Whitefish is a tiny northwest Montana town tucked away in the upper section of the lush Flathead Valley. Despite its modest population of under 10,000 and the fact that it’s often overlooked by travelers, it is one of the most charming small towns worth experiencing in Montana. Whether visiting in the summer or winter, Whitefish has something to keep the fun going.
Glacier National Park is a must-visit for any first-timer in Big Sky Country, and Whitefish is the ultimate getaway to one of America’s most visited national parks, located a mere 35-minute drive from the famous venue. But that is just the tip of the iceberg; this magical town spoils visitors with almost every outdoor fun that comes to mind.
From rock climbing and hiking to skiing and parasailing, Whitefish packs a punch of enthralling adventures to guarantee vacationers an unforgettable holiday experience.
Things To Do In Whitefish
With its jagged peaks, shimmering lake waters, and pristine trails, Whitefish offers a mixed bag of activities, including some of the most scenic adventures in Montana. Newcomers might find it hard to decide where to start, but these are the best things to do in this quaint city.
Visit Glacier National Park
A path in Glacier National Park
Probably the highlight for visitors to the city, Glacier National Park is just 27 miles from Whitefish and beckons fans from all over the country to explore its magical trails and admire its spectacular glaciers.
However, this barely scratches the surface of the depth of experiences awaiting guests at the venue.
An adventurer’s dream come true, the park houses over 700 miles of hiking trails, 25 named glaciers, several mountain lakes, and at least 1,000 species of plants.
It also boasts a unique mix of wildlife, including black bears, moose, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep, promising an unprecedented sightseeing expedition.
- Admission: $20 per person and $35 per vehicle
- Hours: Open 24/7
Hit The Slopes At Whitefish Mountain Resort
WHITEFISH, MONTANA: Skiers descend from the summit at Whitefish Mountain Resort
Skiing is one of the top activities in Whitefish, and Whitefish Mountain Resort is a prime spot for skiers visiting the state. Formerly Big Mountain Resort, the 3,000-acre property draws hordes of vacationers in the winter to experience more than 100 named skiing routes and at least a dozen chairlifts.
Come summer, the once-frozen trails transform into scenic hiking and mountain biking routes, ensuring year-round fun. As adults take on the big slopes of Whitefish Mountain, children remain grounded at the base with fun activities like zipline tours, alpine slides, and the favorite Spider Monkey Mountain.
- Admission: Adult $94, Teens & Seniors $80, Kids $47 for chair lifts
- Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
Enjoy The Water Activities At Whitefish Lake
Drone view of Whitefish lake in Montana
The scenic 7-mile shoreline of Whitefish Lake treats newcomers to a host of thrilling water-based adventures. During the summer, swimming in the toasty waters is the go-to activity, but there is no shortage of recreational opportunities. From kayaking and parasailing to boating and paddleboarding, the warm season never disappoints at this beautiful lake.
Most people gather at City Beach, the most sought-after section of the lake. It is ideal for families with little children since there are many gazebos, tables, and picnic spots, and the swimming area has been roped off to protect kids from the deep section.
While at Whitefish Lake, don’t forget to check out Whitefish Lake State Park on the western shore. It has great opportunities for RVers and campers.
Wander The Quaint Streets Of Downtown Whitefish
A view of a street in downtown Whitefish, Montana
Conveniently walkable, downtown Whitefish is a charming neighborhood with unique stores worth exploring. The streets are thronged by tourists, especially on weekends, shopping in the jewelry stores, clothing boutiques, gift shops, and home décor outlets or sampling Montana’s best summer eats in the delightful restaurants and cafés.
Those with a sweet tooth can pop into Sweet Peaks to satisfy their cravings with a delicious, ice-cold treat, while imbibers can grab a refreshing cocktail at Spotted Bear Distillery.
For those visiting Whitefish in the summer, don’t miss out on the vibrant local farmers’ market on Tuesday evenings to sample some sumptuous homegrown treats.
Uncover The City’s History At Whitefish Depot
Whitefish, Montana: Sign for the Whitefish Depot Amtrak Train museum for the Great Northern Railway
Initially constructed in 1928, White Depot or Whitefish Amtrak Station is a rundown half-timbered building harboring a vital part of the city’s past.
It served as a stop on the Great Northern Railways and continues to do so as a station today, but it also doubles up as a museum with a small section chronicling the history of Whitefish and the neighboring region.
The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and managed by the Stumptown Historical Society. Just next to the station is Depot Park, a quiet place ideal for lazy walks and easy-going picnics.
- Admission: Free
- Hours: 6 am – 11:30 pm
Explore The Outdoors On The Whitefish Trail
Young hikers on Lion Mountain Trail near Whitefish, Montana on a sunny summer morning.