Whitefish is a quaint and cozy resort town in the Flathead Valley. The Flathead Valley is a unique area of Montana created by the awesome force of glacial activity over millions of years. Dotted with clean alpine lakes and streams, and a wide array of amenities, Whitefish and the surrounding valley, is a great place to serve as a launch pad into Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Reserve.
Today, Whitefish is an eclectic community that offers year round entertainment. Recreational activities include: backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, horseback riding, water sports, hiking, zip-lining, theater, art festivals, music venues and a vibrant night life.
Glacier Park International Airport is a 20 minute drive southeast. It offers regular flights to several areas in the Northwest; Missoula, the Puget Sound area (Seattle/Tacoma) at Sea-Tac Airport, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. It also offers seasonal flights to Chicago-O'Hare and Atlanta-Hartsfield.
The Empire Builder Amtrak route serves Whitefish, which runs west to Spokane and Seattle/Portland and east through the northern Plains, terminating at Chicago. The eastbound train arrives at 7:21am, and the westbound train arrives at 8:56pm, though delays are quite common.
To access Whitefish from the south, you can take either Exit 96 on I-90 near Missoula and head north on U.S. 93.
Whitefish is accessible from Canada at several border crossings. From Calgary, the fastest route is to go southwest on the Crowsnest Highway 3, passing through Fernie. Continue south on hwy 3 until it crosses with Hwy 93. Take that south through the Roosville border crossing and the town of Eureka until hitting Whitefish. Driving time is approx. 5 hours.
Whitefish is accessible several ways from Regina. One could take the Trans-Canada Hwy 1 west to Calgary and then follow the route explained above, which would take about 12-13 hours. Another is to take Hwy 6 south to Plentywood, and take Hwy 16 south to Culbertson. Take Hwy 2 west through Glasgow and Havre until eventually hitting Whitefish. This takes approx. 13 hours.
Rimrock Stagelines operates once daily between Missoula and the Whitefish Amtrak Station. For details see: http://www.rimrocktrailways.com/ Airport Shuttle Express of Calgary Canada operates a year-round "charter van" service between Whitefish and Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise. For details see: www.airportshuttleexpress.com
Walking or biking are the best ways to get around Whitefish and get a feeling for downtown. A car is necessary to get to Glacier National Park or to Whitefish Mountain Resort. The local taxi service, Drive 4 U (http://www.drive4u.org), can aid in getting around Whitefish and the surrounding area and does shuttles to and from the airport and amtrak stations. During the ski season there is a FREE "snow" bus shuttle from downtown to the ski resort. Visit http://skiwhitefish.com/getting_here.php for more information on the "snow bus".
The downtown area has many family-run stores. In the southern part of the city are larger chain stores such as Safeway. In the same area is a small shopping mall, which includes a Super 1 supermarket and a cinema.
For cross-border shoppers, the commercial area just south of the city in Kalispell on Highway 93 should fulfill consumer needs. Stores include:
Fast food options in Whitefish include McDonald's, Taco John's, and Dairy Queen. Pizza by the slice can be purchased at Jersey Boys Pizzeria located downtown at Spokane Ave and 1st Street as well at Second Street Pizza on Second Street and Baker. Taco Del Sol offers cheap and quick mexican located at the Mountain Mall; south of downtown. Also try local favorite Montana Coffee Traders for quick and healthy food; located on Central Ave. between 1st and 2nd Street.
There are also several standard pizza places that offer delivery. They are Second Street Pizza, Jersey Boys Pizzeria, Mackenzie River Pizza Company and Pizza Hut.
For breakfast; Loula's Cafe, Swift Creek Cafe and The Buffalo are all great family owned and operated businesses offering great breakfast and lunch. The Buffalo is now also open for dinner service.
With the exceptions of Pizza Hut and Taco Del Sol all of these options are in or within walking distance of the downtown area.
There are a few luxury dining options in the Whitefish area. The Boat Club and Whitefish Lake Restaurant offer a standard selection of entrees. Tupelo's is a Cajun-themed menu.
There are many lodging options available in and around Whitefish. They range from four star luxury, to budget, to vacation homes and condominiums.