River Play in Montana

River Play in Montana

One of the simplest and most spontaneous adventures in Montana is just taking the kids to the river. No planning or equipment necessary. We’re not talking about rafting or tubing or fishing, no, just hanging out. Skipping rocks, throwing sticks, swimming, getting muddy or just enjoying the river environment makes for a quick, uncomplicated way to keep the kids busy.

There are 332 official lake and river access points in Montana according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department. Of course there are thousands more unofficial access points across the state if you know where to look.

Missoula and the surrounding areas has an extraordinarily large amount of river access points as it sits at the confluence of three rivers – the Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot river systems which all offer access points not only to fish, but to hang out and relax.

Rock skipping was an essential skill for most of us that grew up outside or in the mountains. Here’s a handy guide on the proper technique. Finding that perfect flat rock with round edges can be a fun treasure hunt that keeps kids occupied for hours.

Although most people think of hanging out by the river during the warm summer months, Montana’s rivers are beautiful in the winter. If cold enough, some rivers freeze over in parts and a stick and rock hockey game can break out. Ice should be at least 4 inches think before walking on. Always proceed with caution in any case!

Downtown Missoula has an interesting and entertaining river access point at Brennans Wave. Kids can crawl out on the rocks and get within close proximity of the rivers surfers and kayakers. Floating across the wave in a tube is also an interesting ride and relatively safe for kids.

So get outside and explore Montana’s thousands of river access points. But always be cautious of fast moving water and make sure the kids are good swimmers before entering any body of water.

For more information on Montana’s river access points, go here. To explore the rest of Montana’s 55 state parks, go here.

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