Sippin’ Sugar

A sampling of some of the best milkshakes under the Big Sky

When it comes to sweet treats, milkshakes are the coolest. Blending ice cream with milk, shakes are the perfect addition to — or replacement for — a meal, especially on a hot summer day. Luckily for the Flathead, a number of local vendors offer their own scrumptious iterations of a shake with a variety of traditional, daring and delicious flavors.

Here are just a few of the best places to get a sugary drink to cool you down under the Big Sky.

Norm’s News

Regarded as the Flathead’s “only old-fashioned soda fountain,” Norm’s has been serving up burgers, fries and tasty sweets to locals and tourists in downtown Kalispell for 80 years. While its menu boasts a number of sandwiches, breakfast options and fountain sodas, the locale’s most popular item is its shakes. Enticingly topped with a cherry and homemade whipped cream, the traditional drinks come in two sizes and can be ordered in a number of flavors, including licorice, rocky road and mint chip.

Sweet Peaks Ice Cream

This well-known ice cream vendor, which was first established in Whitefish in 2010, has started serving milkshakes. With additional Montana store locations in Bigfork, Kalispell, Missoula and Bozeman and two out-of-state sites in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington, it’s pretty hard to avoid Sweet Peaks’ local ingredients and creative flavors in the Rocky Mountains. Stop in to try the newest addition to their menus, with the blended options coming in numerous flavors, like chocolate, mint chocolate chip and espresso mocha chip, topped with whipped cream.

The Huckleberry Patch

This cannery, restaurant and gift shop has been a Hungry Horse staple since 1949. Aptly named, the Patch incorporates huckleberries into a variety of products from huckleberry lip balm and soap to huckleberry fudge and homemade huckleberry pie. Arguably the shining star of the huck-dominated menu is the huckleberry milkshake, which is served with a huckleberry topping for a sweet, tart, chilly treat. Dedicated to the huck with interior decor that evokes the coloring of the fruit, the Patch has two locations, one in Hungry Horse on U.S. Highway 2 and another in Arlee on U.S. Highway 93.

Burgertown Dairy Freeze

Established in 1970 just south of Bigfork’s town center on Montana Highway 35, Burgertown is a local favorite for hand-pattied burgers, crispy fries and, of course, cold summer shakes. Customers can order shakes in three sizes, including a large 21-ounce drink, and can choose to stick with traditional flavors like chocolate and caramel, or choose to be a bit more adventurous with marshmallow, pineapple or coconut ice cream for their sweet treat.   

The Ice Cream Place

For those willing to make a worthwhile trip out of the county, the iconic Ice Cream Place in Seeley Lake offers tempting milkshakes, which will literally melt in your mouth. Anyone familiar with the seasonal locale, which originally opened in 1991, knows to expect a line as the burger and dessert vendor is a delightfully busy summer stop on Montana Highway 83. With a large menu and outdoor dining area, the walk-up restaurant boasts a number of shake flavors to make your sweet tooth ache with chilly delight.


Though originally established in Washington, Frugals opened its fourth location in Kalispell on U.S. Highway 93 more than 15 years ago. The franchise is known for its burgers, fries and double drive-thru, but it also offers quality shakes. While its menu includes a number of standard flavors, the fast food joint also offers monthly specialty tastes. In fact, the restaurant in Port Angeles, Washington has been selected as the local vendor with the best milkshake more than 20 times by the Peninsula Daily News.

Other Locations:

-Wild Jo’s Frozen Treats & Hot Dogs, Columbia Falls

-Betty’s Diner, Polson

-Somers Bay Cafe, Somers

-Eddie’s Ice Cream Shoppe, West Glacier