In the western part of Montana, surrounded by many different national forests and parks, is the popular destination of Placid Lake State Park. When you book an RV in Missoula County, you’ll have prime access to this state park and the state park RV campgrounds that exist within it. Placid Lake State Park was established in 1977 and has since become one of Montana’s most visited state parks, covering over 30 acres in size and sitting at over 4,000 feet in elevation.
Placid Lake State Park will immerse you in nature without cutting you off from modern amenities, and nearby towns like Missoula, Helena, and Great Falls are all within easy driving distance when you want modern amenities. The park contains Placid Lake, which is a popular fishing, swimming, and boating destination for many months of the year. Given Placid Lake State Park’s northern location, it is closed to campers during the coldest months of winter, but the grounds are still open for wintertime adventures.
During the warm months of the year, Placid Lake State Park is a gorgeous retreat into nature that is easily accessible while motorhome camping nearby. When you bring a boat, you’ll be able to explore the lake and its many nooks and crannies, as both motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and the like are also allowed and encouraged.
Be sure to bring your fishing gear while RV camping at Placid Lake State Park as the lake has many diverse fish species and is a locally famous fishing spot. Before casting a line, you’ll want to make sure your fishing licenses are up to date, which is easy as many sporting goods stores and websites allow you to renew your license. The most common types of fish in the lake include rainbow, brown, brook, bull, and cutthroat trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, mountain whitefish, and kokanee salmon.
Other exciting things to do while camping at Placid Lake State Park range from wildlife viewing to ranger programs, hikes, biking, swimming, and more in the summer months. The winter months bring cross-country skiing, ice fishing if the conditions are right, snowshoeing, and the like. Many birds make Placid Lake their home, and it isn’t uncommon to spot red-necked grebes, great blue herons, bald eagles, osprey, common loons, and other exciting species.
Camping at Placid Lake State Park
Placid Lake State Park is home to 40 campsites that can accommodate RVs, with a maximum RV length of 25 feet for most sites. All of these campsites have access to centrally located flushing and vault toilets, and two of the sites are fully accessible to ADA standards. Campsites can be reserved ahead of time, so when you want a specific site, be sure to book it after booking your RV rental.
Of the 40 total sites, 18 of them are hooked up with electricity and water. All of the campsites have grills and fire rings, picnic tables, trash cans, and access to drinking water. There is also a public phone, a large day-use group picnic area, and food lockers available to protect your food from local bears. Food storage lockers are a must to protect both the campers and the bears, and food waste rules are strictly enforced in this campground for everyone’s safety.
Exploring the Area
You’ll want to check out all the museums in town when you camp in an RV near Missoula, which is to the southwest of Placid Lake State Park. Missoula is home to the University of Montana and has more than a handful of museums to keep visitors educated and entertained. The Montana Museum of Art and Culture is a great place to start to get a feel for the local history, and the Missoula Art Museum showcases the work of local artists. The Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum is home to an extensive collection of mammals, birds, and fish, with over 24,000 on display at any given time.
Other exciting museums in Missoula include the spectrUM Discovery Area, an interactive children’s space and science museum, the Montana Natural History Center, an interactive museum about local human and natural history, the Rocky Mountain Museum which focuses on the nearby mountains, and the Montana Natural History Center Native Plant Garden, which teaches visitors about local flora. It is easy to spend many days exploring all of these museums, which is what makes renting an RV to stay nearby such a good option.
Missoula is also home to many restaurants, ranging from Brazilian to burger joints, taco places to barbeque eateries, and even a Chinese buffet or two. You’ll also find the typical selection of fast-food chains and national restaurant chains if that is what you prefer. All-in-all Missoula is a fantastic place to start your Montana adventure thanks to its international airport, which makes it easy to get in and out of no matter where you are coming from.