Whitefish : Montana


What It Is Like to Retire in Whitefish

The town of Whitefish, Montana is a popular resort and retirement community for those looking for outdoor beauty and adventure. Even though it is somewhat remote, the town is a major tourist destination and Amtrak stop. Active adults retire  this community for a slower way of life in the mountains. The population is almost 6,000. About 15 miles from Kalispell in northwest Montana, Whitefish is home to a number of ski resorts, including Big Mountain Ski Area. Hunting, fishing, hiking are excellent. The town is built on gorgeous Whitefish Lake, which makes for an ideal setting.

Whitefish began in 1904 when The Great Northern Railway was built through here. It was originally called Stumptown due to the logging that took place to clear the valley. The railroad and logging were the original industries, but tourism has become increasingly important. Whitefish is located in Flathead County. It is equidistant from Missoula (MT) and Spokane (WA) – about 110 miles. Use this link to find out more about what is like retire in Montana, including information about climate and taxes. Photo of downtown courtesy of Wikipedia and WikiCapa (public domain); . Photo of nearby BIg Mountain and photo of Whitefish Train Station courtesy of Wikipedia and Rajesh Dhawan (public domain).

Where to Retire in Whitefish and Home Prices

You can live in town, near the mountains, or on the lake Almost any home or condo has a spectacular view of the mountains or lake.  There is at least one active community in the area (see link at right).
Whitefish real estate can have a wide range depending on location (on the lake will be expensive, obviously)  and the size and quality of the home. Prices became quite expensive in the 2000's because of the real estate boom for 2nd homes and because there is a limited supply of privately available land. In mid-2021 the median home value was $591,622, according to Zillow.


What Is Special about Whitefish

Whitefish has Big Mountain Ski Resorts, Glacier National Park, unparalleled nature activities and scenery, Whitefish Lake, and Flathead Lake and Flathead Valley.


What Is Not Special about Whitefish

Crowds in season; Whitefish is off the beaten track; and the nicest places are very expensive.


Who Will Like Retirement in Whitefish

Whitefish attracts a community of retirees who want to live in the mountains and enjoy nature and outdoor sports. The noted outdoorsman Noel Poux lives here.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism and real estate are important to the economy.

Climate and Physical Environment

Whitefish and Whitefish Lake are on the western side of the continental divide, near Glacier National Park.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Whitefish culture is built around its proximity to nature and outdoor sports. The Stumptown Museum includes many railroad artifacts as well as community memorabilia and photographs. In 1990 the Depot, located in the historic depot building, was restored to its original 1927 Glacier National Park chalet-like appearance. Great Northern Locomotive #181, one of only seven of its kind ever built, can be seen at the museum. Big Mountain Ski Resort offers many events and festivals. The Environmental Education Center is located on top of Big Mountain.


The crime rate in Whitefish is well below the national average.


Medical Facilities

North Valley Hospital is a 44 acute bed, 56 long term bed facility offering personalized health care. 24 hour emergency care is available.


The Amtrak Station here is one of the line's busiest, and befits the area's beginning as a railroad town. Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) is also here.  Whitefish is a very walkable community when compared to other communities.


Valuable Links

Whitefish Chamber of Commerce


What people are saying about Whitefish

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