So you’re headed up to Northwest Montana’s Flathead Valley with your tent or RV. Hooray! Let’s assume you’ll explore Glacier National Park.
Seeing as how West Glacier is only 25 miles (about 35 minutes) from Whitefish in the north Flathead Valley, how could you not?
Let’s assume you’ll ‘do’ Whitefish for a few days. You’ll find Whitefish, Montana at the north end of Flathead Valley with several world class, as well as casual, restaurants, 36 hole golf course, and Whitefish Mountain Ski and Summer Resort. And that’s not all (hint-you may run into certain people.
Most visitors to Montana’s Flathead Valley run around Bigfork for a couple of days. Bigfork is all about its incredible arts and water activity communities ( I mean, the whole town is on the north end of Flathead Lake, so yeah, there’s water rentals) .
Try to catch a show at the Big Fork Theater, right in the heart of Bigfork’s incredibly cool walkable downtown. Actually, the downtown is the town!
Now, what else is there to do up here in the wilds of Montana? You can “do” Canada!
Oh Canada! Gorgeous, clean,, natural, mountains, wild animals, primeval forest, safe, seemingly familiar but different enough from the USA to make it interesting. Canada is my cross between Montana and Switzerland. Here are some reasons why, if you make it to Montana, you might as well visit Canada:
• They have Canadians there. They’re everywhere. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve been delighted by the people with their friendly, rather wry, ways and collective sense of humor. Forgive the horrifically gross generalizations, but I’ve found Canadians to be a delightful mix of the warm, welcoming ways of Americans (when we’re behaving and not being over-bearing) merged with a bit of British mannerly reserve (and the British cool spelling) and self-control. The Canadian “vibe” is kind, kind of dear, welcoming and quite fun. Canadians make sense to me.
• Canada is close. Really close. I’ve crossed into Canada several times through the Roosville Border Crossing from Whitefish, Montana.
Even post 9/11, the agents maintain good attitudes yet do their job carefully (which is important) but they aren’t ugly about it. Unless they need to be. Don’t make them need to.
Montana has several other border crossings, as well.
• Language barrier: there isn’t one. The Constitution of Canada recognizes both French and English as the official languages of Canada, and all government services are available in both languages. It’s fun seeing and hearing both languages.
• Affordable foreign travel: The US dollar is about at par with the Canadian dollar as of this writing 7/19/2011. Canadian travel currently is not a hot deal, but you don’t pay more than traveling in the States, either. Watch the Canadian-US exchange rate. Sometimes it can be really, really cheap to travel up there.
• Magical, outdoorsy, incredible experiences in western Canada:
1. Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
Here is a campground site to get you started: www.campingincanadianrockies.com
2. Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia (not to be confused with the one in Anaconda, MT)
Woodall’s gives this RV park a great rating.
3. Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
4. Parksville on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Island. Yes, island…which means there’s water between there and Vancouver itself, which involves taking motor homes on ferries and in my husband’s case recently, an amphibous aircraft. Check out this video!
But that’s another story. Ferrying your motorhome between Vancouver and Vancouver Island doesn’t come cheap…but still, do you think your kids will ever forget it? We have family up there and they say there are tons of campgrounds and RV parks on Vancouver Island. I like the looks of a Victorian looking RV park called Parry’s RV in Parksville. The family says it’s a great RV park. This is in the video, as well.
I will tell you that being new to RVing, I haven’t yet spent time camping or RVing in Canada. But I have spent a lot of time (Pre-RV Era) in Canada over the years, beginning with the 1967 World’s Fair (a/k/a Expo 67) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and over the past two decades in Alberta and British Columbia. I have always come home happy with my experiences in Canada. I think you might, too.
There’s still lots of summer left, and before you know it, it’ll be fall, then winter, then sloppy spring (the Seasons of Parked RVs, depending on where you live). So, what would you think about loading up the RV and heading north for July or August?