News & Features

Summer Preview 2019

Your seasonal guide to all things summer in the Flathead: camping, fishing, avoiding the crowds, upcoming events and more!

It’s that time of year again, when the forests are full of explorers, the roadways full of travelers, and the Beacon is full of ideas and tips for getting the most out of your Northwest Montana summer.

Don’t just stand there! Read this then go make your summer one for the books.


Manager Ebon Robinson of Lary’s Fly & Supply in Columbia Falls examines a freshly-tied fly on May 29, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Fly Shop Roundup

A guide to the Flathead Valley’s fly shops

By Myers Reece

The Flathead Valley has a roster of fly shops that all offer expertise and their own niches, whether you’re a newbie needing to be set up with gear and guided down the river or you’re a serious local angler seeking a little advice and a few new flies. There are also a number of other outfitters without brick-and-mortar fly shops not mentioned here.

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Arne Boveng, left, and Kirk Cornelius enjoy pints on Sunrift Beer Company’s spacious patio on May 29, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Flathead Al Fresco

Take advantage of long days and warm temps at these outdoor dining and drinking spots

By Andy Viano

When summer finally arrives in the Flathead Valley, there’s a familiar urge to get out into the crisp, clean air and take advantage of the sunny skies, warm temperatures and breathtaking views that residents wait for and tourists plan their summer around.

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Beacon file photo

Summer On Stage

The stages heat up with budding talent and Broadway stars in Whitefish and Bigfork

By Molly Priddy

It’s theater season in the Flathead, when the stages heat up with talent but the theaters stay cool with air conditioning.

Stage performances are a great way to round out your summer experience in the valley, and the local companies have decades of history and plenty of singing, dancing, and acting, from amateur to Broadway-level skill.

Remember to check in with www.FlatheadEvents.net to get more events and activities, updated daily.

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Finger Lake. Beacon file photo

Keep Calm and Camp

Summertime in the Flathead Valley is synonymous with camping al fresco, but it also means vying for spots with swarms of other campers. Here are a few out-of-the-way destinations worth escaping to, with back-up plans and pit stops to boot.

By Tristan Scott

Finger Lake. This remote mountain lake is in the LeBeau Research Natural Area, which spans more than 5,000 acres of sylvan landscape at the north end of the Tally Lake Ranger District.

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People make their way through the Aerial Adventure Park at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Beacon file photo.

Outside Adventures

A guide to unique destinations outside the borders of Glacier National Park

By Tristan Scott

As Northwest Montana’s signature destination, Glacier National Park annually draws millions of visitors who converge inside the sprawling park’s boundaries to explore its wild places.

Still, visiting Glacier requires driving or riding a train to the park along routes that track past other top-notch attractions. To ensure you get the most of your Glacier visit — both in and out of the park — here is a guide to some of the area’s unique attractions outside of the borders.

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Rosmarie Knecht dances with her husband, Beat Knecht, during a Picnic in the Park lunchtime concert in Kalispell’s Depot Park. Beacon file photo

Can’t-Miss Events

Mark your calendars with some of the valley’s most-popular festivals and events

By Molly Priddy

It’s one of the busiest times of year in the Flathead Valley, and the next four months are packed with events, festivals, and hopefully plenty of sunshine.

There’s a ton to do, so be sure to mark your calendars with some of the biggest events coming up this summer, and be sure to check in with www.FlatheadEvents.net for day-to-day updates, additions, and changes.

And finally, welcome to summer. You made it. Now enjoy it.

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Lois Evans and General Manager Kevin Pitt are pictured out on the The Harbor Grille’s marina in Lakeside on May 30, 2019. The restaurant and its marina are slated to open in June. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Flathead Lake Marinas Readying for Summer Under New Management

Lakeside Marina becomes Flathead Harbor; Marina Cay in Bigfork gets new operator

By Justin Franz

Change is in the air at two popular marinas on Flathead Lake as the new managers at Flathead Harbor in Lakeside and Marina Cay in Bigfork are busy preparing for summer.

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