Flathead Lake

11 Exciting Things To Do At Flathead Lake | #FlatheadLake

Dive In! The Ultimate Guide to Flathead Lake Fun

With its crystal-clear waters surrounded by majestic mountains and lush forests, there is no shortage of things to do at Flathead Lake. Spanning over 510.2 sq. km, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, surrounded by the rugged Rocky Mountains, provides a perfect backdrop for recreational pursuits. Whether you’re seeking thrilling water activities, serene lakeside relaxation, or cultural explorations, this hidden gem offers diverse experiences that will leave you enchanted and yearning for more. Flathead Lake invites you to embark on an adventure-filled escape. Are you ready to dive into the waves of excitement? Here’s a comprehensive guide to things to do at Flathead Lake, ensuring a memorable experience for each one. Let’s splash and explore!

Aqua Adventures: Exciting Things To Do At Flathead Lake

1. Boating and Beach Activities     

Boating and water activities are the best things to do at Flathead Lake. Rent a boat or take Flathead Lake boat tours to explore the 43.9 km long lake while enjoying the fresh mountain air. Cruise along the deep blue waters, taking in the breathtaking scenery and enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings. Sailing is especially popular, with the brisk mountain winds providing an exhilarating experience.

During the warmer months, the lake invites visitors to cool off with a refreshing swim. Take a dip in the waters, build sandcastles, or bask in the sun. Also, thrilling water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and jet skiing add to the fun.

2. Fishing

Anglers will find Flathead Lake teeming with various fish species, including lake trout, whitefish, yellow perch, and bull trout. Bring your fishing gear, cast your line into the deep blue waters, and enjoy the thrill of a potential catch. Charter boats are available for those who want a guided fishing experience, ensuring you can catch that trophy fish. So, try your luck for a day of serene fishing, one of the exciting things to do at Flathead Lake.

3. Cherry Picking

Flathead Lake is famous for its delicious cherries. Visit local orchards during the cherry season (July to August) to handpick fresh cherries or sample cherry-based products at local markets. Plan your trip to the two-day annual Flathead Cherry Festival in Polson (late July). Thus, among the fun things to do at Flathead Lake is cherry picking during summer.

Lakefront Leisure: Making Memories at Flathead

4. Hiking and Nature Trails

If you prefer to explore on foot, hiking is one of the adventurous things to do at Flathead Lake. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the numerous trails that meander through the region. From easy walks suitable for families to challenging hikes for seasoned trekkers, there’s a trail for every skill level. The Jewel Basin Hiking Area and Wayfarers State Park offer breathtaking views of the lake and its surroundings. So, enjoy the diverse flora and fauna, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the natural beauty.

5. Visit Wild Horse Island

In quest for unique things to do at Flathead Lake take a boat ride to Wild Horse Island. Accessible only by boat, Wild Horse Island State Park, spread over 2,100 acres, is home to diverse wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, and wild horses. Take this opportunity to encounter these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Additionally, hike the trails and enjoy the untouched beauty of the largest island in Flathead Lake.

6. Camping Under the Stars

Immerse yourself in the great outdoors by camping along the shores of Flathead Lake. Numerous campgrounds like Flathead Lake State Park offer diverse experiences, from rustic sites for tent camping to RV-friendly facilities with modern amenities. Fall asleep under the starlit sky and wake up to the sounds of nature for an unforgettable camping experience. So, don’t forget to add camping to your itinerary of things to do at Flathead Lake.

7. Scenic Drives

Take a leisurely drive along the scenic highways that encircle Flathead Lake. The Flathead Lake Scenic Byway offers breathtaking views of the lake, mountains, and charming towns. Stop at designated viewpoints to capture memorable photos of the lake and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Montana landscape.

Top Things To Do At Flathead Lake

8. Visit Lakeside Towns

What’s next on our list of things to do at Flathead Lake? Explore the charming lakeside towns that dot the shoreline, such as Polson and Bigfork. These towns offer a mix of art galleries, boutique shops, and local eateries. Enjoy a meal at waterfront restaurants, indulge in locally crafted beverages, and immerse yourself in the unique culture, local events, and artistic flair of the hospitable Montana communities.

Attractions: Miracle of America Museum, St. Ignatius Mission

9. Wildlife Watching

Wildlife watching is among the best things to do at Flathead Lake for nature lovers. The area around Flathead Lake is rich in wildlife. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for bald eagles, ospreys, deer, elk, bears, and other local fauna that inhabit the region.

10. Photography Excursions

Are you an avid photographer? If so, honing your photography skills is among the top things to do at Flathead Lake. Capture sunrise over the mountains to vibrant sunset reflections on the water, wildlife, and the changing hues of the lake. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, the boundless beauty of Flathead Lake provides a canvas for breathtaking shots. Don’t forget your camera to document the memories you create.

11. Winter Wonderland

In the colder months, Flathead Lake transforms into a winter wonderland. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The serene beauty of the frozen lake and snow-laden mountains creates a magical atmosphere for those seeking a unique winter experience.

Other things to do at Flathead Lake:

  • Winery Tours
  • Visit Glacier National Park
  • Attend Seasonal Festivals
  • Relaxation and Wellness
  • Stargazing
  • Savor Local Culinary Delights

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Flathead Lake offers a score of activities for visitors throughout the year. Whether you prefer a laid-back lakeside retreat or an action-packed adventure, this Montana gem provides an idyllic backdrop for an unforgettable getaway. So, plan a visit to this versatile destination, embrace the tranquility of nature, and create lasting memories at Flathead Lake.


  1. When is the best time to visit Flathead Lake, Montana?  

June to September (summer) and December to March (winter for skiing) are the best time to visit Flathead Lake.

  • How to travel from Missoula to Flathead Lake?       

The distance between Missoula and Flathead Lake is 69.5 miles and it takes about 1.25 hours by car.

  • What are the things to do in Bigfork, Montana?

Hiking, dog sledding, golfing, hiking, fishing, snow activities, kayaking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and art galleries are fun activities in Bigfork.


  1. Flathead Lake measures 195 square miles of surface water.
  • The largest island in the lake Wild Horse Island has been a state park since 1977.

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