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33 Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

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Are you looking for a list of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana?

In this article, we highlight the best activities in Whitefish, Montana as well as show you the many reasons that this bustling resort town is the ultimate home base for both summer and winter adventures.

Whether you’re looking to explore its millions of acres of mountains, forests, and lakes or want to use the city as a home base for exploring Glacier National Park, there are literally so many fun things to do in Whitefish, Montana.

It doesn’t matter if you’re dining and drinking in Downtown Whitefish, hitting the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort, or dipping your toes into the chilly glacial waters of Whitefish Lake, a Whitefish vacation will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed!

Look no further for the 35 things to do in Whitefish, Montana , with or without kids.

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Whitefish is a resort town located in northern Montana.

Known for its year-round appeal, popular Whitefish activities include skiing and snowboarding in the winter, as well as backpacking and hiking, and a plethora of water activities on Whitefish Lake in the summer.

With a commute of fewer than 30 miles, Whitefish is also the perfect gateway for your Glacier National Park itinerary , as it offers plenty of unique and affordable lodging options when venturing into the park.

Here are 35 things to do in Whitefish, Montana that you don’t want to miss!

We love Whitefish, Montana so much that we’ve created several other guides to help you plan your trip!

  • 11 Best Restaurants in Whitefish You Don’t Want to Miss!
  • 7 Reasons to Stay at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
  • Our Full Grouse Mountain Lodge Review
  • Our Ultimate 3-Day Glacier National Park Itinerary

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

1. Have Breakfast at Loula’s Cafe

Trust me when I say: start your day off with breakfast at Loula’s Cafe when considering what to do in Whitefish, MT!

This sweet cafe is housed in the basement of a historic building in downtown Whitefish and going there feels just like ‘home’.

Along with their simple yet amazing menu, you’ll find that their prices are totally reasonable and that service comes with a smile.

Serving up breakfast (think giant plate-sized pancakes, fluffy french toast, grits, and scrambled eggs), lunch, and, yes, like the sign promises…amazing pie, LouLa’s is family-owned and operated with an emphasis on “made from scratch” dishes using fresh and local products.

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

Try to get to Loula’s for breakfast between 7 AM and 8 AM to avoid a wait to be seated. However, even if there is a wait, it’s worth it!

2. Browse and Shop in Downtown Whitefish Montana

It doesn’t get more laid-back chic than Downtown Whitefish .

As one of the best things to do in Whitefish, you can spend hours browsing the locally owned shops and galleries from the covered sidewalks of the downtown Whitefish area.

Here, the streets are lined with unique restaurants, coffee houses, souvenir shops, apparel, and jewelry stores – all with a twist of rustic charm.

With plenty of free parking located up and down the streets, be sure to stop at:

  • Montana Coffee Traders
  • Amazing Crepes
  • Montana Shirt Co.
  • Whitefish Gift & Gear

Other things to do in Downtown Whitefish include visiting the following art galleries ( featuring local artists ): Dick Idol Signature Gallery, Sunti World Art Gallery, or The Purple Pomegranate.

Additional planning tip: Consider shopping in Whitefish for Glacier National Park souvenirs, as they are much easier to find here versus in the park.

Whitefish City Beach

3. Relax at Whitefish City Beach

Whitefish Lake (created by a melting glacier!) is a popular hub for water recreation, and there’s no better way to experience it as a visitor than to spend an afternoon at Whitefish City Beach!

As one of the best free things to do in Whitefish during the warmer months, the city beach is home to a family-friendly beach, shaded grass area, designated swimming area, gazebos, clean restrooms, and picnic tables.

If you’re not swimming in the crystal clear water overlooking the mountains, enjoy treats or ice cream from the concession stand, rent a SUP, kayak, or inner tubes, and watch the boaters using the public launch area there.

As one of the largest natural freshwater lakes in Montana, you can’t go wrong with an afternoon spent enjoying Whitefish City Beach!

Want a beautiful view of Whitefish Lake from your hotel room?

Check out our full review of the awesome accommodations at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake here!

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

4. Venture to Glacier National Park

One can’t mention the best things to do in Whitefish without taking note of its close proximity to one of the world’s most beautiful National Parks.

Located only 27 miles from the West Entrance, Whitefish, Montana is a popular home base for those looking to explore the towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and abundant wildlife found in Glacier National Park.

Plus, don’t miss Glacier National Park’s Going to the Sun Road , a national scenic drive that can be traveled by personal car, hiking, park shuttle, or via a historic Red Bus Tour. 

Likewise, be sure to check out the many opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding within the park and around West Glacier. 

This place has it all!

5. Stay and Play at Whitefish Mountain Resort

A hub of activity during both the winter and summer months, a visit to Whitefish Mountain Resort is definitely one of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana, in winter and in summer.

As one of the largest ski resorts in North America, Whitefish Mountain Resort has over 3,000 acres of terrain for all abilities and interests.

It was recently ranked No. 6 Best Resort in the West by Ski Magazine readers for the 2023-2024 ski season and 7th Best Ski Resort in the United States. 

In the summer, Whitefish Mountain Resort converts into a giant outdoor recreation area offering 25 miles of lift-accessed and cross-country mountain bike trails, zipline tours, alpine slides, and an aerial adventure park.

During both the summer and winter seasons, Whitefish Mountain Resorts’ S.N.O.W. bus offers free transportation to and from various areas in Whitefish to Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Check their schedule here .

Montana Tap House

6. Dine at Delicious Restaurants

Despite the fact that Whitefish is a small town in the middle of rural Montana, Whitefish has a ton of amazing restaurants and cafes!

Committed to supporting the community, most restaurants feature fresh, local ingredients for almost everything on their menu. 

In Whitefish, you can find American, Italian, French, Mexican, and Japanese cuisine, as well as several brewpubs and bars & grills.

Whether you’re looking for takeout, delivery, or dine-in, Whitefish has so many great options that you’ll need several days to even begin to try them all.

We highly recommend Tupelo Grille for New Orleans-style fare (closed until after Thanksgiving 2023) and Latitude 48 Bistro for Mediterranean tapas and delicious cocktails. 

Check out our list of the absolute best restaurants in Whitefish – and at the end of the day, be sure to stop for a treat at Sweet Peaks Ice Cream!

Made right in Whitefish, this perfectly crafted ice cream is so delicious that there is almost always a line…but don’t let that stop you from going there!

7. Visit their Local Brewery and Distillery

Another one of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana is to experience their local brewery and distillery.

Bonsai Brewing Project is the sole micro-brewery located directly in Whitefish, though a few other breweries can be found in surrounding communities.

Bonsai includes a brewhouse and serving room as well as a huge outdoor seating area (that is kid and dog-friendly), complete with a walk-up counter for food that serves hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, and soup bowls.

Note: Keep in mind that due to Montana law, breweries must stop serving beer at 8 PM – so do plan accordingly.

In addition, be sure to check out Spotted Bear Spirits located in Downtown Whitefish.

Spotted Bear Spirits is a community-minded distillery of vodka, gin, and coffee liqueur.

Their tasting room is open 7 days a week from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Additional planning tip: If you’re a fan of breweries, consider making reservations for a Sky Brews Cruise !

Sky Brews has teamed up with local breweries in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, and Flathead Lake areas to provide an incredible brewery tour experience.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at each craft brewing facility with an overview of the brewing process, plus 4 samples at each of the stops.

Most tours last 4 hours.

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

8. Play a Round at Whitefish Lake Golf Club

When considering Whitefish things to do, we absolutely have to mention golf!

Whitefish Lake Golf Club, the only 36-hole complex in Montana, is a beautifully well-kept public golf course that is hugely popular with locals and tourists alike.

The Club consists of two 18-hole courses, the North Course (a traditional mountain course) and the South Course (home to a couple of world-class lake holes).

If you’re not visiting The Club to golf, consider checking out the Whitefish Lake Restaurant located here.

This esteemed restaurant is consistently rated as the #1 restaurant in Whitefish, making reservations strongly recommended.

They offer lunch and fine dining for dinner.

While visiting Whitefish, Montana, we had the opportunity to stay at Grouse Mountain Lodge , which is located directly at Whitefish Lake Golf Club.

Check out our Grouse Mountain Lodge review here.

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

9. Go Horseback Riding at Bar W Guest Ranch

Horseback riding in Whitefish, Montana, is a great way to enjoy the spirit of the West.

Though there are several outfitters offering horseback riding found in Glacier National Park and the surrounding area, Whitefish itself offers horseback riding at Bar W Guest Ranch.

Bar W Guest Ranch is a year-round dude ranch that hosts up to 40 guests per week, offering 3-night or 6-night stays.

Here, guests have the opportunity to take part in:

  • trail rides
  • cattle work
  • rodeo games
  • skeet shooting
  • and archery

Not only does Bar W feature horseback riding for its overnight guests, but they offer two-hour trail rides to the general public as well.

Their trail rides are walking only, and children must be at least seven years old to ride.

Current rates are $110/guest per 2-hour trail ride.

Boat dock and swimming area when looking for the best things to do in Whitefish!

10. Rent a Bike, Kayak, or SUP

Bike and watersport rentals are hugely popular and are one of the best things to do in Whitefish, particularly in the warmer summer season.

Quite simply, there is so much outdoor beauty to explore here, and doing it by way of a bike, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is an awesome and memorable family vacation experience.

Upon renting a bike, you can choose to simply cruise the downtown or road bike the 22-mile Whitefish Lake Route.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, mountain bike one of the many remarkable mountain-biking trails found throughout Whitefish and Whitefish Mountain Resort.

When it comes to watersports, private kayak and SUP rentals can be launched from Whitefish City Beach, at Whitefish Lake State Park, or from Kay Beller Park, located in Downtown Whitefish (Whitefish River access).

Here is a list of local outfitters and where they’re found:

  • Whitefish Outfitters : Kayaks, SUPs, and inner tubes are available for delivery & pick-up or onsite at Whitefish City Beach.
  • See Me Paddle: Kayaks, SUPS, and paddle boats are available onsite at Whitefish Lake State Park.
  • Marina at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake: Kayaks, SUPS, jet skis, and pontoons available onsite to the public (Simply park and walk to the back side of The Lodge; the rental shack is located at the end of the boat dock.).
  • Glacier Cyclery and Nordic: Mountain bikes and cruisers; located in Downtown Whitefish with access to the Whitefish Trail (2 miles away) and the main bike path system downtown.
  • Whitefish Mountain Resort: Mountain bike rentals for use on the Whitefish Mountain Resort trails.

Find out the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

11. Visit the Depot Museum and Park

As one of the best things to do in Whitefish Montana, I recommend visiting the historical Whitefish Amtrak station that houses the Stumptown Historical Society and Whitefish Museum.

Here, you can tour the restored Great Northern Railway Depot and locomotives (free of charge!), as well as explore the area’s logging and railroad history. My 3 boys loved this museum, and were surprisingly engaged the entire time, which is always a win!

It is also fun to experience the depot as it is still an operating Amtrak station from which to watch people coming and going.

Lastly, spend time relaxing in Depot Park.

Located directly in front of the depot in the heart of downtown Whitefish, Depot Park is a large grassy area with shade trees that is perfect for a picnic or to reflect on your awesome family vacation!

During the summer, from late May through September, the park hosts the Whitefish Farmers Market every Tuesday from 5:00 – 7:30 PM.

This hugely popular event features local farmers and craftsmen showcasing their products.

12. Les Mason State Park

Les Mason State Park is a quiet (less visited) day-use-only park located on Whitefish Lake’s east shore.

Here, you’ll find blue water and well over 500 feet of sand and gravel shores, providing excellent swimming opportunities in this natural freshwater lake during the summer season.

In addition, there are picnic tables and restroom facilities.

Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours also has rental equipment available, including stand-up paddle boards, pedal boats, and kayaks.

Open each day from June 15 through Labor Day; hours of operation may vary.

Call 406-709-2124 or visit www.seamepaddle.com to check on prices and availability.

13. Go Hiking

 Whitefish Montana holds a unique natural beauty that you just HAVE to see up close. 

It’s not called the”Great Western Playground” for nothing.

In other words, strap on your backpack! It’s time to immerse yourself in the natural world with one of the best hikes in Montana.

There are plenty of hiking trails for all ages and skill levels in Whitefish. You’ll find everything from beginner nature walks to full-on adventures.

These are my top picks for hiking in Whitefish:

  • Lion Mountain Trail – Easy, suitable for all ages, and offers panoramic views. My family loved this one!
  • Spencer Mountain Trail – Semi-challenging biking trail taking you to the summit of Spencer Mountain. 
  • Whitefish Trail – A trail for everyone, including walkers, hikers, bikers, dogs, and even horses!
  • Danny On Trail – A moderate hike with plenty of wildlife and beautiful wildflowers, ending in an optional scenic lift ride!

14. Enjoy an Afternoon at a Local Park

When we travel, there’s something truly special about immersing yourself in the local community. 

And on a sunny day, there’s no better way to do so than at a local park!

Parks are wonderful gathering places where families can spend quality time, engage with the community, and enjoy a slice of natural beauty. 

Beyond grand state parks, these parks are quainter locations. Here, you can stretch out on a picnic blanket, enjoy a packed lunch, and let the kids run wild for a bit!

Our top picks for Whitefish parks:

  • Woodlot Park – Perfect for a gentle nature walk on one of its walking trails. 
  • Hugh Rogers Wag Park – A fantastic dog park where your fuzzy friend can roam and play!
  • Lupfer Avenue Park – Great for sports with its basketball courts and grassy areas. 
  • Taylor Park – A community-oriented park with a playground and plenty of picnic tables. 

Romantic Things to Do in Whitefish

While mentioning unique things to do in Whitefish, it’s important to note that there are a few romantic things to do in Whitefish when you’re visiting the area.

First, consider checking out a live theater production at Whitefish Theatre Company!

All productions take place at the O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center located in the middle of downtown Whitefish, MT, with tickets and showtimes found here.

Next, if you’re looking for live music, opera, and musical performances, attend an event at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center!

While in the neighborhood of the performing arts center, stop into the Sunti World Art Gallery; i t’s also conveniently located on Spokane Avenue.

The world art gallery features award-winning paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, and Turkish rugs. You’ll even find a sweet cafe and coffee shop.

Lastly, try a new skill with your partner at Stumptown Art Studio . Here, they offer walk-in classes for painting, pottery, fuse glass, and more. 

Front of Grouse Mountain Lodge

Best Places to Stay in Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish offers a surprisingly huge selection of unique lodges, inns, hotels, guest ranches, condos, and VRBO & Airbnb vacation rentals .

Your final selection will come down to availability and how much you want to spend.

Here are some great selections of places to stay in Whitefish:

  • The Lodge at Whitefish Lake – This lodge is at a prime lakefront location with a beach, 2 pools and hot tubs, onsite restaurant, and activities.
  • Grouse Mountain Lodge – Convenient location close to downtown, pool and huge outdoor hot tub, onsite restaurant (A great, less expensive lodge option! Full review coming soon!)
  • Firebrand Hotel – Located downtown, trendy, onsite bar and restaurant, rooftop hot tub and patio.
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Whitefish – Hotel chain amenities, free hot breakfast, saltwater pool.
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott Whitefish – Hotel chain amenities, kitchens, free breakfast, outdoor pool, pet-friendly.
  • Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge – Hotel chain amenities, free hot breakfast, outdoor heated pool, and hot tub.

Things to Do in Kalispell

If you’re traveling to Whitefish by air, the closest commercial airport is in Kalispell, Montana.

Whitefish is located 15 miles north of Kalispell, and many people visit the two destinations interchangeably when visiting this area.

Things to do in Kalispell include:

  • Hiking, camping, and skiing in Flathead National Forest
  • Visit Flathead Lake State Park
  • Tour the Conrad Mansion
  • Browse the shops and boutiques in Downtown Kalispell
  • Golf at Buffalo Hill Golf Club, Northern Pines, or Village Greens Golf Course

If you liked reading about the top things to do in Whitefish, Montana, let us help continue to plan your getaway to  Whitefish, Montana  and  Glacier National Park :

Whitefish, Montana

  • Best Restaurants in Whitefish, Montana (For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
  • Grouse Mountain Lodge Review

Glacier National Park

  • 23 Must-See Stops on Going to the Sun Road
  • 3-Day Itinerary for Visiting Glacier National Park With Kids

Travel Tips

  • Our Ultimate Hiking Packing List for Day and Overnight Hikes
  • Top 10 (No Fail!) Tips for Planning A Family Road Trip
  • Family Road Trip Packing List Printable
  • Top 16 Tips for Effortless Flying with Kids
  • Family Vacation Packing Tips: How to Pack Like A Pro

*Before leaving, be sure to check our  Travel Resources Page  to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

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Jen Brommer is a family travel expert. She has been featured as an authority on several notable travel websites and is a member of the Family Travel Association (FTA), Midwest Travel Network, and TravMedia global media network.

A prominent content creator and influencer on Instagram, Jen has over 150K unique monthly blog readers from countries all over the world. She has spent the last 16 years planning fun, and hassle-free family vacations for her family of 5.

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We are considering a trip to Montana next summer so this is perfect. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake sounds amazing.

Yes! The Lodge at Whitefish Lake is great! I am working on a full article/review on it now! I’ll be sure to share 🙂

Gah — I’ve been ACHING to visit Montana, and this only adds fuel to the fire! Gorgeous.

Yes, it was absolutely fabulous! You would love it there!!

We’ve never been but it looks like there are so many fun things to do in Whitefish Montana! Saved for a future trip!

We definitely loved using Whitefish as our home base when visiting Glacier National Park! I would love to go there in the winter and experience it as a ski-town too!

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Travel Montana Now: the Ultimate Resource for Traveling in Montana

The Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

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25 Things You Can’t Miss Doing in Whitefish, MT: Ideas for Each Season

Heading to Whitefish, Montana? Lucky you! Even us Montanans love getting away to gorgeous Whitefish as often as we can. It’s one of our favorite places in Montana for outdoor recreation and in-town arts, shopping, and dining.

visit whitefish montana

This small town packs in an incredible amount of thrilling, artsy, outdoorsy, and relaxing things to do, depending on your mood.

visit whitefish montana

Whitefish is a stunning city. It’s close to Glacier National Park, plus Whitefish has so many things to do; no matter the season you’re visiting, you can find plenty of activities to do and places to see to easily fill your day in Whitefish.

visit whitefish montana

Whitefish is located in Montana’s gorgeous Glacier Country, just roughly 30 minutes from Glacier National Park and 20 minutes north of Kalispell .

The Travel Montana Now team loves Whitefish — Nancy spent summer vacations there in high school and college; Jackie loves all the boating, hiking, and snowshoeing opportunities around Whitefish; and Gina is a fan of the cute downtown area, kid-friendly main beach, and pristine mountain views.

We even recently had a family summer reunion at Whitefish Mountain Resort, which you can read about here . It also has additional tips about visiting in summer.

Whitefish layout tip

Before we get to the best things to do list, here’s a quick layout tip to help you with your trip: Downtown Whitefish is located in a small valley at the base of the Whitefish Mountain Range. The downtown area is just a couple miles from pristine Whitefish Lake, which is a water lover’s playground in the summer and has a fantastic beach area.

visit whitefish montana

Overlooking downtown Whitefish and the lake, and up a steep mountain road, is Whitefish Mountain Resort, one of the premier ski resorts in Montana .

To fully get a taste of all the things to do in Whitefish, you’ll want to spend your time both at the bottom and the top of the mountain.

25 Things to Do in Whitefish

Now let’s get to those things to do, starting with the wonderfully artsy downtown Whitefish.

Walk Around Downtown Whitefish

visit whitefish montana

Whitefish has been called one of the 25 most charming small towns in America. It’s definitely one of the best small towns in Montana . To properly soak in all this charm, you should take an amble around the downtown streets.

visit whitefish montana

Whitefish’s Main Street is officially called Central Avenue. This walkable main street running through downtown is Whitefish is line by rugged architecture with wooden beams and Wild West accents.

Within those buildings you’ll find a number of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars plus gift shops selling local handicrafts and other goods that make for perfect souvenirs. 

If you’re into Western art, don’t miss checking out Dick Idol Signature Gallery. For unique shoes and outdoor clothing, go to the Toggery. Families with young kids won’t want to miss Imagination Station Toys plus Sprouts Children’s Boutique across the street. For western wear, the must-shop place to S M Bradford Co. These are just some of the many shops to check out! Take an amble down Central Avenue to discover more places you’ll love to browse through.

Obviously in winter it has a very different vibe! Expect snow-covered streets and twinkling lights. Also check hours for businesses because some may be seasonal.

Learn About Railway History at Whitefish Depot

Walking around Whitefish Depot is one of the top things to do in Whitefish, Montana.

Whitefish is one of just a dozen Amtrak stops in Montana, and the century old building that the train station is located in is beautiful and worth visiting even if you’re not taking the Amtrak to Whitefish. 

visit whitefish montana

In addition to the old-fashioned architecture, there is a small museum inside the Whitefish Depot that is free to tour. It teaches visitors about the history of Whitefish, the Great Northern Railway, and also has several Native American artifacts on display. 

Tour the Whitefish Museum during a trip to Whitefish, Montana

Go Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Whitefish is home to one of the best ski resorts in the United States: Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

And snowboarders will also find their slice of heaven in Whitefish thanks to the terrain parks at Whitefish Mountain Resort. 

Read More: Best Places to Ski in Montana

Stay Level with Cross-Country Skiing

When it comes to snow skiing, Whitefish isn’t just for downhill skiing. Whitefish is one of the most popular places to go cross-country skiing (also called nordic skiing) in Montana. That’s because the area is home to several locations that are specifically groomed for nordic skiing. 

Check out Glacier Nordic Center, located just a half-mile from downtown Whitefish and home to over seven miles of trails. Big Mountain Nordic Trail near Whitefish Mountain Resort is also a great place to do some cross-country skiing with daily groomed trails that cover 14 miles, some of which are steep to provide more of a challenge for expert nordic skiers. 

visit whitefish montana

Go Water Skiing and Jet Skiing in Warmer Weather

If you prefer warm weather skiing, head to Whitefish Lake. Rent a boat and strap on some skis behind the boat and take off across the water. Jet skiing is another option for speed without so much of the skill.

For boat and jet ski rentals, check out the marina that’s part of the Lodge at Whitefish Lake. 

Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking on Whitefish Lake

A kayaker ready for the day in downtown Whitefish

A leisurely way to explore Whitefish Lake on a warm day is stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. Stay around the edge of the lake and you’ll find mostly calm waters away from the boaters. You can even find SUP yoga classes on offer!

The rental shop at Whitefish City Beach has paddle boards and kayaks. Which brings us to the next thing to do in Whitefish on this list…

Relax and Swim at Whitefish City Beach

visit whitefish montana

This large public beach area is situated on the southern shore of Whitefish Lake. It has a sandy area that graduates into a more gravelly beach in front of an elevated grassy area perfect for sun lounging or picnicking.

The swimming area is well marked. It’s a great place for a refreshing swim with no worries about boats or jet skis zooming around.

visit whitefish montana

My kids loved Whitefish City Beach and how much room there was to run around the sand and splash in the water. I appreciated the gorgeous mountain views surrounding the lake!

visit whitefish montana

A launch dock for boats is also located just down from the beach so it’s a good place to meet friends before or after a boating adventure.

visit whitefish montana

A building with several amenities on offer during the summer is located on the east side of the beach. Whitefish Outfitters & Tours has an outpost here and it’s where you’ll want to go for convenient non-motorized watercraft rentals like kayaks and stand up paddle boards.

visit whitefish montana

The building also has a concession stand that specializes in yummy hot dogs and serving up Sweet Peaks ice cream.

visit whitefish montana

Parking can be challenging so pack your patience on busy days. While there is a parking lot onsite, it’s on the smaller side and fills up quickly on hot summer days. We were there over 4th of July weekend and were still able to find a spot, but had to park a bit farther away in a neighborhood with street parking. Still, it was an easy walk even with kids.

Pet Owner Tip: For those of you traveling to Whitefish with a dog, know that the city itself is quite dog-friendly, but dogs are not allowed at Whitefish City Beach.

Race Around on a Snowmobile

The best way to start out your snowmobile adventure in Whitefish is to visit the Tally Lake Ranger District Office in Whitefish. There, you’ll be able to pick up one of office’s many maps for snowmobiling routes in the area and get more information about rules and regulations for snowmobiling in the area. 

If you want something convenient and easy to understand where you can go — sign up for a snowmobile tour. Swan Mountain Snowmobiling is a well-known company in Glacier County that offers snowmobiling adventures starting at many trailheads near Whitefish.

During the winter season, another memorable thing to do in Whitefish is a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Watch a Local Troupe at Whitefish Theater Co.

Watching a performance at Whitefish Theatre Company is a top thing to do in Whitefish, MT

Local theater and arts is a big part of the culture of western Montana and catching a live show is one of the best things you can do to soak in the local culture. In Whitefish, you can watch plays, live music, and other artistic shows at the Whitefish Theater Company, located across the street from the Whitefish Depot.

The stage at Whitefish Theater Company has wrap-around seating on three sides with an intimate setting. In additions to performances, art galleries, classes, and cultural events are often held in the building.

See a Show By Alpine Theatre Company at Whitefish Performance Arts Center

Another troupe to check out for live theatrical performances is the Alpine Theatre Project. The Alpine Theatre Project aims to bring broadway theater to the community through both adult and kid performances plus a variety of classes and camps. It was started by Broadway veterans and even count John Lithgow and Olympia Dukakis on their board of advisors.

If visiting during the Christmas holiday season, don’t miss the Yuletide Affair show, which blends holiday song and dance with satire and humor.

Shows conducted by the Alpine Theatre Projects are typically held at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center, a remodeled and revitalized performance space housed in a former auditorium.

The modern stage in the main Atkinson Hall often hosts broadway productions, dance recitals and performances, plays, musical concerts, and more.

Do a Beer Tasting at Bonsai Brewing Project

Bonsai Brewing Project tasting flight in the beer garden

This unique brewery started out as a kickstarter to bring a community-focused, sustainable nano brewery to Whitefish. The craft brewery typically has at least ten locally made brews on tap and you can try a tasting platter in the taproom (located in a converted old house) or get a pint of your favorite to enjoy in the beer garden. 

In addition to beer, you’ll find a variety of comfort foods on the menu. Bonsai Brewing Project is open for both lunch and dinner. 

Enjoy a Scoop of Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Kids playing with magnets on the vintage freezer drawers at Sweet Peaks in Whitefish, Montana

If ice cream is more your thing than beer, head to Sweet Peaks Ice Cream (or…head to both; that’s what we’d do!). This local ice cream shop is run by two Montanans who put an emphasis on local ingredients. The ice cream is created using Montana dairy and the ingredients mixed into the ice cream are locally-sourced where possible and inspired by Montana itself, like the Huckleberry flavor. 

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream has expanded to several locations around Montana and Idaho, but Whitefish was the original shop. 

Hike Whitefish Trail

Whitefish is close to dozens upon dozens of hiking trails, but for a quintessential Whitefish hiking experience, head to the aptly named Whitefish Trail. An initiative headed by the Whitefish Legacy Partners, the Whitefish Trail aims to protect the natural surroundings of Whitefish and make it accessible to the people in a manner that protects the nature that makes such beautiful and relaxing hiking possible. 

The Whitefish Trail has 12 different trailheads that connect to over 42 miles of trails that take you past gorgeous mountain and lake scenery. 

Read More: Activities Guide for Flathead Lake

Try Winter Fat Tire Biking on Whitefish Trail Mountain

Did you know you can go mountain biking in winter? You can thanks to fat tire bicycles. These bicycles have thicker than usual tires that are made for all-weather terrain. In winter, they make it possible to navigate over snowy trails. 

To rent a fat bicycle while in Whitefish, check out the rentals from Whitefish Bike Retreat, Sportsman Ski Haus, and Glacier Cyclery & Nordic .

Go Dirt Biking at Whitefish Mountain Resort

Mountain bikes on the chairlift at Whitefish Mountain Resort

In the summer, rent a mountain bike or bring your own and head up to the mountain to Whitefish Resort. There, you can take the chair lifts to the peak in summer that are equipped to bring up your bike with you.

visit whitefish montana

Then race down the bike trails back to the bottom of the chairlift to do it all again!

Hike the Danny On Trail

Danny On Trailhead at Whitefish Mountain Resort

If biking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of hiking trail opportunities at Whitefish Resort. We prefer to take the chairlift up and then hike down the mountain, along the iconic Danny On trail. It’s one of the best hikes in Whitefish and starts right by the mountaintop lodge and has incredible views of Whitefish and the surrounding valley on the way down. Expect it to take a few hours to finish.

Mountaintop lodge at Whitefish Mountain Resort

For differing lengths and skillsets, there are several other trails for hikers criss-crossing across the mountainside of the resort during the summer months, whether you want to go uphill or downhill.

Have a Zipline Adventure at Whitefish Mountain

visit whitefish montana

Take to the skies while visiting Whitefish Mountain Resort in the summer months and traverse the obstacle courses at Aerial Adventure Park.

So much fun is waiting to be had at this elevated playground. With four different courses of differing difficulties, Aerial Adventure Park is open to those ages seven and up, though you have to be at least 14 years old to do the hardest course.

Each course has a variety of gravity-defying things to do, including ziplining, trapeze swinging, climbing, crossing rope bridges, and more. Participants will get a full-body harness to wear and a safety briefing.

Experience Whitefish’s Alpine Slide

One more adrenaline-inducing thing to do at Whitefish Mountain Resort in the summer is the Alpine Slide. You don’t need snow to be on the ground for this sled adventure. Instead, you’ll sit on a sled with a hand break that will careen you down a curved slide.

Embrace Your Artistic Side at Stumptown Art Studio

Whitefish, MT is known for its artistic side, which comes to play at Whitefish Stumptown Art Studio.

The Stumptown Art Studio is a non-profit community art center in Whitefish, and it’s a cool place to get in touch with your artistic side. 

Stumptown Art Studio offers art courses and classes for both kids and adults, but if you’re just visiting, you’ll want to take advantage of their walk-in experiences. You can show up anytime during opening hours to paint your own pottery or fuse your own glass in the studio, and create your own souvenir to bring home with you to remember your time in Whitefish by.

Drawing with chalk outside Stumptown Art Studio in Whitefish, MT

My girls also had fun using the chalk outside their doors to create some artwork right on the sidewalk!

Shop at Stumptown Marketplace in Whitefish

Support local artisans and get some unique souvenirs with a visit to Stumptown Marketplace in Whitefish. In addition to shopping, you can get a farm-to-table bite to eat or a drink like a ginger brew. 

Quick History Fact: If you’re wondering why “stumptown” keeps coming up in  names of businesses in Whitefish, it’s because that was the nickname for the town when it was first cleared of trees to build the train station and town center. Lots of tree cut down meant lots of tree stumps, many of which had to be painstakingly cleared for roads and buildings. 

Browse Local Artisans at Whitefish Arts Festival

visit whitefish montana

If you love artisan works and you’re in Whitefish during the 4th of July weekend, also check out the annual arts and craft fair. The Whitefish Arts Festival is held at Depot Park, a large grassy area across the street from Whitefish Depot. The festival has a variety of stands showcasing local artists and their wares, from painting to pottery to jewelry and more.

I got a beautifully crafted wood vase with local stones in it there that is wonderfully unique and on display on my mantle at home. I’m not the type to usually purchase stuff at these fairs, which goes to show what an amazing variety there is!

Golf By an Alpine Lake

Tee up with views of the lake in the background at Whitefish Lake Golf Course . This golf course is often ranked as one of the best in Montana. It has an enviable location in Flathead Valley with views of the lake, mountains, and forests visible from the holes.

Whitefish Lake Golf Course has two different sections: the North Course and the South Course, both of which have 18 holes. There is also a PGA shop and restaurant.

The golf course is a member-focused club, however each course is open to guests with advanced booking plus an extra fee.

Saddle Up for Horseback Riding Around Whitefish

visit whitefish montana

Whitefish, Montana is a great destination for horseback riding with a guide. There are a number of ranches and guides in the area that offer a variety of trail options for riders of all experience levels.

One of the most popular choices is the Bar W Guest Ranch, which offers scenic trails through the surrounding mountains and forests. Riders will have the opportunity to see wildlife such as deer, elk, and moose, as well as stunning views of the Flathead Valley and the Glacier National Park.

And of course Glacier National Park is a great place to go horseback riding. Swan Mountain Outfitters offer tours that take riders through the park from corrals located by Apgar and Lake McDonald Lodge. If you don’t want to get a park pass to ride, check out their tours from West Glacier, which don’t go inside the borders of the park.

If you’re an experienced rider traveling to Whitefish with your own horses, check out the trails in Stillwater State Forest. This state-run area is open to the public and has trails through forests and along the banks of the Stillwater River. Riders can enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature and may even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle, elk, or other wildlife.

P.S. If you’re doing things in Whitefish, there’s also a good chance you’ll be making your way up to Glacier National Park at some point to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road over the continental divide, look for grizzly bears and mountain goats, hike to epic vistas, and more. To help you with your planning, here’s our guide for the top things to do in Glacier National Park .

You also might enjoy reading: Things to Do in Bigfork and our Swan Lake Guide .

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Looking down a road lined with buildings toward snow-capped mountains.

30 Things To Do in Whitefish, MT, for Year-Round Fun

Whitefish is much more than just a stop on the way to Glacier Park, so save some time to explore the town itself – and enjoy all these fun things to do!

April 9, 2024 //  by  Jen Ambrose //   Leave a Comment

A charming downtown? Jaw-dropping scenery? Attractions for every season? Whitefish, Montana, checks all three boxes – and much more.

Many people end up passing through town before or after skiing at  Whitefish Mountain Resort  or visiting  Glacier National Park  (only 15 and 35 minutes away, respectively). But is Whitefish worth visiting in its own right?

A lake with in front of a hillside covered in green trees along one shore, with more hills in the distance. A bright blue pedal boat and two blue stand-up paddleboards are on the shore.

Yes! Much more than just a requisite transit point, Whitefish is a vibrant community that regularly appears on lists like  Architectural Digest ‘s  25 Best Small Towns in America (for good reason!). And there are more than enough fun things to do in Whitefish to keep you busy for days.

About four hours from our hometown of Great Falls, Whitefish has always felt like a breath of fresh air. I’ve long since lost track of how much time we’ve spent there, whether for ski trips, lake trips, or romantic getaways. I hope you’ll love its year-round outdoor adventures, charming downtown area, and thriving food and art scene as much as we do!

Some links in this post are affiliates, meaning we may earn a small commission if you place an order. Your cost is the same!

Table of Contents

Wander through downtown Whitefish.

Stop in the historic train depot & whitefish museum., go hiking on the whitefish trail., take a barn tour at clydesdale outpost., see a show., make your own art at the stumptown art studio., drink some of montana’s best coffee at folklore., have a delectable baked treat at fleur bake shop., cool off with top-notch ice cream at sweet peaks., have a burger & beer at the infamous bulldog saloon., take your pick of craft beverages., go on the big sky brews cruise tour., have a beach day at city beach., paddle on whitefish lake., try flyboarding., go jet-skiing., take a sup yoga class., go horseback riding., take a scenic lift ride at whitefish mountain resort..

  • Go on a zip line tour.

Check out the farmers’ market.

Go on a guided mountain bike ride., paddle rapids and drink beer on the raft & craft tour., take an unforgettable hot air balloon ride., enjoy world-class skiing at whitefish mountain resort., go cross-country skiing., go snowshoeing., try fat-tire biking., take a horse-drawn sleigh ride., check out the ski heritage center., more things to do near whitefish, montana, hotels in whitefish, whitefish airbnb & vrbo rentals, camping in whitefish, map of whitefish, montana, best things to do in whitefish, montana (year-round).

A lot of Whitefish’s main attractions are seasonal, so scroll down to the Summer and Winter sections below for even more things to do. But here are the best options for any time of year.

Downtown Whitefish isn’t very big, but it’ll take some time to wander through if you stop to check out the galleries or browse in the many shops.

People walking up and own a covered sidewalk with signs hanging from the top and cars parked along one side

Our  custom map of Whitefish  shows the spots you shouldn’t miss, but think used books, funky antiques, outdoor gear, local art,  huckleberry -flavored everything, and all kinds of décor and other souvenirs that will give your home a little mountain flair. As you stroll down Central Ave., you’ll also find placards detailing the significance of many of the historic buildings.

The Whitefish Depot is still a functioning train station, so if you harbor dreams of traveling America by rail, a peek inside will fuel your wanderlust. Of course, if you were lucky enough to take the Amtrak to Whitefish, you’ve already been here! The train station is over 100 years old and also houses the free Whitefish Museum on the town’s history.

Two-story yellow building with brown trim sitting behind a metal fence with a sign reading Whitefish Depot and a sidewalk, with snow on the ground.

The museum displays several Native American artifacts, one of the most interesting of which prominently features a swastika (a symbol used by cultures around the world long before Hitler). A sign next to it describes how many Native American tribes signed an agreement during World War II to stop using the swastika.

When we stopped in, we were also tickled to find a couple racks of used books for sale in the station’s waiting area. To buy a book, you put $1 in a metal box mounted to the wall. (With that set-up, I couldn’t not buy one.)

The whole Flathead Valley is a hiker’s paradise, but the Whitefish Trail  is the most easily accessible option from town. This massive network of trails runs for 47 miles all through the area, and it’s always expanding.

Woman in a mint green coat and white hat from behind, walking down a snow-covered path through pine trees.

Choose from 15 different trailheads , depending on how far you want to go and what you want to see. The Lion Mountain Trailhead and the Reservoir Trailhead are practically right in town, while others sit at the opposite end of Whitefish Lake.

All of the trails are dog-friendly (dogs can be off-leash) and accessible year-round. In the wintertime, stop in at Sportsman & Ski Haus to rent a pair of snowshoes if you need them (or just bring your YakTrax if the snow isn’t deep).

If you associate Montana with horses (who doesn’t?), you’ll want to head over to Clydesdale Outpost , about 15 minutes from town. This private guest ranch offers tours of the barns that house their herd of Clydesdale horses.

Led by their wrangler, the 45-minute tours offer a chance to learn about the horses and get up close and personal with them (yes, petting is allowed). And of course, you’ll get some one-of-a-kind photos to take home.

Exterior of a brick building with a sign reading Whitefish Performing Arts Center above posters for three productions.

Catching a show in the evening is another great way to decompress from all your activity. Both the  Alpine Theatre Project  and the  Whitefish Theatre Company  host frequent shows, including plays, concerts, and other special events.

Check the Whitefish Chamber’s calendar for more things going on in town, including lots of live music options at restaurants and bars in Whitefish.

This is one of the best things to do in Whitefish on a rainy day, or when you’re just worn out from all that adventure. Drop into the non-profit Stumptown Art Studio anytime to paint your own pottery or make art out of fused glass.

They’ll fire it in the kiln afterward and ship it to you when it’s ready. Or if the timing is right, you might be able to make it to one of the studio’s art classes, which usually run for about two hours in the evening.

Things to Do in Whitefish, MT: Food & Drink Edition

There’s lots more to do in town year-round – if you’re hungry! After trying many, many local restaurants, bars, and cafes over the years, these are our picks for the can’t-miss things to eat in Whitefish (and things to drink – morning or evening).

Coffee aficionados, rejoice! We’ve visited dozens of coffee shops in Montana, and there’s no doubt whatsoever that Folklore Coffee is one of the absolute best.

Interior of a coffee shop with wooden tables, white metal chairs, a leather couch, and an orange wall with paintings. A sign on the back wall reads Folklore Coffee Pastries People.

All of their other locations are in Montana towns you…probably won’t be visiting (like Conrad and Valier), so don’t miss the chance to try their coffee in Whitefish. Bonus: this coffee shop has one of the best free book libraries I’ve seen anywhere.

Close up of a counter behind glass, covered in plates piled with baked goods.

Fleur Bake Shop is one of your best choices for a quick – and mouth-watering – breakfast in Whitefish. The shop is owned by a trained pastry chef, which will become obvious the moment you catch a glimpse of their breads and pastries. I’m partial to the orange cardamom bun, but no matter what you order here, you cannot go wrong.

Nothing hits the spot on a hot afternoon in Whitefish like  Sweet Peaks Ice Cream . It’s absolutely beloved by locals and visitors alike (including me!), and their creamy ice cream and unique flavors live up to the hype.

A hand holding up a waffle cone with chocolate chip ice cream, in front of the exterior of a building painted with a colorful mural of a bear and geometric patterns.

I mean, I will be staying FAR away from the Chocolate Cowboy Cricket (yes, cricket), but Campfire S’mores and Huckleberry never disappoint. The flavors at Sweet Peaks rotate (so maybe you won’t even have a chance to try that cricket one), and there are always dairy-free options.

The Bulldog Saloon is a sports bar that’s infamous for… having porn plastered to the walls in the men’s bathroom. It may be one of the most legendary attractions in Whitefish, but seriously, don’t let your child go in there!

Outside of a two-story building with a large sign on top reading Bulldog Saloon, with a cartoon bulldog in a boxing stance.

But the Bulldog is known for a few other things, too. It’s housed in a historic 120-year-old building that looks like something from the Old West, and the funky interior is jam-packed with all sorts of sports memorabilia and bulldog-themed décor. If you’re eating there, go for one of their beloved burgers, and don’t skip the huckleberry hot sauce (if you can handle it!).

Keep in mind that the Bulldog is a dive bar in every sense, and is often crowded and slow – but it’s also one of the cheapest places to eat in Whitefish.

Whether you prefer beer, wine, or spirits, Whitefish has a locally-crafted option for you.

Beer : The definition of a local craft brewery, Bonsai Brewing Project was initially funded through a Kickstarter campaign and originally located inside a shopping mall (until Shopko, of all stores, moved in and forced it out).

Now you can visit Bonsai in a converted house a few minutes north of downtown Whitefish and enjoy its huge yard and outdoor patio. To go along with the brews, they also serve a menu of bowls, sandwiches, salads, and tacos that rotates seasonally. 

Close-up of a mostly-full beer glass reading Bonsai Brewing Project Lurking in the Shadows of Giants Whitefish, Montana, sitting on a metal table outdoors. In the background are people standing at an open-air building.

Wine : If you’re more of a wine aficionado, you won’t want to miss Unleashed: A Winery . It’s one of just a handful of wineries in Montana, and unlike most craft alcohol makers here and everywhere, Unleashed is owned and run by a woman.

The name Unleashed is a tribute to her love of animals and former career as an animal care tech. The wines have names like Tail Wag and Ruff Day, and the adorable labels feature original illustrations of dogs.

Spirits : If you prefer the hard stuff, head to  Spotted Bear Spirits instead. This local distiller makes an impressive variety of spirits, from huckleberry vodka using wild huckleberries from the Whitefish area to coffee liqueur created in partnership with area roaster Uptown Hearth .

Spotted Bear’s cozy tasting room has a real community feel, and you can choose from distillery flights and creative cocktails, including several non-alcoholic options.

(Note: Due to Montana’s brewery laws , which also govern craft liquor makers, both Bonsai and Spotted Bear are required to close at 8:00pm.)

Don’t want to have to pick just one – or drive yourself home? Join the Big Sky Brews Cruise instead! Their tours visit craft beverage makers all around the Flathead Valley, and you can choose from the breweries-only tour or the wine, beer, and whiskey tour.

You’ll sample a wide variety of beverages, get a behind-the-scenes look at a facility, and learn all about the process. Tours are offered nearly every day and typically run from 3:00-7:00pm, with pick-up and drop-off right in downtown Whitefish.

What to Do in Whitefish, MT, in Summer

Although it’s a year-round destination (scroll down to read about the winter magic!), there’s no doubt that Whitefish has a lot more going on in the summertime.

Long days and warm weather in Whitefish bring endless opportunities to hang out at the lake or explore the mountains, plus a range of summer activities up at the ski resort. You will run out of energy long before you run out of things to do in Whitefish in the summer!

People swimming and playing on a gravel beach at a lake, with yellow canoes on the shore and tree-covered hills in the background.

A beach day in Montana? Yes! City Beach is right in town, on the south edge of Whitefish Lake. So pack a picnic, grab a fun read, and head to the beach! Lay out in the sun, go for a dip in the water, or do whatever your heart desires – you’re on vacation, after all.

There are at least a dozen ways to enjoy Whitefish Lake in the summertime, but paddling is our favorite, whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding. You can access the water at several spots along the lakeshore, but the easiest ones are City Beach, Whitefish Lake State Park, and Les Mason State Park. The latter is your best bet if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.

Two people paddling a bright green kayak on a lake away from the shore, with tree-covered hills in the background.

Sea Me Paddle rents a variety of SUPs and kayaks at both state parks, or if you have a way to transport your boat, you’ll save a bit by renting from Sportsman & Ski Haus in town.

This has to be the most unique way to experience Whitefish Lake. If you’ve never heard of flyboarding (I hadn’t until we saw people doing it here), it feels like something from The Jetsons .

A person floats in the air above a lake, standing on a small board shooting water jets into the water. A person on a jet ski watches, and pine trees and houses are on the shore in the background.

You stand on a small board that uses water jets to propel you up into the air, and you can float 10 or more feet above the water. It looks ridiculous, but also exciting, and it’s one of the most unique things to do in Whitefish. Sign up for a private first-time flyer lesson with 406 Watersports to get the hang of the basics.

If you’d rather try something a little more conventional but with just as much adrenaline, hop on a jet ski instead. Depending on the model, jet skis can fly over the water at speeds of up to 40-60 mph! You can rent jet skis from 406 Watersports at City Beach.

This is one last way to enjoy the lake – and experience a sense of calm at the same time. Whitefish-based Yoga Hive , an institution on the Montana yoga scene, offers multiple stand-up paddleboard yoga classes every week during the summer.

They provide paddleboards to rent for class, or you can bring your own. All levels are welcome, and no prior experience is required. But honestly, if you’ve never done yoga and never been on a paddleboard, well, you’re in for a challenge.

For many people, Montana is synonymous with horseback riding. No surprise, going for a horseback ride is one of the top things to do in Whitefish – and for many visitors, it’s the most memorable part of their whole trip.

Just a few minutes from town, Bar W Guest Ranch offers trail rides Tuesday-Saturday during the summer. No experience is required, and this is a great place for your first horseback ride. You’ll get matched with the right horse for you, take a brief orientation to riding, and then hit the trail!

Whitefish Mountain Resort is a ski area – but some of the chairlifts operate in the summertime for scenic lift rides . Choose from an open chairlift or an enclosed gondola, and enjoy a fun, peaceful ride up the mountain. From the summit, you’ll enjoy epic 360-degree views over the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park.

Before you head back down the mountain, visit the Summit Nature Center or have a drink at the Summit House Bar . If you’re feeling more adventurous, book a one-way lift ride and hike back down from the top.

Go on a zip line tour .

The ski resort also has zip lining during the summer, which is exhilarating fun for kids and adults alike. The zip line course can only be accessed as part of a two-hour group tour, which includes gear, instruction, and guides to lead the way and keep you safe.

Two people zip-lining side by side, with only pine trees visible behind them.

There are six separate lines on the course, which means you get to fly six times during the tour. The longest of the six is a whopping 1,900 feet long, and the tallest rises to 300 feet above the ground. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the Whitefish area along with a burst of adrenaline on every line!

People walk past a row of booths with brightly-colored umbrellas in a park.

The Whitefish Farmers Market takes place at Depot Park in front of the train station, and it’s definitely the place to be on Tuesday evenings in the summer. The market is packed with area vendors selling everything from produce and baked goods to art and jewelry. Plus you can grab a tasty dinner from one of the food trucks parked at the market, and enjoy live music while you eat or browse.

You probably know how to ride a bike, but mountain biking is a whole different ballgame, thanks to the narrow trails, uneven ground, winding inclines, and blind descents.

Oftentimes, the only way to get started in mountain biking is to hit the trail and hope for the best. But at the Whitefish Bike Retreat, just 15 minutes from town, you can take a guided ride that’s customized to you or your group. No more worrying about choosing the right route or getting lost – they’ll handle the logistics, and you can focus on biking.

Big Sky Brews Cruise offers a number of craft beverage tours, but there’s one that’s summer-only: the Raft & Craft Tour . Its slogan? “You paddle and drink, we drive!” Sounds perfect.

This tour lasts about 8.5 hours in total, with a half-day rafting trip and stops at two area breweries, distilleries, and/or wineries. It’s hard to think of a better way to spend a summer day in western Montana.

If you’re looking for a bucket list-worthy experience in Whitefish, a hot air balloon ride with 2FlyUs just might be it. And the staff at this family-run business will be as excited about your balloon ride as you are!

Choose a sunrise or sunset flight – the only problem will be figuring out which one to do (although be aware that sunset flights have a higher cancellation rate due to weather conditions). Whether you watch the sun rise or set from your balloon, you’ll get an unforgettable experience and enjoy totally unique views of the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park.

2FlyUs is based in Kalispell, but the launch location varies depending on the weather. Make sure you book in advance; they’re a small business with just one pilot, and they take only five people up on each ride.

What to Do in Whitefish, MT, in Winter

Cold temperatures and short days aside, winter in Montana is a magical experience – especially in a place like Whitefish. The frozen lake and snow-covered mountains create unparalleled scenery, and cold-weather adventures abound.

Actually, I would say winter is the best time to visit Whitefish, when it has none of the crowds that appear in the summer. That means you won’t get stuck in traffic, struggle to make reservations, or pay the sky-high prices that summer visits demand. There aren’t as many activities available in the winter, but there’s still plenty to do – and plenty of adventures to be had.

Formerly called Big Mountain Resort, Whitefish Mountain Resort is the hometown ski hill for people in the Whitefish area – lucky them! While it’s also a destination resort, and one that draws visitors from across the country, it’s still got a rustic vibe that feels nothing like the glittery celeb-studded all-inclusives of Aspen or Vail.

Woman skiing down a mountain, toward a chairlift and snow-covered trees at the bottom.

Whitefish Mountain Resort isn’t overly bougie, but there’s tons of terrain for all levels, nice amenities, and lots of apres-ski options. And with lift tickets for under $100, it’s practically budget-friendly compared to most big destination resorts (and less than half the price of Big Sky ).

Cross-country skiing is another quintessential Montana winter activity, and it’s much more affordable than downhill. My top recommendation for cross-country skiing in Whitefish is to make the 30-minute drive to Lake McDonald in Glacier Park , home to Montana’s best cross-country skiing. You can even take the guesswork out of it by going on a guided tour .

Woman in dark clothes from behind, cross-country skiing down a wide snowy path lined with trees.

If you’d rather stay in town, Whitefish Lake Golf Course becomes Glacier Nordic Center in the winter, with 7.5 miles of flat cross-country trails. They also offer lessons, and I highly recommend taking one if you’re a beginner – it is SO much more fun when you have a sense of what you’re doing.

If you’re already an experienced cross-country skier, head 15 minutes north of town to Big Mountain Nordic Trails , accessed from Big Mountain Trailhead. The 16 miles of trails are groomed, but most of the terrain is difficult and not suitable for beginners. Access is free, but please leave a donation in the box at the trailhead!

If you need to rent equipment, swing by Sportsman & Ski Haus on your way for the best deals.

Snowshoeing is a great alternative to skiing. It’s less intense, requires less technique, and you can basically do it anywhere there’s snow. But snowshoeing in Glacier Park is also unmatched, although you won’t get as far along Lake McDonald as you could on skis. Or hit the Whitefish Trail network for 47 miles of trail to explore, much of it accessible right from town.

A pair of grey, plastic snowshoes sit on a hillside covered in fresh powder. In the background is a stand of barren and burnt tree trunks and a snow-capped mountain.

One last fun option for snowshoeing in Whitefish: Clydesdale Outpost , 15 minutes from town, runs a variety of guided tours. Try their Snowshoe & S’mores Tour or the Moonlight Snowshoe Tour, both of which lead you to their secret igloo.

Fat-tire bikes only differ from regular bikes in that the tires are extra-wide – which makes them much more challenging to ride. But that’s also what allows them to roll over the snow, making wintertime biking possible in Montana.

And there’s no better place to try fat biking than Whitefish, especially if it’s your first time. Head 15 minutes west of town to the Whitefish Bike Retreat to pick up a rental bike and practice on the groomed trails on their property. From there, you can head straight out onto the Whitefish Trail , of which about eight miles are groomed for fat-tire biking.

Cozy up and enjoy the magic of winter in Whitefish with a horse-drawn sleigh ride at Bar W Guest Ranch . You’ll glide through woodlands and open fields, enjoying snow-covered scenery from under the comfort of warm blankets in the sleigh. Rides last 30-45 minutes, and include cookies, hot chocolate, and coffee after the ride.

The Ski Heritage Center (also called the Whitefish Ski Museum) is an offbeat little museum dedicated to Montana’s favorite winter sport. It’s a must-see if you’re in Whitefish in the winter, especially when you’re recovering from a day on the slopes. Exhibits trace the history and impact of skiing in Whitefish and throughout northwest Montana.

The museum is located inside a historic cabin next to the Stumptown Ice Den. Opening hours are limited, so double check their schedule before you go.

Snow-covered train car with Great Northern Railway written on the side, sitting behind a snowy yard, metal fence, and sign reading Amtrak Whitefish, MT.

As if there aren’t plenty of things to do in town, you’ve got even more options in the surrounding area.

  • Shop all things huckleberry at the Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse. 20 minutes
  • Visit the Northwest History Museum in Kalispell. 25 minutes
  • Explore Glacier National Park (likely the reason you’re in Whitefish to begin with!). 35 minutes
  • Paddle out to Wild Horse Island on Flathead Lake. 55 minutes

Places to Stay in Whitefish, Montana

There are tons of places to stay in Whitefish , but it’s admittedly not a cheap place to visit, especially during the summer. You can often find more affordable options down the road in Columbia Falls or 25 minutes away in Kalispell instead.

But if you’re able to splurge on accommodations, Whitefish is a good place to do it. From mountain lodges to cozy cabins and dude ranches to quaint B&Bs, there’s no shortage of memorable places to stay in Whitefish.

There’s a lot of competition for the best hotel in Whitefish, but these are some of the top contenders:

Firebrand : A sleek, modern hotel right in downtown Whitefish, complete with a rooftop patio, bikes and snowshoes for guest use, and events like live music and yoga classes

A woman on a bicycle waits at the corner next to a three-story brick building with a sign above the entrance reading Firebrand.

Good Medicine Lodge : A B&B in a cedar home where each room is unique, the coffee is roasted in-house, and freshly-baked cookies are available 24/7

Wooden sign on a post reading Good Medicine Lodge in yellow, with snow on the ground around it.

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake : A luxurious lakefront property with amenities including indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, bikes and canoes to borrow, SUP yoga classes, and even a private ice rink in the winter

Two-story wooden building with a covered entrance and snow on the roof and ground in front.

Apres Whitefish : A riverside boutique hotel owned by two brothers, where you can tell how much thought has gone into every detail, from the Scandinavian design to the outdoor sauna

Check Airbnb and VRBO for even more places to stay in Whitefish, like these unique rentals:

  • Cozy Bungalow in the Heart of Downtown
  • Modern Chalet with Giant Hot Tub
  • Vintage-Style Condo in Downtown Whitefish
  • Charming Apartment with Separate Bunkhouse
  • Franklin’s Tower Yurt on 2.5 Acres

Inside of a yurt, with a couch, bed with gray duvet, and wooden bunkbeds against the white fabric walls with wooden supports, and a white fur rug on the floor.

If you’re up for a more rustic experience, camping is easily the cheapest option for accommodations in Whitefish. These are the main campgrounds in the area (and of course, there are many more inside Glacier Park):

  • Whitefish Lake State Park (April-October)
  • Whitefish / Kalispell North KOA Holiday (May-September)
  • West Glacier KOA Resort (year-round)

Our custom map shows the locations of all the best restaurants, shops, galleries, hotels, and things to do. Whitefish is a small town, and most of the points of interest are clustered together around the intersection of Hwy. 93 and Central Avenue.

Click here for an interactive version of the map!

Street map of Whitefish, Montana, with colored pins clustered around a major intersection and a river running down the left side.

After so much time spent falling in love with this part of Montana over the years, these are all our best recommendations to help you plan your trip to Whitefish. We hope you enjoy it!

What are your favorite things to do in Whitefish, MT?

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About Jen Ambrose

Jen Ambrose was born and raised in Great Falls, MT, and has also spent extensive time in Missoula, Helena, Bozeman, and Butte. She and her husband Ryan are well on their way to their goal of visiting every county and every state park in Montana! When she’s not writing, Jen is also a yoga teacher and personal trainer, and you’ll find her teaching and taking classes across Montana and wherever she goes.

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Montana , Things to Do

12 diverse and beautiful things to do in whitefish, montana.

If you’re venturing to Whitefish, Montana for vacation, good choice!

This is a guide to the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana – from skiing to flyboarding and beyond!

If youʻre booking your trip to/from Whitefish  last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

Top Experiences and Tours in/from Whitefish:

  • East Glacier & Two Medicine Tour from Whitefish
  • Full-day E-Bike Rental in Whitefish
  • West Glacier & Polebridge Full Day Tour
  • 90 Minute Cruise on Whitefish Lake
  • Going to the Sun E-Bike Shuttle

Top Hotels in Whitefish:

  • Hampton Inn & Suites Whitefish  (Lux)
  • Duck Inn Lodge  (Mid)
  • The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River (Budget)

Whitefish may not be at the top of one’s Montana bucket list if they aren’t looking for a skiing vacation or trip to Glacier National Park.

However, it is one of the hippest places to visit in Montana and deserves to be more than just a base for the surrounding area and activities.

Located in Flathead County, it is home to around 6,300 people and it has been consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States (even by the New York Times!)

Things to do in Whitefish Montana

The downtown is home to many of the exciting things to do in Whitefish – from craft beer to guesthouses and more.

Its idyllic setting below the majestic Montana mountains makes every corner a vantage point and it is not hard to understand why visitors are so impressed by the place!

Nevertheless, there is plenty to see in Whitefish . The town is surrounded by some of North America’s most renowned nature, including one of the most visited national parks in the US, Glacier National Park.

You will also find lakes, waterfalls, hiking trails, and a fabulous ski resort. This guide will showcase what to do in Whitefish if you plan on using the city as a base for your Montana trip.

Please let us know if you have any questions or any of your own tips for visiting Whitefish . Feel free to pop them in the comments below!

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Here are the top things to do in Whitefish, Montana – including some natural attractions in Whitefish as well as places to eat in the town and area. 

1. Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort is a ski resort located at The Big Mountain right outside of town.

The entire mountain is divided into three regions that enabled the activity area to be more distributed and available to a larger number of tourists.

Out of the three regions, two regions are equipped for high-speed skiing. Whitefish Mountain Resort was opened for skiing back in 1947.

There are eleven chairlifts at Whitefish Mountain. There are also three surface lifts at the resort. In total, you will find ninety-three runs, the longest being 3.3 miles and is called Hellfire.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort receives over 300 inches of snowfall annually, so it is not hard to see why it is one of the top places to ski in Montana (and the western United States).

If you’re looking for additional information about Whitefish Mountain Resort, be sure to check out their website .

2. Enjoy Craft Beer in Whitefish

One of the best things to do in Whitefish is to head to the bar! There are plenty of ski bars around the city but for craft beer and socializing, we definitely recommend checking out Bonsai Brewing Project .

Although closed throughout the winter, they are open from Wednesday – Sunday from 12pm until 8pm the rest of the year. It is a great stop on a Montana brewery road trip !

Their craft beer menu is exciting and you will find everything from a milkshake session IPA to a Bretta Saison barrel that is aged for a year. The brewers truly are innovative and keen on using local ingredients to make a truly unique beverage.

They also have a kitchen on-site that serves everything from burgers to hot dogs to sandwiches and more. It has more of that elevated ‘pub’ vibe when it comes to food and locals love it just as much as the beer.

But… one of the coolest things about Bonsai is that they also have interesting events going on and it is just truly the hub of culture in Whitefish.  You can find them at 549 Wisconsin Avenue in Whitefish.

3. Whitefish Lake State Park

Whitefish Lake State Park has twenty-five campsites that offer a variety of tent only and RV camping opportunities, plus a new hike-bike campsite that is convenient for cyclists traipsing the nearby Great Divide route. 

Often overshadowed by Glacier National Park, this is definitely a can’t-miss natural spot for Montana visitors!

Island in Whitefish Lake in Montana

Call the park manager for specific inquiries about the hike-in/bike-in site. The RV, or trailer size, limit is 40 feet in length if you’re looking to haul that into the park.

Please note: trains regularly travel by and stop temporarily adjacent to the campground. Boating, swimming, camping, and fishing are popular activities and the lake is rarely windy, so it provides ideal conditions for water-skiing.

4. Stumptown Art Studio

Stumptown Art Studio is a non-profit organization in Montana. It remains a site where anyone can arrive and express themselves in the artistic world.

People venture there to learn, as well. Stumptown was established in 1995 in Whitefish. It is a community art center and it serves everyone of any age, profession, or any background to come and explore their artistic side irrespective of the fact whether they are experts or not. 

Since its birth, Stumptown has offered summer camps, art masterclasses, workshops, after-school art clubs, and more!

As a traveler, you will enjoy their gallery nights and be able to take home a handmade souvenir.  Check their website for additional information.

5. Go Dog Sledding near Whitefish

Located just minutes from Whitefish is Dog Sled Adventures Montana , a family-owned outfitter that has around 130 Alaskan huskies that are ready to run!

This is the perfect family activity and they host everyone from babies to senior citizens.

Dog sledding in Montana

They are located at the footstep of Stillwater State Forest and right beside Glacier National Park and the adventure is an unforgettable experience.

After you go dog-sledding and through the pristine Montana wilderness, you will come back to the cabin where you can enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and homemade cookies.

Naturally, this is an activity to do in winter in Whitefish… so plan accordingly.  For more information, check their website . 

6. Sunti World Art Gallery

In 2013, this gallery was purchased by Sunti and Erica Pichetchaiyakul which was basically a church built in 1905 in Montana.

The primary purpose of bringing about the gallery to life was to share their love for foreign cultures and diversity.  

You will find everything from Cambodia Khmer carvings to Indian Zardozis to American-made raku. 

It truly showcases some of the most beautiful pieces from various places across the world. Numerous artists have displayed their work at Sunti World Art Gallery , including many national and international artists.

Along with the art gallery, there is a café as well where one can sip a cup of coffee while viewing the arts at the display. The coffee is definitely worth a try – as they offer single-origin, fair trade, organic coffee from the northern hill tribes in Thailand.

You will find Sunti World Art Gallery at 345 Spokane Avenue in Whitefish.  Check their website for additional information.

7. Les Mason State Park

Another fantastic natural place to visit in Whitefish and its surrounding area is Les Mason State Park . This Montana state park is renowned for its idyllic spot on the shores of Whitefish Lake.

There is 585 feet of sand and gravel along the shore and it is a fabulous place to go swimming or partake in any of the nearby activities. There are also many picnic tables in the park.

Kayak on Whitefish Lake in Montana

If you’re keen to try your hands at kayaking or SUP, you can rent equipment at the concessionaire called Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours, Inc .

They are open during the summer months. and you can find out more information on Facebook .

In Les Mason, you will find parking, toilets, boat rent, and more.

8. Enjoy Montana Coffee Traders

Back in 1981, Montana Coffee Traders began roasting in northwestern Montana, and is still a force to be reckoned with today!

Today, they offer beans to take away as well as a full espresso bar, drip coffee, and cold brews. You will also find some small eats inside.

You can enjoy their delicious beans and brews at The Mercantile at the Roastery at 6810 Hwy 93 South. They are open Mondays through Fridays from 8 am until 2 pm.

9. Go Hiking in Whitefish

One of the best things to do in Whitefish is to take to the trails. It really is one of the top reasons to visit the small Montana town !

There are many places to go hiking near Whitefish and one of our top picks is The Whitefish Trail , a network of user support trails built by the community that contains over 43 miles of surface trails and 12 trailheads and connectors.

Middle Fork Flathead River in Glacier National Park

All of this is located in the lush forests surrounding Whitefish and the trails are perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, running, and walking your dog.

Some of the most popular trailheads on The Whitefish Trail are:

  • Lion Mountain: located close to Whitefish, it offers loop options and scenic views. It is a 3-mile loop.
  • Big Mountain: located below Whitefish Mountain Resort, it is open year-round and takes you through Haskill Basin. It transforms into a cross-country skier’s paradise in winter. It is 5.5 miles long.
  • Spencer: this covers over 2,500 acres and contains over 30 miles of trails. It is popular amongst cyclists and equestrians.

10. Indulge at the Best Whitefish Restaurants

Another wonderful thing about traveling to Whitefish, Montana is that you will be greeted with some tasty food at the many restaurants in Whitefish .

Elk burger and beer

You will find everything from delicious breakfast to outdoor dining (with insane views) to fresh salmon, and more.  Here are some of the top Whitefish restaurants that will make eating one of your favorite things to do in Whitefish:

  • Tupelo Grille: elk meatloaf sliders are a signature there. They also have live music and delicious cocktails!
  • Whitefish Lake Restaurant: go there for the views and stay for the incredible food!
  • Cafe Kandahar: elk carpaccio and other local delicacies make this Whitefish restaurant a must-visit.
  • Pig & Olive: located in the Stumptown Marketplace, they offer a variety of sandwiches using local ingredients but they also have a variety of other tasty dishes – like their onion ring corndog.
  • LouLa’s: great at any time of the day and renowned for their pies.
  • Piggyback BBQ: a restaurant run by a Texan that has adapted regional BBQ styles from throughout the US into the perfect Montana blend.

There are plenty of tasty other places to eat in Whitefish… so just do your research and find some places that utilize local ingredients (because they are fantastic in Northwest Montana)!

11. Go Flyboarding

Flyboard of Montana is located in the Whitefish region and it is a certified water sports service and accessories provider. One can book the services prior and make reservations by calling on the contact details provided on their official website.

It was the idea of Justin Heyne who himself is a big fan of water sports and wanted to incorporate that passion into an exciting activity in the local area.

Flyboarding has become one of the most popular activities in Whitefish and you will be assisted by an instructor that is renowned for getting people flying in under just ten minutes!

This is only open from March until October, but. it is open 7 days a week from 9 am until 9 pm and they do offer military discounts. To reserve your spot, call (406)261-5921.

12. Glacier National Park

And, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without suggesting an adventure in Glacier National Park , the likely reason you are visiting Whitefish in the first place!

Glacier National Park is one of the most underrated national parks in America and is absolutely epic no matter what time of the year you decide to plan a trip there.  

Winter in Glacier National Park is fantastic for those that love cold weather, snow, and skiing.  Summer in Glacier National Park is a wonderful time of year for those that love hiking, climbing, and picnics out in nature.

Long exposure shot of iceberg lake, Glacier national park, montana

Some of the top attractions in Glacier National Park are Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, Avalanche Lake, Saint Mary Lake, Ginnell Glacier, and more!

Visiting Glacier National Park is one of the essential things to do in Whitefish, Montana when you’re visiting the town. 

>> Be sure to secure an America is Beautiful Pass for only $79.99 before you go!  It grants you access to over 2,000 US sites!

There are plenty of options for where to stay in Whitefish . Whitefish and the area have some of the best Airbnbs in Montana , in fact! Below are some of our top picks for Airbnbs in Whitefish that you should bookmark for your upcoming trip!

⇒ Stillwater View Camper  (RV living in Whitefish from $129/night) ⇒ Artists’ Loft in downtown Whitefish  (gorgeous condo in Whitefish from $141/night) ⇒ Ski lodge with hot tub  (private room in Whitefish from $74/night)

If you’re simply looking at the best hotels in Whitefish, you can see the top-rated ones here .

We hope that our guide of things to do in Whitefish helped you plan your trip to the resort town in northwest Montana.  If you have questions or tips about awesome landmarks in Whitefish, please leave them below!

  • Best Airbnbs in Whitefish, MT
  • Glacier National Park in winter guide
  • Best Airbnb rentals in Missoula
  • Best Yellowstone Airbnbs
  • 2 days in Yellowstone National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park in winter
  • Best Montana destinations
  • Small towns in Montana

Planning a trip to spectacular northwest Montana? This guide details all the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana for those visiting for the first time! | Whitefish things to do | Places to visit in Montana | Montana skiing | Glacier National Park | Whitefish Lake | Whitefish hiking | Glacier national park hiking | Whitefish travel | Montana travel | Whitefish restaurants

Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.

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15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana [With Suggested 3 Day Itinerary]

Wanna have a perfect holiday on a peaceful rocky mountain? Whitefish in Montana will give you what you are craving for! 

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

Known as the gateway to the magnificent mountain of Glacier National Park, Whitefish is a town in Montana. With mountains popular for hiking, skiing, and a lot more outdoor activities, you’d have a breathtaking experience here.

For a relaxing holiday, you can just go on a picnic, or try boating. Whitefish MT always has something for you to do depending on what you prefer!

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To give you more insight into what this town has, we listed down the things that you can do or visit in Whitefish, Montana. This will help you decide or plan your trip in the future in case you’re visiting this wonderful town. 

Table of Contents

Best Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

1. glacier national park.

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

This park has so many surprises and things to do from sightseeing and driving, biking, rafting, fishing, camping, and hiking. Enjoy the magnificent view of waterfalls, rivers, lakes, gorges, mountains, valleys, and wildlife. The views look so unreal you won’t believe your eyes! 

Suggested Tour: Northern Lights Polebridge Tour

2. City Beach

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Chris Melnick (@chrismelnick) on Mar 28, 2020 at 3:12pm PDT

This is a little beach that’s perfect for chilling. A beautiful beach with scenic mountain views. It also has a snack bar and great facilities. Try lots of things there like swimming, kayaking, and any other water sports. 

3. Great Northern Brewing Company

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

If you like great microbrews then make this a must-visit. This local brewery offers great beer that everyone would love. Not only you will have a great time tasting beers, but the atmosphere of the place is also very welcoming and lively. 

4. Flathead National Forest

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

Biking, hiking, or even taking your dog out with you! A great way to enjoy the outdoors. Because of a lot of activities that it offers, you’d probably end up staying here for a long time. An ideal place to visit at any season. 

5. The Whitefish Trail

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

Want to have a wonderful mountain bike or hike? Go to the Whitefish Trail. The trails are easy, plus they are all well marked. Have a nice walk in the woods, and explore the area while having fun. This is a must-visit place if you’re in Whitefish MT.

6. Sunti World Art Gallery

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Sunti World Art Gallery (@suntiworldart) on Aug 10, 2019 at 8:55am PDT

Features arts from North America, Europe, and Asia. With a variety of arts that are being displayed, one can truly appreciate what this gallery has. The artwork, sculptures, everything that you will see inside is perfectly exhibited. This one is not to be missed. 

7. Flashpoint Outdoor Laser Tag

Do an exciting and unique experience at the Flashpoint Outdoor Laser Tag. You would get to play laser tag in a forested setting. Do this with your friends or family, it doesn’t matter as this activity is a total blast! If ever you’re in Whitefish MT, this should a part of your to-do list!

8. Spotted Bear Spirits

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Spotted Bear Spirits (@spottedbearspirits) on Mar 5, 2020 at 7:09pm PST

A great stop for delicious cocktails. The cocktail recipes are unique and very creative. Once you go here, you’d probably come back for more. Nice and friendly staff in a great atmosphere make this place perfect.

9. Whitefish Farmers Market

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Whitefish Farmers Market (@whitefishfarmersmarket) on Sep 24, 2019 at 3:52pm PDT

This market is consists of plenty of booths and food trucks. You will find fresh produce, baked goods, jewelry, balloon animals and a lot more. The market is open every Tuesday only from 5 pm to 7:30 pm from the last week in May until the end of September.

10. Whitefish Pottery

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Cultivate (@cultivatejax) on May 18, 2019 at 8:57am PDT

Beautiful pottery at affordable prices. The store has a lot of unique gifts and souvenirs that you can buy. If you’re looking for a great place that sells unique pottery, this place is the answer.

11. Going to the Sun Gallery

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by James Corwin Fine Art (@james.corwin.fine.art) on Feb 24, 2017 at 2:33pm PST

The ideal place to see beautiful art made by local artists. The gallery is very informative and the arts are well-displayed. You’ll also find interesting jewelry inside. All the arts are at a reasonable cost. So if you want to buy some local arts as a souvenir, this is the place to go to.

12. Alpine Theatre Project

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Alpine Theatre Project (@atpwhitefish) on Aug 24, 2019 at 9:45am PDT

A high-quality live theater that would entertain you and your family or friends. If you’re in for a fun evening, this is the place to be. Alpine Theater Project features musicals, plays, and concerts. Don’t miss the chance to watch one.

13. Hugh Rogers Wag Park

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by M A D I F A Y E M C G E H E E (@madifayee) on Jul 9, 2019 at 4:21pm PDT

Are you traveling with your fur baby? Do you want to see a lot of cute and lovely dogs? Head to Hugh Rogers Wag Park. This is considered the best dog park in Whitefish Montana. You and your dogs would surely have a great moment here.

14. Great Northern Mountain

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

If you want to try hiking, you can go to Great Northern Mountain. The mountain itself is really scenic. The trails are pretty easy but it is more fun to do with your friends, family or partner. Going up offers wonderful views that would make your hike more worth it and memorable. 

15. First Presbyterian Church

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by First Presbyterian Church (@fpcwhitefish) on Oct 16, 2018 at 11:19am PDT

This historic church was built in 1921. It is very accessible if you’re in the downtown of Whitefish. The church has magnificent stained glass windows. You can stay here to pray or just visit to witness the popular stained glass. 

Things to do with 3 days in Whitefish, Montana

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

Day 1 in Whitefish, Montana

Great Northern Brewing Company – Take a sip at one of the best beers in town. The Great Northern Brewing Company offers great beer in a relaxing atmosphere.

Day 2 in Whitefish, Montana

Glacier National Park – Spending a day here is not impossible as the Glacier National Park as this park offers a lot of exciting activities. You can either do one or try all of it! Have a productive day here!

Day 3 in Whitefish, Montana

Sunti World Art Gallery – Visit this art gallery to see amazing pieces of art. You can also buy a souvenir at their gift shop or stay in their cafe to have a relaxing day.

Frequently Asked Questions about Whitefish, Montana

15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

1. Is it safe to travel to Whitefish, Montana?

Compared to other cities in Montana, Whitefish has a higher crime rate. Because of that, it is advisable to always be vigilant all the time. Although crimes against tourists are not really common, it is still better to take precautionary measures. 

2. When is the best time to visit Whitefish, Montana?

The best time to visit Whitefish might be during the fall season. At this time, the city has very calm weather and you’d experience lots of sunshine. To have a more comfortable vacation in Whitefish, autumn is the best time to go to.

3. How to get to Whitefish, Montana?

The best way to go to Whitefish is to travel to Kalispell first. If you’re traveling by air, you need to find a flight going to Glacier Park International Airport. It is only 13km away from Whitefish. There are some major airlines that fly directly there from Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Saint Lake City, and Seattle. Check Skyscanner for some available flights. 

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15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana [With Suggested 3 Day Itinerary]

About the Writer

Fatima Turla2

Hi there! I’m Fatima . My first major travel was in 2016 in the beautiful city of Cebu. After that, I got interested in traveling. Now I enjoy learning languages and other country’s cultures. My goal is to visit at least one country each year and to share my experiences with other people through writing or blogging. Witness my journey by following me on Instagram .

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visit whitefish montana

See Whitefish Montana

seeWhitefish.com – Year Round Fun and Outdoor Adventures Vacation Rentals

Whitefish Montana

visit whitefish montana

Come visit Whitefish Montana where you can ski, ride, bike, zipline, alpine slide or hike at Whitefish Mountain Resort with over 3,000 skiable acres or relax at the beach, all within a few miles of each other. Experience the downtown charm of Whitefish Montana with shops, restaurants and entertainment. This small quaint mountain town provides an ideal gateway with scenic jagged mountain peaks, lakes and glacier-carved valleys. Visit Glacier National Park just 25 miles from Whitefish. Spend your days off exploring, not driving,

Whitefish is only 11 miles form Glacier Park International Airport ( FCA ) .

visit whitefish montana

Check out these videos:

Passing Through – Whitefish, MT – by Powder Magazine

Exploring Singletrack in Whitefish Montana | Yeti Cycles – by Outside TV

Whitefish Mountain Resort summer fun – by skiwhitefish

America’s FAVORITE Mountain Town – Travel OOO

Spring Paddleboarding in Whitefish, Montana – by ExploreWhitefish

Night Skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort – by skiwhitefish

visit whitefish montana

Whitefish Montana was ranked “ Friendliest City ” in America by Expedia .

Experience the best ski vacation in the West !

Whitefish Mountain Resort (aka Big Mountain ) was ranked 3rd in the West ski resort by Ski Magazine readers and No. 1 in Local Flavor. Ski Magazine readers also named Whitefish Mountain Resort Best Overall Satisfaction in the West.

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Whitefish Montana – You will want to return every Season!

About our vacation rentals.

Limited time? Need a fully stocked fridge? Need help planning an adventure or dining reservations? — Lakeshore Rentals concierge service can provide what you need.

Downtown – Heart of Whitefish

Located in the heart of Whitefish, this vacation rental allows for walking through town for dinner, entertainment, morning coffee, farmers market or shopping. The condo is steps away from the Whitefish traile system where you can walk or ride your bike to City Beach along the beautiful Whitefish river with parks and playgrounds. Bring your paddle board and head up Whitefish River to City Beach. Walk to the grocery store or the SNOW bus. Experience the charm of Downtown Whitefish Montana!

visit whitefish montana

2 Bed, 2 Bath, 1,261 square feet – Sleeps 6 – Walk to Restaurants, Shops, Parks, River, City Beach and Ski Bus, One Car Private Garage, Air Conditioning .

  • Bedroom 1 – King Bed and Pullout Sofa (Sleeps 3)
  • Bedroom 2 – Twin/Queen Bunk Bed (Sleeps 3)
  • Comfortable Couches! For Relaxing and Napping 🙂

Book a Stay with Lakeshore Rentals or Email:  [email protected]

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Whitefish-Montana-VecationRental-Ski.jpg

Or Email  [email protected]

Lakeside – Montana Mountain Harbor Retreat

This vacation rental is located on quieter side of beach front resort with tennis, basketball, pool, hot tub, fire pit, huge lawns and over 400 foot of private lake front. Bike or walking trail to town. Close to Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort also offering summer mountain biking lift. (5.2 Miles). Perfect getaway for up to three families where kids can roam to the lake, beach, pool, hot tub, fire pit, tennis or basketball courts. All without leaving beautifully manicured family friendly Mountain Harbor.

3 Bed, 2.5 Bath, 1,787 square feet – Sleeps 12 – Lake Access, community beach and pier, firepit, pool, hot tub, tennis, basketball, garage, Air Conditioning .

  • Bedroom 1 – 1 King Bed – Master Main Floor (Sleeps 2)
  • Bedroom 2 – 1 King Bed (Sleeps 2)
  • Bedroom 3 – 1 Twin XL/Twin XL Bunk Bed & 1 Queen/Queen Bunk Bed (Sleeps 6)
  • Great Room – Queen Murphy Bed (Sleeps 2)

visit whitefish montana

The best Whitefish Montana vacation rental locations for two differed atmospheres to experience the Whitefish Montana mountain town character and charm. Both locations in Whitefish Montana are great to skiWhitefish and seeWhitefish !

visit whitefish montana

Things to do in Whitefish

In Whitefish Montana, you will never run out of things to do. Whether you prefer the snow, water, land or air there are daily adventures for you.

  • Ski, or Snowboard at Whitefish Mountain Resort in the winter.
  • Visit the Aerial Adventure Park at Whitefish Mountain Resort in summer or Mountain Bike, Zip Line, Alpine Slide, ride the Scenic Lift, etc.
  • Visit Glacier National Park just 25 miles away
  • Take a relaxing day at the community or city beach
  • Hike in all of the beauty Montana has to offer
  • Rock climbing indoors and outdoors
  • Go Wine Tasting .
  • Visit some of the many great Restaurants .
  • Window shop through charming downtown Whitefish
  • Visit a Museum and Theater .
  • Check out the City of Whitefish Amenities Map
  • Ride a bike along the many bike tails
  • Go lake fishing , fly fishing or hunting .
  • White water rafting
  • Enjoy a plane ride with breathtaking views
  • Go for a hot air balloon adventure.
  • Go Skydiving .
  • Learn to fly!

visit whitefish montana

Contact/Availability

Call Lakeshore Rentals at 406-863-9337 and ask about: RS156 “Downtown” – Sleeps 6 – Walk around downtown MH216 “Lakeside” – Sleeps 12 – Amenities!

Email [email protected] to let us know how you liked your stay or if there is anything we could have done better. Did the unit have what you needed, was it clean, are any repairs needed etc. We value your feedback!

Availability Lakeside:

Availability Downtown:

Calendar Updates Daily

About Security: We strive to provide a safe stay for our guests and their families. We remove door codes of previous guests before check-in and have very limited camera coverage and doorbell cameras. Although Whitefish MT is about as safe as it gets, we feel that this limited camera coverage will provide a good deterrent and another layer of safety.  We take the privacy of our guests very serious and we do not monitor the cameras and we do not enable the alerts while the units are rented. We also do not review stored footage unless requested. Our hope is that our guests feel comfortable and are safe during their stay. If you have any suggestions or concerns, please feel free to email us or have Lakeshore Rentals pass your suggestions or concerns on to us. We hope you enjoy your stay!

seeWhitefish.com – cWhitefish.com Year Round Fun and Outdoor Adventures Vacation Rentals

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https://seeAnnapolis.com

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#seeWhitefish #skiWhitefish #theFish #VactionRental #VR #montana #vistiMontana #travel #mountains #glaciernationalpark #adventure #hiking #vacation #outdoors #roadtrip #visitMT #BigSky #explore #stumptown #lakeshorerentals #whitefish – Whitefish City License: WSTR-21-00002  and Whitefish City License:  WSTR-21-00030

Divergent Travelers

27 Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana (2024)

Looking for the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana? Your options range from visiting national and state parks, hiking, and watersports to relaxing by the beach, enjoying local craft beer, and much more.

