Lakeside destinations certainly are popular places to be during the warm summer season. The combination of cool water, beautiful views and fun activities sure are difficult to resist when the annual vacation time rolls around. For those who only seek rest and relaxation, lazing the day away at a lakeside campsite with a fishing line in the water is as good as it gets. Others who yearn for a more challenging venue can spend their time canoeing, kayaking and water skiing. As can be imagined, there is a little something for everyone at a good lakeside destination and this is what keeps everybody smiling!
Few other lakeside destinations in the west offer a more diverse choice of tourism venues than Flathead Lake in western Montana. Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River with over 185 miles of shoreline, so there is plenty of breathing room to be found. This big natural lake was created by glacial activity long ago, which is evident when viewing the surrounding mountains. Glacier National Park is located right next door to Flathead Lake, so the setting is as picturesque as can be.
Flathead Lake is about 370 feet deep, so the water can be too cold for swimming in the deep end, yet the water in the shallow coves is a bit warmer. Flathead Lake is navigable, especially now that the Flathead River was dammed on the southern end of the lake, which raised the water level by a few feet. Several agencies, towns and organizations manage the shoreline of Flathead Lake, so there is a wide variety of venues to be found. Most of the developed areas are located on the western shoreline, while the eastern and southern shore borders upon the Flathead National Forest wilderness and the Flathead Reservation. A few small towns are located along the western and southern shorelines and this is where marinas or lakeside city parks can be found. There is also lakeside tribal member park in the south end where outsiders cannot go.
As far as camping is concerned, the options are excellent at Flathead Lake! There are several lakeside RV parks and campground resorts along the western shoreline that offer full hookups and facilities. The Flathead Lake State Park actually is the best bet for a camping excursion, because the State Of Montana actually operates five individual campground sites around the lake and each offers a unique venue. One state park campground site is next to a marina, a couple are on the rustic east side and some offer full RV hookups. There are also a few modern glamping yurts in the campgrounds that are well worth checking out. Flathead State Park has a campsite reservation system at their website, which is a nice convenience during the busy summer season.
Just like with most bodies of water in the northwest, fishing is the main activity at Flathead Lake, so do not be surprised if all that the other campers want to do is talk about their daily fishing ventures. The locals will likely have something even more interesting to talk about, which has to do with paranormal end of the scale. According to a traditional Kutenai legend, a big monster lives in this lake, which can be compared to the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland. The Flathead Lake Monster has actually been spotted by boaters through the years, but the sightings have never been officially confirmed. For those who plan a camping venture at Flathead Lake, this tidbit of information will come in handy after dark when the campfire stories are told!
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