If you are planning a visit to Big Sky Country, you’ll want to know the best time to visit Whitefish. Use our guide to help you decide the best time for you to enjoy Whitefish, Montana.
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.
- 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. You can check available accommodations in Whitefish here.
- 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
(June through August)
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.
(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.
(Late October Through Late March)
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 in January:
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.
Whitefish Weather in February:
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.
Whitefish Weather in March:
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.
Whitefish Weather in April:
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.
Whitefish Weather in May:
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.
Whitefish Weather in June:
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.
Whitefish Weather in July:
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.
Whitefish Weather in August:
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.
Whitefish Weather in September:
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.
Whitefish Weather in October:
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 towards 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.
Whitefish Weather in November:
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.
Whitefish Weather in December:
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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, half-marathon, and a full marathon. The finish line has local vendors, entertainment, food, and beer.
Whitefish in June
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
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.
Sponsored by the Whitefish Christian Academy this event is another highlight of the 4th 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.