Flathead Lake Lodge, Bigfork, Montana

Flathead Lake Lodge, Credit Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

by Susie Wall

Adventure awaits at this 2,000-acre outdoor playground on the banks of Flathead Lake just outside of Bigfork, Montana. Flathead Lake Lodge’s all-inclusive package includes a seven-day stay from Sunday to Sunday in one of their cozy and comfortable rustic cabins or historic lodge rooms, three meals each day, all beverages (both nonalcoholic and alcoholic) and endless days full of fun activities. The lodge caters to families June through September. If you are looking for a quieter getaway, adult-only weeks are offered at the beginning and end of each season.

Flathead Lake Lodge has been family-run since Les Averill opened its doors after returning from World War II in 1945. Generations of the Averill family continue to personally welcome lodge guests to this day regaling them with stories, like the one about how even President George H.W. Bush couldn’t wrangle a room when the lodge was all booked. The Averill’s take as much care of their employees as their guests, which results in a well-trained and patient staff, many having been with the family for decades.

The lodge offers the amenities and service of a high-end resort with a laid-back feel. Some visitors dress the part donning cowboy boots and hats, but there is no pressure to look a certain way. Just be sure to pack comfortable clothes and layers.

The lush sprawling grounds offer a fishing pond with rainbow trout, tennis and basketball courts, a heated pool, and a small marina with kayaks, canoes, and sailboats available to guests. The main lodge and dining hall feature a fireplace and plenty of comfortable places to sit and chat with new friends. Behind the lodge, plop down in one of the many rocking chairs for stunning views of Flathead Lake.

Then get ready to play. A range of activities are offered throughout the week at no extra cost, and all the equipment is provided. Pick up a rifle and learn to shoot clay. Take a guided hike in the Swan Mountains. Race over 10 miles of single-track mountain bike trails. Sail aboard a 51-foot historic Q-class racing sloop, or take a leisurely tour on the water aboard the lodge’s classic cruiser.

Trail ride, Flathead Lake Lodge, Credit Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Horseback riding is one of the most popular activities. Wranglers choose the perfect steed for your ability and comfort level and are more than happy to give private lessons before you hit the forested trail. Be sure to sign up for a breakfast ride where bacon, pancakes and steaming coffee await at the top of the hill.

All that adventure builds up an appetite and the lodge chefs are happy to fill it. Start the day with yogurt, fresh fruit, and huckleberry pancakes, then take a lunch break for sandwiches, salads, burgers, and fries. Get to know the other guests during the multi-course plated dinners. On Wednesday evenings, climb atop vintage fire engines and be whisked away to a cookout in the mountains where enormous steaks are cooked to your liking alongside savory baked beans and potato salad.

For more information visit flatheadlakelodge.com. Plan your travels to northwestern Montana at glaciermt.com.