Kalispell, Montana, is the perfect home base for visiting northwestern Montana. But just because it's a jumpoff point for the region doesn't mean that there aren't excellent local sites to see in Kalispell itself. But what are they? Luckily, we've already traveled to Kalispell, Montana, and have researched the best places to go and the most fun things to do in the city.
If you're planning a trip to Kalispell, Montana for your next vacation or long weekend, here are seven awesome things to do:
- Conrad Mansion
- Northwest Montana History Museum
- Hockaday Museum of Art
- Lone Pine State Park
- Herron Park
- Wild Horse Island State Park
- Flathead Lake State Park
These seven places to visit will give you a great representation of what the region around Kalispell represents. To find out more information about each of these locations and why Kalispell is such a great destination, please continue reading.
Why Should You Visit Kalispell?
Kalispell is in northwestern Montana, situated between Flathead Lake to the south and Glacier National Park to the North. As the largest city in its corner of Montana, Kalispell has a lot to offer both culturally and historically. The opportunity to see the natural beauty surrounding the town and much of Montana is alone worth the trip.
You can visit Kalispell year-round, though it will be a different experience depending on the time of year. Summers in the city are warm and dry, while winters are cold and sometimes very snowy, a typical weather pattern for a Rocky Mountain town.
7 Things to Do in Kalispell, Montana
The places and activities on this list form a nice mixture of historical, cultural, and natural points of interest. There is something for everyone in Kalispell, whether you're interested in art, boating, or history.
1. Conrad Mansion
Conrad Mansion is a 19th century home in Kalispell, now converted into a museum. Charles Conrad was an early pioneer to Kalispell, who made his fortune in shipping before building the mansion in 1895. This mansion museum is the perfect place to learn a little about the human history of the community.
The Conrad Mansion is typically open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm, though hours may vary depending on the season. The museum offers guided and self-guided tours with admission costing from $12 to $20. Children and students can enter for free.
2. Northwest Montana History Museum
For a broader history of the northwestern Montana region outside of the Kalispell city limits, check out the Northwest Montana History Museum. The museum contains exhibits about everything from local Native American history to the many pioneers who settled there in the 1800s.
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, so a weekend visit won't be possible. Adult admission costs $5, but seniors get a discount, and museum members and children can enter for free.
3. Hockaday Museum of Art
If you experience a rainy day during your trip to Kalispell but don't want to visit a history museum, the Hockaday Museum of Art is the perfect activity. The museum has various rotating exhibits but features a permanent Glacier National Park artwork exhibit.
The museum is open from 11 am to 3 pm on Tuesday through Friday and from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Regular admission is $5 with various discounts available and children under 18 entering for free.
4. Lone Pine State Park
Lone Pine State Park is located just to the southwest of Kalispell and nearly sits adjacent to its city limits. When the weather is favorable, you can see for miles over the Flathead Valley, where you'll find sites like Flathead Lake and even Kalispell itself. The park also has a visitors' center that is open year-round.
The park is open year-round from 8 am to sunset, but the visitors center has hours that vary depending on the day. It costs $8 for a single vehicle to enter the park for the day. Montana residents are free if they have paid the Montana State Parks fee.
5. Herron Park
Herron Park is also located to the southwest of Kalispell, only a bit further away. There are many long and short trails for hiking or cross country skiing in the park, and they even have equestrian shows from time to time. Herron Park is also a great place to visit if you have dogs.
The park is officially open from 6 am to 11 pm daily, and admission is free.
6. Wild Horse Island State Park
Wild Horse Island State Park is located on an island in the middle of Flathead Lake, which you will find directly south of Kalispell. That being said, you can only reach the park by boat, which you can rent at several locations around the lake. People mainly go to Wild Horse Island State Park to see the variety of wildlife that call the island home.
The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset, but no camping is allowed. The $8 fee also applies to this park, just as it did with Lone Pine State Park.
7. Flathead Lake State Park
Flathead Lake State Park is the larger park system that contains several units like Wild Horse Island. The park surrounds Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the western USA. The five small campsite units that comprise the park surround the lake and are great places to visit, hike, and camp.
The parts of the park are open year-round for day use, but camping is limited to the warmer months. As with the other Montana State Parks, the $8 entry fee for day use still applies to Flathead Lake properties. The price of campsites depends on size and style.
Where should I stay in Kalispell, Montana?
For a hotel with a historic feel, we recommend the Kalispell Grand Hotel. It is centrally located near downtown Kalispell, and the Hockaday Museum is only about three blocks away.
For a hotel that is in a convenient location to the Glacier Park International Airport, we recommend the Country Inn & Suites Glacier Lodge. This hotel has all the necessary amenities and is a top pick in the Kalispell area.
For that same quality and value, but with a location closer to Kalispell proper, we recommend the Homewood Suites by Hilton Kalispell. It has the full amenities and familiarity of a Hilton hotel.
Kalispell, Montana, is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year, and there is never a shortage of things to do or see. We sincerely hope that you enjoy your trip to Kalispell and that the activities on this list have helped plan your adventure.
While you're here, please take a look at some of our other posts: