General information about the Flathead Valley in Montana
Wondering where you should visit during your next trip to the state of Montana? The Flathead Valley should be at the top of your list!! The Flathead is full of beautiful lakes for summer activities, and mountains for hiking and skiing during the winter! There is so much to do here!
The Flathead Valley in Montana consists of four main areas: Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Bigfork. (I grew up in Kalispell.) The valley itself is a land of incredible beauty, nestled in the Rocky Mountains with hot summers and cold winters, it is the gateway to Glacier National Park. It is one of the most visited places in Montana, and for good reason.
Kalispell is in the central part of the valley, and is the place to visit if you need to visit a major store such as Walmart, Costco, Target, etc. Kalispell is even about to get a Cabela’s store (sometime in 2013, I believe). Let’s just say my husband is very excited about this! There are many gems of hotels and restaurants to visit in Kalispell, but it is probably not your main reason for visiting the valley.
Whitefish is a resort town, home to the Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain. (As I grew up here, I will always call the ski hill “Big Mountain,” its former name.) Whitefish is probably the most heavily visted town in the Flathead. Whitefish has a cute downtown, with beautiful storefronts where you can stroll from boutique to boutique, shopping and eating your heart away. Whitefish also has nearby Whitefish Lake for summer activities.
(Whitefish also has a 2% resort tax.)
Columbia Falls is a small town you will drive through to get to Glacier National Park. Columbia Falls has the Big Sky Waterpark and cute antique stores!
Bigfork is an adorable little town close to Flathead Lake. Bigfork has storefronts similar to Whitefish, but is a little smaller. Stores like Montana Bear Food are definitely worth a visit! If you want to have easy access to Flathead Lake, Bigfork (or Lakeside, south of Kalispell), are the places you would want to stay.
The Flathead Valley has so much to offer visitors year-round!! If you are going to venture to Montana, the Flathead Valley should definitely be at the top of your list for a visit!
Warmest wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog