We took a last minute trip (literally planned it in 6 days) to Whitefish, Montana and had the best time ever! We went with my two sister-in-laws and their families and my mother-in-law surprised us halfway through the trip! None of us had ever been to Montana and we simply fell in love with the area. There are endless activities for families, whether it’s a local hike or a day long excursion exploring the Flathead Valley. My nieces and nephews range from 15 months old to 11 years old so we did a wide variety of activities, many of which included everyone (not easy to find on trips with large groups). We found Whitefish to be a quant little town with a western feel but still offered every amenity a family would need. The people were so nice and were eager to talk about their home and provide recommendations. We are absolutely going to go back in the fall or winter to get a different feel for the area. Where We Stayed:
We stayed at a friends cabin in Iron Horse (they don’t rent it out) which is a gated golf community about five minutes from downtown Whitefish. Everything from our boat rental to the grocery store was within five minutes of our cabin! Iron Horse had tons of walking paths and several pools that were open to the Iron Horse community.What We Did:
– White Water Rafting: We went through Glacier Raft Company which I would recommend. Our party of 10 was able to be in the same boat and our guide was knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. The rafting trip took about three hours on the water and we went over 11 different rapids ranging from category two to three (Camden loved it!). I ended the trip by jumping into 52 degree water with my niece… so cold but such a great memory. Drop off and pick was easy and the company was diligent about COVID precautions. We had to wear a mask on the bus ride up to the river and they sanitized all of the lifejackets, helmets and paddles.
– Whitefish Mountain Resort: We spent a full day at Whitefish Mountain Resort which is just the ski mountain that is transformed in the summer to a big playground. They offer zip-lining, ropes courses, mountain biking, alpine slides, tubing, strider bike park and scenic lift rides. Our favorites were tubing, ropes course and alpine slide, and a few members of our group did mountain biking.
– Rented A Boat From The Lodge: My MIL loves pontoons so we rented one for a half day from The Lodge. It was easy to set-up and again, super close to our cabin. Our entire group went out on the boat and we packed drinks and lunches. Whitefish Lake is not a massive lake so we were able to cruise the entire lake, look at the pretty houses, take a few dips and we even found a river flowing into the lake that we floated down.
– Glacier National Park: There are endless hikes to go in the park but the Avalanche hike was most recommended to us for kids (here’s a list of the best hikes for kids). The hike loop was about six miles in total (three out/three back) with slight elevation changes. Kyle carried Mila in a backpack carrier and Camden did great (complained a few times) for the most part. The views of Avalanche Lake at the turnaround point were sooo gorgeous.
– Horse Back Riding Lessons: The four younger kids (ages 3-9) did lessons one morning. They taught them about the horses IE how to make them feel comfortable, how to clean them, how to walk them, etc. Then they got to ride them. The kids loved it and we wished we could’ve done it one more day. The two coaches were awesome with the kids and I couldn’t recommend them enough. They don’t have a website but here is their Facebook page!
– Shopped Downtown Whitefish: Downtown Whitefish is so charming and full of cute shops. We left the kids at home with the dads and shopped and grabbed lunch at Loula’s. For unique souvenir hats, create a custom one at Axehead. The best overall souvenir shop is definitely Montana Shirt, Co..
– Farmer’s Market: The local farmers market is every Tuesday night and they have live music, food trucks and shopping all downtown. We felt super safe, everyone was wearing a mask even though we were outside. The kids had a blast and we picked up some fresh cherries which the area is known for.
– Fly Fishing: Kyle and his two brother-in-laws took Camden and my nephew to fly fish at a local river. They floated in two flat bottom boats for about six hours and had a good time. They had two guides with them and they caught quite a few fish. The head guide is Jeremy Maynard and here is his information.
– Golf: The guys in the group golfed at Whitefish Golf Club which is a public course in the area. They had a great time and said it was a scenic course with awesome views. Whitefish Golf Club also has one of the more recommended dinner restaurants in the area. We unfortunately didn’t get to go during our stay due to crabby kids 😉 The course where we stayed required a member to be present so they weren’t able to play Iron Horse.Where to eat:
We actually cooked at the house every night except once and grabbed lunch a couple times! But our friend gave us a huge list of their favorite spots:
– Kandahar Lodge
– Sweet Peaks: We got ice cream here 3 times lol! Highly recommend the huckleberry shake!
– Mambos (dinner)
– Whitefish Lake Lodge Boat Club
– Abruzzo Italian Kitchen
– Loula’s: We ate lunch here and got a pie, which was so good!
– Buffalo Cafe (breakfast)
– Tap House (live music and outdoor patio)
– Wich Haus (sandwich shop… first place we stopped on our way to cabin)
– Gunsight Saloon (kid friendly, outdoor seating, & live music). They said get the mac n cheese. Wish we would’ve made it here!
I hope this helps if you’ve ever had interest in Montana. Happy to answer any questions on our stay! xx