Whitefish, Montana is a small town that serves as a gateway to the great outdoors, including the breathtaking Glacier National Park. We loved basing ourselves in Whitefish while we explored the park.

Before you head up into the mountains to get away from it all, you’ll want to stop over in Whitefish for a few days of creature comforts. 

This small mountain town is so much more than just a place to resupply before exploring the surrounding wilderness. Whitefish has more than enough trails, lakes, and breweries to keep any tourist occupied for weeks.

No need to worry; we brought all of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana to one place so you can easily decide what will fit in your itinerary.

Is Whitefish, MT Worth Visiting?

Table of Contents

Absolutely, yes. As you may have guessed, we absolutely loved our time in Whitefish. Many people think the area is just about visiting Glacier National Park but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There is a never-ending list of what to do in Whitefish and even if you’re not quite as adventurous as us or prefer to mix up your activities, there’s something for you.

Whitefish is a destination where you can be as active as you want and try out all sorts of adventure activities or you can chill by the beach or lake all day. Either way, it’s a destination worth exploring!

27 Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

1. explore glacier national park.

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure travel blog at Glacier National Park near Whitefish MT

When asking tourists why they are planning on visiting Whitefish, many will answer, “To explore Glacier National Park.” And we totally get it! This is how we ended up in Whitefish, too!

Glacier National Park is by far one of the most popular parks in all of the United States, famous for its stunning mountains, alpine meadows, and frozen glaciers.

It has hundreds of miles of hiking trails leading up to the highest peaks, and others to cascading waterfalls. Even if you’re not the outdoorsy type, there are scenic drives (like the famous Going to the Sun Road ) where you can take in all the views of Montana from the comfort of your car. 

2. Play at Whitefish Lake

Whitefish Lake in Whitefish Montana

Nearly all the best things to do in Whitefish are centered around Whitefish Lake. This scenic body of water is located right on the edge of the city and is easily walked to from the downtown area.

With hikes, boat rentals, and even swimming, tourists will find a little bit of everything to do along its shores.

If you’re looking to get an even closer look at Whitefish Lake, be sure to check out the kayak tours or one of the surrounding 25 campgrounds.

3. Relax at the Whitefish City Beach

City beach on Whitefish Lake in Whitefish Montana

Whitefish Lake is quite large, with miles of hiking trails and campgrounds. But if you’re looking for the closest spot from downtown to enjoy the water, you’ll want to head to City Beach.

At Whitefish City Beach, travelers will find seven miles of sandy beaches, perfect for laying out in the sun or taking a dip into the glacier waters. You’ll also find many boat and kayak rentals located along the shore!

You can also visit Whitefish Lake State Park , which is just a bit further up the shore from the City Beach.

4. Visit the Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort

No matter what time of year you find yourself in Montana, there is always something to do at Whitefish Mountain Resort . From ziplining to mountain biking, you’ll be getting your heart pumping while exploring some of America’s most breathtaking landscapes.

The main pull for tourists to Whitefish Mountain Resort is the amazing ski slopes. With a season usually starting in December and lasting until April, adventurous travelers will have a large window to head up into the mountains and enjoy the powdery slopes!

The Shuttle Network of Whitefish , aka SNOW, offers free shuttles from the Whitefish Mountain Resort to town and vice versa.

5. Visit the Flathead National Forest

Flathead National Forest

If you’re looking to escape the crowds of Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest is the perfect destination for off-the-beaten-path travelers. Personally, this is something we love to do when we’re road-tripping!

Sprawling across 2.4 million acres, Flathead is made up of the same lakes, mountains, and breathtaking glaciers found in neighboring Glacier National Park.

Within Flathead National Forest, you’ll be able to hop on your bike, strap on your skis, or cast a line into the lake. If you’re planning on staying a bit longer in Flathead, they even have cabins and campgrounds perfect for sleeping overnight!

You can also visit Hungry Horse Reservoir in the park, which leads to the 564-foot Hungry Horse Dam. It’s one of the largest dams in the country and just 30 minutes from Whitefish.

6. Check Out the Whitefish Depot

Whitefish Depot Great Northern Railway stop in Whitefish Montana

Although travelers will find tons of restaurants, bars, and shops in Whitefish, the heart of the downtown is the Whitefish Depot . This historic train station stands tall and acts as the main landmark for the town. 

Whitefish Station even has its own museum, where visitors can wander through the exhibits and get a closer look at the town’s history.

Complete with a park and picnic tables perfect for bringing your lunch over from the Stumptown Market, the Whitefish Depot truly is the soul of the city. It was one of our favorite places in Whitefish.

7. Stretch Your Legs on the Whitefish Trail

Biker biking the Whitefish Trail in Whitefish Montana

Are you looking to stretch your legs before heading out to the more strenuous trails in Glacier National Park? A good warm-up hike can be found just outside of town and is accurately named the Whitefish Trail.

The Whitefish Trail stretches a total of 42 miles and consists of several different trailheads. One of the most famous hikes is the Lion Mountain Trail, a three-mile loop taking travelers through gorgeous forests and boasting sweeping views of the valley and lake. 

The Whitefish Trail is also great for biking. There’s no better way to see Whitefish than by bike, there are plenty of paved trails that start right from downtown Whitefish. One of the most popular biking routes in Whitefish is the Haskill Basin which runs 5.5 miles. 

8. Enjoy the Spa at Whitefish Lake

Spa at Whitefish Lake

It doesn’t matter how much hiking experience you have – even the most adventurous travelers need a spa day. There is no better place in town to kick off your boots and relax those muscles than the Spa at Whitefish Lake .

Located right along the water, visitors can enjoy all the beauty of the great outdoors from the comfort of their massage table.

What will really have you sold is the outdoor hot tub, perfect for cold winter nights where you still want to bask in the beauty of the snow-covered mountains.

9. Relax at Grouse Mountain Park

Grouse Mountain Lodge located in Grouse Mountain Park

Grouse Mountain Park is not a place to go hiking or mountain climbing, but this large urban stretch of grass is the perfect spot to relax and bring your lunch. 

If you are traveling with a few friends and want to find a park to unwind by throwing the frisbee around, or even pick up a soccer game, this is the place.

Whether you’re just looking to get some sun or want to play some sports, you can do it all at Grouse Mountain Park.

10. Hike Danny On Trail

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog hiking the Danny on Trail in Whitefish Montana

One of the most popular hikes in Whitefish is Danny On Trail. This short beginner hike extends only 3.8 miles and is the perfect way to prepare for some of the more difficult trails of Glacier National Park.

At the end of the trail, travelers will be given sweeping views of Flatwood Valley below. Even if you find yourself worn out halfway through your hike, you can always take the Scenic Lift back down the mountain. 

11. Shop the Whitefish Farmers Market

Whitefish Farmers Market

If you happen to find yourself in Whitefish during the summer, you’ll want to be sure to check out some of the local culture at the Whitefish Farmers Market.

Running from May to September every Tuesday, the farmers market brings together everything from local musicians to hometown artisans.

Even if you’re not looking to buy fresh vegetables or pick up some souvenirs, Whitefish Farmers Market is a unique opportunity to see more of the soul of the town.

12. Take a Day Trip to Kalispell

Flathead Lake near Kalispell Montana

Are you about done with Whitefish but not quite ready to leave all the modern comforts of home behind? Why not get a change of scenery by traveling down to the charming town of Kalispell?

Kalispell is a small town located just minutes away from Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest. It’s the perfect spot to grab a meal, pick up some souvenirs, and explore some of Montana’s unique history.

It’s also the major city hub in the area, meaning you’ll find strip malls, chain restaurants, and an airport that supports flights to the region.

13. Spend some time in Les Mason State Park

Sunrise at Les Mason State Park

Due to how close City Beach is to Whitefish, you’re sure to see some crowds. If you’re a traveler looking to find a little more peace and quiet, Les Mason State Park is another great place where you can enjoy the beauty of Whitefish with fewer people.

Much like the other parks around Whitefish Lake, visitors to Les Mason State Park can take a dip in the cool glacier waters. With boat and kayak rentals, this park has everything you need to make your holiday one for the books.

14. Go Golfing

Whitefish Montana Golf Course

One of the most popular things to do in Whitefish is try your hand at a round of golf. That’s right, Whitefish has many great courses for avid golfers and even beginners who are looking to hit a few balls while being surrounded by mountains.

There are two golf courses in Whitefish and 5 others within 20 miles. With all of those course options, it’s no wonder why Whitefish is a popular golfing destination in Montana. 

15. Take in the Local Art

Lina Stock of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog in Sunti World Art Gallery in Whitefish Montana

There’s no other place in the western USA that has inspired artists over the years like Glacier National Park and the surrounding area. Whitefish has become a popular place for those inspirations (works of art) to be displayed to the public and available for sale. 

There are many great local galleries throughout the whole town, including Underscore Art and FoR Fine Art . There’s also the monthly Whitefish Gallery Nights where all the galleries come together to promote art in the community.

16. Enjoy the WhiteFish River

Whitefish river that runs through Whitefish Montana

Whitefish, Montana offers many great outdoor experiences and one of the most popular things to do is to enjoy the 23-mile-long Whitefish River.

This southward flowing stream runs between Whitefish Lake and the Stillwater River just before it reaches the Flathead River. 

The Whitefish River offers some great opportunities for wildlife viewing, fishing, standup paddle-boarding, kayaking, rafting or just enjoying its shoreline.

We found the best spot to enjoy the Whitefish River was at River Trail Park located just steps from downtown

17. Explore Downtown – Historical Walking Tour

Whitefish Montana historical walking tour in downtown.

Whitefish is filled with many historical sights that date back to the early 1900s. A few of those buildings look like they did back then but many of them have been transformed into modern buildings.

Throughout the town, there are small placards posted along the side of every historical building providing history to visitors who are passing by. This is something special and it should be one of the top things to do when visiting. 

The Whitefish historical walk will transport you back in time as you walk the sidewalks of Central Avenue and downtown. You can get a fully guided tour at the Whitefish Museum, The Whitefish train depot, and the Whitefish Visitor info center. 

18. Skydive in Whitefish

David Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog with Skydive Whitefish in Montana

For those adventure travelers, just imagine the views of Glacier National Park and the Whitefish area from above on a tandem skydive . There’s truly no other adrenalin-pumping experience that offers these breathtaking views and a free fall from 10,000 ft. 

Just keep in mind that the window for skydiving in Montana is short due to weather conditions and they only operate from June to October. But if you happen to be in an area with good weather, take advantage of it!

19. Try Spotted Bear Spirits

Spotted Bear Spirits Whitefish Montana

I don’t know about you but I do love to try a good locally crafted drink when traveling and one of the best places to do so is at Spotted Bear Spirits .

They are a local grass-roots craft distillery located in Whitefish that is inspired by Montana’s wild places. You can experience just that in their lineup of spirits that reflects the deeply rooted heart & soul of this area along with its breathtaking rugged landscape.

The tasting room offers great cocktails featuring local and organic ingredients. For those who love to take a taste with them as a gift or so you can just enjoy this back home, the on-sight gift shop has a wide variety of everything they distill for purchase.

20. Try Local Craft Beer

If you prefer beer to spirits, you’re in luck! There are several craft breweries in Whitefish, Montana, and nearby Kalispell.

SunRift Beer Company currently has a location in Kalispell and will be opening one in Whitefish soon, while Bonsai Brew is a Whitefish favorite and often hosts events.

Other breweries in the area include Bias Brewing , Sacred Waters Brewing Company , and Brass Tap Bar .

21. Have a Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

Do you have a sweet tooth or just love ice cream? Sweet Peaks Ice Cream is famous and a must-try when visiting Whitefish, Montana. They were founded in 2010 by two ice cream-loving Montanans, who have handcrafted their passion for ice cream and sorbets. 

We love it because this business was built and crafted by locals who have a love of Montana using local dairy and quality ingredients from the surrounding mountains.

This isn’t your normal out-of-the-box ice cream or sorbets, if you want that you should head elsewhere. There’s a rotating selection every week but the most popular flavors are Huckleberry and Flathead Cherry.

22. Take in a Performance at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center

Whitefish Performing Arts Center

If you enjoy fine arts you should check out a performance at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center when visiting. It is located in downtown Whitefish within the middle school and is known as a “mini-Carnegie Hall”. It is one of the finest performance halls of its size in the Pacific Northwest. 

They offer a wide range of theatrical plays and musical performances throughout the year. It is hands down something you need to do if any of the performance dates line up with your visit to the area.

If you love live performances, the Whitefish Theatre Company also puts on various shows throughout the year.

23. Book a Scenic Flight

Scenic flight from Whitefish Montana

The views of Glacier National Park are simply stunning from the ground but are even more impressive from above. Whitefish and the Glacier National Park area is hands down one of the most spectacular places in the USA to take a scenic flight .

Your experienced pilot will not only showcase this breathtaking area but also give you knowledge of the different places you’ll see from the sky in your own plane or helicopter. 

If you are looking for something fun, adventurous, and romantic to do when visiting Glacier National Park or Whitefish, Montana then look no further.

24. Try & Buy Huckleberry Everything

Huckleberry food items and gifts in Whitefish Montana

Huckleberry food items are one of the popular staples of Montana and the Rocky Mountains. So naturally, when visiting Whitefish you must stop in at a local shop to not only try some local Huckleberry products but buy some to bring home with you.

They make the perfect gift since they can not be grown commercially and mass-produced. They are handpicked from the fields and meadows that border the mountain ranges.

The most popular items range from jam, syrup, pie filling, lollipops, licorice, chocolate, and coffee, to name a few.

If you are in search of an original local Huckleberry shop in Whitefish we suggest stopping off at the Huckleberry Patch . They have been open since 1949 and you’ll be able to sample many of their great products.

Want to pick your own huckleberries near Whitefish? They can easily be found in many of Western Montana’s state parks, along hiking trails or ski slopes, and even campgrounds.

We suggest checking out the Whitefish Mountain Resort if you are looking for a good picking spot near town. Keep in mind, though, that they are a popular snack for bears so when you do plan on going huckleberry picking, be sure to always carry bear spray.

25. Visit Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the continental United States. It’s approximately 200 square miles and there are 5 main mainland areas run by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Whitefish is just a 30-minute drive from the northern edge of the lake, making it a worthwhile place to visit.

One of the most unique things about Flathead Lake is Wild Horse Island , a 2000-acre park on an island in the middle of the lake. It’s famous for the 5 wild horses that still roam and was used by the Kootenai Indians as a pasture for their horses. The island is only accessible by boat.

26. Grab a Cup of Joe

If you need to start your day with a cup of coffee, be sure to stop by the Montana Coffee Traders café in downtown Whitefish. Montana Coffee Traders have been brewing in northwestern Montana since 1981 and are still a local favorite. You won’t find a better cup of coffee!

And if you want to know more about the process, visit The Roastery to take a tour.

27. Try Flyboarding

If you want an adrenaline rush, don’t miss the opportunity to go flyboarding on Whitefish Lake with Flyboard of Montana .

Not sure what flyboarding is? It’s one of the new watersports where you’re strapped to a board behind a jetski and water shoots up underneath you, so you can “fly” behind the jetski!

We didn’t get a chance to try this yet but it’s definitely something to look forward to on our next trip to Whitefish!

What to do in Whitefish, Montana FAQs

Whitefish is known for its variety of outside activities and close proximity to bigger attractions, like Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake.

Glacier National Park is just 27 miles from Whitefish, which is one of the reasons Whitefish is a popular base for those exploring the park.

Several days, at least! Glacier National Park is big enough that you can spend a few days exploring the park, not to mention all of the other nearby activities. You could easily spend a week or more in Whitefish and not experience it all.

For most people, summer is the best time to visit Whitefish. The weather is great, the state and national parks are open and ready for hiking, and you can participate in the many local watersports. Winter is also a popular time to visit, for those who enjoy skiing and other winter activities.

Where to Stay in Whitefish

Grouse Mountain Lodge Whitefish Montana - Where to stay in Whitefish Montana

There are plenty of great places to stay in Whitefish but one place that we loved was the Grouse Mountain Lodge.

This amazing Montana lodge is built by adventure lovers for adventure lovers and it’s truly an impressive lodge. It features a spa, award-winning restaurant, bar, indoor-outdoor pool and all located right on a golf course surrounded by towering pine trees.

Those are just a few of the main reasons why you need to stay at the Grouse Mountain Lodge when exploring Whitefish and the surrounding area.

You might also like:

  • Ultimate USA Travel Guide
  • Best Hikes in the USA: 15 Stunning Trails You Cannot Miss
  • 15 Best Cities to Visit in the USA
  • USA National Parks List By State

Did you like this story? Share it!

Travel planning resources, about david stock.

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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Divergent Travelers- Adventure Travel Blog

Discovering Montana

Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish Montana is often referred to as the “Gateway to Glacier”. This small town is located just 30 miles south of Glacier National Park making Whitefish one of the most interesting and vibrant towns in Montana.

In 1883 the first permanent European settler came to the area. However, John Morton was not the first person to settle there. Many Native American tribes lived in the area . The Kootenai Tribe lived here for more than 14,000 years spending most of their time on the west side of the Continental divide.

Prior to 1890, the Whitefish area saw a steady stream of hunters, trappers, and travelers in search of a new life on the west coast. However, it was the logging industry and the railroad that brought a permanent settlement to the area. With the Great Northern Railway, the town began to boom and was officially incorporated in 1905.

Since that time, the location has been a popular place for tourists to visit. The area has ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and is a great place to stay when visiting Glacier National Park . Whitefish is also one of the most popular stops on the Amtrak’s Empire Builder line which crosses the northern part of the United States.

In this article, we will take a closer look at Whitefish, Montana, including attractions, accommodations, and culture, so that you can make the most of your next visit.

Your Guide to Whitefish, Montana

Table of Contents

whitefish montana

The Best Hotels For Whitefish

Lodge at Whitefish Lake

BEST OVERALL

  • Lodge at Whitefish Lake
  • Private Beach Area

The staff and facilities were great! Will absolutely stay again...

Guest Reviews

TownePlace Suites by Marriott

BEST FOR FAMILIES

  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott
  • Tea/Coffee Maker in All Rooms
  • Pets Allowed
  • Fenced Pool

Very solid hotel, excellent and clean facilities. Nice pool and hot tub. Highly recommend...

Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge

BEST FOR COUPLES

  • Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge
  • Water Sports Facilities On Site
  • ATM On Site

Great location, big room, daily cookies :), good breakfast, helpful staff...

Main Attractions

  • Whitefish Mountain Resort

whitefish mountain resort

Besides Glacier National Park, this is probably the most popular attraction that brings visitors to the town. Whitefish Mountain Resort is one of the most popular ski areas in Montana.

While it does offer many of the amenities that you’ll find at many ski resorts , including slopeside lodging, restaurants, and shopping, it isn’t as large or as busy as some other resorts in Montana.

If skiing isn’t your thing, the resort is also one of the most popular spots for summertime recreation as well. The 3,000 acres of the ski area are crossed with hiking and mountain biking trails. Many people enjoy Montana’s Alpine Slide which is a fun and unique summer activity.

Whitefish Lake and State Park

Whitefish Lake State Park is another great spot to visit when in the area. This large lake is popular thanks to the abundance of recreational activities.

Not only can you enjoy a day on the water paddling a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard, but the park has plenty of hiking trails, camping areas, and secluded fishing spots. Entrance to the park is free for Montana residents and just $8 per vehicle for non-residents.

Whitefish Lake extends into the city limits, so if you want to enjoy the lake but don’t want to head into the park, check out Whitefish City Beach. This neat swim beach located north of downtown is popular with the locals and is a great place to cool down in the summer.

Downtown Whitefish

downtown whitefish

Did you know that Whitefish was called one of the best 25 ski towns in the world? Well, believe it or not, it was, and still is! Downtown is a fun mix of old and new, with a mix of modern accommodations with many buildings being listed on the National Historic Register.

Besides beautiful historic buildings, the downtown area has plenty of great shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, and art galleries.

Great Northern Railway Depot

Every year thousands of visitors pass through the historic Great Northern Railway Depot, also known as the Whitefish Depot. As one of the stops for the Amtrak passenger train, this busy depot is both functional and a great spot to explore.

Inside the depot, you’ll find the Stumptown Historical Museum. This museum documents the history of the town, including the logging and railroad histories, as well as the history of the native peoples that inhabited the area before European settlers.

