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Awayfinder destinations

Summer + Montana = Perfection

Tue., May 11, 2010, 10:25 a.m.

For many locals, summer in Montana is the crème de la crème. It’s a time that is anxiously awaited with excited anticipation.

When it comes to playing and exploring here, it’s no holds barred. In this part of the state, recreation is taken very seriously. Ask a local why and here’s one of the answers you may receive… “Montana summers are the best! Our days are long, so there is ample time to play. It’s all about floating the rivers, cruising the lakes and playing outside as late as the light allows.”

Here visitors can find the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi—Flathead Lake, a stellar bike trail –the Hiawatha Trail, zip lines—Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana’s river city and cultural hub—Missoula and a gem of a park—Glacier.

Flathead Lake is surrounded by numerous lakeside communities, state parks and accommodations for every budget and desired getaway. You can play on its waters with a boat ride, kayaking lesson or sightseeing tour of the lake and its islands.

Insider Tip: For kayaking lessons on Flathead Lake, try Glacier Sea Kayaking. They offer numerous types of lessons, as well as an option to kayak on the lake followed by a shoreline yoga class.

For a family-themed activity, the Hiawatha Trail is an ideal way to spend your time. Known as one of the “most breathtaking scenic stretches of railroad in the country,” the trail runs adjacent to I-90 at the Montana/Idaho state line. This section of the trail will take you through 10 trails and across seven trestles.

A recent addition to Whitefish Mountain Resort (and with two new lines debuting this summer), the mountain’s three-hour zip line tour will take you more than 300 feet above the ground where you have the ability to reach speeds above 50 miles per hour.

Insider Tip: This is a popular activity, so advance reservations are recommended. After riding the zip line, cool off with a dip in Whitefish Lake.

With the Clark Fork River running through the heart of downtown, Missoula is a prime place for a summer getaway. The city is known for its culture and delectable dining, with live, local music being available every day of the week. An added perk: the city offers easy and quick access to surrounding wilderness and recreation areas.

Insider Tip: Throughout the summer, Missoula hosts a variety of stellar events, including the Missoula Marathon and River City Roots Festival. And if you’re here on a Saturday, you’d be well advised to stroll through the local farmers markets.

In 2010, Glacier National Park is celebrating its centennial year. In honor of its birthday, there are several events happening in and around the park, including a film festival, huckleberry festival and hootenanny.

Insider Tip: Glacier National Park and its communities offer limitless activities, including red bus tours, whitewater rafting and fishing excursions, trail rides and boat tours. For the latest on events, visit

For more on summer festivities in Western Montana’s Glacier Country, visit


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