RV Camping Flathead Lake: What You Need To Know

In Northwest Montana, Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake located west of the Mississippi River. It features over 200 square miles of water and 185 miles of shoreline. The southern half of the lake is situated on Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe Flathead Reservation, and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks maintains thirteen public access sites around the remainder of the park for guests to enjoy. These recreation sites include boat launches, recreation areas, campgrounds, and picnic tables.

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How to Get to Flathead Lake Montana

Flathead Lake is located in Northwest Montana, nestled between the Flathead National Forest and Flathead Reservation. Several small towns surround the lake, such as Dayton, Lakeside, Bigfork, and Finley Point. Flathead Lake is about an hour’s drive from Missoula, Montana, accessible via US-93. If you’re driving from Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, you can expect the drive to take three hours.

When to Visit Flathead Lake Montana

If you’re looking to spend most of your time on the water at Flathead Lake, you’ll want to plan your vacation for the summer months when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. June through August are the most popular months on the water, with visitors taking advantage of summer vacation and the abundance of boat launches in the area.

Spring and fall are also great seasons to enjoy recreation opportunities surrounding the lake. Or, if you like fishing, it’s also a great time to drop your lures in Flathead Lake.

RV Camping Flathead Lake

RV campers will find plenty of spots to set up camp, with most sites providing easy access to the lake.

Columbia Falls RV Park

Columbia Falls RV Park is in the perfect location, located in the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park Area. The park is only 14 miles from the western entrance to Glacier National Park, close to the Flathead River, and not too far from Flathead Lake. There are several different ways to stay at this RV park, ranging from Standard RVs to Camping Cabins.

Mountain View RV Park

Mountain View RV Park is located in the middle of everything, with it being only 22 miles away from Glacier National Park, 2 miles east of Whitefish River, 3 miles west of Flathead River, and 5 miles south of Whitefish Lake. It’s the perfect Montana basecamp for all of your outdoor adventures.

Big Arm Unit – Flathead Lake State Park, MT

This RV Park is open to the public from May through October, and all rates include two people, one RV, and one vehicle. All RV sites come with full hookups, TV, and internet. The grounds include a swimming pool, a workout room, and a hot tub for guests to use.

12mrobrien, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This campground is located within the Big Arm State Park on the southwest shore of Flathead Lake. Several of the 40 campsites are stationed along the shoreline, offering fantastic lake views. The park features three yurts, showers, flush toilets, and picnic tables. Since the lake’s southern end is located on tribal land, you will need a Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe fishing license to enjoy fishing.

Eagle Nest RV Resort

The campground features 45 full-service sites and a park office, laundry, and showers. Amenities include full hookups, a dump station, Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities. Pets are welcome, and there is even a playground for kids.

Wayfarers State Park Campground

Wayfarers State Park Campground is located along the shoreline of Flathead Lake and is ideally situated to offer some of the best sunsets in the area. Close to the charming town of Bigfork, this park also provides public access for launching your boat and swimming in Flathead Lake. In addition to RV sites, guests can expect coin-operated showers, boat and trailer dump stations, and ice for sale.

Whitefish RV Park

Whitefish RV Park is located within the city of Whitefish, Montana. While close to everything the town has to offer, it’s also close to Glacier National Park and the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort. Guests can choose to pay for full or partial hookups, but the RV park offers showers, laundry, restrooms, and a disposal station on the grounds.

Holland Lake Campground

Holland Lake Campground is located in Flathead National Forest on the shores of Holland Lake. With thirty-eight individual sites, there is plenty of space for everyone here. This campground offers vault toilets, drinking water, a boat ramp, and boat trailer parking. The Holland Falls National Recreation Trail is nearby, which will take you to the Holland Falls Waterfall.

Forest Service Northern Region from Missoula, MT, USA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Flathead Lake Montana Recreational Activities

When most people think of Montana, they think of the Rocky Mountains and picturesque small towns dotting the landscape. Flathead Lake is one of those treasures that often goes overlooked. A popular spot for fishing, boating, and swimming, the lake also provides opportunities for hiking and camping in the surrounding forested areas. In winter, snowmobiling and skiing are favorite activities. With so much to do, it’s no wonder Flathead Lake is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a large wilderness area in the Rocky Mountains that feature a variety of landscape types from melting glaciers, alpine meadows, valleys, and incredible lakes. Here you’ll find more than 700 miles of hiking and free camping opportunities. Other activities in this 1,583 sq. mile park include backpacking, cycling, and camping. 

Wild Horse Island

Wild Horse Island is the largest island on Flathead Lake and has been a landmark since the Kootenai Indians used it to pasture horses to avoid theft from other tribes. Boat access is required to reach the island, and it is available for day use only and not for camping overnight.

Yellow Bay State Park

Yellow Bay State Park is located on the west shore of Flathead Lake, just inside of the Flathead Indian Reservation, and provides a public camping and fishing access site. Five tent campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you plan to fish at this State Park, you’ll need a joint state/tribal fishing license.

Matthew Hoelscher, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park has located primarily in Wyoming and extends into Montana and Idaho. It was the first national park in the United States known for its wildlife and famous geothermal features, especially the Old Faithful geyser. Yellowstone is a five-hour drive from Flathead Lake and would make for a great destination if you want to continue your journey into Wyoming.


Flathead Lake is an excellent destination in Montana if you want to explore all of the fantastic outdoor areas Montana offers. With so much public land and Montana State Parks on the site, you’ll be happy to choose a campground with easy access to many activities.

For more great RV camping in the Northwest, visit Lake Chelan

Featured image Forest Service, USDA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons