Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake
Kalispell, MT (pop. 22,761) is the largest city in the Flathead Valley in northwest Montana. Kalispell is located on U.S. Highway 93, north of Missoula.
Glacier National Park is a huge attraction near Kalispell. In Glacier, visitors see some of North America’s most spectacular landscape.
Flathead Lake is a few miles south of Kalispell on U.S. Highway 93. It is a very popular attraction. Flathead Lake is special for fishing and water sports. Flathead Lake is the largest, natural freshwater lake in the West. The lake is about 30 miles long and 12 to 14 miles wide.
Dragon boats cruising on a wilderness lake is not what you’d expect to see in Montana. Be surprised. The Annual Montana Dragon Boat Festival is the latest outdoor entertainment in the Kalispell area. Hong Kong inspired dragon boats, with twenty paddlers for power, race across Flathead Lake. As many as 45 teams compete. Fun for all. In 2019, this event is at Wayfarers State Park south of Bigfork and runs September 7-8.
Summer fairs are for family fun in Montana. Kalispell hosts the Northwest Montana Fair and Rodeo. Concerts, rodeo, carnival rides, and thousands of hand-crafted exhibits make this a wonderful event for all. In 2019, this event runs August 14-18.
More family fun is at Kalispell’s Woodland Water Park. Two three-storied water slides and a six-lane lap pool are big hits. This facility is outdoors, so open only during warm weather months, mid-June through late August.
Montana Raceway Park draws big crowds during summer months in Kalispell. Racing fans are entertained by racers driving hobby stocks, bombers, cruisers, Formula 1/Indy cars, and more. All very entertaining for families.
Horseback riding is another favorite activity. Try some action at Lonesome Dove Guest Ranch near Kalispell. (406) 756-3056
For a glimpse of what life was like for the rich in Kalispell during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tour Conrad Mansion Museum. A mansion, indeed, with three floors, 26 rooms, and eight fireplaces. This historic home is filled with period furnishing and possessions of the Conrad family who built and owned the mansion. Visitors see the family’s clothing, artwork, taxidermy, and children’s toys and dolls. The Conrad Mansion is of the same vintage as Biltmore House (historic Vanderbilt home) in Asheville, North Carolina.
Hockaday Museum of Art is a must visit, too. Hockaday has impressive permanent collections consisting of paintings, sculptures, Native American artifacts, and more. The building that houses the collections is an architectural gem, to admire in and of itself.
If you love culture, the Glacier Symphony and Chorale in Kalispell offers amazing programs. For dates, times, and venues check the symphony’s Web site.
Tourists can choose from many fine Kalispell, Montana restaurants. Vivienne’s Fifth Street Cafe is very popular. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch. The sandwiches and daily specials are extra good.
The Tupelo Grille serves seafood,steaks, pasta, and more, plus a great wine list. Rocco’s Restaurant, located east of Kalispell on U.S. Highway 2, is another favorite dining spot.
Favorite Kalispell Lodging:
|Kaslispell has excellent lodging|
|Red Lion Hotel||(406) 751-5050|
|Kalispell Grand Hotel||(406) 755-8100|
|Hampton Inn||(406) 755-7900|
Favorite Kalispell Restaurants:
- Vivienne’s Fifth Street Café
- Mudman Burgers
- Montana Coffee Traders
- Ceres Bakery
- Sweet Peaks (for ice cream)
- ScottiBelli’s Ristorante Italiano
- Rocco’s Restaurant
- Tupelo Grille
Top Ethnic Cuisine:
- Scottibelli’s (Italian)
- Casa Mexico
- Chinatown Restaurant
- Blue Samurai Sushi Bar & Grill (Japanese)
- Edelweiss Bistro (German, in Missoula, Montana)
Car rentals are available at the Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell: Avis (406) 257-2727, Hertz (406) 758-2220, Alamo (406) 257-7144. For taxi service in Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls call Glacier Taxi (406) 250-3603. Arrow Shuttle also provides ground transportation in the Kalispell area (406) 300-2301.
Kalispell is a fun city to visit. The great Montana wilderness beckons.
Copyright © 2019 John Sandy