Montana is a wild, beautiful state with an abundance of natural resources. This vast western state is complete with rugged mountain ranges, endless miles of protected wilderness, and beautiful lakes to explore and visit. From Missoula and Bozeman to Helena, there’s no shortage of incredible lakes you can visit when in this amazing part of the country.
Whether you’re looking for recreational activities like boating or fishing, or you just want to rent a vacation home with a view, read on for a list of some of the best lakes in Montana and what you can expect when you visit.
There are many beautiful lakes for you to enjoy in Montana. The following lakes were chosen by the number of activities they offer and the availability of vacation rentals for big families.
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, with plenty of fantastic activities to choose from. Located in the northwest region of the state, Flathead Lake is bordered by Montana Highway 35. The lake has 185 miles of shoreline and covers 200 square miles, which makes it a great option if you’re into exploring swimming, or fishing. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks operates several sites and offers camping, swimming, public restrooms, and picnic shelters. If you’re planning a day of boating, there are several boat launches available.
Trout fishing is a popular activity at Flathead Lake. Look for the option to rent paddleboards, inflatable kayaks, and recreational boats for a day on the water. The southern shore of Flathead Lake has a large, open-water swimming area with a roped-off swimming spot for families. This beach extends about 100 feet from the shore, but there are no dining options on-site, so be sure to bring some food for a fun picnic lunch.
Canyon Ferry Lake
Located 20 miles east of Helena, Canyon Ferry Lake is just off Highway 287 near the Canyon Ferry Dam. This lake includes year-round fishing opportunities where you can catch everything from perch and trout to walleye and more.
The lake boasts 96 shoreline miles and features several public concrete boat launch ramps near the dam, abundant campgrounds, swimming, and picnic areas. Also available are three marinas for use for both motorized boats and sailboats. A sapphire mine, laundromat, dining, and grocery stores are located in the area.
Georgetown Lake is nestled within three stunning mountain ranges. This beautiful lake expands over 3,700 acres and is primarily used for outdoor recreation and as a water source for local ranchers.
Fishing is common at this lake, as is hunting for big game and other wildlife. In the winter, Georgetown Lake offers some of the best ice fishing in the state. There are nearby streams, creeks, and rivers where you can enjoy a day of hiking, fly fishing, and exploring. Four public boat ramps are available for public use.
In addition to the normal outdoor activities, this lake is also close to three golf courses if you want to enjoy a rousing game of golf during your stay.
Whitefish Lake is located just off Highway 93 in Montana. The lake is seven miles long and one mile wide. This stunning Montana lake offers boating, camping, swimming, water skiing, and fishing opportunities for visitors. A boat ramp is available at the City Beach area near the downtown Whitefish area.
Bike rentals are available as well as kayak, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboard rentals. The lake includes an impressive hiking and biking trail system. If you’re into cooking, there are grills and fire rings located throughout the surrounding park.