Exploring the Towns Surrounding Glacier National Park: Accommodations, Local Eats, and Must-Try Dishes
Glacier National Park, located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, boasts breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and picturesque trails. While the park is a destination in itself, the surrounding towns offer charming accommodations, delicious local restaurants, and unique culinary experiences that visitors should not miss. If you're planning a trip to this natural wonder, take note of these neighboring towns where you'll find a warm bed and delightful meals after a long day of exploration.
Just a short drive to the west of Glacier National Park is Whitefish, a bustling town known for its vibrant arts scene, outdoor activities, and diverse dining options. Here, you can find a range of accommodations, from budget motels to luxury resorts like The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. Whitefish is also famous for its "huckleberry everything," from jam to ice cream, so make sure to indulge in some huckleberry pancakes or pie while you’re in town.
Kalispell is the largest city near Glacier National Park and serves as a convenient base for travelers. It offers a plethora of hotel options, with familiar chains and local lodges complementing each other. When it comes to food, do not miss out on trying the local bison burgers that many restaurants offer – they're a leaner alternative to beef and a true taste of the West. Norm’s Soda Fountain is a beloved local spot where you can enjoy classic American fare and a nostalgic atmosphere.
Columbia Falls, Montana
Columbia Falls sits at the northeastern edge of the Flathead Valley, offering a quieter alternative to the other nearby towns. The area has several cozy bed and breakfasts and mountain cabins. As for dining, be sure to visit the Backslope Brewing for a casual meal paired with their craft beers. Columbia Falls also offers a variety of spots where you can enjoy the local specialty: Montana-style barbecue.
Located on the northeastern shore of Flathead Lake is Bigfork, an artsy village with a selection of inns, boutique hotels, and vacation rentals. Bigfork's dining scene is impressive, with options ranging from casual cafés like Electric Avenue Café to fine dining establishments like Showthyme Act 2. Don't forget to try the locally caught trout or the flavorful elk dishes, which are common in many restaurants here.
East Glacier Park, Montana
For those entering the park from the east, East Glacier Park Village is the gateway. It's home to the historic Glacier Park Lodge, an idyllic place to stay for those looking to enjoy the park’s eastern side. In terms of dining, Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant offers a unique twist by providing Mexican cuisine in the heart of Montana. For a taste of the local food scene, try the wild game and bison steaks at Two Medicine Grill.
West Glacier, Montana
West Glacier is the primary entry point to the park and offers a variety of accommodations, including the West Glacier Motel and Cabins. Dining in West Glacier usually revolves around hearty meals meant to fuel a day of hiking and exploration. Eddie’s Café and Mercantile is a popular spot for both a sit-down meal or grabbing sandwiches and snacks for your park adventure.
Hungry Horse, Montana
This small town located just outside the park's West Entrance is known for its proximity to Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir. Stay at the Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins for a rustic retreat. Hungry Horse has a number of diners and cafes where you can sample local comfort food. The Huckleberry Patch is a must-visit for all things huckleberry, from jams to desserts.
When visiting these towns, you’ll not only experience the local hospitality but also the regional cuisine that Montana is known for. If you're a foodie, keep an eye out for wild game, trout, huckleberry treats, and that classic Montana barbecue.
For more information on accommodations and dining options, explore the following helpful websites:
- The Official Website of Glacier National Park: nps.gov/glac
- Glacier Country Tourism: glaciermt.com
- Explore Whitefish: explorewhitefish.com
- Visit Kalispell: discoverkalispell.com
Embarking on a journey to Glacier National Park? Remember that the journey is just as important as the destination, and the neighboring towns are brimming with delightful surprises that will enrich your experience. From cozy accommodations to mouthwatering local dishes, the towns around Glacier National Park are ready to welcome you with open arms and full plates, ensuring an unforgettable adventure.