For my summer vacation, I headed to Whitefish, Montana…

…(along with 28 of my family members!) for some mountain view relaxation!

It was the kind of trip that combined relaxing by the lake with some serious activity– exactly what I love. Here are my favorite things to do, eat and see in Montana!

Road trip: The closest airport to Whitefish is in Kalispell, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, I say make your journey a road trip. We drove from Minnesota (18 hours each way!) and it was really half the fun. You can hit a few different national parks on your way out no matter what direction you’re coming from. We passed through Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. The badlands (and bison!) are not to be missed.

Take a hike: Head over to Big Mountain and hike the Danny On Trail. The 3.8 mile loop gives you some of the best views of the town and the surrounding mountain landscape. Once you get to the top, take the chairlift back down for more breathtaking views (while giving your legs a rest). If you have extra time, make sure you go to Glacier National Park for some more intense hiking trails.

Hit the beach: I spent most of my time in the water on my trip. Whitefish Lake is gorgeous and the perfect way to cool down in the afternoon (it was 90 degrees everyday). We brought along our kayaks from home and rented paddle boards from Paddlefish Sports in town. The lake is great for swimming, boating and just floating in the sun. The bottom is pretty rocky, so as un-chic as they may be, bring along a pair of water shoes. The soles of your feet with thank you.

Get your raft on: It wasn’t my first whitewater rafting adventure, but it’s definitely my most memorable. We booked a trip with Glacier Raft Company (try to get Jesse as your guide, he was great) and 15 of us headed out on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. I fell halfway out of the raft on some wild rapids, but it was by far the most fun I had on my trip!

Eat, drink, be merry: We cooked most of our meals at our cabins but walked in to town for breakfast each morning. The Red Caboose makes scones the size of your head and they serve Stumptown Coffee. Grab a burger at the Bulldog Saloon (a perfect stop after your rafting adventure) and take some time to check out all the photos on the walls (see if you can find my cousin Patrick on the wall by the bar!). If you’re into beer, the Great Northern Brewing Company is a must. Get the Wild Huckleberry Wheat Beer. Speaking of huckleberries… you can’t go without trying some. My dad and I picked them wild while hiking Big Mountain, but you can buy huckleberry everything (taffy, jam, hot sauce) at most shops in Whitefish!