Top-Rated Attractions To Visit In Whitefish, Montana (2024)
Whitefish is a popular resort town and the ultimate skiing destination in Montana. It is also known as the access point to the emerald peaks and hanging valleys of the Glacier National Park. From January to December, regardless of the seasons and the temperature, Whitefish has so much to offer in terms of tourism. You can visit it on high elevations or on downtown grounds; there are several attractions you will come across.
Whitefish is more of an outdoor recreational spot in Montana. You will not find regular museums and landmarks, but the beaches, valleys, hiking trails and campgrounds will make up for it all. Before or beyond that, this resort town has a popular and bustling downtown region. It is where you might get a great glimpse of local art and culture amidst a lot of natural treasures.
9 Top-Rated Attractions To Visit In Whitefish, Montana
For more ideas on how to spend a holiday in Whitefish, have a look at our choicest picks below:
1. Glacier National Park
Whitefish offers easy access to the Glacier National Park, with the park being less than half an hour from the town. Glacier lives up for its tag ‘Crown of the Continent’ in all possible ways, making sure tourists of all interests come and enjoy here. Beginning from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, travellers can either drive their car or go for a delightfully narrated “jammer” red bus tour. The park has 700+ miles of well-marked trails where naturalists love hiking, horseback riding and more. It is also popular for boat tours that provide a glimpse of Glacier’s clear lakes, several real-life glaciers, and many related histories. The Park is also popular for its overnight camping facilities and over them the star-studded skies. No wonder travellers also refer to it as the International Dark Sky Park. For everything you can do at Montana outdoors, this over 1 million acres offers it all.
2. Flathead National Forest
A little driving effort from Whitefish will take you all the way to the extensive Flathead National Forest. It is located in the Rocky Mountains, just south of Glacier National Park. The forest is home to 2 million acres surrounding the entire Whitefish town from all directions. It is home to Whitefish’s crown jewel and a skiing wonder, the Whitefish Mountain Resort. Though if not for skiing, you can visit Flathead and hike all the way to the Jewel Basin. Other notables and must-visit of the forest include a Waterfall at Holland Lake, the Hungry Horse Reservoir, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Tally Lake, and the Flathead Lake. It is also a popular overnight camping spot, with 31 developed campgrounds. Though over camping grounds, Flathead is also popular for Dispersed camping though one must gather information (about rules) from one of the four ranger stations before tenting.
3. The Downtown Whitefish
Hosting plenty of tourist traffic, the downtown Whitefish is a charming space. The area extends south and west from the local train station and stays populated from morning until night. This picturesque downtown has an old west town atmosphere with plenty of options to shop, see and eat. To explore, there is a small free museum exhibiting the history of Whitefish, a few locally-owned art galleries and cultural arts center near Central Avenue. Going to the Sun Gallery is another unmissable element here. You might not find any big labels for shopping, but the small boutiques will make you spend several pennies. Besides that, there are handmade jewellery and art stores, home décor stores, gift shops, used book stores and much more. You can find several restaurants for dining, including Tupelo Grille, Loula’s, Zucca Marketplace Bistro, and Amazing Crepes. Or visit here during the evening for enjoying the true nightlife scenes and eat the local at the roadside stalls.
4. Great Northern Railway Depot
A visit to Great Northern Railway Depot in Whitefish is a must-visit for any railroad and history buff. It is a still-operating historic Amtrak stop attracting individuals for a century now. It remains one of the busiest ports between Minneapolis and Seattle. Inside the railway depot, the Stumptown Historical Museum exhibits about depot’s history, legacy, and Whitefish. There is a Depot Park where locals often visit to enjoy their morning and evening on the outside. It is also the stop where the summer Tuesday Whitefish Farmers Market runs. What insists on stopping at the Great Northern Railway Depot is the backdrop of stunning mountain peaks and trains its historic chalet-inspired design.
Kalispell is Whitefish’s neighboring town, just 15-20 minutes south. Both Whitefish and Kalispell share Flathead Lake’s shores, making up great spaces for water access. The town of Kalispell is also popular for its historical roots and elements. Upon your visit here, you can observe how 19th-century architecture still beautifies the Main Streets. Some of the notable tourist attractions here include the Hockaday Museum of Art, the Woodland Water Park, and the Buffalo Hill Golf Club. Or, visit the highlight of Kalispell, the Conrad Mansion Museum. This 1800s fully restored Mansion has 26 rooms, all decorated and kept with the original theme/ setting. Visitors can choose the self-guided tour or go for docent-guided tours and take a dive into the Conrad family’s history. When in Kalispell, you can also visit the Lone Pine State Park or enjoy food and shopping in its downtown district.
6. Whitefish City Beach
A major city attraction, the Whitefish City Beach is seven miles from the city’s northwest edge. It is an ideal outdoor space for visiting with families, especially kids. From grey sandy shore to clear blue water and the picturesque mountain backdrop, everything here adds to the experience. The beach has a few designated swimming areas for cold-water swimming with lifeguards on watch. Or, visitors can avail themselves of the boat rental services (non-motorized) and launch in the Whitefish Lake throughout the summer season. It is also a popular activity amongst anglers who are here to try out their fishing skills. Close on the western shore of the beach, there lies the Whitefish Lake State Park, which also provides access to the lake. Or you can also utilize the park for lakeside tenting and RVing opportunities.
Other Popular Places to visit in Whitefish Mountain
7. Whitefish Theatre Company and the Whitefish Performing Arts Center (PAC)
If you are a theatre lover or are willing to watch performing arts, visit the above two places. From its 40 years of operations, Whitefish Theatre Company hosts acting events, musical events, nationally touring music acts, reader’s theatre, and other notable events. At the same time, the Whitefish Performing Arts Center (PAC) is popular for producing the internationally renowned Alpine Theatre Project.
8. Hungry Horse Dam & Hungry Horse Reservoir
A hidden gem of the region, the Hungry Horse Dam is one of the tallest of its kind in entire North America. It is nearly 25 minutes’ drive from the town of Whitefish and is a great place to enjoy water expanses. There are hiking trails, campgrounds, and a visitor center. Here, one can get insights into the dam’s structure, history, and its name. For the guided tours of the dam crest, one has to access the visitors’ center.
9. Baker Park
It is a great chilling point close to the downtown Whitefish. However, regardless of being in proximity to the downtown, it has all those forested vibes one wants to escape into. It has a few tennis courts, a floating dock or fishing and canoe launching, a pedestrian bridge crossing Whitefish River and scenic trails. The park also has an abundance of picnic spaces with tables, shaded corners, a gazebo and a huge kids’ playground.