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.
To help you out on your visit, we have compiled an expansive list of activities you will find in the area!
Best Tours in Whitefish, Montana
Whitefish Mountain Resort has regularly been listed in SKI Magazine as one of the best ski resorts in the United States.
Open since 1947, Whitefish is one of the most popular places for locals and visitors to hit the slopes. With one of the deepest ski bases and nearly 300 inches of snow each year, it’s hard to deny that skiing in Whitefish is some of the best around.
Located less than 20 miles from Glacier Park International Airport, Whitefish Mountain Resort offers plenty of amenities including ski and board rentals, dining, shopping and a variety of family-friendly activities.
2. Horseback Riding
The Bar W Guest Ranch The Stryker Range and the Bar W Guest Ranch are home to some of the best horseback trail rides in Montana.
Reserve your spot at the Bar W Guest Ranch and enjoy trail rides and cattle drives in the open prairie on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
3. Zip Line Tour
Skiing isn’t the only activity that is offered at Whitefish Mountain Resort. If you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll want to check out the zip line tour at Whitefish Mountain.
This zip line tour is considered to be the longest in Montana, with one line stretching 1,900-feet. Strap into a harness and enjoy the feel of flying while you enjoy the views of the Whitefish area and Whitefish Mountain Resort. This is not your typical zipline tour.
Be prepared for a good hike to get you to the starting point of the Zip line. The complete zip line experience at Whitefish Mountain should last about 2.5 hours.
4. Driving Tour
If you are looking for a guided sightseeing/driving tour of Glacier National Park then Check out Whitefish Outfitters, they provide one of the best driving tours of the Park.
Visitors will enjoy a private tour in a private vehicle (no buses here) with a local guide that is highly knowledgeable about the park. Tour prices include the entrance fee to Glacier National Park, and local tour companies don’t require a timed entry reservation. Whitefish Outfitters even provide light snacks and beverages.
5. Fly Fishing
Lakestream fly shop in Whitefish is certainly one of the best fishing outfitters in western Montana.
Not only is Lakestream an amazing fly shop where experienced fly fishers can get all the gear they need, but it is also home to some of the most knowledgeable guides in Western Montana.
Specializing in guiding on the Western Freestone River, Lakestream’s guides will take you to the best fishing spots, and help you hone your fly-fishing skills at the same time.
6. White Water Rafting
If you aren’t interested in fly-fishing or horseback riding while visiting Whitefish, then maybe you should give white water rafting a try. Whitefish has three rafting companies that provide great white water rafting tours.
7. Bike Tour
We mentioned Whitefish Outfitters for their tours of Glacier National Park, but they also provide a variety of other guided tours.
One of the best is their biking tour of the area. Whitefish Outfitters provide an exceptional tour whether your passion is road biking, tour biking or hitting the singletrack.
8. Historical Tour
Stumptown Historical Museum and the Stumptown Historical Society provide some of the best historical tours in western Montana.
The Stumptown Historical Museum is located in the historical Whitefish Train Depot, and features exhibits that tell the story of Whitefish from the Native Americans to the railroad and the logging history that made Whitefish what it is today.
9. Ice Climbing
Whitefish Vertical Adventures offers visitors to Whitefish a unique outdoor experience that other outfitters don’t. If you’re a thrill-seeker and want to try your hand at ice climbing, then visit Whitefish Vertical Adventures.
They are one of only a handful of outfitters in western Montana that offer ice climbing experiences. Their experienced staff will show you the ropes and provide all of the gear that you need for a safe and exciting ice climbing adventure.
10. Dam Tour
The 564-foot tall Hungry Horse Dam is one of the engineering marvels of Montana. This man-made structure holds back the South Fork of the Flathead River, creating the 34-mile long Hungry Horse Reservoir.
The reservoir is a great destination for water sports, fishing, and hiking, but for many visitors knowing more about the dam is what makes this reservoir interesting.
The visitor center at Hungry Horse Reservoir offers guided tours of the dam. While other visitors just drive over the dam, you can learn the in’s and out’s of how the structure was built and how it provides crucial resources to the area.
The 8 Best Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana
1. Wander Around Downtown Whitefish
You’ll find it hard to not want to walk around Downtown Whitefish. This picturesque town is all things Montana. Filled with great shops, quaint cafes, and some of the best dining in Montana, a stroll through the historic community is an adventure in itself.
Central Avenue is Whitefish’s main street, so park your car, and wander. You’ll feel like you’re walking through the Old West, with a bit of modern flare.
2. Play 18 at Golf Courses of the Flathead Valley
Whitefish is just one of a number of great communities in the Flathead Valley. And one of the things that stand out in all of these communities are the golf courses.
As a matter of fact, Golf Digest Magazine has included the Flathead Valley in their list of 50 Best Golf Destinations in the world. The valley is home to nine championship public courses, family-friendly executive courses and three courses that are more than 50 years old.
No matter your skill level, the Flathead Valley and Whitefish have a course that you’ll love.
