey couch in front of dark paneled wall with two photos

 

Glacier Peaks Hotel

Glacier Peaks Hotel is part of the Glacier Peak Casino and offers clean, modern rooms. It has complimentary hot breakfast, indoor heated swimming pool with whirlpool, business center with high speed internet and guest laundry.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Glacier Peaks Hotel.

Going-To-The-Sun Inn & Suites

Going-To-The-Sun Inn & Suites has comfortable, newly remodeled rooms. Rooms include single queen or king beds, double queen beds, or Jacuzzi king suites. It’s a typical budget motel. Continental breakfast is included.

See more reviews and the best deals on a stay at Going-To-The-Sun Inn & Suites.

 


Vehicle Reservations for Glacier National Park – 2024

Glacier National Park gets crowded, like many National Parks. A few years ago the National Park Service piloted a vehicle reservation system to minimize traffic. This makes for a better visitor experience for those who do get into the park and benefits the land, wildlife, and plants.

UPDATED 2024

Graphic describing vehicle reservations for Glacier National Park

What You Need:

  • May 24 through September 8 vehicle reservations are required for the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road and North Fork from 6 am to 3 pm.
  • July 1 through September 8 vehicle reservations are required for Many Glacier from 6 am to 3 pm.
  • Visitors entering the park in a vehicle or on a motorcycle in one of these areas during these dates need two things(1) A vehicle reservation OR service reservation and (2) Park Entrance Fee OR valid Park Pass (Annual, Senior, Military, etc.). 
  • The park is open 24/7 and visitors may enter vehicle reservation areas before 6 am or after 3 pm without a vehicle reservation. 

Where Do You Need a Vehicle Reservation for Glacier National Park?

  • Going-To-The-Sun Road (west entrance station at Apgar)
  • North Fork Area from Polebridge Ranger Station (Inside North Fork Road, Bowman Lake, Kintla Lake)
  • Many Glacier Area

How to Get into Glacier National Park Without a Reservation 

  • As mentioned above, you can get into the park before 6 am or after 3 pm without a vehicle reservation. 
  • If you have a lodging, camping, or commercial activity reservations (e.g., boat tours and horseback rides) within the specified reservation areas you can use that to enter the area.
  • Visit a part of the park that does not require a vehicle reservation (see next section!).

Where Can I Go in Glacier National Park Without a Vehicle Reservation?

  • Apgar Village 
  • Going-To-The-Sun Road (east entrance at St. Mary)
  • Two Medicine Lake
  • Polebridge (which isn’t inside the park, but the drive is scenic and the huckleberry bear claws at the Mercantile are worth the long, bumpy road.) 

Vehicle Reservation Release Dates

  • A portion of vehicle reservations will be available 120 days or approximately four months in advance, starting on January 25, 2024, at 8 am MST on a daily rolling basis.
  • Next Day vehicle reservations will be available at 7 pm MDT for next-day entry starting on May 23, 2024 on a daily rolling basis.

Vehicle reservations can be made on recreation.gov.

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