The community of Whitefish, MT sits at the northwest end of a wide valley between the Cabinet Mountain Range and the Swan and Mission Mountain Range. This fertile valley is also the home of several other noteworthy communities including: Columbia Falls, Bigfork, Lakeside/Somers, Polson, and Kalispell.
Kalispell, MT is the cultural and business hub of the valley. Kalispell is a larger community which stretches out across the central part of the valley and is the home of many of the regions larger commercial areas and shopping centers.
Several new commercial centers have been developed along the northwest corner of Kalispell in recent years which have brought many new businesses which are 'new-to-the-valley', but popular and familiar to most people including Cabellas, Hobby Lobby, REI, Ross, TJ Max, and Bed Bath and Beyond, just to name a few. As well as many new restaurants including Panera Bread, Mod Pizza, HuHot Mongolian Grill, Kobe Steak House, IHOP, Five Guys Burgers , and Chick-fil-a among others.
All of these great shopping and dining options are just a short 15-minute drive down highway 93 from Whitefish, so if you decide to venture out of Whitefish's own great dining and shopping options, you have a world of additional choices just a few minutes away.
Columbia Falls, MT rests in the northeast corner of the valley and is often nicknamed the “gateway to Glacier National Park” as it is the last community that you pass through before entering into Badrock Canyon and entering the mountains in route to Glacier National Parks popular southwest entrance.
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River within the contiguous United States. This beautiful lake rests against the backdrop of The Swan and Mission Mountain Ranges and boasts an impressive surface area of 197 sq. miles and a total shoreline of more than 160 miles. It even has a few of it's own islands including an island state park called Wild Horse Island.
Several lovely communities grace the shoreline of Flathead Lake and offer lake-lovers premium access to the lake as well as many fun activities and festivals throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Bigfork, MT is a quaint little 'village' located along the east side of the valley near the northeast corner of Flathead Lake. This little community is known for its artistic flair. Several art galleries grace the streets of Bigfork and the town even hosts a very popular theatre house, 'The Bigfork Summer Playhouse,' where theatrical plays and musicals are performed throughout the summertime.
Lakeside/Somers, MT is located on the opposite side of Flathead Lake pretty much directly west of Bigfork in the central west area of the valley. Lakeside and Somers Montana are actually two small, sibling communities situated side-by-side along the western lakeshore. These two laid-back communities are a great place to relax and enjoy Flathead Lake during the summertime. In fact many of the charter services and lake outfitters that service Flathead Lake are based out of this area. Lakeside is also home of Blacktail Ski Area the valley's alternative option to The Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort. Blacktail is smaller, and some may say a little less sophisticated as compared to it neighbor to the north, but the powder is still fantastic, and the prices can't be beat!
Polson, MT is a charming little lakefront town near the south end of the valley along the far southern end of Flathead Lake. Polson is a smaller community but quite lovely with impressive views looking north over the waters of Flathead Lake.
There are more than a half dozen other very nice golf course options around the valley besides the Whitefish Lake Golf Course, including: Eagle Bend in Bigfork, MT; Northern Pines, Buffalo Hill and The Village Greens all located near the town of Kalispell; Meadow Lake Resort in Columbia Falls and Polson Bay Golf Course along the south end of Flathead Lake.
The National Bison Range is a natural wildlife preserve located at the southern end of the valley and is a great place to see many varieties of wildlife, not only bison, but antelope, black bear, whitetail, bighorn sheep, elk, bald eagles, and possibly the occasional grizzly... just to name a few.