For kids, life in Big Sky means less time behind a screen and more time outside exploring, playing, and learning. From rambling down mountain trails on a bicycle to paddling the pristine waters of a crystal clear lake, there is no shortage of activities to hold even the shortest attention span.
Here are a few ways to keep your little ones busy and watch them grow to love the summer Big Sky lifestyle.
Endless Summer and Winter Youth Activities at Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks
Even the most difficult to entertain won’t be bored with the year-round youth activities at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club and Moonlight Basin. Both Spanish Peaks and Moonlight Basin offer a multitude of activities to keep children busy so that parents can take a much-deserved break, including fishing, golf, horseback riding and archery.
Go Fly Fishing on the Gallatin River
Budding anglers will find no shortage of spots to fish along the Gallatin River near Yellowstone National Park in Big Sky. It is one of the best places in the United States for fly fishing, abundant with brown trout and rainbow trout, among other varieties of fish. The Hooked on the Gallatin Youth Fly Fishing Camp is held every summer and teaches children fly fishing skills, safety skills and about river conservation. With year-round fishing in Big Sky, your little enthusiast will love spending long days during spring and summer looking to hook their biggest catch yet.
Experience the Mountains by Horseback
Riding horseback is a way of life in Big Sky, with thousands of trail miles throughout the mountainside and along river beds for riding. Local ranches offer guided trips or private lessons for children of all skill levels. These horses are likely to be your new neighbors, and may quite possibly become your child’s best friend.
Explore Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is a 3,500 square mile wilderness area that touches three states, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Big Sky is the base to the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Adventuring in Yellowstone has it all, from mountain biking on beginner and intermediate trails, soaring down a zipline or hiking through endless miles on boardwalks while being educated by informational signage along the way. The Junior Ranger and Young Scientist programs offered by Yellowstone are a great way for kids to learn the rewards of experiencing new things and earn a badge while completing a series of activities in Yellowstone.
Go on a Downhill Mountain Bike Thrill Ride
When the winter snow melts away, the mountain trails beckon to play. Mountain biking has become a favorite past time for adults and children and is a great outdoor activity to do together. Crail Ranch and Golf Course Loop is a pleasant short three-mile ride for young beginners looking to get their start at mountain biking. Central to Big Sky’s Town Center is the Hummocks/Uplands Loops with a combined five miles for intermediate biking. Big Sky Resort offers a local youth summer mountain biking program for kids ages 8-17, aimed at giving intermediate riders the opportunity to improve their existing downhill skills.
Spend a Not So Lazy Day at the Lake
Lake Levinsky and Ulery’s Lake, both in the heart of Big Sky, offer a multitude of bonding opportunities for families. During summer, families can spend the day gliding above the water on a paddleboard or kayak, or pumping away in a pedal boat while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Make New Friends at Summer Camp
Summer is the best time for hands-on learning. Camp Big Sky offers an engaging day program for youth to explore their adventurous side. Children in the 1st to 4th grade can enroll in their classic camp at the Big Sky Community Park for an all-day experience and weekly field trips to swim, nature hike, golf and play games. The Adventurer Camp is for children entering 4th through 6th grade, spanning one week long, with a focus on specific themes such as golf, building and construction, fly fishing and more. Camp Moonlight at Moonlight Basin is a one-week summer adventure camp that builds life skills, creative thinking, physical challenges, and more for ages 5 to 13, with opportunities for ages 14-17 to become junior guides.
Have an 18-Hole Competition
Forget the golf clubs and join in the latest craze involving 18 holes! Disc golf is a fun and challenging sport for children of any age, from big to small. Instead of getting a golf ball in the hole, disc golfers aim frisbees for the baskets. There are several courses in Big Sky offering disc golf for a fee; however Big Horn Ridge Community Course also offers a free 18-hole course adjacent to the Big Sky Community Park, next to the Meadow Village center.
Spend a Day Trail Blazing
No other activity excites a child’s sense of imagination and exploration more than hiking. With miles and miles of hiking trails in Big Sky and its neighboring forested areas, including Gallatin National Park Forest or Yellowstone National Park, hiking will quickly become your go-to activity on a lazy weekend day. Many hikes throughout Big Sky are perfect for a young explorer without having to make an entire day out of the excursion, like the stunning 1.6 mile out and back hike to Ousel Falls or the 3.8 mile Ulery’s Lake Loop with interpretive signage.
Big Sky is a magical place, filled with wondrous curiosity for explorers young and old and year-round experiences that rival any destination. Big Sky is where a kid can truly be a kid.