Things to Do in Whitefish, Montana


Your ultimate guide of the best things to do in Whitefish, Montana - right here! Whether you want to hit the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort or kayak Whitefish Lake, we've got the best local tips for you to enjoy this gorgeous small town. Therefore, follow along for the best things to do in Whitefish. 

If you want more information on Whitefish, check out our article on the Best Restaurants in Whitefish for Every Eater.

Is Whitefish Montana worth visiting? 

Ummm...yes, is that even a question!? Whitefish is a quaint mountain town in Northwest Montana boasting gorgeous Rocky Mountain views and an enormous outdoor playground. Whether you come in winter or summer, or somewhere in between, there's something to do for everyone. The resort town has a certain charm of rugged Montana meets aprés ski's really something you need to experience. 

What is the population of Whitefish? 

According to the 2019 United States Census Bureau, Whitefish has a population of 7,714 people. 

Which is better Kalispell or Whitefish? 

While Kalispell has its benefits, I would definitely stay in Whitefish. Kalispell isn't a resort town and doesn't offer the small town feels that Whitefish does. However, Kalispell is closer to Flathead Lake and the Flathead National Forest.

That being said, Whitefish is only a mere 15 minutes north of Kalispell, so if you opt to stay in Whitefish you can still get there easily. 

What is Whitefish MT known for? 

Firstly, Whitefish is known for its great ski mountain, Whitefish Mountain Resort (also known as Big Mountain). Whether you're a skier or snowboarder, you won't be disappointed with the terrain. 

Secondly, downtown Whitefish features art galleries, farmer's markets, amazing eateries, bars, and entertainment. Check out our article on the Best Restaurants in Whitefish here. Trust me, Central Avenue will not disappoint. 

Thirdly, there is no shortage of outdoor recreation activities in Whitefish. Go biking on the Whitefish Trail, fishing on the Whitefish River, or just lounge out at Whitefish City Beach. The possibilities are never-ending!

Lastly, Whitefish is known for its close proximity to Glacier National Park and its surrounding areas. Do a day trip up Going-to-the-Sun Road or head North to the Canadian border and ski Fernie Ski Resort. 

What are the best restaurants in Whitefish? 

If you're looking for a comprehensive list of our favorites, view our article on the Best Restaurants in Whitefish right here. 

If you're a local, chances are you'll be eating a french toast breakfast at Loula's Cafe before hitting the slopes. After a long day on the mountain, you'll come back down to town for a beer and some comfort food at the Great Northern Bar. 

So, whether you're a local or are a visiting traveler, you're most likely going to love the food. Vacationers rave about the salmon at The Lodge and the casual sandwiches that the Grouse Mountain Lodge serves up. Locals love a casual slice of pizza from Jersey Boys Pizzeria or coleslaw tacos from Piggyback BBQ. 

What are the best activities to do in Whitefish Montana? 

Firstly, Whitefish is known for its skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort (also known as Big Mountain). The ski area is a gorgeous backdrop in downtown Whitefish, eluding to its gorgeous Rocky Mountain appeal. 

Secondly, if you're visiting Whitefish in the summer, it's crucial that you venture out to the many lakes in the area. If you want a large lake to jet ski or wakeboard on, drive 15 miles south to Flathead Lake. Or, try out Whitefish City Beach on Whitefish Lake, which boasts a number of water activities. 

Thirdly, explore downtown Whitefish and its many art galleries and boutiques! Central Ave has a plethora of jewelry stores, local coffee shops (Montana Coffee Traders), and even some great breweries! If you're craving some dessert, stop by Sweet Peaks Ice Cream. 

Lastly, take a day trip to Glacier National Park. It's about a thirty to forty-five minute drive to the entrance of Going to the Sun Road, an attraction that really is once-in-a-lifetime.

What are the top things to do in Whitefish? 

I think you mean what isn't there to do in this quaint little mountain town! 

For Summer:

Take a day trip to Glacier National Park

Less than 30 miles from Whitefish towards Columbia Falls, Glacier (known as the Crown of the Continent) is a must-see. Make sure to drive up Going-to-the-Sun-Road and hit the Avalanche hiking trail if you have time.

