Whitefish, Montana: Glacier National Park
Would whitefish have become the celebrated resort town it is today if it went by its frumpy nickname, Stumptown? Oh, probably. Situated at the base of a 2,500-foot-high ski mountain and on the shores of a seven-mile lake flanked by white sand beaches, Whitefish would be a choice vacation destination even if Glacier National Park weren’t just up the road.
Those looking to get away from it all book a room at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, which has a spa, a private beach, and a marina that rents speedboats, canoes, and kayaks. For an entirely different, more urban vacation, visitors stay downtown at the cozy Garden Wall Inn within walking distance of the town’s theater, restaurants, abundant shops (such as Whitefish Pottery, full of colorful local stoneware), and the roasty-yet-drinkable Fred’s Black Lager at the Black Star Draught House at the Great Northern Brewing Company.
Either way, no visit is complete without a stop at the Whitefish Museum. Housed in the 1927 Tudor-style Great Northern Railway depot, the museum exhibits scads of railroad memorabilia, antique quilts, the beloved taxidermy “fur fish,” and photographs of Whitefish as it was a century ago, stumps and all.