My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s scene: on the beach in Montana

2013/04/27by Donna Hull

beach at St. Mary Lake

Watching the sunrise from a beach on St. Mary Lake.

Close your eyes and think of a favorite beach. Is it the rocky shore of a mountain lake like the one in Alan’s photo? Or is it the white sands of a tropical paradise like the Iles de Pins beach that we visited on a Seabourn Cruise in the South Pacific?

Growing up, my idea of a beach was the wide expanse of sand at Daytona in Florida where the action never seemed to slow down. From morning until dusk, a long line of beachgoers—mothers strolling babies, flirting teenagers, ice cream carts and even cars—streamed back and forth vying for attention of the people watchers stretched out on towels in the sand.

As an adult, I favor a more quiet scene, the less commercialized it is the better I like it. If you asked me about my current favorite beach, I’d point to Kiawah Island in South Carolina. The sand stretches for miles making for long, long walks and the water’s warm enough to ride the waves on a canvas float.

Alan has a special fondness for the Oregon coast where logs litter the sand and rocks decorate the coastline. These beaches are made for exploring, although swimming means a cold dip in water more suited for wetsuits than bikinis.

So back to the beach in this photo. It’s on the rocky shoreline of St. Mary Lake located on the east side of Glacier National Park in Montana. If you look closely, that’s Wild Goose Island seeming to mimic the jagged snowcapped mountain in the distance. It’s often windy here but how many beaches include potential sightings of badgers or maybe even an elk?

Do you have a favorite beach? Be sure to tell us about it. Alan and I are always looking for more reasons to travel.

If you’d like to read more about our adventures in Glacier National Park, visit Hiking Glacier National Park with Road Scholar.

Are you looking for more beach ideas? This post is part of the ‘Best Beaches in the World’ travel blog round-up. Visit Boomer Wizdom for more stories on incredible beaches. You just might find a new favorite.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Sweeney
April 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Love your photo of St. Mary Lake — Glacier NP is magnificent. I’m pretty adaptable to different types of beaches. There’s something special about them all. My earliest exposure to beaches were those on lakes in Michigan where we would go camping. Nice memories.
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Suzanne Fluhr
April 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm

When you grow up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “beach” means “down tha’ shore” in southern New Jersey. Many of the beaches there are wide, fine sand, excellent for long walks along the waters edge. However, given the large population centers in close proximity, on weekends, they can become quite crowded. Truthfully, the grey, brownish green of the North Atlantic cannot compare to the blue and turquoise waters of the Caribbean. In the depths of a Mid-Atlantic February, my senses crave that color and the warm waters of oceans further south. The most beautiful beach we stumbled upon during one winter escape was Gold Rock Beach in Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island.


April 30, 2013 at 7:43 am

I didn’t know there was a beach in Montana! I have lots of fave beaches: Turtle Bay on Oahu, Orient Beach on St. Martin, anything on mid-coast Maine, and Sanibel Island.
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Donna Hull
May 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

Ha! Just goes to show you that we can find a beach anywhere if we look hard enough.
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sheryl April 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Beautiful photo – love how the shadow spreads over the mountain. Had no idea Montana had beaches.
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Donna Hull
May 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

Glad you enjoyed the photo, Sheryl. Alan took this when he was on a one-on-one photography workshop with Marc Adamus.
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Cathy Severson April 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm

hmm, boy that’s tough. My best beach would definitely be ocean as opposed to lake. The most beautiful water I’ve been to was in Cancun. Yes, it was busier and more commercial. I also have to agree with Alan, I like the Oregon coast also. We visited Hanalei Bay in Kauai. That was nice also. You have got me stumped, girl. I love them all. Of course, living in Prescott doesn’t help. When I come up with the definitive answer, I’ll let you know.
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Donna Hull
May 2, 2013 at 8:17 am

Great suggestions, Cathy. Living in Arizona, I’m sure that you appreciate beautiful beaches when the summer heats up. The most beautiful colored water that Alan and I have seen was in French Polynesia.
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Living Large May 3, 2013 at 4:51 am

I haven’t been to the ocean a lot, but my favorite to date is Gulf Shores Alabama.
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alisa bowman May 3, 2013 at 7:03 am

This is cool because I always thought of Montana as this land locked place with no water. Very beautiful. Love the photo.


Patricia aka BoomerWiz May 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I live a few blocks from the image I posted in a cottage. What you say it absolutely right in that beaches are so different. In Seattle where I grew up when we talked about the beach it was Lake Washington. This shot in Montana, well I never even thought about beaches in that state. So it is eye opening to see just how beautiful this area is. Thanks for sharing.


Gaelyn May 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

You caught me by surprise with a beach in Montana, but why not. Beaches show up almost anywhere, and Glacier is a gorgeous place. Other than South Africa, I guess my last beach would have been on the Colorado River.
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MyKidsEatSquid May 4, 2013 at 7:29 am

Although it’s no Hawaiian getaway, there are some cool beaches in my neck of the woods in NE Ohio around Lake Erie.


santafetraveler May 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm

We have great memories of time spent at Steve’s cousin’s house on the shore of Flathead Lake. Beautiful!
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May 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm

That’s a beautiful beach in Montana. I just visited Parksville on Vancouver Island and liked their beach. It’s more of the rugged variety.
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Tracie May 5, 2013 at 2:41 am

I guess I never really thought of beaches in Montana. Growing up around the Great Lakes sometimes makes you think you’re the only one with incredible beaches. I loved your photo of St. Mary’s Lake and have always wanted to visit Montana. You’ve given me just that much more reason to go.


Linda ~ Journey Jottings
May 5, 2013 at 3:21 am

It’s interesting that as soon as you mention the word ‘beach’ most conjure up an image of white sand abutting azure oceans.
Yet as you have illustrated, a beach is not only ‘the part of the shore of an ocean or sea’ but can equally be situated on a ‘large river, lake, etc., washed by the tide or waves.’
The most unusual beach I have enjoyed was on a Scottish Loch – Cold, windswept and I’d endured a peaty boggy hike to get there – But it was stunning :)
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budget jan May 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm

How exciting. Never before have I contemplated beaches on a fresh water lake. We live in Tropical North Queensland Australia, so I think of tropical beaches with warm sunshine and water to match :)
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