Nothing says summer like a day at the lake.

Think about it, a get-together with friends and family, with time spent swimming, boating, fishing, or skiing followed by a little campfire as you sit around enjoying each other's company make for some pretty decent memories.

Here in Montana, we have more than our fair share of lakes. Popular destinations include Flathead, Seeley, Whitefish, Saint Mary, and Avalanche Lake.  These locations bring in hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors each year, who not only enjoy a day on the water but also help the local economy.

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What you might not have known, is that Montana is home to one of the best lake towns in the United States.  Trips To Discover came out and named The 16 Best Lake Towns In The U.S. and one Montana town made the list.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

The travel website bases its decisions on a few factors including "shopping, dining, and other attractions".  The Northwest region was well represented by Coeur d'Alene in Idaho and Chelan in Washington, plus a couple of lake towns in Colorado make the Top 16 as well.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

So which lake town from Montana made the list? Well, that would be Big Fork, Montana.

The website credits BigFork for having that "Old West" but with all of the culture you would expect from a town much more metropolitan. Throw in the fact that there are art galleries, lots of shopping, great restaurants, and popular festivals, and it shouldn't surprise too many Montanans that BigFork is one of the best lake towns in the United States.

Plus, there are tons of outdoor activities to partake in not to mention that Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River.  The area has lots of lodging, but keep in mind, it's extremely busy during the summer months, so planning ahead is a must.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

Offbeat adventures: Travel to the coolest hidden wonders in every U.S. state

Fuel your offbeat travel dreams. Stacker found the coolest hidden wonders in all 50 U.S. states (plus D.C.) using data from Atlas Obscura.

[WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter private or abandoned property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing.]

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.


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