When I think of Montana, several things come to mind. Amazing state parks are one of them. Many of the state's parks are well suited for spending the night tent camping under the open, summer skies. Based on my experience, nightly camping fees start at $15 and most sites are equipped with a fire ring and a picnic table. With that said, here's a quick peek at five of the stat

e's top tent camping destinations:

 Yellow Bay State Park

Yellow Bay State Park is located outside of Bigfork. It features primitive, hike-in tent sites. The scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities at Flatwood Lake are exceptional thanks to the lake's steep drop offs, shipwrecks and decent water clarity. Campers that aren't scuba diving enthusiasts may enjoy the onsite fishing and bird watching opportunities. The park also has a lovely swimming beach.

Lake Mary Ronan State Park

Lake Mary Ronan State Park is located outside of Lakeside. It features drive-in, partially improved campsites. The park is a great spot to visit if you have a penchant for mushroom hunting, fishing and boating. Anglers will appreciate the boat trailer parking and concrete boat ramp. The only downside is that bears are known to be prevalent in the area.

Hell Creek State Park

Hell Creek State Park is located outside of Jordan. It features partially improved, drive-in campsites. There is also an opportunity to do a little boat-in camping via the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Some of the boat-in sites are partially developed. I like the fact that the park offers a concrete boat launch, a fish cleaning station, a marina and a fishing pier.

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is located outside of Whitehall. It features drive-in, improved campsites that are outfitted with electricity. The caverns are one of the park's best attributes. Not only are the caverns interesting to explore, they also offer respite from the summer sun. I also find favor with the hiking trails. I'd recommend the East Side Trail. It's strenuous, well shaded in spots and affords hikers superior views. The fishing along the Jefferson River is excellent as well.

Lost Creek State Park

Lost Creek State Park is located outside of Anaconda. It features drive-in, rustic campsites with access to communal water. The stunning, mountain vistas and abundant wildlife are part of what makes this park special. I would definitely recommend that campers bring their high powered binoculars and a camera with them. The hike to Lost Creek Falls is a must!

(yahoo contributor By ) June 18, 2012 9:40 AM

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