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Family Fun

FLATHEAD MEANS FUN: OUTINGS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY.

I don’t remember much from the summer after seventh grade, but I remember this: My dad at the wheel of our cramped Honda Civic, Mom trying to entertain my brother and me with word games through the mind-numbing flatness of the Great Plains. It was our third day on the road from our Kentucky home, the first time we’d driven this far west.

“Uh, oh,” said Dad suddenly. “Looks like a storm ahead.”

“That’s not storm clouds,” Mom replied as she peered at the vague blue undulations on the horizon. “Those are mountains.”

Mountains! My brother and I were in awe. For the next 60 miles, as the Rocky Mountain Front grew clearer and taller on the horizon, we chattered and gasped with giddy wonder.

All of us remember similar moments: The first time we saw an ocean or lifted off the ground in an airplane or played a videogame. New worlds open up in those moments.

No matter when you come to Kalispell, you’ll find those moments in every direction — and you’ll never forget the look in your child’s eyes when it happens.

Snow Day — Winter is a magical time around the Flathead Valley. Whether your family’s tastes tend toward epic powder skiing, peaceful open-air ice skating, giggly sledding or hot cocoa, you’ll find it here.

Summer Sledding — Whitefish Mountain is known far and wide for its winter skiing; but summer holds plenty of unforgettable activities as well, including an alpine slide, treetop walks and more.

Load Up on Local — Show your kid a real Indian tipi at the Museum at Central School, try on some authentic cowboy boots at Western Outdoor, have a cheeseburger and a huckleberry milkshake at Norm's News … Downtown Kalispell has plenty of educational fun, unique shopping and food kids love.

Winter’s Crown — Most visitors come to Glacier National Park in the summer, when they can drive the legendary Going-to-the-Sun Road. But few experiences in the world can compare to traveling the road on snowshoes or cross-country skis.

Go ’Round Flathead— It might be the biggest natural lake west of the Mississippi River, but you can easily drive around Flathead Lake in a day. Along the way you’ll find awesome food, breathtaking views, great swimming spots and plenty of activities for the kids.

Fly on a Snowhorse — Wonder what it’s like at the top of a mountain covered in 10 feet of snow? You can get there on a snowmobile — and have a rip-roaring good time in the process.

Divide and Back — There is no more beautiful drive in North America than the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. But don’t forget all the reasons to stop along the way:

Big Sky Waterpark — Four swimsuit-yanking slides from the Bonzai to the 70-foot Geronimo rattle the nerves of even the most fearless speed demons; or bump along the River Ride, warm up in a gigantic hot tub or grab some sun by the jumbo children’s activity pool. The 18-hole miniature golf course will challenge even grandpa. Horseshoe pits, barbecue grills, an arcade and carousel add up to an all-day fun fest.

House of Mystery — Popular roadside attraction and site of Montana’s only vortex where the laws of nature are turned upside down. You’ll think you entered “The Twilight Zone.“ 7800 U.S. 2 E., Columbia Falls.

Amazing Fun Center — Lose yourself in the life-size Glacier Maze! Go carts, bumper boats, miniature golf and bankshot basketball. 10265 U.S. 2 E., Coram.

Hungry Horse Dam — The nation’s 11th highest dam in the best dam town in the Northwest. Free guided tours from the Visitor Center mid-June through September.

 

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