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1) Where are your condos located?They are both located in Osborn Landing, on Osborn Avenue, one block east of Electric Avenue in downtown Bigfork. If you know Bigfork you might remember going to Brookies Cookies for lunch or a snack. Osborn Landing is located right next door to Brookies. The rear of the complex faces the Swan River right before it crosses under the steel bridge and empties into Bigfork Bay and then onto Flathead Lake.
2)Where can I park nearby? Osborn Landing has parking in front for vacation renters, tenants and the public. In most cases there is no problem finding a place to park, but on rare occasions all of the parking spaces may be occupied. Additional parking is available along Osborn Avenue, Electric Avenue, Grand Avenue and Bridge Street. The worst case scenario would be a two minute walk from your vehicle to the condo.
3) Why do the rates change? Bigfork is considered a 'Resort Town', meaning that much of the economic activity comes from people visiting during the summer tourist season. Because of this seasonality, demand for accommodation fluctuates depending on the time of year and even the day of the week. Our prices are adjusted accordingly to meet this demand. You may want to consider visiting Bigfork during the shoulder seasons as opposed to the high season to take advantage of better rates.
4) Do I need a car to get around? Getting around without a car can be quite challenging. There are no buses or taxi service in Bigfork, although there is limited taxi, bus and other charter services available in Kalispell. Unless you are on an organized bus tour visiting Glacier National Park it would be difficult to get around without a vehicle, however if you just want to just visit Bigfork, then everything is within walking distance of the condo.
5) Are their taxes in Montana? While there is no state-wide sales tax in Montana, there is a state-wide 7% occupancy tax for rooms. There are some local taxes that you will have to pay, for example there is a 'resort tax' in the town of Whitefish. However, if you go into a local Bigfork store to purchase something there is no sales tax and no resort tax. The price marked on the item is the price you pay. Of course federal taxes, such as those for gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes, are applied throughout Montana.
6) What's the weather like? Bigfork is located in Northwest Montana Rocky Mountain front, which is jokingly called the 'Banana Belt' because of its relatively mild weather compared to Eastern Montana where the weather can be extreme. During the winter months Bigfork can get up to 50 inches of snow and the temperatures can drop to -20 degrees F (-29 degrees C). In the summer it can get up to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), but in the summer the temperature drops as soon as the sun sets. Winter blizzards are not uncommon, and summer thunderstorms occur regularly. So the answer to the question 'What's the weather like in Bigfork?' is 'variable'. You should check weather.com or your favorite weather website to get an idea of what to expect before you pack and you should plan to dress in layers so that you are prepared for whatever weather we may get.
6) Can I rent recreational equipment? If you are driving or flying here from a great distance you may not want to drag everything with you. Fortunately, you can rent many recreational items here. You can rent bikes, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, inner tubes and rafts. You can also rent powerboats, sailboats and jet skis. Keep in mind that there is only a limited amount of rental equipment available so you should call ahead and reserve what you need before you get here.
7) What about whitewater rating? There are a number of local companies that provide whitewater rafting trips, of varying lengths, at fairly reasonable rates. Most of them are in West Glacier near Glacier National Park. You typically meet at the company's offices to check-in and you are then bused to the river where the rafts are waiting. Note that in the spring and early summer months the water flow of the local rivers can run quite fast due to snow melt so be prepared for a fun,wet and turbulent ride!
8) How big is Flathead Lake? As you have no doubt heard, "Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River", but how big is it really? It's almost 35 miles long and nearly 15 miles across at its widest point. (It's slightly larger than Lake Tahoe if that gives you any idea.) It's about 90 miles to drive around the lake. The town of Polson is located at the southern end, and the town of Somers is located at the northern end of the lake. Lakeside is on the northwest corner and Bigfork is on the northeast corner of the lake. Flathead Lake has a maximum depth of 370 feet, and an average depth of 165 feet. The northernmost 20% of the lake, where the Flathead River dumps into it, is fairly shallow due to runoff, however there is a navigable channel that can take you up the Flathead River. The lake has a surface area of 197 square miles, and even during the busiest summer days it never seems crowded. If you plan to go boating keep in mind that the weather can change suddenly and that summer thunderstorms can be quite dangerous.
9) Can I drive into Canada from Bigfork? It's about a 90 mile drive to the Canadian border on Hwy 93 from Bigfork. On the way up you will drive through the cities of Kalispell, Whitefish and Eureka. You will also be driving by Lake Koocanusa, a large beautiful lake that crosses the US/Canadian border. Remember that if you are a US citizen, and you decide to visit Canada, you will need a valid US passport to return to the US!
10) What other lakes should I visit besides Flathead Lake? There are a number of lakes you may want to visit while you are here. Each has its own character, along with its own pluses and minuses. Two popular lakes in the area are Swan Lake, about 10 miles to the east of Bigfork, and Whitefish Lake, about 40 miles north of Bigfork. Both lakes are great for boating, fishing and swimming, although the water is cold, even on the warmest days. Swan Lake is a glacial lake that is about 10 miles long and 1 mile wide. The public boat launch is located at the southern tip of the lake off of Hwy 83. Whitefish Lake is 7 miles long and about 1 mile wide and also has a public boat ramp. Other lakes you may want to check out are Foys Lake, Echo Lake, Lake Blaine and Ashley Lake. Up nearer to Glacier National Park is a large body of water known as Hungry Horse Reservoir. You can tour the dam or take your boat on this expansive waterway. In Glacier National Park there is Lake McDonald on the west side and St. Mary Lake on the east side, both large beautiful lakes. There are many other lakes you can check out in the area... too many to list them all!