Alpine Resort with Scenic Golf Course
Blue glacial lakes and wind-swept meadows cover the Flathead Valley, which is located just west of the Rocky Mountains' Continental Divide. This is the home turf of Meadow Lake Resort, which is nestled amid several mountain ranges in northwest Montana. The gorgeous landscape influences the makeup of the resort property: on its 18-hole golf course, seven of the holes border mountain streams and alpine lakes.
Though Meadow Lake Resort is close to nature, its guests aren't exactly roughing it. There's an onsite restaurant, Truby's at Meadow Lake, which serves entrees such as Cajun pasta ($18.95), wild-caught salmon ($19.95) and authentic brick-oven pizza ($10.95+), piled high with your choice of toppings including grilled pears, andouille sausage, or black mission figs. Additionally, Truby's bartenders fill up pint glasses with draft microbrews such as Wheatfish Hefeweizen and Tamarack Yard Sale Amber.
Also on the property are an outdoor pool, which is open seasonally, and a family recreation center that features an indoor pool and hot tub. Across the resort is Hucklebear's Hideout, where kids can horse around on a playground and families can compete to decide next week's dishwashing duties on tennis and volleyball courts.
At the heart of the resort is Meadow Lake's main inn, outfitted with 24 rooms. Each guest room comes with an outdoor veranda or patio that looks to either the mountains or golf course. The main inn is also home to the onsite spa, which features a menu of facials and massages. A technician can conduct body treatments under a Vichy shower, in which you'll lay down on a massage bed as warm water pours from above.
Columbia Falls, Montana: Gateway to Glacier National Park
Columbia Falls is the last major town along U.S. Highway 2 before Glacier National Park; the town has been nicknamed the "Gateway to Glacier." The park begins to thaw in late spring and early summer, when snowy embankments transform into green meadows lined with colorful wildflowers.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is arguably the centerpiece of the park—the 50-mile byway weaves through the mountains past emerald lakes and peaks that were carved out by glaciers. The most interior portion of the road doesn't open until summer, but an 11.5-mile stretch from the west entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge is open and maintained year-round for cars.
At Lake McDonald area, visitors can ditch the car and set out on foot or on snowshoe to explore the alpine scenery on surrounding paths. Keep an eye out for the park's resident grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and elk, as they may badger you to share your trail-mix recipe.