We’ve talked all about what to do in Glacier National Park and I briefly overviewed the places to stay in Glacier National Park, but where you stay can make a huge difference in your trip, so let’s break it down some more.
Where to Stay in Glacier National Park
Choosing where to stay in Glacier National Park is an important strategic decision, because not all the areas of this large park are connected via roads! And Going to the Sun Road is not open during several months of the year, so you might not be able to drive from Apgar to Saint Mary inside the park. In order to decide what places to stay in Glacier National Park are best for you, you’ll want to put together a basic itinerary and then see which parts of the park you’ll be spending the most time in.
We always recommend staying inside the park if you can for the convenience that it offers. And in this part of Montana, staying outside the park might actually feel more rural than staying inside the park!
Lodging in Glacier National Park
The west side of Glacier National Park receives the most visitor traffic and also has the most lodging options. In Apgar Village at the entrance to the park, the places to stay in Glacier National Park are Village Inn Motel and Apgar Village Lodge. At the opposite end of Lake McDonald, you’ll find Lake McDonald Lodge and Motel Lake McDonald.
The east side of Glacier National Park includes the Saint Mary and Many Glacier areas. Note that these two areas are not connected inside the park, so staying at one and visiting the other will require leaving the park and driving around. In Saint Mary, you can stay at the Rising Sun Motor Inn. In Many Glacier, you’ll have your choice between the historic Many Glacier Hotel and Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.
If you’re planning a big backcountry hiking trip, you would also have the option of staying at the backcountry Sperry Chalet and Granite park Chalet.
No matter where you stay in Glacier National Park, check out the restaurant options ahead of time and make any needed reservations.
Camping in Glacier National Park
If you like to camp, you’ll have several options of places to stay in Glacier National Park. As long as you can handle camping without hookups, we highly recommend booking campgrounds inside the national park.
On the west side of the park, you can book Agpar Campground, Fish Creek Campground, or Avalanche Campground. Sprague Creek has very strict vehicle limits, but may work for truck campers or very small RVs.
On the east side of Glacier National Park, you can camp at Rising Sun Campground, Saint Mary Campground, Two Medicine Campground, or Many Glacier Campground. If you’re planning to visit the different entrances on the east side for more than 1 day each, we’d recommend booking sites at multiple campgrounds to stay close to the action.
But not all campgrounds in Glacier National Park allow trailers and RVs. Only tent camping is offered at Bowman Lake Campground, Cut Bank Campground, Kintla Lake Campground, Quartz Creek Campground, and Logging Creek Campground.
Make sure to check carefully for vehicle size restrictions as well as amenity options. Services like running water and showers may not be available at all campgrounds or during all times of the season. Note that none of the campgrounds in Glacier National Park offer electric hookups.
You’ll also want to check the vehicle length and height restrictions for Going to the Sun Road. If your camper does not meet the requirements, you’ll have to exit the park and drive around to another entrance to move to a campground on the other side of the park.
Whether you are camping in Glacier National Park or just outside, we recommend planning ahead and stocking up your groceries in a major town before arriving. Groceries around Glacier are very limited and very expensive.
Lodging Outside of Glacier National Park
West Glacier Village is located just outside of the Apgar park entrance. Hotels in Glacier that you’ll find here include Going to the Sun Chalets, Great Northern Resort, Paddle Ridge, Glacier Vista Motel, West Glacier Village, and Belton Chalet. Many other options are available if you’re willing to drive a bit farther into the park.
The east side of Glacier at Saint Mary and Many Glacier entrances is much more rural so staying outside the park may add considerably to your travel time. Check travel times before booking. In Saint Mary you can stay at St. Mary Village, Red Eagle Motel, and the Cottages at Glacier. Outside of Many Glacier you can book Montana Old West Cabins, Tower Mountain Lake House, or Thronson’s Motel. Hotels in East Glacier Park are not far from the Two Medicine Lake park entrance, but are a significant drive from Saint Mary and Many Glacier.
Guests staying outside of Glacier National Park will need to book vehicle reservations for park entrance during peak season.
Camping Outside of Glacier National Park
When booking where to stay in Glacier, you’ll need to camp outside the park if you want RV hookups. Glacier Campground and West Glacier RV Park and Cabins are the two closest campgrounds in West Glacier outside of the Apgar Entrance, but you’ll also find West Glacier KOA, Sundance Campground, Moose Creek RV Resort, and Lake Five Resort, as well as some Hipcamp and yurt rental options.
Outside of the Saint Mary entrance in Glacier, the closest campgrounds are St. Mary/East Glacier KOA, Divide Creek Campground, Heart of Glacier RV Park and Cabins, Red Eagle Motel & RV Park, and Johnson’s Campground and RV park.
Keep in mind that Glacier National Park’s vehicle reservation system may be in effect during your visit and you’ll need to plan accordingly to schedule and pre-book your park entrance.
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