Ahhh, I’m feeling so refreshed after this trip. There’s nothing more refreshing than a luxury weekend in nature! Being a girl from the south, this lake and national park was absolutely stunning and unlike anywhere I’ve ever visited before.
We took a direct flight from Denver, Colorado to Kalispell, Montana. It was an easy 2.5ish hour flight. Once you get there, you’ll have to rent a car to explore but it’s totally worth it.
WHERE WE STAYED
We stay in this airbnb on Flathead Lake, Montana. The views were gorgeous! It was very convenient that the owner of the house also had a nice pontoon boat available for rent. We took it out one day and it made renting a boat effortless and easy as it was housed at the dock already.
The drive to the house from the Kalispell airport was about an hour. The drive was scenic and you pass tons of cherry farms along the way. Make sure to stop at a local stand and pick up seasonal fresh fruit! Bears and deers flock the farms to pick berries. Unfortunately, I didn’t spot a bear while I was there. However, we saw tons of deer each evening!
*The lake is 30 miles long and 15 miles wide so keep that in mind when looking where to stay on the lake because driving distance can vary greatly.
ABOUT FLATHEAD LAKE, MONTANA
Sometimes I’m such a nerd about outdoors stuff so I have to share what I thought was so cool about Flathead Lake! 🙂 It’s the largest natural lake in northwest Montana and is the largest natural freshwater lake by surface area that is west of the source of the Missouri River in the contiguous United States. It expands 30 miles long and nearly 15 miles wide. It reaches a depth of 300 feet, and boasts of 185 miles of shoreline! The lake can be VERY windy sometimes. A local told us waves can get up to 7-8 feet high like an ocean! When we were on the boat, the waves were chopping and winds were strong in certain areas.
There are multiple islands on the lake. Wild Horse Island is a 2,156 acre state park that is only accessible by boat. It’s home to wild horses, bighorn sheep, coyotes, deer and a variety of birds. We circled the island slowly by boat and unfortunately didn’t spot any wildlife. I think it’s a bit misleading because the island is so large and the animals could be hiding anywhere!
There are lots of activities to keep you busy on the lake including SUP, boating and water activities, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing.
I especially enjoyed snorkeling along the edge of the glacier. The water is extremely clear and you can see it drop off into darkness.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
To be honest, Glacier National Park wasn’t even on my radar before this trip. It sounds pretty but I hadn’t really been drawn to it for any particular reason. Wow…am I glad we went! We only had one day in the park so we had to make it quick. However, I think 3 days would be wonderful to spend inside the park. I especially loved the lodging beside Lake McDonald because the view was so peaceful.
Here are some photos of our quick day at Glacier National Park:
- Plan your vacation early! Most places in Glacier National Park book really fast. There are some cool hotels inside that looked beautiful to stay at.
- We went in mid-August. I think this is definitely the best time to go. Most locals said it’s pretty cold and windy before July and snowy after September, making it a short prime travel window.
- Part of Flathead Lake is in an Indian Reservation. You may need permits. I’ve also heard it can be dangerous to go to certain areas during the cold months. This could be false but something to look into.
- The seasonal fresh fruit was fabulous. We had fresh cherries and wow! I have a new found love for them.
- We stopped at Perfect Cuts on our drive from Glacier National Park to our Airbnb and got the BEST local meat I’ve literally ever eaten to grill out!
Thanks for reading! I cannot wait to go back to Glacier National Park and add to this post! Happy Exploring!