Whether you're looking to extend your visit to Glacier National Park with an overnight stay or you simply need to refuel bellies on your way to or from the park, these nearby towns fit the bill.
Columbia Falls, Montana
The largest of the park's gateway communities, Columbia Falls has bigger stores and more amenities than the others. Join locals at the BackRoom for an enormous plate of barbecued country-style ribs, broasted chicken, and heavenly fry bread with butter. You can even find gluten-free options here. Expect to leave with leftovers.
Hungry Horse, Montana
Wild huckleberries are king in eclectic Hungry Horse, meaning you must stop at the Huckleberry Patch—a shop, bakery, candy store, and cannery—for a piece of its famous pie filled with the tart fruit. Or order a huckleberry shake to go for your visit to 564-foot-high Hungry Horse Dam, the tallest in the state.
Martin City, Montana
Though it bustled during the construction of the dam, Martin City is now a tranquil village that makes a stellar access point to vast wilderness. Follow the signs from Hwy. 2 East to Hungry Horse Reservoir, where you can fish, boat, water-ski, or swim. From about mid-July to early September, bring a bucket for huckleberries.
Coram offers a beautiful view of Desert Mountain and activities for every age. Adults can sample Montana spirits in Glacier Distilling's bright-red barn, and the whole family can enjoy the challenging 1.5-mile wooden maze at the Amazing Fun Center.
West Glacier, Montana
Barely beyond the national park's border, West Glacier marks home base for adventure seekers. The tour company Glacier Guides and Montana Raft, known for leading rafting and hiking excursions, also rents bicycles and provides interpretive guided biking on Going-to-the-Sun Road. This is especially handy to know because bikes are allowed on the road earlier in the season than motorized vehicles.