Once you’re done exploring the Depot, head over to the Depot Park, just across the street. This small park is great for picnics and is home to a local Farmers Market in the summer.

Recreation Activities

recreation activities - skiing

Truly this is the reason most people come to the area. With one of the best downhill ski resorts in the state, skiing is probably the most popular recreational activity in the area. Whitefish Mountain Resort is a great place to enjoy downhill skiing in the winter.

If downhill skiing doesn’t do it for you, check out the Glacier Nordic Center. This great spot has plenty of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. They even provide lessons and equipment rentals.

Following closely behind skiing in terms of popularity is hiking. The area is home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails. You’ll find plenty of trail options within Kootenai National Forest or Flathead National Forest . Or, hit some of the shorter, easier trails in Whitefish Lake State Park.

One of the most popular hiking areas is the Whitefish Trail . This area is a volunteer-run trail system with over 40 miles of trails for hiking and trail running. This trail system is popular with families and is open to both people and dogs, so your 4-legged friends can enjoy a good hike too.

You’ll find during your explorations around the area that besides plenty of stores for skiing and hiking gear, there are a number of fishing outfitters. Fishing in the area is a hugely popular activity. The Whitefish River is known as one of the best trout fishing rivers in the world, so tons of people come to try their hand at fly fishing the river.

If you want to sit on the dock and enjoy casting your line, check out Whitefish Lake State Park or Riverside Park, both of which have nice docks for fishing and just enjoying the water.

Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks website for all of the information on fishing regulations and to purchase your Montana fishing license.

What Is The Cost of Living in Whitefish?

The cost of living index based on the national average of 100 shows Whitefish at 111.8. This makes it 1.2 times more expensive to live in than places scoring the national average or less.

Housing is one of the main issues with cost in the area and it consistently ranks as one of the highest in the US as well as the state.

Is Whitefish Safe to Live in?

On the crime index rating from 100 (with 100 being the safest), Whitefish turns out to be 28% below the national average. The town scores a respectable 46 which is one of the highest ratings in the state for safety.

As is the case with most towns in Montana, property crime is the main issue in Whitefish and it affects around 10 residents per 1000. Violent crime is much less common and reportedly affects 2 people per 1000 according to annual figures.

What is Whitefish Known for?

Glacier National Park is literally 30 minutes from Whitefish which serves as an ideal base camp for exploration of the region. On top of that Whitefish is home to some world-class ski resorts with Whitefish Mountain Resort being one of the area’s main draws, and the town even has its own city beach as well as lake and state park .

Whitefish is big on culture and the arts and visitors and locals alike are drawn to shows by the Whitefish Theatre Company and the Whitefish Performing Arts Center .

Accommodations

The area has many options when it comes to lodging. Sure, there are great chain hotels, but there are also some great options when it comes to small local inns and motels. If you’d rather try something homier, you’ll find tons of vacation homes and bed and breakfasts to fit your needs.

  • Hampton Inn and Suites
  • The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River, Ascend Hotel Collection
  • Firebrand Hotel
  • Grouse Mountain Lodge

When is the Best Time to Visit Whitefish?

In general, spring and summer are the best times to visit Whitefish if you’re not looking to spend time skiing or participating in other winter recreation.

Whitefish has long and cold winters, with winter-like weather lasting in some years from October to May. Summers in Whitefish are short but delightfully pleasant.

Many of the area events and community activities are scheduled during the warm summer months.

whitefish arts festival event details

  • Best Time to Book Hotels: Whitefish has plenty of lodging options that range from budget, chain hotels to luxury options and even Airbnbs. During shoulder seasons you can easily book rooms with little pre-planning. Even during winter ski months hotel availability is good. If you’re planning to visit Whitefish for one of the many festivals that occur in the summer, particularly the Big Sky Festival, you will want to plan ahead and book as soon as you can.
  • Best Time for Sightseeing: Montana is one of those states where no matter the season, the views are amazing. Winter brings snowy peaks with bluebird skies. In the summer, snow transforms valleys into lush, green meadows full of wildflowers and rivers and creeks full of water. However, if sightseeing is your goal, and you want great photo opportunities, while visiting Whitefish, summer and fall are the best times to visit. With tons of hiking trails that lead you to breathtaking vistas and highways that have never-ending perfect views, you’ll find it hard to run out of ways to see more in Whitefish when the weather is great.
  • Best Time for Shopping: Downtown Whitefish is filled with great shops that you can hit year-round. However, the best deals and the arrival of the Whitefish farmers market make spring and summer the best times to shop in Whitefish. Not only can you find great items like local art, clothing, and gear, but you’ll also be able to fill your table with fresh foods from local farmers.
  • Best Time for Festivals & Events: You’ll find that because the weather is good, most of the festivals and events in Whitefish occur during the spring, summer, and early fall when people want to be outside. However, there are a few holiday-related festivals that you can enjoy during the winter.

Whitefish Travel Seasons

High season (june through august).

high season

With long and frigid winters that are best for only the heartiest of visitors, many people don’t want to visit Whitefish when it’s cold.

When things warm up, and the snow is melting, the visitors arrive. High tourist season in Whitefish runs generally from June through August.

Whitefish is a great road trip destination in the summer thanks to clear, easy-to-drive roads and temperatures that linger in the 70s and 80s, which might be just about perfect.

Shoulder Seasons (Mid-April to Early June and Late August to Early October)

If you don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures and wearing a sweater while exploring Whitefish, then the shoulder seasons are a great time to visit.

Generally, the shoulder seasons in Whitefish are mid-April to early June and then late August to early October.

If you’re not into crowds or if you just want a more relaxed visiting experience, these warmer months with fewer people offer easier access to lodging, quiet hiking trails, and some fun early and late-season events and festivals.

Spring in Whitefish is beautiful with fresh green leaves, blooming trees, and a crispness to the air.

September and October see kids heading back to school and leaves turning to shades of yellow, orange, and red, making for amazing photography moments.

Low Season (Late October Through Late March)

low season

From October to March, the weather in Whitefish isn’t great if you’re not a local or here to ski or snowboard.

The weather during the winter in Whitefish can be challenging for visitors that aren’t prepared. Temperatures can dip below zero, and roads are often icy and difficult to pass.

Whitefish Weather by Month

whitefish weather by month

January, for most visitors, is a difficult time to travel to Whitefish. Though this is the peak of ski season, the weather in January in Whitefish can be described as snowy and frigid.

The average high temperature in Whitefish is 33°F with the average low around 19°. The snowfall in Whitefish averages over 7 inches, but the surrounding mountains see much more.

Things start to warm up a bit in February, but it’s still cold in Whitefish. February brings more consistent cloud cover and snow. However, as the temperature starts to creep up, the snowfall starts to decrease.

The average temperature high temperature in Whitefish in February is 40°F with average low temperatures sitting right about 24°F. February’s average snowfall is about 4 inches.

March in Whitefish brings a bit of a reprieve from the cold. As the days get longer, and the clouds start to move out, hints of spring start to arrive. But don’t be fooled by these improvements.

Whitefish can still get snow in March, and the average snowfall for the month is around 3 inches. Towards the end of March snow will often give way to rain showers.

Temperatures in Whitefish in March look like average highs around 51°F and daily lows around 31°F.

April in Whitefish sees the end of snow showers (mostly), but daily there is a good chance of rain and clouds.

Daytime temperatures in April in Whitefish are pretty pleasant, but you’ll want to have a sweater or jacket with you as daily high temperatures may reach 61°F but afternoon showers can turn the day chilly.

Nighttime temperatures drop into the upper 30s with an average low temperature of 37°F.

The old adage of “April showers bring May flowers” is in full effect in Whitefish in May.

Spring rains wake up the plants in Whitefish, and the valley turns a vibrant, lush green. May has an almost daily chance of rain in Whitefish so bring a raincoat or umbrella. Surprisingly, May is also one of the cloudiest months in Whitefish.

The average daily high temperature sits at 69°F, with the daily average low around 45°F.

June sees the departure of daily rain and clouds, and the sun really begins to warm things up in Whitefish. With longer days and mild temperatures, Whitefish becomes a bustling tourist town.

The average daily high temperature in June is 77°F, and the low hovers around 49°F. Don’t leave the jacket at home however, evenings are still chilly, and there is still a good possibility of rain.

Welcome to summer in Whitefish! July is the most pleasant of months in Whitefish, and the town and tourist season is in full swing.

July’s average high is 84°F, with the low temperature at 52°F. There is a low chance of rain in July, but do bring a sweater or light jacket because the evening can be chilly.

August brings the hottest temperatures of the year in Whitefish, but also a noticeable decrease in temperature as the month carries on.

Early August temperatures can easily hit 85°F or more. By the end of August temperatures in the 70s are typical. The average low temperature in Whitefish in August is 46°F.

Fall arrives in Whitefish in September. Temperatures start to decrease significantly as does the cloud cover.

The chance of rain increases, and if you’re visiting Whitefish in September, you’ll need a coat, umbrella, and maybe even a warm hat for the evenings. The average daily high temperature is 64°F, with a daily low average of 38°F.

Winter arrives in Whitefish at the end of October. In the early part of the month, you can still expect rain showers, and clouds become almost constant in October.

Shorter days mean colder temperatures, especially toward the end of the month. October also sees the first snowfall of the season. Daily high-temperature averages 47°F, with the average daily low around 30°F.

We’re back in ski season again in Whitefish. By the time November rolls around, the mountains surrounding Whitefish have plenty of snow for a good base, and the town has its own covering of snow.

Temperatures start to dip below freezing at night, and clouds dominate the sky 68% of the time. Look for average daily highs around 34°F, and daily average lows near 23°F. The average snowfall in November is about 5 inches.

Unless you are a dedicated skier, you’ll probably not love the weather in Whitefish in December.

With a daily average high of only 29°F, an average low of 17°F, December is the coldest month of the year in Whitefish. Average snowfall is 7 inches and you’ll rarely see the sun in December.

Whitefish Events & Festivals

whitefish events

Warmer weather means more activities. So, it makes sense that most festivals and activities in Whitefish happen during the summer. There are however a few fun winter activities, mostly surrounding holidays.

Whitefish in February

Whitefish winter carnival.

This fun winter festival is a local favorite. Whitefish residents don’t mind the snow and cold, and this festival is all about Whitefish.

Something like a homecoming celebration the Winter Carnival has fun activities like a parade, adult-only activities, themed parties, and even a Carnival King and Queen.

Flathead Sled Dog Days

The end of February brings the dog days of winter to Whitefish. Literally. Whitefish plays host to the Flathead Classic sled dog race.

Visitors to Whitefish will get to see amazing canine athletes and their humans race through the valley. The Flathead Classic is one of a handful of sled dog racing events in North America.

Whitefish in April

Whitefish pond skim.

If you really want to be entertained, head up to Whitefish Mountain Resort in early April to experience the Whitefish Pond Skim.

This event tests the skills of skiers and snowboarders, on both the snow and the water. Competitors ski or board down a hill where they skip across a pond of chilly water as far as they can.

This festival brings out crazy costumes, bands, and plenty of laughs.

Spring Brewfest

If you aren’t into crazy skiers and snowboarders, then maybe the Spring Brewfest in the Whitefish Mountain Resort village is more your style. For $25 guests can enjoy beers and food from local breweries and restaurants.

This is one of the most popular festivals in Whitefish, with crowds growing each year to enjoy good beer, food and local entertainment.

Whitefish in May

Whitefish marathon, half marathon & 5k.

A classic foot race through the Flathead Valley. Runners from across the country come to run up to 26.2 miles through some of the most beautiful terrains in Montana.

The race offers a 5K, a half-marathon, and a full marathon. The finish line has local vendors, entertainment, food, and beer.

Whitefish in June

Summer artfest at whitefish.

With Glacier National Park in the background, the Summer ArtFest at Whitefish is one of the most well-known art festivals in the country.

Visitors will enjoy art from Montana artists as well as renowned artists from the Western U.S. and other parts of the country. The festival also has great food and local entertainment.

Whitefish in July

July 4th fireworks on whitefish lake.

A local tradition, and a family favorite. The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce puts on an amazing fireworks display over Whitefish Lake .

While the fireworks are the culmination of the day, Whitefish City Beach is busy with activities all day long.

Whitefish Arts Festival

Sponsored by the Whitefish Christian Academy this event is another highlight of the 4 th of July weekend in Whitefish. Wander through booths featuring high-quality local arts and crafts.

The festival also has a juried art show that many local artists participate in.

Under the Big Sky Festival

Located at Big Mountain Ranch near Whitefish, the Under the Big Sky Festival is likely the biggest festival in Whitefish.

This country music festival brings some of the biggest names in country music to the Flathead Valley. Combine great music with a rodeo and round-up and you have a great weekend under the Big Sky in Whitefish.

Whitefish in August

Bigfork riverbend concert series.

Every Sunday through the summer Whitefish residents can enjoy amazing concerts in Bigfork’s Riverbend Park.

Just a short drive from Whitefish, this summer concert series is a local favorite and features Montana artists as well as up-and-coming entertainers from around the country.

Huckleberry Days Arts Festival

As you visit Whitefish, you’ll soon learn that the Huckleberry is a local fruit that everyone uses. It’s popular on menus, and the town of Whitefish even has an annual festival dedicated to the humble huckleberry.

At the Huckleberry Days Arts Festival, you’ll enjoy foods with huckleberries, local arts and crafts vendors, and local entertainment.

Whitefish in September

Great northwest oktoberfest.

Like many communities around the United States Whitefish celebrates the start of fall with its own Oktoberfest celebration.

Spanning one of the last weekends in September, Whitefish Oktoberfest is all things German. German food, German clothes, German beer, and yes, even polka.

Whitefish Songwriter Festival

For three days in September, Whitefish hosts up-and-coming songwriters from around North America.

Twenty songwriters will set up shop in restaurants, coffee shops, theaters, and bars around Whitefish sharing their stories and creativity with Whitefish.

Whitefish in December

Whitefish christmas stroll.

Early December is the perfect time to gather with Whitefish locals, friends, and family and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season.

The Christmas Stroll is a long-standing tradition in Whitefish that features music, entertainment, food, arts and crafts, and even fun contests and games. The real start of the Whitefish Christmas stroll is of course Santa.

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade

Whitefish Mountain Resort welcomes Santa and his elves to Whitefish with a candle-lit parade. Resort employees carry torches as they escort Santa to the resort village down the ski mountain.

Arrive at the village early for a great seat and to enjoy a warm beverage while you wait and watch for Santa. As Santa makes his way through the village, he hands out gifts to local children.

Activities Near Whitefish

  • Memorial Park
  • Grouse Mountain City Park and Rest Area
  • River Trail Park
  • Riverside Park
  • Whitefish Trail
  • Hugh Rogers Wag Park
  • The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center
  • Whitefish Lake Golf Club
  • Glacier Nordic Center
  • Whitefish City Beach
  • Whitefish Pump Track

National Parks and Forests

  • Glacier National Park
  • Flathead National Forest
  • Kootenai National Forest

County and State Parks

  • Whitefish Lake State Park
  • Les Mason State Park
  • Stumptown Historical Museum
  • Whitefish Depot

Performing Arts

  • Whitefish Performing Arts Center
  • Whitefish Theater Company
  • O’Shaughnessy Center

Related Articles

  • Montana Towns, Cities & Communities
  • The Best Airports Near Whitefish
  • The Best Hotels in Whitefish
  • The Best Restaurants in Whitefish

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Welcome to Whitefish – gateway to Glacier National Park, the northern Rocky Mountains, world-class downhill skiing … and so much more! The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce – and our 500+ member businesses – are dedicated to the smart, sustainable growth of our community, ensuring a strong, vibrant economy while also protecting the unsurpassed quality of life that our residents enjoy.  Whether you’re here for an afternoon, a weekend or the rest of your life, you’ll find something to love in Whitefish, Montana!

Explore the Whitefish Area

Whitefish is a thriving, active mountain town, located in the heart of the Northern Rockies near Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake and Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort.  World-class dining, shopping, sight-seeing, cultural and recreational opportunities abound … now it’s time to start planning!

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Whitefish has a dynamic, year-round tourism-based economy with more than 800 locally owned-and-operated small businesses serving the needs of visitors and locals alike.  Change happens fast in Whitefish … so click on the links below to check-out our newest members, our 2023 Whitefish Community Guide, or to subscribe to our weekly Chamber Chat newsletter!

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Whitefish, Montana, Is the Perfect All-seasons Destination — With Small-town Charm, Lakefront Lodges, and Mountain Views

Whitefish, Montana, is the ideal destination for an outdoor adventure no matter the season.

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GlacierWorld

If awe-inspiring vistas, fresh air, and easy access to the best of Mother Nature are what you're after, then it's time to plan a trip to Whitefish, Montana . 

Located in the northwest corner of the state, Whitefish is a resort town with fewer than 10,000 full-time residents. It sits on the shores of Whitefish Lake, where visitors can gaze upon both the water and surrounding craggy mountaintops. It's a place where peace and quiet are the norm, and it's ready to welcome you no matter the season. 

What to Know Before You Visit Whitefish

Whitefish isn't the place to go if you're looking for hustle and bustle. Instead, it's a destination tailor-made for those who want to disconnect from their everyday routines and reconnect with the simpler things, like the landscape's breathtaking natural beauty.

Matt Wetzler/Thewmatt Photography

Best Time to Visit Whitefish

Those looking for verdant landscapes and blue skies should plan their visit to Whitefish in the spring and summer months. According to  Weather Spark , temperatures will likely fall between the mid-50s and mid-60s by May and increase each successive month through June, July, and August, when they can reach the low 80s. 

The fall is another beautiful time to visit, as the weather cools off a bit and the trees turn a kaleidoscope of colors with peak foliage. Expect September, October, and November temperatures to drop quickly from the high 60s to the low 40s.

However, if you love snow, winter may be the ideal time for you to visit. Winters are certainly cold, with temperatures dropping to the low 20s in December, January, and February and snowfall likely falling throughout those months as well. In other words, Whitefish is a great place for everyone. All you need to do is decide if you want to explore it in a T-shirt or are willing to get bundled up. 

RELATED: Montana Is Packed With Luxury Hotels, Charming Small Towns, and Lots of Adventures — How to Plan the Perfect Trip

Best Things to Do in Whitefish

Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Take a day trip to Glacier National Park.

Visitors to Whitefish shouldn't miss nearby Glacier National Park . Located about 30 minutes away, the national park makes for an awe-inspiring day trip. Drive down Going-to-the-Sun Road, embark on a hike, or simply pop over to soak in the stunning views. 

Hike the Whitefish Trail.

Set out for a day of hiking or biking down the  community-supported trail that stretches for 47 miles through the wilderness around Whitefish. It's appropriate for all abilities as you can turn back whenever you'd like. 

Shop in downtown Whitefish.

Take a stroll down Central Avenue or through the historic Railway District to find a few quaint shops that will be more than happy to point you in the direction of your perfect souvenir. Check out spots like Cabin Creek Antiques for something unique, Cawdrey Gallery for a contemporary piece, or Polka Dot Sheep Fine Yarns to fill your knitting basket with goodies. 

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Hit the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort. 

Visiting in winter? There's no better place to be than  Whitefish Mountain Resort . The ski resort, which has been in operation for 75 years, comes with 3,000 acres of skiable terrain across 111 marked trails. Newbie skiers can also take advantage of its lesson program, while seasoned pros can go off-piste for a few tree runs. 

Catch some rays at Whitefish City Beach.

Here when the sun is shining and mercury is rising? Make your way to  Whitefish City Beach , a lovely seven-mile-long glacial lake that will surely delight. There are designated swimming areas, picnic tables, a bike path, and even paddleboards and kayaks to rent from  Whitefish Outfitters & Tours . 

Where to Stay in Whitefish 

The lodge at whitefish lake.

Have yourself a mountain retreat by booking a few nights at  The Lodge at Whitefish Lake , which prides itself on bringing "a sense of leisure and grace" with all the modern amenities one would expect from a rejuvenating stay. Book a single room, a lakefront condo, or an entire luxury home, depending on your travel party size.  

The Firebrand Hotel

Stay close to all the best outdoor attractions in Whitefish by checking into  The Firebrand Hotel , which sits just minutes from the slopes and trails. It makes for an ideal home base thanks to its cozy atmosphere, in-house dining options, and full-service spa. 

The FarmHouse Inn

Good things come in small packages, especially if you stay at  The FarmHouse Inn . Classic and comfortable, the bed-and-breakfast also comes with quick access to its cafe, which serves organic breakfasts and lunches, including fluffy pancakes and towering slices of avocado toast. 

