Travelers who can’t wait to get out of town and explore a new destination that’s equal parts scenic and exciting will find it waiting for them in Whitefish, Montana. This welcoming and endlessly beautiful mountain town is a place on the map that has a tantalizing collection of trails, peaks, lakes, and in-town fun just waiting to be discovered. In Whitefish, Montana, there’s something for everyone to enjoy whether you’re looking to kick back and savor the views, or you can’t wait to get out and enjoy as much adventure as possible each day you’re here.

Whitefish is located just 26 miles from Glacier National Park’s west entrance and no matter what season you arrive, you’ll find a long list of activities to boost your itinerary. When the fresh powder falls, Whitefish becomes a mecca of opportunity for downhill enthusiasts who are excited to hit the ski slopes in style. In fact, National Geographic has named Whitefish one of the “Top 25 Ski Towns in the World” for this very reason! In the warmer weather months of the year, Whitefish’s location on the shores of Whitefish Lake and the base of Big Mountain makes it the perfect place for on-the-water fun, wildlife watching, and hiking gorgeous trails. When cravings come calling, downtown Whitefish is a charming place to explore local cafes followed up by time browsing one-of-a-kind shops.

With so much to do in town and out in nature, it’s no wonder that visitors often find their first time in Whitefish becomes one of many trips this way in the name of fun. When you can’t wait to experience this stunning destination for yourself, the following is your ultimate guide to sightseeing in Whitefish, Montana to make the most of every moment you’re here.

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Getting to Whitefish, Montana Is a Breeze

No matter where your point of origin might be, getting to Whitefish is a breeze. When you’re planning on flying in to enjoy the best sightseeing possible, you’ll want to make plans to land at Glacier Airport in Kalispell. Once you arrive, there are plenty of rental car options on-site and Whitefish can be reached in less than an hour following Route 93. While Montana is a vast state, the highway system is concise, and you won’t have any problems following this well-marked route into town. If you would like to extend your sightseeing to include even more scenic landscapes along the way, you can always choose to fly into Spokane, Washington, and rent a vehicle here instead. You’ll want to plan on a 4- to 5-hour drive from Spokane to Whitefish depending on the weather but the reward for your added drive time comes in the form of breathtaking views. It’s good to note that Amtrak’s Empire Builder also stops daily in Whitefish so if you prefer to take the train, this is an option as well.

Visit Glacier National Park in Whitefish, MT

Getting Around Once You Arrive

Many visitors setting out on a sightseeing journey to Whitefish wonder if they’ll need a vehicle while they’re in town and the answer is a resounding yes. Whitefish hosts just one taxi company alongside a limited public bus route known as Eagle Transit, so if you have plans to explore beyond the downtown area exclusively, you’re going to want to have your own wheels to get around. This is especially true if your trip includes time at nearby places like Glacier National Park, Swan Lake, the Kootenai Forest, or Flathead Lake to name a few of many. There are certainly park shuttles you can take upon arrival at Glacier National Park and in the wintertime, Whitefish Mountain Snow Bus takes passengers from downtown to mountain summits daily. However, if you want to have control over your schedule and sightseeing plans with room to be flexible when inspiration strikes, having a rental car booked for the duration of your stay is a must.

Seasonal Weather Expectations for Sightseeing

In all fairness, there’s no bad time of year to head to Whitefish in the name of vacation and sightseeing fun. However, having an idea of the weather expectations in each season can help you customize your adventure according to the activities you’re most looking forward to enjoying. Whether you’re here on your own, as a couple on a romantic escape, or in the company of family and friends, you’ll find every season has its charms. If you’re inclined to head out and explore when the snow begins to fall and temperatures drop, you’ll find ample reasons to make your way to Whitefish in the winter. Whitefish typically sees its first snowflakes in late November when temperatures fluctuate between 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and 20 below zero at night. While the valley is often overcast in the winter, those who make their way to mountain summits to ski will typically catch glimpses of sunnier skies overhead. On average, you can expect about 20 feet of snow each year in Whitefish meaning you’ll want to pack your best winter gear, and you can definitely count on great slopes waiting to be enjoyed.

By spring, rain makes its way into Whitefish and encourages an impressive collection of wildflower blooms across the landscape. If you’re a nature photographer, you’ll want to grab your raincoat and your camera for a sightseeing getaway here in this season which is wet, but colorful. Temperatures can fluctuate between 40 degrees and 70 degrees in the daytime giving you options to pair indoor and outdoor activities. If you happen to be a thrill seeker, the deluge of spring rain means there are also options to book a heart pounding wild water rafting experience when you’re in town.

When summer rolls around, every opportunity to get out and explore is right at your fingertips. Summer is a popular season for visiting Whitefish thanks to ample sunshine and warm weather. By mid-summer, you can count on temperatures making their way up into the 90s and very little humidity thanks to the town’s northwest location in the state.

Fall is a mild and inviting time of year to explore mountain peaks, take to the trails, and enjoy changing seasonal colors. After Labor Day, daytime temperatures linger in the mid-60s and 70s making for a wonderfully pleasant experience as long as you’ve packed layers. Some of the top peak trails to check out in the fall include the Lion Mountain Trail, Whitefish Valley Lookout, and the National Recreation Trail. It’s also a fantastic season for bird watching, so don’t forget your binoculars as you explore.