Go Lounge at Whitefish City Beach 

One mile west of the Whitefish Depot lies a large sandy beach area with a backdrop of rugged Rocky mountains and a crystal clear lake. I recommend going to have lunch with a view at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. They have water rentals such as jet skis and such if you want to go out on the water. Go try canoeing or paddle-boarding!

Take a Stroll Through The Whitefish Trail 

This trail consists of over 40 miles of natural surface walkways and a dozen trailheads. I recommend Lion Mountain, it's a trail close to town and great for both families and joggers alike. Round-trip it's about 3-miles.

Spend the Day on Flathead Lake 

Flathead Lake is a must-do. Whether you decide to go explore Bigfork or Lakeside, both are great areas to both view and get on the lake. Personally, I love Bigfork due to its cute beach town vibes and the plethora of motorboat rentals there. And you want a big party, go to Bigfork during the 4th of July!

Check out Flathead National Forest

Flathead National Forest encompasses over 2 million acres (including the Bob Marshall Wilderness and Flathead Wild and Scenic River). If you want to catch a glimpse of grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife, this is a must do!

Hike Jewel Basin

Jewel Basin Hiking Area is one of my favorite hiking spots! For instance, it covers about 15,000 acres maintained exclusively for camping & hiking. And oh is it beautiful!

Do a Brewery Tour

Bonsai Brewing Project is a great spot to taste local craft brews, listen to live music, and eat some great food! They usually close during the winter, so it's a great activity to take advantage of during the summer months!

Get a Guide and Go Whitewater Rafting 

Experience the best whitewater rafting Montana has to offer with a tour from Glacier Raft Company. They also offer fly fishing, horseback riding, and kayaking tours!

Explore the Aerial Adventure Park 

Located up Whitefish Mountain Resort, the Aerial Adventure Park features zip lining through the trees, an alpine slide, and even a ropes course. It's great family fun. If you're feeling adventurous, go mountain biking down the mountain while you're up there!

For Winter:

Hit the Slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort

Also known as Big Mountain, this ski resort is a staple of Whitefish. Plus, it's only a fifteen minute drive from downtown Whitefish!

Go Cross-Country Skiing

Whitefish is surrounded by a wide variety of trail systems that are maintained and groomed, so perfect for Nordic skiing! If you want a trail close to town, check out the Big Mountain Trailhead or Whitefish Lake Golf Course. Otherwise, if you're feeling adventurous, head up to Glacier and hit some trails out there!

Try Fat Tire Biking

Glacier Cyclery and Nordic offers fat tire biking for those who want to extend their cycling season. Haven't heard of it? Check it out here.

Book a Distillery Tour

Between Bonsai Brewing Project, Spotted Bear Spirits, and Glacier Distilling Company, Whitefish and the surrounding areas have a plethora of brews and spirits. Therefore, if you want to stay indoors for the day, check them out!

Take a Class at Stumptown Art Studio 

Stumptown Art Studio, located in downtown Whitefish offers a variety of different classes. For example, they do pottery painting, glass fusing, and more!

Go on a Guided Snowmobile Tour

Find an outfitter and learn how to braaap! We love Northwest Montana Adventures for all your snowmobiling needs. It sounds scary, but trust us, it's worth the thrill!

Find a Sledding Hill

There are so many different sledding hills around Whitefish and the surrounding areas. Personally, I love grabbing a sled and heading up to Big Mountain for the best sledding experience. Because it's TOO much fun.

things to do in whitefish montana
Image via The Resort at Paws Up
Catch a Show at the Alpine Theater Project

I love watching a production at the Alpine Theater Project and supporting local! Plus, their shows are always really great.

Snowshoe Glacier National Park

If you thought you were only able to explore Glacier in the summer months, you thought wrong! It's open 365 days a year. I love going out there in the winter, because you beat the crowds!

In conclusion on the best things to do in Whitefish Montana...

So, did you find some great activities to fill your day? Additionally, if you liked this article, go check out similar ones below!


Posted by Jeremy Seglem on


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