3. Spend the Day at the Beach
One feature that you can’t miss in Whitefish is Whitefish Lake. This seven-mile-long lake sits on the northwest edge of the city, and is a favorite spot for locals to spend their summer days.
Whitefish City Beach is located just outside of town and is the perfect place to cool down in the summer. With an amazing swim beach, boat ramps and plenty of space for all sorts of water sports, you are sure to find an activity that will thrill your whole family.
The City even has a non-motorized boat and watercraft rentals, if you want to adventure beyond the beach.
If you’re looking for a great spot to camp, head just a bit further outside of town, following the western edge of the lake. Whitefish Lake State Park is another popular place for accessing the lake.
It is also a great place to camp if you want a more rustic place to stay. The Park has camping spots for tents and RVs. There is also a nicely maintained boat ramp.
4. Day Trip to Glacier National Park
Less than 30-miles and under 1-hour drive from downtown Whitefish is Glacier National Park.
One of the most iconic parks in the National Park system, visitors from all over the world come to experience the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, and the glaciers that are the last remnants of an ice age that once covered most of North America.
The Park offers recreational activities like hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. There are also visitor centers that have great displays of the natural history of the area.
Many visitors come to Glacier National Park just to drive the Going-to-the-Sun highway. This route crosses through the park from east to west and is one of the most iconic drives in the National Park system.
5. Adventures at Whitefish Mountain Resort
Whitefish Mountain Resort offers visitors to the Whitefish area, year-round recreational activities. In the winter, Whitefish Mountain Resort is one of the best ski areas in the United States.
This beautiful resort has plenty of runs that are perfect for beginner to expert skiers and riders. With on-mountain lodging and dining, it’s the perfect place for a winter getaway.
In the summer, when the snow is gone, Whitefish Mountain Resort becomes a dream spot for mountain bikers and hikers. The hill has plenty of trail options for all sorts of adventures.
6. Performances at Whitefish Theater Company
Not many communities in Montana can boast about their theater company. Whitefish Theater Company has been entertaining the Whitefish community for more than 40 years.
Housed in the O’Shaughnessy Center, the Whitefish Theater Company stages a variety of shows each year, including musicals, plays, nationally touring musical groups, dance troupes, and theater companies.
Each year, the Alpine Theater Project puts on some of the largest productions in the theater, many of which are innovative and internationally recognized.
7. Drink Locally
It may not seem like it, but Whitefish is home to some pretty great places to relax and enjoy a beverage. The town is home to some of the best breweries, distilleries, and wineries in Montana.
Start your beverage adventure at Bonsai Brewing Project. This unique brewery specializes in small-batch brews. Try their hoppy IPAs, barrel-aged sours, and a robust list of locally crafted brews in a variety of styles.
Spotted Bear Spirits are the perfect place to taste some of Montana’s best-distilled spirits. The liquors at Spotted Bear Spirits range from clean and crisp vodka to their own earthy agave spirits. Try a flight of their hand-crafted spirits or one of their carefully crafted cocktails.
Located just outside of Whitefish in Columbia Falls is the award-winning White Raven Winery.
Easily one of the best wineries in Montana, this spot is one of the few wineries in Montana that make wines from grapes grown in Montana. The weather in Montana along with the soil makes the wine at White Raven Winery a unique experience that should not be missed.
8. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
It’s hard to find many people that don’t love ice cream. And if you’re visiting Whitefish with kids (or those who are kids at heart) then you need to add Sweet Peaks Ice Cream to your list of spots to visit.
Many consider this to be one of the best ice cream shops in Montana. And, with ice cream carefully crafted using seasonal produce, dairy from local farmers, and other uniquely Montana ingredients, it’s hard to beat what Sweet Peaks has to offer.
If you want to try ice cream that is all Montana, try their Huckleberry ice cream or the honey cinnamon. Both are made from locally sourced ingredients and are completely delicious.
Free Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana
Visit the Whitefish Depot
Not only is this place an active train station, but it’s also a museum and historical spot in Whitefish. Built-in 1928 this beautiful building is a stopping point for the Amtrak as it passes through Montana.
The Stumptown Historical Museum in the depot details the story of Whitefish and the Flathead Valley. Admission to the museum and the depot are free.
Go for a Hike
Hop on the Whitefish Trail and wander around the outskirts of Whitefish. The Whitefish Trail is quite popular with locals and is a great option for hiking, biking, trail running, and horseback riding.
With miles of trail, and plenty of scenic overlooks, and challenging single-track, the Whitefish Trail is a great way to get some fresh air, look for wildlife and even learn a bit about the history of Whitefish and the Flathead Valley.
The City Parks
Whitefish is home to some wonderful city parks. While many of the parks in town offer traditional park amenities such as picnic tables, playgrounds, and walking trails, Whitefish does have a few parks with unique amenities.
Baker Park is an open space park with natural features and a trail that connects it to the rest of the park system. Riverside Park is a family favorite thanks to its great playground and plenty of grassy areas for kids to run around.
Whitefish City Beach is another popular park and a place for visitors to enjoy the Montana summer by lounging in the sand or dipping their toes into the refreshing waters of Whitefish Lake.