Kalispell sits in the midst of some of Montana's most popular attractions. Glacier National Park, the mountain resort town of Whitefish, and vast Flathead Lake are all nearby. The Glacier Park International Airport is located in Kalispell. Here are my recommendations for fun things to do during a visit to Kalispell, Montana.
Parks and Outdoors in Kalispell
Although Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, and Flathead Lake are all nearby, visitors to Kalispell will find opportunities for outdoor recreation right in town.
This family-friendly Kalispell city park has all the amenities you look for in a park, and then some. There are two miles of walking trails, a charming pond, picnic shelters, and gardens. A highlight is the Woodland Water Park, complete with water slides, a lazy river, and a watery play area for little ones.
Lone Pine State Park
You'll find trails for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and snowshoeing crisscrossing this 270-acre forested park. Other facilities include a visitor center and gift shop, an archery range, and picnic areas. Lone Pine State Park overlooks Kalispell and the valley, so be sure to spend some time savoring the grand views. The park is an active part of the Kalispell community, providing nature workshops, guided hikes and snowshoes, kid-friendly activities, and holiday-themed programs.
Golf in Kalispell
Montana's Flathead Valley is home to many quality golf courses, with several located in Kalispell.
- Buffalo Hill Golf Club - with both an 18-hole and a 9-hole course, Buffalo Hill is good for both newbies and experienced golfers
- Northern Pines Golf Club - formerly known as the Big Mountain Golf Club, this challenging course is known for its scenic and serene back nine
- Village Greens Golf Club - well-maintained municipal golf course in a residential area
Museums in Kalispell
While most folks planning a visit to Kalispell will focus on outdoor recreation, don't miss the city's awesome indoor attractions. These museums provide insight into the art and history of the region, giving you a whole new appreciation for the surrounding lakes, forests, and mountains - and for the people who call Kalispell home.
Hockaday Museum of Art
Located in a beautiful old Carnegie Library Building, the Hockaday Museum collects and exhibits art by local artists as well as works focusing on the region's scenery and history. Don't miss their "Crown of the Continent" collection, with photographs and paintings featuring Glacier National Park by such artists as Charles M. Russell, O.C. Seltzer, and Ralph Earl DeCamp.
Conrad Mansion Museum
This well-preserved historic home, complete with most of its original furnishings, provides a glimpse back in time to Kalispell's early days. Charles E. Conrad, Kalispell's founder, had this charming brick mansion built for his family in 1895. It was the Conrad family home until the 1960s, when it was donated to the city of Kalispell. The house and grounds are now open for tours (May through October) and for special events. The home is filled with turn-of-the-century artifacts, including furnishings and clothing.
Special events are held throughout the year, with several annual Christmas-season favorites.
Museum at Central School
The history of the Flathead Valley region is the focus at this local museum, which is run by the Northwest Montana Historical Society. The former historic school building, impressive both inside and out, first opened in 1894. Museum exhibits address the local Native American tribes, the homestead era, and the region's timber industry.
Food & Drink in Kalispell
Like everywhere in the Northwest, the local food movement is strong in Kalispell. The region's famous Flathead cherries are a fresh sweet treat available late July through August. August brings huckleberries. Kalispell is home to wineries and breweries, dairy farms and vegetable producers. All this local goodness is featured at many local eateries and markets.
Here are some of Kalispell's foodie highlights:
Kalispell Farmers Market
Held every Saturday from late April through mid-October, this outdoor market features local fruit and veggies as well as handcrafted goods.
Kalispell Brewing Company
New in 2014, this local business produces unfiltered craft beers, which are served in their onsite tasting room.
The Knead Cafe
Healthy and filling breakfast and lunch are served at this Kalispell cafe Tuesday through Saturday. The Knead Cafe menu offers a variety of dishes, including egg dishes, sandwiches, and vegetarian options. Their specialties include scones, eggs benedict, and corned beef hash.