There’s nothing quite like spending endless hours at the lake on a hot summer day. Between swimming, boating, picnicking, and being surrounded by beautiful scenery, it’s tough to beat a lakeside vacation. Montana is a state known for its rugged and unspoiled beauty, so it makes sense that the Treasure State is full of beautiful lake side destinations for travelers. We’ve put together a list of fun towns in Montana that offer easy access to lakeside recreation and plenty to do and see away from the water. Read on to plan your next Montana getaway.

Plan A Trip To These 5 Montana Lake Vacations

1. Bigfork, Montana

Bigfork is a picturesque, artsy community that sits on the Northeast corner of Flathead Lake. The area is perfect for art lovers, and the town was voted one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in the nation. If you’re visiting in the summer check out the Bigfork Summer Playhouse. If food is more of a focus, the town food scene has drawn national attention and offers up everything from gastropub food to gourmet French cuisine. Make your way down to Flathead Lake for great boating conditions or take a drive around the lake for majestic views of the water and surrounding mountains.

2. Whitefish, Montana

This laid-back community is a classic mountain town, and the town and surrounding wilderness offers up plenty for visitors to explore. Whitefish is especially popular in the winter, with world class skiing, and annual winter events like Ski-Joring races, but summertime here is just as magical. Just two miles west of town sits Whitefish Lake State Park, complete with a campground, beach, hiking and biking trails, and opportunities for boating and swimming. It’s a popular spot with locals and visitors. Glacier National Park is also nearby, and explorers can hike through the peaks and valleys of this World Heritage site. It’s not uncommon to get a glimpse of some of the local wildlife either.


3. Polson, Montana

Polson sits on the southern shore of Flathead Lake in northwest Montana. Its part of the Flathead Indian Reservation, and is one of the best farming areas in the state, and celebrates the Cherry Festival every year. It’s bordered by the Mission Mountains, which give the town an awe inspiring back drop. When you’re not spending your day lounging on the shores of Flathead Lake, try hiking in the National Bison Range, exploring a nearby bird refuge, checking out one of the local museums, or taking a swing on the Polson golf course.

4. West Yellowstone, Montana

The town of West Yellowstone sits right next to Yellowstone National Park, and is a popular spot for visitors hoping to check out one of the country’s most beautiful national parks. The town is full of activities for any season, and visitors can spend their time fishing, boating, swimming, or kayaking on nearby lakes, or spend some time birdwaching, hiking, or visiting one of the many local museums. The town is full of info about Native American heritage, and its laid back vibe and welcoming locals make it a fun town to explore. Nearby is Hebgen Lake, one of the best places for still water fishing in the state, or drive an hour to Yellowstone Lake for picturesque views and a relaxing cruise on the water.

5. West Glacier, Montana

While it’s more of a “guide center” than a town, West Glacier is the taking off point for anyone looking to explore all that Glacier National Park has to offer. The area is full of great places to stay, local dining, tour guides for outdoor adventures, and even some shopping. The bustling community always has something going on, so it’s easy to meet like minded travelers and find plenty of adventures to keep you busy. Lake McDonald is one of Glacier’s largest and most scenic lakes. The long fjord-like lake is a classic glacial feature, and the surrounding mountains offer a breathtaking backdrop. Spend time relaxing on the shore, take a cruise across the water, or hike around for a chance to see some wildlife.

This article was written by Alexis Hartmann.