Glacier National Park is amazing. The first word that came out of my mouth when approaching the park is “wow.” The sheer beauty of the water, trees, mountains, and landscape is breathtaking.
My friend and I stayed at Glacier for 4 days and tried to visit/see as much as we could…that still was not enough time. The entrance fee if you’re entering with an “in-state” vehicle is $35 and the pass is good for a week. Definitely a great deal with as much as there is to see and do.
“wow. the mountains and green trees are absolutely amazing.”
Our first destination was Fish Creek Campground right next to Lake McDonald, which is one of the most photographed lakes in the park. I chose this campground due to it’s proximity to the lake so we could get some fishing and kayaking in. The camp spot was reserved for a couple of days and when entering, we were greeted by a camp host who was excellent.
Even at first glance, the campsite look great, especially after talking to the camp host. The campground provided a lot of activities, had decent bathrooms, and was near the lake (campgrounds A&B are very close, C is farther away…we were at C). Once we started to drive through the campgrounds though, we began to not like the location. The site was already full, so thankfully we had our reservation.
Our camp site was tiny. With my truck and small trailer, it was extremely difficult to park in the allotted spot. Furthermore, the mosquitoes were ridiculous and the biggest downside was the area provided for the tent; it wasn’t big enough at all. If we set it up, we would have been no more than 2 feet away from the RV at the next site. With their generator already running, it was too noisy. Once we looked around the rest of the campground, every place was packed…the area was simply too small for all the campers. We decided to go elsewhere to find a place to stay.
Unfortunately, we were also unable to fish and kayak due to the weather. The wind was terrible and the lake had white-capped water off the shores. Since things weren’t going as well as we hoped, we left the park to seek out a less packed camp ground. Thankfully right down the road we found a hidden gem…this was the West Glacier KOA Campground. More on this in another article. Click here to read up on that camping adventure.
Sea lovers have plenty of activities to choose from. Hop on a jet ski (US $ 95 for 50 minutes) and speed across waters so clear that you can see orange starfish 20 feet below, or don a snorkel mask and explore life under the sea up close.
For a great view of the island, try your hand at parasailing (US $ 79 per hour). You’ll soar 200-400 feet in the air and maybe even take a cooling dip in the water before returning to the boat. Children will enjoy Caylana’s Castle Cove and SeaTrek Aqua Park (US$ 15 adults, $10 children). Its floating sand castle and aquatic trampolines are just the things for those who are young at heart.
A staff of 45 people lives on CocoCay, and it’s obvious they take pride in keeping the island’s natural beauty in top condition. Their pampering service makes the island experience so pleasurable that you won’t want to leave when dusk falls all too soon.
“Disney knows children, so it’s no wonder that they feel at home on Castaway Cay”
The cruise ship docks right at the island (other cruise ships use tender boats to ferry passengers back and forth), so youngsters can head right down the ship’s ramp and out to explore Castaway Cay. There is a beach just for families, and Scuttle’s Cove is a safe and fun club for children. Parents need some time on their own, so there is Serenity Bay, a secluded beach for adults. For a little pampering, have a relaxing massage in the open-air cabanas at the seaside spa.
Game for a little exploration? Then grab a bike (child seats are available for little ones) and hit the trails (US$ 6 per hour). This is, after all, a secluded island getaway, and there are miles of empty shoreline and tropical forest to explore.
If you prefer the water, check out the Walking and Kayak Nature Adventure ($60). Participants walk with a guide through the island’s lush fauna and kayak through an ecologically sensitive mangrove environment. If paddling wears you out, just jump in for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear island waters.
Teens can get into their own adventure on The Wild Side (US$ 35), an excursion that includes snorkeling, biking and kayaking. Families who want to adventure together can try the Seahorse Catamaran Snorkel Adventure (US$ 49 adults, US$ 29 children). This easy 45-minute sail takes you out to calm waters and unspoiled coral reefs. Even younger children will enjoy floating in the turquoise Caribbean Sea with schools of colored fish.
Visitors to the tiny islet of Motu Mahana (Polynesian for sunlit island) are greeted with the sounds of Polynesia. Les Gauguines, an eight-woman song and dance troupe, perform beguiling love songs in their Polynesian tongue while guests enjoy a scrumptious feast under the shade of thatched huts. After lunch, guests can relax in the sea or wade for yards in the shallow waters while waiters wearing bathing suits offer tropical drinks to those in need of refreshment. Try out the complimentary water sports like kayaking or snorkeling. For a different experience, board a motorized outrigger canoe and head to the beautiful island lagoon of Taha’a. Taha’a is known for two things: producing vanilla and black pearls.
Guests can take a four-wheel drive tour into the hills to tour the vanilla plantations (US$ 65) or view French Polynesia’s rare jewel, the black pearl, at the Motu Pearl Farm (US$ 64). From there, head to the lagoon for some quality time with the region’s underwater fauna. There is even a small lagoonarium where rays, turtles, sharks and fish are enclosed in four different pools.