Polebridge Mercantile, Montana
If you're visiting Glacier National Park, don't miss a scenic side trip to Polebridge and its social hub, the Polebridge Mercantile, a 1914 general store/post office that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Few people visit the Merc because not many know about it. Moreover, it's a long drive from the park's west entrance on a partially paved and gravel road.
But the store's fresh bakery alone is worth the trip. I loved the cinnamon rolls! You can also purchase gas and groceries here and rent a rustic cabin for an overnight stay ($30 to $35 a night for two adults).
North of Polebridge and inside the park, you'll find mirror-like Bowman and Kintla Lakes, two of the most beautiful crystal-clear lakes I've ever seen.
While you're there, be sure to take a hike on the surrounding backcountry trails; public campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Polebridge is just outside the park's western border, about 35 miles north of Columbia Falls, Montana on County Highway 486 (also known as the Outside North Fork Road). From the park's Camas Creek Entrance, take the North Fork Road and follow the signs; it's about a 15-mile drive.
The store is generally open 7 days a week, but it shuts down for a few weeks in late winter, so be sure to call ahead before visiting. For more information call 1-466/888-5105.