Not all bachelor parties need to be held in big cities and revolve around drinking. You can also head to a remote place of great natural beauty and hold an equally fun bachelor party … that still revolves around drinking. And there are few places in the country — or on earth — that can rival the beauty of Glacier National Park in Montana.
We’re not going to tell you where to pitch your tents (heh heh) or how not to get eaten by grizzly bears — you can figure that stuff out for yourself. But we will give you solid suggestions for where to stay, what to do, and where to eat and drink.
WHERE TO STAY:
Glacier Park Lodge: It feels sort of like The Overlook Hotel from The Shining — but in a good way. Built about 100 years ago, the Lodge has a massive lobby constructed with 60 equally massive Douglas-fir tree trunks, and the rooms have all the amenities you need. (Considering the ridiculously picaresque natural surroundings, you decidedly do not need a TV.) The lodge also sits next to a great golf course — just watch out for the grizzlies on hole 7. No, seriously. They warned us about that.
The Lodge At Whitefish Lake: It’s more upscale and updated than Glacier Park Lodge — you can watch TV to your heart’s content — but it also has less rustic charm. The Lodge sits next to beautiful Whitefish Lake — perhaps you’d guessed — and is near plenty of golfing, hiking, mountain biking, etc. Or just ask the hotel to outfit you on the lake for a leisurely canoe journey or dynamite-fishing trip on a jet-powered cigar boat. Okay, maybe not that last one.
WHAT TO DO:
Red Bus Tour: Here’s a surprisingly good hangover cure: Hitch a ride up Going To The Sun Road — universally acknowledged as one of the most scenic roads in the country — in the back of an antique open-air red bus. If you do, insist that your driver be Jammer Joe. Drivers of the red busses are called jammers because, years ago, they needed to double-clutch on the park’s steep roads. Joe is called Joe because that’s his name. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of Glacier and an amazing mustache, and he may even dress up in his bear costume for pictures and to “maul” any ladies on the bus. Nice trick, Jammer Joe!
Great Northern Whitewater Rafting: You can learn a lot about your friends when you’re all sitting in a boat headed straight for what looks like a cliff made of rushing water — even though it’s hard to tell whether their faces are covered with water or terror-induced tears. Great Northern accommodates rafters of all skill levels and supplies the gear; all you need to bring is a willingness to get wet.
Glacier Outdoor Center: What’s manlier than fly fishing with your bros? The Glacier Outdoor Center provides helpful guides who somehow resist the urge to laugh at you when you cast straight into the branches of a tree. In fact, fly fishing is so enjoyable that you won’t even care if you’re waist-deep in cold water during a rain storm and the fish aren’t biting. Trust us.
WHERE TO DRINK (AND EAT):
Glacier Distilling Company: It gets cold in Montana, so it’s not surprising that there’s a whiskey distillery near Glacier. The surprising thing is that there’s only one. Luckily, the Glacier Distilling Company offers up six different spirits for your drinking enjoyment, including a whiskey distilled from ingredients based on a local microbrew, a couple different kinds of rye, and a white whiskey (essentially, it’s what’s also known as moonshine) bottled straight off the still. The distillery offers tours and maintains a great tasting room.
McGarry’s Roadhouse: On the off chance that you don’t catch your meals while fishing, you can eat at McGarry’s. Yes, it’s a roadhouse, but unfortunately you won’t find any Zen bouncers ripping out the throats of bad guys. You will, however, find great food.
Serrano’s: Mexican food in Montana? Yeah, we were skeptical too. But Serrano’s offers up a great low-key atmosphere — it’s housed in a 100-year-old log building that used to house manual laborers — and surprisingly good Mexican fare. Oh, and plenty of tequila.
Great Northern Bar & Grill: Turns out, Montana isn’t populated solely by bears, salmon, and burly dudes with beards. There are plenty of cute girls too, and you’ll find lots of them at this roomy bar in downtown Whitefish. Great Northern also features live music and dancing.