The tour boat is air-conditioned and there's a restroom on board. The tour takes about two hours and costs $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $10 for children, and $14 for military personnel. It's such a special place that many people choose to get married here, surrounded by limestone monoliths.
Of course, the Gates of the Mountains isn't the only attraction in Helena. You'll want to visit the Cathedral of St. Helena, which is one of the most stunning examples of architecture in the country. You can view it from outside and take photographs or opt for a tour of the interior. If you're interested in the past, stop by the Montana Historical Society Museum, which features artifacts and exhibits dating back hundreds of years and relating specifically to Montana.
For travelers with kids, add the Great Northern Carousel to the itinerary. Kids can go 'round and 'round for hours on the beautiful carousel, which serves as a cornerstone of the downtown district. Kids and adults also love the Montana Blue Jewel Mine. You can mine for actual jewels and stones, then process them yourself and take them home with you as one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Outdoors enthusiasts will want to visit Holter Lake. You can fish, swim, go boating, or simply have fun on the beach. There's also the MacDonald Pass, which proves physically demanding, so it's a hike meant for people of high fitness levels.
Now that you know about all the exciting activities that await you in Helena, it's time to start planning your vacation. Choose from one of the following hotels, each of which offers its own unique set of amenities and features.
Best Time to Visit Helena, MT
Most people book their vacations in Helena during the summer. With the kids out of school and the sun shining high in the Montana sky, it might seem like the perfect season for a trip to The Treasure State. However, it can get hot between June and August, and you'll notice spikes in hotel rates because of the increased demand. The influx of tourists can also create problems when you want stress-and line-free access to area attractions.
The shoulder seasons often prove more enjoyable, especially for singles or couples who want to vacation while kids are in school. You'll see less traffic on the roads and you'll get great rates at local hotels. Plus, spring and fall offer beautiful weather, though you might experience allergy symptoms in the spring. Autumn is special because of the changing colors of the foliage, which can make your visit extra special.
Avoid visiting Helena during the winter unless you're interested in winter sports. You won't want to spend much time outside your hotel thanks to the frigid temperatures, and a sudden snowstorm can keep you snowbound long after you intended to go home.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Helena, MT:
Helena by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean price patterns by star rating class in Helena, MT. You can use these line graphs to determine the best months to book in Helena for your upcoming travels.
Best Luxury Hotel Options in Helena, MT
Luxurious hotels might cost more money, but they also leave you with fonder memories of your vacation. Try the Baymont Inn & Suites Helena if you're looking for an upscale experience. Every morning, you can head down to the breakfast corner for a free hot meal and all the coffee you can drink. There's a well-equipped fitness center as well as a business center. If you feel like working out, but you don't want to hit the gym, take a dip in the indoor pool. You'll also like the whirlpool hot tub and fresh, fluffy towels.
Rooms at the Baymont Inn & Suites Helena come with triple-sheeted bedding, blackout curtains, modern design, and free high-speed wireless internet. You'll have a coffeemaker in your room so you can always get your caffeine fix, and you can also choose a spacious king suite that features a sofa bed and larger dinette table.
Alternatively, check out the Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel. Its gorgeous art deco facade is just the beginning of its charms. The rooms here feature interior entrances, premium linens, upscale toiletries, spacious bathrooms, free wireless internet access, and more.
The hotel's centrally located downtown, which gives you access to as many restaurants, shopping venues, and entertainment options you could want. Of course, if you don't want to leave the hotel, you can take advantage of the indoor heated pool, gym, meeting rooms, business center, and other amenities. There's also an on-site restaurant, and if you find yourself short on cash, just head to the in-house ATM.
Best Affordable Hotel Options in Helena, MT
3 Star Average Prices: $122.09
When you're looking for budget-friendly accommodations in Helena, Jorgenson's Inn & Suites Helena might offer the best choice. It's a simple but clean and comfortable hotel that offers several different room configurations from which to choose. The guest rooms can have one or two queen beds, but you can also choose a queen or king suite if you prefer to have more room.
You'll have a microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, and television with cable channels. This hotel also offers free high-speed wireless internet access and free breakfast for two at the on-site restaurant. You can also return to the eatery for lunch or dinner to taste a few items from its delicious menu.
You can also save a few bucks at the Wingate by Wyndham Helena. It's less than two miles from Helena Regional Airport, which makes it especially convenient for business travelers, but it's just as attractive to vacationing singles, couples, and families. You'll enjoy free breakfast every morning and access to an outdoor pool, hot tub business center, fitness center, and free shuttle service to the airport and other nearby destinations.
The rooms at the Wingate by Wyndham Helena feature neutral color palettes and comfortable mattresses. You'll get an in-room refrigerator and microwave as well as free wireless internet. The efficiency and suite units also have sofa beds so you can save money when you're traveling in groups.