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The camping opportunities in Montana extend well beyond the boundaries of Glacier and Yellowstone national parks. Montana’s wonders range from wide, grassy plains to majestic lakes and rivers, snow-capped mountains, intricate caverns, and well-preserved ghost towns. Big Sky Country is synonymous with camping and adventure, and Montana’s state parks give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty loved by residents.
Of the western Rocky Mountain states, Montana has the most state parks with 55 (20 of them with campgrounds), but one of the lowest operating budgets. In keeping with its rugged reputation, Montana’s state parks are not packed with amenities like visitor centers, stores, and activities. There are no hookups aside from some sites with electricity. The campgrounds are rustic but well run, spacious, and natural, providing the ideal Montana experience.
Reservations can be made online at montanastateparks.reserveamerica.com or by calling 855-922-6768. Reservations are available from 6 months up to 1 or 2 days in advance during the peak season, which lasts from the third Friday in May through the third Sunday in September.
During the offseason, reservations are first come, first served, and during peak season about a quarter of the sites are kept open for walk-ins.
Most campgrounds can fit all RV sizes, although the number of sites per campground that accommodate rigs over 40 feet is limited. You can search for sites by RV length in the reservation system.
ADA-accessible sites are searchable and bookable through the reservation system. A valid disability placard or license plate must be visible.
Seventeen of the 20 Montana state park campgrounds offer sites with electricity. Only 2 parks have limited water hookups, and there are no sewer hookups throughout the park system. A few parks have dump stations. Check with the campground and plan in advance for dumping and water before your stay.
Montana state parks don’t offer WiFi. If connectivity is a priority, contact the campground directly to ask about cell service and public WiFi availability.
The maximum stay is 14 days within a 30 day period.
Campsites have picnic tables and fire pits, with paved or gravel parking pads. Campgrounds offer the basic amenities of potable water and pit toilets or restrooms. Some have additional amenities like playgrounds, interpretive trails, and information centers.
Details can be found under “Campground Overview” and “Campsite Details” in the reservation system.
Sites without electricity are $28 per night during peak season and $24 in the offseason for nonresidents. Sites with electricity are $34 during peak season and $30 in the offseason for nonresidents. State resident rates are $10 less per night in all cases.
Nonrefundable reservation fee: $10
Change fee: $10 (except when extending stay)
Cancellation fee: $10
Cancellation after scheduled check-in time incurs the $10 fee, plus the first night, plus usage fees for any additional expired nights.
A park entrance fee of $8 per vehicle applies in addition to camping fees. A nonresident entrance pass offers $10 off the nightly camping fee, plus free entrance to all parks. This is worth purchasing if you are staying more than a couple of nights at Montana state park campgrounds, and is even more valuable if you visit additional parks.
You can purchase an annual pass for $50 or a 7-day pass for $35 online at app.mt.gov/als.
Pets are allowed, as long as they’re kept on a leash no longer than 8 feet. And of course, campers should always pick up after their pet.
- Maximum occupancy per site: 8 people and 1 vehicle.
- Check-in time: 2 p.m. Check-out time: 1 p.m.
- Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- Alcoholic beverages: Division administrators have the discretion to close portions of a state park to the consumption of alcohol. Check campground rules.
- Generator use: Restricted during quiet hours.
- Campfires: Allowed only in designated areas, following local restrictions.
- Drone use: Allowed in designated areas only. Contact the park directly for more details.
Makoshika State Park
1301 Snyder Street, Glendive, MT 59330
If the idea of camping near badlands and dinosaur fossils sounds appealing, make a reservation at Montana’s largest state park. Makoshika (Lakota for “bad land”), located near the North Dakota border, has a landscape that’s dramatically different from the rest of the state. The small, spacious campground is surrounded by scenery of badlands, juniper and pine trees, and a dark night sky. This is dry camping only, with limited to no cell service, but most sites can accommodate RVs over 40 feet. The state park has miles of hiking trails, a scenic drive, and a visitor center. Since there’s so much to see, many visitors suggest spending more than one night at this state park.
Big Arm State Park / Flathead Lake State Park
28031 Big Arm State Park Road, Big Arm, MT 59901
Montana is not lacking in scenic lakes, but Flathead Lake has the added distinction of being one of the largest freshwater lakes in the U.S. With more than 150 miles of shoreline and several campgrounds, Big Arm State Park is one of the best places to experience Flathead Lake. Forty lakefront campsites allow campers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and stunning views of the Mission Mountains across the lake. Sites are dry camping only, but the campground and restrooms are clean and well maintained. Between hiking, boating, swimming, and sunrises, Big Arm State Park is a popular destination.
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road, Whitehall, MT 59759
Camping at the oldest Montana state park lets visitors experience the famous limestone caves and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty that is missed by most day-trippers. The park has extensive hiking trails with sweeping views of the glacial valley, plus a new visitor center with interpretive programs. Some electric hookups, a dump station, restrooms with showers, and playgrounds make this one of the more developed Montana state park campgrounds. Most of the 37 RV sites can accommodate big rigs and are well spaced apart.
Montana state park campgrounds that accommodate RV camping
Bannack State Park
Beavertail Hill State Park
Big Arm / Flathead Lake State Park
Black Sandy State Park
Brush Lake State Park
Cooney State Park
Finley Point / Flathead Lake State Park
Hell Creek State Park
Lake Mary Ronan State Park
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park
Logan State Park
Makoshika State Park
Missouri Headwaters State Park
Placid Lake State Park
Salmon Lake State Park
Thomas Falls State Park
Tongue River State Park
Wayfarers / Flathead Lake State Park
Whitefish Lake State Park
For more information on Montana state park campgrounds, visit stateparks.mt.gov/camping.