How to Get to Whitefish

You have several great options for getting to Whitefish, including direct flights into Glacier Park International Airport, located about 20 minutes from town. Those who like to take the slow route can drive in or arrive via Amtrak's Empire Builder , which pulls into the historic Whitefish Depot.

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Summer 2024 Activities

Summer 2024 Activities are available for sale online. Purchase online, in advance, for the best price.

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From Season Passes to Summer Activities, we've got what you need on our online shop.

Whether you prefer condos, townhomes or houses, we've got your lodging needs covered.

Curious about Whitefish Mountain Resort?

Check out the following tidbits to learn more about us., first time visitor.

Whitefish Mountain Resort is a true four season destination. If this is your first time visiting follow the link below.

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Service & Value

Routinely ranked in the Top 10 on industry reader polls for Value & Service. We pride ourselves on extending a family friendly vibe throughout the resort.

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Summer 2024

Miles of mtn bike trails, huckleberries.

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Looking for a lesson?

Looking to learn how to ride a Mountain Bike or just improve your skills? Look no further!

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Connection to a Real Ski Town

Whitefish, Montana, was incorporated in 1905, a year after the arrival of the Great Northern Railway. Hardworking railroad employees, loggers and miners supported the establishment of bars, restaurants and shops along Central Avenue and its cross streets in buildings that still stand today. Whitefish remains a vibrant city that welcomes visitors who rub elbows with friendly locals at its coffee shops, bars and boutiques. Local eateries vary from casual to elegant, many serving locally harvested ingredients from the Flathead Valley’s bountiful farms.

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Family First

With a wide variety of terrain, a Kids Center and lessons tailored for all ages and skill levels, we have everything you need to make lasting family memories. Traveling here is a cinch with Glacier Park International Airport (FCA or GPI) just 19 miles away by car, and our cozy lodgings will ensure everyone sleeps soundly after a day on the slopes.

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Groups & Weddings

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Married on 07/09/2023, Wedding Wire, 5 Stars

Absolutely amazing! This place was unreal! With beautiful views and a full team executing our wedding vision. 11 out 10!!

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Sunday, Dec. 14, 1947, was opening day of the resort’s first ski season. Tickets to ride the new T-bar, which originated just above the old chalet, cost $2 apiece. A hamburger cost a quarter and a beer a few nickels. Around 1,000 people showed up from around the Flathead Valley to see what the hubbub was all about.

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Any help would be highly appreciated.

4 replies to this topic

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Yes, as noted a long day but very doable. As early a start as possible for sure. Certainly getting a nite on the east side or even east glacier would ease the windshield time

Have you checked boat tours at lake McDonald? That would come with a pass.

Also, when are you coming?

June 15th to 19th

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visit whitefish montana

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12 Amazing Things to do in Whitefish, Montana (during the summer)

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Table of Contents

visit whitefish montana

About Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana is located in the northwest region of Montana and has plenty things to do no matter what season you visit! Summer boasts a multitude of fun adventures and more daylight to enjoy them with. Read on to add all of these activities to your summer things to do in Whitefish, Montana list!

Whitefish is sometimes referred to as “Stumptown” due to the fact that it was cleared out of trees during the towns early days.

Where to Stay in Whitefish, Montana

There are an abundance of hotels, resorts and vacation rentals all over Whitefish, Montana that have year round availability. You will find resorts as well as well known hotel chains in the Whitefish area.

Click here to look at more information to help you decide where to stay while exploring Whitefish, Montana.

Woman standing in sandals, jeans and t shirt with sunglasses on by a mural saying Greetings from Whitefish

Things to do in Whitefish, Montana

1) downtown train depot & historical museum.

The train depot in Whitefish, Montana is a long standing piece of this mountain town’s history. Established in 1928 and you still can take an Amtrak train into Whitefish to this day. It was revamped and restored in 1990 check out Amtrak to look into arriving into Whitefish, Montana by rail.

You can learn more about Whitefish (or Stumptown) logging and rail early days by exploring the historical museum . With limited hours, be sure to check before you make your way there! The museum is free, but donations are gladly accepted.

In Whitefish, there are several paved bike trails throughout the city, some even go along the river. Definitely be sure to bring your bike with if you’re on a road trip or there are several companies in Whitefish where you can rent a bike. So get out on a two wheel adventure in Whitefish, Montana!

3) Hiking (or mountain biking) on Lion Mountain Trail

Lion Mountain Trail is an easy jaunt on a mountain bike or a short hike that you definitely should include on your things to do in Whitefish, Montana list. At under 3 miles and only about 350 ft of elevation gain it’s really enjoyable for the whole family. My favorite part was the overlook where there is a bench that looks out over Skyles Lake. Dogs are permitted just make sure that you put them on a leash & clean up after them!

the view out over skyles lake  in Whitefish, Montana

4) Paddling

There are many places within Whitefish that you can go paddling with a kayak or SUP (Stand up paddle board) such as Whitefish city beach or __ River. However, not too far from Whitefish is Flathead Lake that has an island called Wild Horse island in it that you can explore. The only caveat is you can only reach this island by water. Taking a tour with Seame paddle company to Wild Horse island was an amazing way to spend a Saturday while in Whitefish. Although a bit of a drive from Whitefish, it was so worth it!

Another great option would be to rent a boat on Flathead Lake to have a lake day especially if you’re traveling with a bigger group. Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.

visit whitefish montana

5) Shopping Downtown Whitefish, Montana

There are so many cute shops in downtown Whitefish, Montana be sure to set aside an early afternoon to stroll through the area and shop. One bit of advice though, shops aren’t open really late (many close around 5-6 PM with a select few open til 7-8) so when carving out time don’t expect to do it after happy hour as many of them will be closed! This really surprised me especially since there are so many people here as tourists but it is a small town after all.

Whitefish, Montana is a great destination if you’re wanting to golf many different courses. It’s not the first place I would think of to plan a golf destination trip but given the fact that there are 10 golf courses in the Flathead Valley area it’s a great option for the golf enthusiast to get multiple rounds in.

Meadow Lake golf course near Whitefish, Montana

7) Sip Craft Cocktails

Located in downtown Whitefish, Montana Spotted Bear Spirits is a small craft distillery with a tasting room that’s perfect for a happy hour drink or two! Offering distillery flights of the liquor as well as deliciously crafted cocktails. Keep in mind, it isn’t a late night spot it closes relatively early. They also switch out their menu seasonally and the drink I had (and absolutely loved!) doesn’t appear to be on the menu anymore. (Insert sad face!) It was called the “Bad Bee”. With honey, lime, orange and a tasty jalapeno agave spirit it was just the right amount of sweet but with a little spice. It reminded me of a spicy margarita but less acidic and a just a little bit sweeter.

spotted bear spirits cocktails in whitefish, mt

8) Visit a Craft Beer Brewery

Bonsai brewing project was a perfect evening after biking to have a few beers and dinner. They have a wide open outdoor space with shady areas to chill with a cold brew. The array of different beers on tap was top notch and the food menu also was delicious. Definitely recommend stopping in for just a few beers or a meal as well while you’re in Whitefish.

bonsai brewing whitefish, MT

9) Have a bite to eat or Sweet Treat at Whitefish Restaurants

Bulldog saloon.

So the Bulldog’s are Whitefish, Montana’s local high school mascot. This divey and local spot has great wings and food. The beer selection was only so so but it was a good spot overall. The huckleberry wings are a must here!

Inside the dimly lit sports bar the bulldog in whitefish, montana with sports pennants tacked to the ceiling

Craggy Range Bar & Grill

Definitely a sports bar vibe with many different TV’s. At first we were skeptical of the spot and we ended up going there due to multiple places being a really long wait. First of all, we had awesome service. I always notice when a server has a ton of tables but is hustling and totally on top of it. (In all honesty it gives me nostalgia a little bit having served for about 12 years before I solely worked only my corporate job but that’s a story for another time.) The service was top notch and a lot of places it’s really hard to come by these days.

Another healthy dose of nostalgia going back to my 25th birthday in Vegas, this sports bar offers beer towers! My husband and I don’t always see eye to eye on beer selections so sadly we didn’t get one but I just love that they do that. Our food was great and the drinks we ordered were amazing as well. I honestly can’t say enough great things about this sports bar. I would go back in a heartbeat because of the great experience & excellent food.

Loula’s

Loula’s is a must for breakfast or brunch! Get there early or you will likely wait. (Especially on the weekends.) It’s a place where you can enjoy great homestyle meals and really attentive service. Even if you’re there for breakfast, check out the pie board. They typically post on the white board the pies they have available for the day. Trust me, you neeeeed to get a slice of pie to go. It was one of the best pieces of pie I’ve ever had! I loved the fact that they had a complete separate kitchen dedicated to just pies. (That’s when you know they’re really serious about their pies when they have that kind of real estate committed to just dessert.)

pie counter at loulas in whitefish, montana

Cowgirl Coffee

I always love supporting local coffee shops when possible. There was a cute little coffee kiosk not to far from where we stayed so of course we had to grab an iced latte here.

iced latte from cowgirl coffee in whitefish montana

Sweet Peaks ice cream

There is usually a line, however it moves pretty quickly. It’s small batch locally sourced ice cream. Need I say more? It’s truly worth the wait. After deciding on what sweet treat to enjoy, outside you will find some picnic tables to enjoy your tasty dessert.

two cups of icecream on the counter at sweet peaks whitefish montana

10) Visit the Whitefish Mountains ski resort

Yes! Even in summer visiting Whitefish Mountains Resort is a fun thing to do. You can stay here year round at the resort and during the summer there’s mountain biking, zip lining, hiking, and scenic lift tour up out over the town of Whitefish. Be sure to make it out to the resort as one of the things to do while you’re in Whitefish, Montana.

11) Explore Flathead National Forest

Flathead National Forest is located south of Glacier National Park in Flathead County. If you’re planning on exploring here, it’s good to have a plan of where you’re going and what you want to see. (If you’re like me, that’s always a good idea to be organized and maximize your time and the amount of things you’re able to do and see!) But fair warning that Flathead National Forest is absolutely huge! Parts of it can be accessed from Whitefish.

12) East of Whitefish, Montana: Explore Glacier National Park

Summer definitely is the best time to visit Glacier National Park as it’s one of the National Parks in the United States that has the most limited season for visitors. When we visited in early summer (June) there were still winter storms and snow which created avalanche conditions. Not all parts of the park were accessible because of this. However, July-early September are usually optimal times to visit Glacier. If you’re in Whitefish then I’d definitely pop over to the park to view stunning glacial lakes and snow capped peaks into the summer months.

on Lake Josephine in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park

Beyond things to to in Whitefish- More Montana Travel :

Glacier national park (when going to the sun road is closed), 8 things to do while working remotely in livingston, montana, itinerary for 2 days in north yellowstone national park, similar posts.

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Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park

By Emily Pennington

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There’s something truly spectacular about the Northern Rockies, and more specifically, Glacier National Park. From its striated, sky-high peaks to its thundering waterfalls and alpine meadows brimming with wildflowers, there’s a little something for everyone at this Montana haven. Wildlife seekers will enjoy the chance to witness grizzly bears and moose in their natural habitat, and hikers will appreciate the opportunity to lace up their boots and tackle the park’s hundreds of miles of trails .

Of course, it’s no secret that Glacier is home to show-stopping beauty. In fact, it’s such a popular area that the National Park Service reinstated its vehicle entry reservations for this summer. As such, it’s more important than ever to book your lodging early, whether you’re staying at a historic lodge, cozy log cabin , or fabulous glampsite. Read on for our favorite places to stay in and around Glacier National Park.

Interested in sleeping under the stars? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Discover the best places to stay:

The best rentals, the best hotels, the best dude ranches.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

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Bed and bath: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths Top amenities: Riverfront views, fireplace, outdoor deck with a grill Best for:  Staying close to the park

River Haus is as close as you can get to the gates of Glacier without sleeping inside the park proper. As such, it’s great for adventurous travelers who like to get up and explore—without the requisite long car ride. Wake up and sip coffee in the home’s private yard, taking in the phenomenal views of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, or snuggle up by the wood-burning fireplace. Then, after exploring Going-to-the-Sun Road by car or bicycle, enjoy dinner in the midcentury-style dining room, or grill out back with a glass of wine in hand.

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Historic homestead with hot tub views

Bed & bath:  2 bedrooms, 1 bath Top amenities:  Hot tub, mountain views, playground, firepit Best for:  Families seeking quiet solitude

Not only is this updated, century-old homestead a photographer’s dream, it’s surrounded by sweeping, panoramic mountain views and boasts a deck-level hot tub for late-night stargazing . Inside, you’ll find bold but tasteful western decor (think black and white stills of whitetail deer and loads of reclaimed wood), as well as room for the whole family, all a mere 15 minutes from the national park.

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Kim’s Trading Post Cabin

Bed and bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities: Kitchenette, grill, hot tub Best for:  A unique Wild West experience

Tucked away in a cabin rental community that’s fashioned to look like a Wild West town of yesteryear, Kim’s Trading Post is an adorable getaway for those who want the old-school Montana experience—without sacrificing creature comforts. A good-sized kitchen, dining nook, and a lounge area with a flat-screen TV greet you when you first walk in, though the focal point is surely the space’s plush, king-size bed. Dates taken? Check out the host’s other Fort Williamson tiny homes for rent.

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Creekside Crossing House

Bed and bath: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths Top amenities: Firepit, indoor and outdoor games, dedicated workspace, chef’s kitchen Best for:  Gathering the whole family together

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Ideal for families or large groups, this three-bedroom Coram home sleeps six (one king, one queen, and one bunk bed) and is brimming with thoughtful amenities. Roast s’mores outside over the large firepit, snuggle up for a movie night on the plush couch, or settle in and play one of the home’s board games when the weather turns sour. After a scenic in-park drive or a hike to stunning Avalanche Lake (the rental is a mere nine minutes to the park’s western edge), fry up a feast in the lavish full kitchen and enjoy supper in the dining room.

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park The Best Hotels Dude Ranches and Glamping Sites

Luxe 1906 Barn

Bed & bath:  2 bedrooms, 3 baths Top amenities:  Phenomenal deck views, full kitchen, washer and dryer Best for:  Families staying on the east side

Rustic wood walls and a shingled exterior pair perfectly with plush bedding and warm-toned rugs at this real-deal barn turned vacation rental in the Blackfeet Reservation on the eastern edge of Glacier. With ample space to spread out and unwind after hiking to brilliantly blue alpine lakes, this two-story home can comfortably sleep up to eight. Sip your morning coffee while enjoying panoramic mountain views from the upper deck or enjoy a relaxing bath before bedtime. Either way, you’ll be a stone’s throw from top sights like Two Medicine Lake and Going to the Sun Road.

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Quintessential Whitefish cabin

Bed & bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  Outdoor dining nook, eat-in kitchen, flat screen TV, woodburning stove Best for:  Serenity and views, just outside of Whitefish

Named the friendliest city by Expedia users in 2021, Whitefish is the perfect base camp for outdoorsy travelers looking to explore Glacier National Park, and this quaint wooden cabin will make you feel instantly at ease. Little details are what makes this place so homey, like bird houses, colorful bursts of wildflowers, a private three-acre lake, bistro seating on the private patio, and warm-toned geometric rugs. Retire to your very own wood burning fireplace after taking in the sights on Going to the Sun Road.

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Waterfront island cabin

Bed & bath:  3 bedrooms, 1 bath Top amenities:  Private lake access, full kitchen, woodburning fireplace Best for:  Water sports with the kids

Ever wanted to run away to your own woodsy island retreat? Well, now you can. This three-bedroom cabin is nestled in a stand of towering pine trees on the western edge of Deer Island, making it the most secluded in the area. Outside, there are massive windows and a wrap-around deck, so you don’t miss a single sunset, while the home’s interior is adorned with colorful southwestern rugs, a wood-burning fireplace, and vintage fishing trinkets. A pontoon boat is available for use while visiting, ensuring you and your loved ones can travel to and from with ease, plus you can rents kayaks nearby for easy exploring.

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Vintage log cabin

Bed & bath:  2 bedrooms, 1 bath Top amenities:  Full kitchen, grill, outdoor dining area Best for:  Artsy couples on a budget

Part of the joy of visiting a national park is immersing yourself in lodging as unique as the landscape. This authentic log cabin was once used by foresters, but has since been transformed into a funky retro wonderland, complete with gingham pillows, red-lacquered dining room chairs, and a private deck with a grill and mountain views. At under 10 minutes from the west entrance of Glacier National Park, this historic Airbnb getaway is the ideal place to snuggle up next to a wood-burning fireplace when your day of exploring is done.

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Meadowlark Treehouse

Bed & bath:  1 bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms Top amenities:  Tempur-Pedic mattress, full kitchen, balcony dining Best for:  Whimsical families and woodsy couples

The Meadowlark Treehouse, crafted around a giant Douglas fir, is where luxury and fairyland collide, all within a 30-minute drive to Glacier. You’ll feel as though you’re tip-toeing through the halls of Hogwarts, ascending a spiral staircase to access the eat-in kitchen, private balcony, and tiled shower, while down below, guests have access to a fire pit, surrounded by Adirondack chairs.

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Luxury lakeside yurt

Bed & bath:  2 bedrooms, 1 bath Top amenities:  Washer and dryer, private deck with grill and gas-powered firepit Best for:  Lakeside lounging

Mountain views abound at this lavish, two-bedroom yurt that’s packed to the brim with chic amenities like Miele appliances, fast Wi-Fi, a private wrap-around deck, fire pit, and stone-encrusted shower. Set on a farm at the northern end of stunning Flathead Lake, this canvas cabin feels like it’s a million miles from the city, while remaining under an hour’s drive to the bustling national park.

best small towns in america Whitefish Montana

Bed & bath:  2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths Top amenities:  Sonos speakers, craft coffee, Bosch kitchen Best for:  Ultra-luxe forest bathing

It’s a challenge to find anything as architectural and elegant as the Nooq in a land populated by antler chandeliers and rustic quilts, and the calming minimalism of this space helps accentuate the already glorious nature right outside the front door. A floating, wood-burning fireplace creates a mod focal point in the open-plan family room, while stainless steel appliances, Danish furnishings, cookware by Le Creuset, and a freestanding tub with mountain views elevate the rest of the space to a luxurious, tranquil retreat.

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park The Best Hotels Dude Ranches and Glamping Sites

Après Whitefish

Bed & bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  Sauna, gear storage, lobby espresso bar Best for:  Adventurous budget-conscious travelers

Après Whitefish prides itself on being a “thoughtfully curated boutique hotel” with wallet-friendly pricing, and we’re here for it. Just opened in 2022, the rooms here are simple yet comfortable, with custom artwork, free Wi-Fi, plush linens, and writing desks, but the communal areas are where Après shines. After a day of hiking to Avalanche Lake, kick back with a locally roasted coffee from the espresso bar, listen to records on a midcentury sofa, or cozy up to new friends around the firepit and in the sauna. If it was up to us, more national park gateway towns would have a hip, young hotel like this.

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park The Best Hotels Dude Ranches and Glamping Sites

Firebrand Hotel

Bed & bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  Rooftop hot tub, ski valet, free bicycle and snowshoe use Best for:  A couples’ spa and park vacay

Amenities abound at this modern oasis situated in the heart of downtown Whitefish. Want to hit a yoga class and then soak in a rooftop hot tub? They’ve got you covered. Hoping to sip bubbly in a cozy igloo with a view? Yep, they’ve got that, too. Guest rooms here are standard hotel fare–clean neutrals, walk-in showers, and well-placed writing desks–but it’s the thoughtful extras, like free airport shuttles, a game library, on-site spa, and ski storage that are truly impressive touches.

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Under Canvas Glacier

Bed & bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  Organic bath products, woodburning stove, communal lounges Best for:  Glamping escape with your boo

Set in a tranquil conifer forest, these canvas safari tents offer everything you would expect from a luxe Under Canvas property: organic bath products, rustic wood furnishings by West Elm, and complimentary morning yoga, steps away from the national park. When you’re not lounging on your private deck or enjoying complimentary s’mores, the on-site experience coordinators can help you plan the perfect day inside the park.

Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel

Bed & bath:  1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  On-site dining, easy lake access, evening ranger programs Best for:  Outdoor lovers who want to stay inside the park

In a park known for its turn-of-the-century lodges inspired by Swiss Alps, the Many Glacier Hotel stands out as the crown jewel of the bunch. Set amidst jaw-dropping views of Swiftcurrent Lake, the property was partially renovated in 2016, though you’ll find no televisions or air conditioning here. Instead, the historic hotel beckons visitors to glean a more old-world experience of the park, with private bathrooms, easy access to dining options, and the same sky-high views of the Northern Rockies that have kept people coming back for generations.

aerial view of The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. pool

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Bed & bath:  Varies by accommodation Top amenities:  Gas fireplaces, canoe use, heated pool, lakefront saunas Best for:  Summertime family fun in town and the park

With live music, yoga classes, and a “taprés ski” program (flights of draft beer with slider samplers), it’ll be hard to leave The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in search of some real wilderness. The main lodge building hosts a series of guest rooms, each appointed with a gas fireplace, private balcony, and flat-screen HDTV, while the property also offers a host of more premium options like lakefront condos with full kitchens and spacious luxury homes with floor-to-ceiling windows, pool tables, and soaking tubs.

Wonderstone Glacier

Bed and bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities: Memory foam mattresses, organic linens, flat-screen TVs, complimentary snacks Best for:  Elegant, budget stays

Wonderstone is a newer addition to the Glacier National Park lodging scene, bringing elegant, mountain-modern design and wallet-friendly pricing to Columbia Falls. Guests can choose between a traditional hotel-style room and a hostel-style stay in the building’s bunkhouse. Either way, you’ll enjoy eco-friendly Public Goods bath products, 100 percent cotton linens, complimentary snacks, and free high-speed Wi-Fi (so you can stay connected when you aren’t roaming the many Montana trails).

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park The Best Hotels Dude Ranches and Glamping Sites

Dancing Spirit Ranch

Bed & bath:  Varies by accommodation Top amenities:  Organic garden, porch views, paddleboards, kayaks Best for:  Traveling families and large groups seeking solitude

Whether you rent the two-person “little white house” or go all out on the seven-bedroom bunkhouse, you’re sure to fall for the inviting down-home charm of Dancing Spirit Ranch. This colorful trio of home rentals is full of rustic design accents (think vintage Persian rugs, rocking chairs, and exposed dark wood beams), plus modern amenities to match, like full bathrooms, organic bath products, and well-stocked kitchens. Best of all? All guests have access to the property’s huge organic garden for pick-your-own fruit and veggie feasts.

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The Green O

Bed & bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities:  Private hot tub, fireplace, included chef-driven meals Best for:  Special occasion couples’ getaway

Tucked into a shady pine grove at the southern edge of the 37,000-acre Paws Up Ranch, The Green O exudes luxury, serenity, and the chance to feel at home in nature, without foregoing a single creature comfort. Each of the 12 “Haus accommodations” possesses its own unique set of amenities—like floor-to-ceiling windows, forested hot tubs, cozy fireplaces, and reading nooks . Add to that the property’s live-fire menu, helmed by executive chef Brandon Cunningham, and a nature-centric spa for when you’ve had your fill, and it’ll be hard to ever want to leave. (Note, this is the farthest lodging option from the park, at about two hours south of the west entrance.)

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Bar W Guest Ranch

Bed & bath:  Varies by accommodation Top amenities:  Included meals, horseback riding, kitchenettes Best for:  Playing cowboy with the fam

A quintessential Montana dude ranch at its core, Bar W seamlessly blends homey western lodging (like framed antlers, bear-accented quilts, and roomy glamping tents) with a full suite of cowboy-centric activities like horseback riding, cattle herding, line dancing, and cookout dinners all included in a package stay. After a day exploring the park's hiking trails and chasing waterfalls inside the park (40 minutes away by car), soothe your tired bones in the property’s bubbling hot tub as a ranch hand serenades you with cowpoke tunes. Bonus: they just added 13 new “cabin suites” in larger log buildings in 2023.

Clydestale Outpost

Bed and bath: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath Top amenities: Cedar hot tubs, trail rides, record players, private decks Best for:  A modern Montana guest ranch experience

First opened in 2022, this horse-centric haven promises “cabins, Clydesdales, and cedar hot tubs.” It’s a delightfully modern take on the Montana guest ranch experience, with lofty ceilings, slate walk-in showers, firepits, and epic private decks at each of the property’s six stately cabins. When you aren’t taking a barn tour or playing giddyup on a trail ride, enjoy each rental’s full kitchen, record player, and private soaking tub with sunset views.

If you're up for a more rugged experience on your next trip, consider camping in Glacier National Park—you can use our complete guide to plan it.

Recommended

Triple Creek Ranch

 Main street in Whitefish still has a small town feel to it. Editorial credit: Beeldtype / Shutterstock.com

  • 7 Coolest Towns in Montana for a Summer Vacation in 2024

Montana is a charming state for year-round vacations, especially as it is home to amazing attractions like Glacier National Park and parts of Yellowstone National Park . These prime attractions draw people to the state across all seasons, especially in summer, and somewhere around them are lovable small towns with so much to offer. While they serve as base camps for the state’s top attractions, these towns are also loaded with points of interest that will make a summer vacation exciting. From the enchanting West Yellowstone to the charming Whitefish, here are the seven coolest towns in Montana to visit for a spectacular summer vacation.

Autumn Day on Ennis Lake, Montana.

Ennis is a small town of just over 1,000 people perfect for thrilling summer retreats. Once here, water sports lovers and fishing enthusiasts have a handful of options to explore both within and outside the town. Ennis Lake is a fantastic option to ward off the heat on a sunny day, while visitors can also kayak and boat on the water. The Madison River also runs through the town for fishing adventures, while Beaverhead and Big Hole rivers are nearby for more water adventures. Ennis is also surrounded by mountains such as Madison and Gravelly Ranges, where mountain climbers, bikers, and hikers can have a field day exploring areas several feet above sea level. Back in town, visitors can stop by Tavern 287 or Pic-A-Nic Basket for a delicious lunch.

Beartooth Mountains, Red Lodge, Montana.

Red Lodge is a scenic town within the Beartooth Mountains, with Rock Creek flowing on its eastern border. The town sets the perfect landscape for a summer vacation with nature as hikers can hit the many trails on the Beartooth Mountains to satiate outdoor longings. Some of the best trails in the mountain area include the 7.4-mile Basin Lake Trail, with an alpine lake and meadows as visual delights, and the 4.6-mile Glacier Lake Trail that leads to Glacier Lake. For fishing lovers, Rock Creek or Wild Bill Lake in nearby Custer Gallatin National Forest are prime destinations for great catches. More fishing and water activities are surplus at Stillwater River west of the town and Yellowstone River . Blend the experience with a wildlife tour at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, home to animals such as black bears, hawks, owls, and mountain lions. For a dose of history, stop by the Carbon County Historical Museum to learn about the county's iconic past through various educational programs, exhibits, and artifacts.

A beautiful view of Mountains Captured in Polson. Editorial credit: abdulb342 / Shutterstock.com

Polson is a charming town on the southern shore of Flathead Lake that makes for a cool summer vacation. The town’s lake is naturally the highlight attraction as it offers boating, fishing, kayaking, and swimming. Next, visitors can enjoy more adventures at Sacajawea and Salish Point Parks, which are adjacent to each other and feature a reserved swimming area, a fishing pier, a boating dock, a sidewalk, and picnic areas. When it's time to relax, head to Riverside Park by the lake's shores to hold picnics on landscaped lawns, build sand castles with the soft sand, or even swing with a rope into the waters when the weather gets hotter. Before leaving town, be sure to go check out some local artworks at Sandpiper Gallery and then head to The Cove Deli and Pizza or Finely Point Grill for some delicious meals.

Drone view of the bitterroot mountain range in Hamilton, Montana.

Hamilton is a quaint town in the heart of Bitterroot Valley that promises an unforgettable summer vacation. This town is home to the Bitterroot River, where visitors can enjoy fly-fishing while admiring the gorgeous scenery. Lake Como Recreational Area is another interesting destination in town where one can swim, boat, fish, kayak, canoe, watch the sunset, hold picnics, camp, and hike. Talking about hikes, the nearby Bitterroot National Forest, framed by the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains, offers some of the best hiking trails in Montana. More activities offered in the forest include - mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating. After the thrilling outdoor adventures, visitors are invited to take a trip to the past at the Ravalli County Museum, where the history of Bitterroot Valley is preserved and interpreted for all.

West Yellowstone

Shops in the downtown area, with restaurants and gift shops in the tourist town of West Yellowstone. Editorial credit: melissamn / Shutterstock.com

The charming town of West Yellowstone in Gallatin County has all the draw cards to keep summer visitors longer than planned. Firstly, it is one of the closest towns to the famous Yellowstone National Park, home to wonders like the Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. In addition, the town is home to scenic water bodies like the Gallatin River (great for whitewater rafting) and Hebgen Lake, which is great for stillwater fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddling. For a mix of history and recreation, visit Earthquake Lake, which was formed by a massive landslide that barricaded the Madison River. Visitors can admire the lake, hold picnics on its banks, or learn more about its history at the Visitors Center. For more history, visitors are invited to browse through documents and interactive displays about the region’s history at Yellowstone Historic Center. Meanwhile, wildlife enthusiasts can come up close with live wolves and grizzly bears at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

Train tracks in Whitefish, Montana.

Whitefish is a summer vacation melting pot in Flathead County, filled with adventures and recreational activities for everyone. For just a sneak peek, the town's Whitefish Lake is one of its core attractions, featuring a seductive seven-mile beach on its shores with a swimming area. The lake and beach provide a haven for sunbathing, picnicking, kayaking, boating, and fishing. Campers can spend the nights at the Whitefish Lake State Park, with unlimited access to the enchanting lake. The nearby Flathead Lake is an excellent alternative, as it is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, featuring crystal clear waters that will mesmerize every visitor. Step into its glistening waters for boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddling experiences, or kayak to Wild Horse Island to see wild horses. Elsewhere, hikers can explore the over 40-mile Whitefish Trail to savor views of the town's natural surroundings and then head to the Whitefish Theatre Company to enjoy prime entertainment.

Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana. Editorial credit: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Helena is the state capital and one of the most scenic and ideal destinations to enjoy a summer vacation in America. While here, visitors can head to the Montana State Capitol to wonder at its historical elegance and remarkable architecture. Next, enjoy some adventures at Mount Helena City Park, featuring miles of trails, like the 1906 Trail that leads to the mountain's summit for panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. For even more adventures, visitors are welcome to the Spring Meadow Lake State Park to enjoy swimming, fishing, birdwatching, and kayaking. For something different, delve into the region’s history at the Montana Historical Society and appreciate artworks at the Holter Museum. For families with children, head to the Great Northern Carousel to enjoy thrilling rides.

Montana is lavish with many small beautiful towns where summer vacations are always exciting. These towns feature stunning natural beauty with their towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and lush greenery. Step into these small-town paradises this summer for a satisfying vacation. In these towns, there’s something for everybody from adventurers to laid-back visitors, and even history buffs.

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Whitefish Vacation Massage

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Whitefish Vacation Massage, serving the Whitefish Area, is a simple alternative for mobile or vacation massage in the comfort of your home or vacation lodging. We also offer an in-office option if you are on the go, heading to Glacier National Park, or after a day at Whitefish Mountain Resort skiing or hiking, or maybe you woke up with muscle tightness from traveling to our beautiful destination. Whatever it is, we want your vacation in Whitefish to be relaxing and your body to feel ready & refreshed for the next adventure on your vacation list! Call or text with questions at 406-941-3911. In-Office Appointments: This office is UNSTAFFED -please book online to secure an appointment with us. …

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IMAGES

  1. 12 Diverse and Beautiful Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

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  2. What to do in Whitefish Montana and Why you will love their Secret

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  3. Spring is the Best Kept Secret Season in Whitefish

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  4. 2015 Ski Whitefish Montana Big Mountain

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COMMENTS

  1. Whitefish Montana Lodging, Dining, and Official Visitor Information

    Spring in Whitefish. Be a Friend of the Fish. At the edge of Glacier National Park in the Northern Rocky Mountains is a vibrant town built around a shared appreciation of the wild. From the mountains rich with forests, lakes and rivers to the welcoming downtown, this is a place worth exploring and protecting for all those who love it.

  2. Whitefish

    A short jaunt to Glacier National Park, Whitefish is a year-round destination with plentiful attractions and a mixed array of shops, coffee houses, restaurants, accommodations. Visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, boating and live professional theater, as well as stellar dining. Amtrak's Empire Builder stops daily in ...

  3. 21 Fun Things To Do in Whitefish, Montana

    Whitefish, Montana is often referred to as the "Gateway to Glacier" due to the town being only 30 miles south of Glacier National Park. Begin so close to Glacier National Park, it is no surprise that there is an abundance of things to do in Whitefish, Montana year-round. ... Montana 9. Visit the Whitefish Depot. Not only is this place an ...

  4. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Whitefish

    9. Slow Burn Records. 10. Art Galleries. Welcome to Slow Burn Records, a music haven nestled in the heart of Whitefish, Montana. We're not your typical record store; we're a sonic sanctuary for music enthusiasts and vinyl aficionados alike. Our carefully curated collection of vinyl spans genres and eras, ensuring that you'll find ...

  5. 33 Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

    9. Go Horseback Riding at Bar W Guest Ranch. Horseback riding in Whitefish, Montana, is a great way to enjoy the spirit of the West. Though there are several outfitters offering horseback riding found in Glacier National Park and the surrounding area, Whitefish itself offers horseback riding at Bar W Guest Ranch.

  6. The Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

    The Travel Montana Now team loves Whitefish — Nancy spent summer vacations there in high school and college; Jackie loves all the boating, hiking, and snowshoeing opportunities around Whitefish; and Gina is a fan of the cute downtown area, kid-friendly main beach, and pristine mountain views.

  7. 30 Things To Do in Whitefish, MT, for Year-Round Fun

    Shop all things huckleberry at the Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse. 20 minutes. Visit the Northwest History Museum in Kalispell. 25 minutes. Explore Glacier National Park (likely the reason you're in Whitefish to begin with!). 35 minutes. Paddle out to Wild Horse Island on Flathead Lake. 55 minutes.

  8. Things to Do in Whitefish Montana: Town, Lake & Mountain Activities

    The Great Western Playground. Whitefish, Montana has all you're looking for in a mountain town—a shimmering lake, high peaks, trails in every direction and a fun and funky town center. Explore by mountain bike >. One of the greatest ski towns in the West >. Lodging.

  9. Whitefish Tourism

    Whitefish has a dynamic, year-round tourism-based economy with more than 800 locally owned-and-operated small businesses serving the needs of visitors and locals alike. Change happens fast in Whitefish … so click on the links below to check-out our newest members, our 2023 Whitefish Community Guide, or to subscribe to our weekly Chamber Chat ...

  10. 12 Diverse and Beautiful Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana

    Whitefish may not be at the top of one's Montana bucket list if they aren't looking for a skiing vacation or trip to Glacier National Park.. However, it is one of the hippest places to visit in Montana and deserves to be more than just a base for the surrounding area and activities.. Located in Flathead County, it is home to around 6,300 people and it has been consistently ranked as one of ...

  11. Whitefish Travel Guide

    Whitefish Travel Guide. View the Travel Guide online HERE. Download the Travel Guide HERE. Or, complete the form below to have a Travel Guide mailed to you. Want a physical copy to help with your planning? Just fill out the form below and we'll get one in the mail to you. U.S. Domestic Shipping Only. View the Travel Guide online [HERE] (https ...

  12. Explore Whitefish

    For more information: explorewhitefish.com, 877-862-3548. Contact. MAILING ADDRESS PO Box 4232. Whitefish, MT 59937. CONTACT 406-862-3395. Details. SEASON All Year. HOURS Visitor Information Center open Monday - Friday 9am-5pm. Saturdays in the summer and select holidays.

  13. 15 Best Things to Do in Whitefish, MT, in 2023

    Lion Mountain Trailhead - many options for any skill level. Big Mountain Trailhead - many choices on Whitefish Mountain itself. Reservoir Trailhead - many options with views of Whitefish lake. 3. Go on an Electric Bike Tour. One of the most unusual things to do in Whitefish, Montana, is to go on an electric bike tour.

  14. 15 Things to do in Whitefish, Montana [With Suggested 3 Day Itinerary]

    Day 3 in Whitefish, Montana. Sunti World Art Gallery - Visit this art gallery to see amazing pieces of art. You can also buy a souvenir at their gift shop or stay in their cafe to have a relaxing day. Frequently Asked Questions about Whitefish, Montana Photo by art CC BY-ND 2.0. 1. Is it safe to travel to Whitefish, Montana? Compared to other ...

  15. See Whitefish Montana

    Come visit Whitefish Montana where you can ski, ride, bike, zipline, alpine slide or hike at Whitefish Mountain Resort with over 3,000 skiable acres or relax at the beach, all within a few miles of each other. Experience the downtown charm of Whitefish Montana with shops, restaurants and entertainment.

  16. 27 Best Things To Do in Whitefish, Montana (2024)

    The Whitefish River offers some great opportunities for wildlife viewing, fishing, standup paddle-boarding, kayaking, rafting or just enjoying its shoreline. We found the best spot to enjoy the Whitefish River was at River Trail Park located just steps from downtown. 17. Explore Downtown - Historical Walking Tour.

  17. Whitefish, Montana

    Whitefish Montana is often referred to as the "Gateway to Glacier". This small town is located just 30 miles south of Glacier National Park making Whitefish one of the most interesting and vibrant towns in Montana. In 1883 the first permanent European settler came to the area.

  18. Home

    Welcome to Whitefish - gateway to Glacier National Park, the northern Rocky Mountains, world-class downhill skiing … and so much more! The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce - and our 500+ member businesses - are dedicated to the smart, sustainable growth of our community, ensuring a strong, vibrant economy while also protecting the unsurpassed quality of life that our residents enjoy.

  19. Whitefish, MT: Perfect All-Seasons Destination

    Located in the northwest corner of the state, Whitefish is a resort town with fewer than 10,000 full-time residents. It sits on the shores of Whitefish Lake, where visitors can gaze upon both the ...

  20. Whitefish Mountain Resort

    Ski & Summer resort in northwest Montana near Glacier National Park. Featuring four seasons of family fun! ... Ready to visit? Book Now. Partially located on National Forest Lands. Whitefish Mountain Resort. 1015 Glades Drive Whitefish, MT 59937. Policies. Jobs. Press Center. Stay In Touch. Blog. Contact Us. [email protected] (406) 862-2900 ...

  21. Whitefish to east entrance

    Hi all. Given that car reservations are needed from West entrance and may or may not get a day reservation would it be feasible if we lodge at Whitefish then travel to East entrance (how is this drive) and then enter the GTTS road drive back through park to west entrance to Whitefish. Yea seems a long day but I am trying to see any options we have if we don't get a day pass.

  22. 12 Amazing Things to do in Whitefish, Montana (during the summer)

    Things to do in Whitefish, Montana. 1) Downtown Train Depot & Historical Museum. 2) Biking. 3) Hiking (or mountain biking) on Lion Mountain Trail. 4) Paddling. 5) Shopping Downtown Whitefish, Montana. 6) Golfing. 7) Sip Craft Cocktails. 8) Visit a Craft Beer Brewery.

  23. Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park

    Quintessential Whitefish cabin Bed & bath: 1 bedroom, 1 bath Top amenities: Outdoor dining nook, eat-in kitchen, flat screen TV, woodburning stove Best for: Serenity and views, just outside of ...

  24. 7 Coolest Towns in Montana for a Summer Vacation in 2024

    Whitefish Train tracks in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish is a summer vacation melting pot in Flathead County, filled with adventures and recreational activities for everyone. For just a sneak peek, the town's Whitefish Lake is one of its core attractions, featuring a seductive seven-mile beach on its shores with a swimming area.

  25. The UPS Store

    Come visit us today! Estimate Shipping Cost. Products and Services. Whether you're shipping to family and friends or filling orders, we've got you covered. ... The UPS Store in Whitefish, MT is here to help individuals and small businesses by offering a wide range of products and services. We are locally owned and operated and conveniently ...

  26. Danny On Hill Climb

    Running in Whitefish Mountain Resort, 1015 Glades Dr, Whitefish, MT 59937, USA. Sign up for The Big Mountain Run - Danny On Hill Climb on Sat 20th Jul 2024. Learn how to enter, read reviews, get exclusive discounts, see photos, course maps, and results.

  27. 124 W 2nd St #A, Whitefish, MT 59937

    Zillow has 15 photos of this $1,500,000 3 beds, 4 baths, 2,780 Square Feet townhouse home located at 124 W 2nd St #A, Whitefish, MT 59937 built in 2023.

  28. WHITEFISH VACATION MASSAGE

    Specialties: Whitefish Vacation Massage, serving the Whitefish Area, is a simple alternative for mobile or vacation massage in the comfort of your home or vacation lodging. We also offer an in-office option if you are on the go, heading to Glacier National Park, or after a day at Whitefish Mountain Resort skiing or hiking, or maybe you woke up with muscle tightness from traveling to our ...