Want the insider scoop on what to see and do in Western Montana? Get the 411 from the locals.
Take the boat cruise on St. Mary Lake. I personally think it is the most accessible, most dramatic and quiet, although you may feel some wind. The boat cruise there is great and underutilized. Follow it up by eating at Johnson's cafe in St. Mary. Amazing.
The only way to really see Whitefish like a local is to get into the mindset of a Montanan. That means you need to throw out your itinerary, relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy life at the pace nature intended. If you've made it to northwest Montana, you're already ¾ of the way to the best vacation you've ever had. The last ¼ is just remembering to enjoy it.
Go out early in the morning and miss everyone else. I like exploring Glacier in the morning-it makes me feel like I'm the only one there.
I'm a mom and my kids love to throw rocks in the water. Seriously, they could do this for eight hours a day. The best place for rock throwing is anywhere along the North Fork River, as the boat access points are great. If you're looking to skip rocks, visit the head of Lake McDonald or Silver Dollar Beach on St. Mary Lake.
If you find yourself in Glacier National Park during the rush of summer, especially July or August, don't hesitate to get away from the crowds and do a little exploring in areas that don't see as much foot traffic. The Bob Marshall Wilderness complex is Glacier's next-door neighbor, and home to all of the same beauty as the park, with a fraction of the visitors. Heading east on Highway 2 from West Glacier, there are multiple trailheads (several with signs) visible from the road. One option is to drive the 46 miles to the confluence of Bear Creek and the Middle Fork, park, and follow the river a mile or two into the Great Bear section of the wilderness area. Just don't forget to stop by the Snow Slip Inn for a cold one with the locals on your way home!