July 4th 1776, the date the Declaration of Independence was signed. The fateful day that declared our independence, as our own sovereign nation, from the rule of the British Empire & King George III.
Fast forward to 2016 and we now celebrate our “nation creating” holiday with bar-b-ques, fireworks, outdoors, family, fun, & don’t forget the ever important day off of work.
We want you to make the most of your holiday so we have created a list of things to do:
The art of packing all of your belongings into a cramped car or truck just to unpack it all once you get to the great outdoors. Inevitably you will always forget some major item like the kitchen sink or, if you are me, the torch to start the campfire (this happened on a particularly rainy weekend one trip).
There are several great camping areas around the Missoula area but I suggest you get to them as soon as you can or reserve your spot online. Also, since it is usually very hot in Montana in July I would try to camp near a water source. You can look up and reserve campsites at Montana State Parks website.
- Flathead Lake has several developed camping areas around the lake and is very easy to find a secluded spot on the lake if you bring your boat. I prefer Big Arm campground in particular.
- Lake Mary Ronan is the cut off road by Dayton that is one of the many towns around Flathead Lake. Cabins are fairly cheap to rent and the fishing is good.
- You can head up highway 200 towards the Swan Valley where several lakes are sprinkled throughout the area. With a little online research you can find backpacking trails that end at mountain lakes or you can stay at one of the many state parks.
- If you are not a lake person then there are several campgrounds along our rivers that are easy to get to such as Rock Creek off of east I-90 or Alta off of the Bitterroot River.
I like to consider myself as a very outdoorsy person in general so this one is easy. We have everything from floating, fishing, hiking, & camping right outside of our city. Some of us may take that for granted until you move or visit somewhere else and realize how truly lucky we really are.
- Floating our many rivers is very easy to access. You can either purchase your own tube from many stores around Missoula or you can rent them at Outdoor Rental & Supply or Ace Hardware. Outdoor Rental even provides rafts for rent but you have to rent them far in advance once the hot weather hits.
I find a raft on the Blackfoot River is much more fun than tubes because of rapids. You won’t find any class 5 rapids here but you will get a nasty rash from trying to paddle your tube to square up to the rapids.
The Bitterroot is great for anyone who just wants a calm relaxing float. Not much rough water on this river which makes it great for tubes and rafts alike.
The Clark Fork runs right through town and makes for a great after work or short float. I see many tubers & rafts on this river. This will take you through downtown and you can try out Brennan’s Wave at Caras Park on your tube if you are feeling brave.
- There are several great hikes right inside of Missoula or you can head a short distance out of town. The M, Waterworks Hill, Rattlesnake, Pattee Canyon are all very accessible for hiking. Bass Creek outside of Florence is another great option for a hike. Here is a great site to help you get started http://stateparks.mt.gov/camping/
Several of Montana’s towns take great pride in their fireworks displays. Make sure to plan ahead and go early if you want to be front row to the spectacle.
- Missoula’s own Southgate Mall fireworks show never seems to disappoint year after year. The mall parking lot between JC Penny’s & Bobwards is where the show takes place. However, you can still view the show from several blocks around the mall area or in the South Hills.
- Flathead Lake is a great place to get on your boat and travel to one of the many bays. Polson Bay, Big Arm, or Kalispell are great choices depending on where you are.
- Bozeman puts on the largest fireworks show in the state from the Gallatin Fairgounds. It starts off with a car show and music to keep everyone entertained until nightfall.
- Many of the lakes provide their own shows along with homeowners on the lakes. Make sure to check out Seeley Lake & Whitefish Lakes shows one day.
However you decide to spend your Independence Day make sure you enjoy yourself and be safe!
WE WOULD LIKE TO SAY THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SOLDIERS FOR THE SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE FOR EACH ONE OF US.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, & the pursuit of Happiness.
- United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776