What are some of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana?
Whitefish is a small resort town located in the Rocky Mountains of Northwest Montana. As of 2020, it has a population of just under 8,000 people living in the area. It’s a quaint little place that is perfect for anybody who loves the outdoors, especially those who come here to appreciate the marvelous Glacier National Park. But besides that, Whitefish is actually much more of a destination of its own. With things like tasty restaurants, unique and interesting shops, as well as a beautiful scenery to explore, which includes the awesome views of Big Mountain from downtown Whitefish.
But not only that, Whitefish also has an abundance of outdoor activities for locals an visitors to see and do. Some of the things for instance includes hiking, biking, fly fishing, paddle boarding and more. It’s also the perfect area for wildlife lovers as you’ll be able to find all kinds of interesting animals like bear, elk, moose, deer, all hanging around this little town.
The town of Whitefish might not be the first place people think about when they want to travel somewhere, but slowly people are starting to realize just how great this place really is.
So if you’re wondering what some of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana are, then you are in the right place.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Whitefish.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Whitefish, Montana
- Glacier National Park
- Whitefish Mountain Resort
- Downtown Whitefish
- Eat At Loula’s Cafe
- Great Northern Railway Depot
- Whitefish Lake/Beach/River
- Whitefish Theatre Company
- Baker Park
- Whitefish Farmers Market
- Go Enjoy A Spa
- Hike/Bike/Run The Whitefish Trail
- Eat At Amazing Crepes
- Flathead Lake
- Flathead National Forest
- Visit Whitefish, Montana
Things To Do In Whitefish, Montana
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana.
Glacier National Park
Being as how Glacier National Park is literally right next to Whitefish, it makes perfect sense that this National Park should be on the top of your list for things to do if you’re ever in Whitefish. Reaching the Glacier National Park is a simple task as the commute is only a little less than 30 miles away. Known as the “crown of the Continent”, it is filled with lush alpine meadows, rugged mountains, forested backdrops, and a huge alpine feature that takes over the sky. It has over 700 miles of trails which is a paradise for hikers seeking an adventurous visit through wilderness and solitude.
When traveling around this National Park, one of the most popular routes to take is on the Going-To-The-Sun Road. It stretches for about 50 miles long that bisects the park east to west sides. It’s been designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. And once you get here, you’ll be able to do all sorts of cool and unique things. Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Boating, Cycling are all open for visitors to do and explore all that this National Park has to offer.
If you’re traveling from Whitefish, you’ll be happy to know that during the summer times, you’ll be able to find a shuttle that takes you from Whitefish directly to Glacier National Park. Plus the National Park Service also offers an extensive free shuttle system that goes along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Whitefish Mountain Resort
If you love winter events, then you will absolutely love Whitefish Mountain Resort. It is a ski resort that is located at Big Mountain in Northwestern Montana, just shy of 4 miles from the town of Whitefish. It encompasses over 3,000 acres and is considered to be one of the top ski resorts in the entire state of Montana. Now I know I mentioned winter events, but this location is actually open all year round with things to do every single season.
For instance, during the winter times, this place becomes a ski resort where you can rent ski’s or snowboards and slide your way down the slop of the mountain. But during the summer times, it becomes a whole different adventure. You’ll be able to do things like mountain biking with plenty of bike trails for you to ride on, zip line through the area, tubing down slopes, go on some scenic lift rides, or even be a daredevil at aerial adventure park. They also have a play area for kids called the spider monkey mountain where kids climb their way up through a webbed tower.
With over 100 different named routes and a whole bunch of chairlifts taking you to different destinations, Whitefish Mountain Resort is just a bundle of fun that everybody will enjoy. It is an experience like no other and will have you talking about it for years on end. And if you’re coming from Whitefish, the Shuttle Network of Whitefish provides a free and easy transportation from Whitefish to the Resort during the winter season.
If you ever get the chance to visit downtown Whitefish, have a look around. You’ll notice that it looks vastly different when compared to other towns and cities. In fact, you won’t find any big-box retail chain in site as the entire area is all locally owned. Which in its own sense, makes the area seem a whole lot more welcoming and authentic. You’ll find all kinds of stores here selling various different things. From interesting art to handmade jewelry and more, they have it all.
Although downtown Whitefish, isn’t really the biggest town out there, it still has quite a bit to see and do. For instance, you can find a building that is over 100 years old and acts as a museum showcasing the history of the town of Whitefish. There is even a unique book store that sells books for $1 dollar which is absolutely a bargain!
Other than that, just have a stroll around and see what a mountainside town can bring you as it will definitely be an experience you haven’t felt before. You might even find a shop that interests you and you’ll be stuck there wandering around for hours on end!
Eat At Loula’s Cafe
If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants you can find in the town of Whitefish, there’s no arguing that Loula’s Cafe is one of the best there is. Loula’s Cafe is located in the Historic Masonic Temple Building in downtown Whitefish. They occupy the lower level in two large sunny rooms filled with art and photography done by local artists. Loula’s is a family owned and operated restaurant that prides themselves in serving “made from scratch” dishes using only the finest and freshest ingredients possible. Some of the dishes you can find here includes Country Fried Steak, Adam’s Pot Roast, Chicken Pot Pie, Wild Sockeye Salmon, Loula’s Enchiladas, The Bighorn and more. All made fresh and ready for you to eat.
I guarantee that once you try this place out, you will definitely be coming back for more and more. This place isn’t just a restaurant, it is an experience.
Great Northern Railway Depot
Great Northern Railway Depot which is also known as Whitefish Depot, is a historical station that is still operating to this day. In fact, the Amtrak Train has been stopping here for over 100 years and attracts visitors from all over to see the town of Whitefish. It is one of the busiest train depots between Seattle and Minneapolis and is notable for retaining much of its historical chalet-inspired design.
Plus this place isn’t just a depot to ride the Amtrak train. In fact, inside this building you can also find a museum called the Stumptown Historical Museum which offers a variety of information about this Depot’s legacy and how the town was built beside it.
It’s the perfect place to visit as you’ll get a sense of history and learn a whole lot of different things about the area.
Surrounded by rugged mountains and a dense forest, Whitefish Lake is one of the most popular attractions to visit here in Whitefish. The reason it is called Whitefish Lake is because in the 1850’s, the lake was home to an abundant supply of mountain whitefish. The lake is about 5 miles wide and offers a plethora of things to see and do. For instance, the lake offers things like kayaking, boating, swimming, fishing and more for people to do. Not only that, but there are various campgrounds all around the area for the you camp at or explore.
While you are visiting the lake, you might also be interested in visiting the Whitefish Lake which is similarly named for the same reasons. Try your hand at boating around the area or even fishing for some trout which is one of the best things ever to do in this area.
And not too far from the lake is also the Whitefish city beach which allows you to do just about everything there is for water activities. You can swim, fish, rent a boat, and more all while having a ton of fun.
Whitefish Theatre Company
What began as an idea back in 1978 to bring live theatre to Whitefish, has grown into something so much larger. Here at the O’Shaughnessy Cultural Arts Center which the Whitefish Theatre Company calls home, you’ll find a variety of different shows for you to see. The center operates year round, bringing theater, music, dance and film to the Flathead Valley. The building isn’t the largest, but it has the capacity to host around 328 seats for people to sit and enjoy. But not only that, the company and stage also hosts reader’s theater, nationally touring music acts and also many special events for people to watch.
Baker Park which is adjacent to Riverside Park and the Whitefish Rivers is a place where people from all over can come and have a relaxing time. It is actually a part of a larger network of city parks that allows people to easily enjoy their time with the surrounding environments. Here you can find various things here like a picnic table, gazebo, benches, children’s playground and more. Or if you want to play some tennis, you can simply hop on over to the neighboring Riverside Park and you’ll be able to find three public tennis courts to use.
The park also allows easy access to the Whitefish river which makes going canoeing or kayaking much more easier. The park also has a fishing dock and plenty of lawn space for people to use.
Whitefish Farmers Market
If you love locally grown fruits and vegetables while also supporting the local farmers who grow these things, then you’ll be happy to know that the town of Whitefish has their own Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is open every Tuesday evening during the summer time of 5:00pm to 7:30pm. Here you’ll find tons of vendors surrounding the area selling everything you can ever imagine. From fruits to veggies or even baked goods. Plus its not just food, but you can also find several vendors selling other things too like art, jewelry, clothing and more. The Farmers Market will also host a lot of food trucks who come along serving some delicious food all while live music is playing in the background. Overall, it is a fantastic place to visit especially if you like seeing the culture and experience of the surrounding area.
Go Enjoy A Spa
Exploring around Whitefish and hiking around Glacier National Park can be a pretty tiring and stressful thing to do. Which is why you’ll be happy to know that the town of Whitefish has quite a few spas for you to enjoy and pamper yourself. I mean, what can be more relaxing than soothing your body in comfort during a relaxing afternoon? And because there are quite a few different places for you to choose from, it can be quite hard to decide. But there are a few that stands out in my opinion like getting a facial or makeup done at “Highbrow” or even a soothing massage at “A Whole New You“.
The town of Whitefish even has a few unique and interesting spas you’ll rarely find anywhere else. For instance, “Iso Float Center” is a place that’ll allow you to float around in a warm saltwater tank. Or you can try “SaltBox” which is a a spa treatment that utilizes dry salt to soothe your body.
Hike/Bike/Run The Whitefish Trail
One of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana is to simply go for a bike ride, hike, or run around one of the various trails this town provides. You can find a plethora of trails that covers more than 40 scenic miles of Northwestern Montana wilderness. Going on one of these trails makes for a perfect way to experience Whitefish in the fullest experience possible. And best of all is that is is completely free to do. Simply go visit any of the trails and just start exploring! Or you can even rent a bike from one of the nearby shops to go ride around if you don’t feel like hiking or running around.
