After the meeting

Extend your stay to experience summer in NW Montana.

When your family finds out you’re headed to Kalispell, Montana, for a conference, there is no doubt they will beg to tag along. And why not let them pull at your heartstrings? When the rest of the group is spending the remaining part of their summer back at the office, you could be having one of the best family or couple vacations you could dream of.

This is what you could gain if you extend your stay:

Hiking like you’ve never seen.

If you’ve never been to Glacier National Park, you’re missing one of the most scenic places on Earth. This is the Crown of the Continent where soaring Rocky Mountain peaks rise and alpine meadows blanket the valleys. There are 700 miles of trails that crisscross this delicate ecosystem of flora and fauna and take you into the most breathtaking landscape you’ve likely ever seen. And if your family is dying to harness its inner Montana cowboy or cowgirl, Swan Mountain Outfitters offers horseback trail riding from West Glacier. Most conveniently, the trailheads from the west side of the park are under an hour’s drive from Kalispell.

Splashing / sailing with the kids.

There is no larger freshwater lake west of the Mississippi than Flathead Lake. And what it offers in size, it offers in unforgettable family memories three-fold. In its crystal-blue waters you’ll find the most beautiful bays for swimming, kayaking and SUPing. And if you prefer to sail, launch from the marinas of Dayton or Bigfork. Or rent a motor boat or personal watercraft and explore the lake from the villages of Polson, Lakeside or Bigfork.

Speeding down a mountain. Or along the water.

In the wilderness surrounding Kalispell, you’ll find several opportunities to get on the saddle of a horse, of course. Or, a bike! Choose from the meandering paved Rails to Trails that route south to Flathead Lake or southwest to the smaller Smith Lake. Or get into the mountains on the Foys to Blacktail Trails. Through the forest lands of Herron Park, you’ll experience single-track paths through wildflower-lined meadows and exhilarating mountain descents. Bike rentals for cruising or mountain biking are available in downtown Kalispell from Wheaton’s  bike shop.

Laughing the evening away.

Just south of Kalispell on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake, the village of Bigfork offers summer theater at its most entertaining. The Bigfork Playhouse offers five rotating shows each season that promise to make you laugh, maybe cry and definitely smile. Most are kid-friendly and all feature top young talent from across the region and drama schools around the country.

Relishing the slower pace of a small city and good eats.

There is so much to experience on a Northwest Montana vacation, but the most precious moments can be the slower-paced ones. In the historic downtown of Kalispell you’ll just want to put on the brakes, meander through the shops and galleries, stop and enjoy an ice cream cone or delicious meal. And if you hit a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in town, meet the locals at Picnic in the Park every Tuesday evening and Wednesday lunch time in Depot Park, or take the family to ThursdayFest! on the lawn of the Museum at Central School for more laidback music and locally made cuisine.

So before booking your return flight, ask the family if they’d like to join you at your meeting in Montana.

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