Go kayaking in Whitefish, Montana

Warm-Weather Sightseeing Activities

It’s hard to imagine a warm-weather getaway to Whitefish with sightseeing as a priority that doesn’t include quality time at Whitefish Lake. There’s nothing more refreshing than an afternoon of kayaking or paddleboarding on the water while those who are looking to pick up the pace are more than welcome to rent boats and jet skis at the Whitefish Marina. Whitefish City Beach is another great stop when you’re up for a day on the sand. This fun and family-friendly destination is located just a mile from downtown and comes with free public access included.

You’ll also want to make time on the itinerary for a day enjoyed at stunning Glacier National Park. Just 26 miles from town, you can enjoy a day of hiking, wildlife watching, and learning more about the amazing landscapes that await. Glacier National Park sprawls over 1 million acres of terrain so there’s no way to see everything at once, but it’s a destination that will inspire you to return to discover more! When you’re here, you’ll be in a place that hosts more than 1,000 species of plants, hundreds of species of wildlife, and more than 130 lakes. This park is nicknamed “Crown of the Continent” for a reason, and many would understandably point to the 25 glaciers on-site. Sun Road is a must if you’re looking for gorgeous views while hiking and you’ll want to keep your eyes open along the way for views of marmots, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.

On Tuesday evenings in the summertime, stick around downtown to browse the Whitefish Farmer’s Market alongside family and friends. This market is hosted at the north end of Central Avenue and is a one-stop resource for fresh produce, flowers, handcrafted goods and beyond. The inclusion of live music and food trucks makes the experience even more inviting.

Yet another way to enjoy spectacular sightseeing in Whitefish in the summer is to book your place on a trail ride. Over at Bar W Guest Ranch, you can enjoy taking part in savoring the sights in the saddle between May and November. Trail rides take you through meadows and woodlands alongside a knowledgeable guide who can offer up history and insight into the area along the way. If you’re looking for more to add to your must-try list in summer, make sure your trip to Whitefish also includes rock climbing and golf!

Cold Weather Fun

While the lush terrain that adorns Whitefish in the summer is always a treat, there’s something just as revitalizing about the glittering snow-covered terrain you find here in the winter. Whitefish’s location in the heart of the Rockies means you can count on Alpine charm paired with pristine wilderness to explore. One of the best places to start is Whitefish Mountain which is a family-friendly ski area where you can enjoy access to slopes fit for all skill levels, on-site lessons, tubing, and winter hiking options as well. There’s an alpine slide to check out when you’re looking for something everyone in your traveling crew will love and you can’t go wrong with a gondola ride that offers up a bird’s eye view over the frozen landscapes including Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park in the distance. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing area also great ways to enjoy winter sightseeing in Whitefish thanks to miles of meticulously groomed trails to check out. For those who love to cycle their way through a stay and don’t want to give up on the fun just because winter is in full swing, renting a fat tire bike through Glacier Cyclery & Nordic is always the right choice. For sightseeing at a faster clip, consider spending at least one day making the most of a snowmobiling adventure through the Flathead Valley’s alpine forests. If you’re more comfortable exploring as part of a tour group, you can book your place through Swan Mountain Snowmobiling.

Discover hiking trails in Whitefish, MT

Sightseeing Tours to Try

Beyond snowmobiling, tours of all types are available to participate in when you head to Whitefish and want to maximize your sightseeing fun. If you love hiking but want to learn more about your surroundings along the way, booking a guided hike is a great option. The Avalanche Lake guided day hike offered at Glacier National Park comes with an expert guide, transportation to the meeting point, and insight into wildlife and geology as you trek. Biking tours are offered locally through Adventure Cycling and Whitefish Outfitters while guided climbing adventures can be enjoyed alongside the professionals at The Mountain Guides. Red Bus Tours through Glacier National Park are also readily available with vehicles able to host up to 16 people at a time.

Eateries to Enjoy in Town

After all of that fantastic sightseeing, there’s a good chance you’ll have an appetite to attend to. Feel free to do some culinary sightseeing in Whitefish with a stop at Jersey Boys Pizzeria. Located at 550 E. 1st Street, this delicious destination in town is the perfect place to pick up a New York slice right in the heart of Montana. Over at Montana Coffee Traders downtown, you can fuel up with a caffeine fix whenever it’s needed most. They also have several locations around the Flathead Valley. If you’re in the mood for French fare, make your way to 103 Central Avenue and enjoy a bite at the Fleur Bake Shop. This welcoming destination is designed to feel like a European café and the combination of French-style pastries, small plates, and artisan breads will have you enjoying palate-pleasing moments in no time. For a sit-down dinner that’s elegant and comes with a great view, be sure to set aside time to enjoy a meal at the Boat Club Restaurant. Located at 1380 Wisconsin Avenue, this stop offers up lake views, hosts patio dining, and has live music on the lineup at least three nights a week.

Book your Whitefish lakefront rental today

Book Your Whitefish Lakefront Rental Today!

Book Your Whitefish Adventure Today

No matter when your travel plans bring you to Whitefish, the team at I Love Whitefish has the vacation rentals in Whitefish you need to top off your stay in luxury and style. Reach out today to learn more and to start planning your next trip to Montana.

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