Eat At Amazing Crepes
Now when you think of food in Montana, you’ll most likely think of Missoula as that is the food capital of the state. However Whitefish should not be overlooked as their food is equally as good, if not better than others. And one of the best places to visit for some delicious food is a place called “Amazing Crepes”. Here they offer a huge range of crepes for you to choose from. You can pick either sweet or savory, fillings like pear, gorgonzola, almond, egg, spinach, veggies and more. Whatever you decide to pick here, I guarantee you will love every bite of it.
The story behind “Amazing Crepes” is actually a pretty neat one as they wanted to start this business because of seeing all the various crepe stands in Thailand. Which is why they first started out as a “crepe bus” because back then, there were hardly any food trucks around. And now has transformed into one of the best restaurants you can find in the town of Whitefish.
Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake in Northwest Montana and also the largest natural freshwater lake in the entire western half of the United States. The lake is actually a remnant of the ancient massive glacial dammed lake, Lake Missoula. It is considered to be one of the cleanest lakes in the populated world for its size and type. The lake stretches for about 200 square miles and is filled with a bunch of things for you to see and do. For instance, you can commonly find people sailing, power boating, waterskiing, swimming, fishing, picnicking, and camping all around the lake. Plus if you come during the summer time, you can find various food stands selling all kinds of locally grown produce like cherries, apples, plums, and other fruits.
There are also several islands inside the lake, with Wild Horse Island being the largest at around 2,164 acres. For centuries, the Salish-Kootenai used the island in order to pasture horses and keep them from being stolen by other tribes. Nowadays it has become a recreational island where you can explore around and see a ton of different wildlife like sheep, deer, horses and even bighorn sheep.
Although not really located in Whitefish, it is only about 15 miles south from it so it makes for a relatively easy place to visit. Kalispell is a beautiful western town that is also known as being a gateway to Glacier National Park. Visiting this town makes you feel as if you went back in time as much of the town is still built around with 19th century architecture.
Once you’re at Kalispell, you’ll find things like a downtown shopping district, craft breweries and distilleries, dozens of restaurants with a dash of Montana flavor, and outdoor recreation activities for people of all ages to have fun with. This makes it the perfect area for people traveling around to take a few days or even a week off and see what a mountainside town can bring you.
Some of the highlights of this town includes attractions like Conrad Mansion Museum, Hockaday Museum of Art, the Buffalo Hill Golf Club, and Woodland Water Park. There is even a state park called the Lone Pine State Park that can be easily accessed from this town.
Flathead National Forest
Another place that isn’t really in Whitefish but is still a close drive by is a National Forest called Flathead National Forest. It is only a few miles drive away from Whitefish, which makes it an easy access for anybody to visit.
Flathead National Forest is a national forest in the Western part of the Montana. The forest lies mostly in Flathead County, south of the Glacier National Park. The forest stretches for about 2,404,935 acres of which about 1 million acres is designated as wilderness. the National Forest got its name by being named after the Flathead Native Americans who live in the surrounding areas. It is home to some natural treasures like the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Flathead Wild and Scenic River.
People from all over love to come to this National Forest because of all the nature that surrounds the area as well as the wildlife that lives here. For instance, big-game species found in the area include bear, elk, moose, big horn sheep, mule and whitetail deer and Rocky Mountain goat. Or if you are into birds, then you can find animals like a variety of songbirds, hawks, eagles and owls. And alongside the grounds near the rivers, you can find small animals like gophers, chipmunks, beaver, porcupine, woodchucks, rabbits, squirrels and more. It is literally the perfect place if you are wanting some amazing photographs with wild animals as they are in abundance here at this National Forest.
It’s also a popular place for many hikers and backpackers as there are simply tons of different hiking trails for you to roam and explore. The Forest has around 2,249 miles of trails that access various mountain lakes, peaks, valleys, and wind along river bottoms. One of the most popular trails there is one called “Danny On National Recreation Trial”. It is located on Big Mountain on the northern edge of Whitefish. The trail allows you to climb the summit of Big Mountain and will give you some of the most amazing views you have ever seen of the city and Flathead Valley. And depending on your skill level, there is even a chairlift that will carry you some ways up and down the path.
Visit Whitefish, Montana
As you can see, Whitefish, Montana is filled with all sorts of amazing things for you to see and do. Just from this list alone, it will take you days if not weeks or months just to do them all.
So hopefully this post about “15 Best Things To Do In Whitefish, Montana” was able to give you some ideas and help you out in your trip planning. This way if you ever find yourself visiting Whitefish, Montana, you will know exactly what to do.
Also, if you’re going to be visiting the state of Montana anytime soon, you might be interested in some of my other Montana posts:
Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~