Montana dude ranch vacation: Flathead Lake Lodge

Flathead Lake Lodge tips:

Like any other dude ranch, figuring out the system at Flathead Lake Lodge involves a learning curve. I’ll give you a head start:

flathead lake lodge

  • Go to the Monday morning sign ups for extra activities such as laser tag and horseback riding lessons. But don’t stress too much over this event: if you need to adjust your schedule later or want to add activities, this can almost always be accommodated by the lodge office staff.
  • Check the activities area by the entrance to the bar each morning; there are additional sign ups there for activities of that day.
  • Go on the Sunday evening ride. It’s less chaotic and crowded than the Monday morning ride.
  • If you don’t have room for dessert, pass. You’ll get another chance when that dessert graces the snack table later on. This applies to both lunch and dinner.
  • Get to know the staff. We had a wonderful experience with FLL staff, from the wranglers in the horse program to the water sports program to the housekeeping staff.
  • Know the bar system: BYOB is allowed, and actually encouraged. Families can store their own bottles of wine, liquor, or beer in the bar, labeled by last name. The bar will be staffed from 5:30-6:30 each evening, during which bartenders will pour for you (no corkage fee). If you want a drink before or later, the bar is all yours: simply enter and pour yourself one of your own drinks. Bottles of wine are also available for purchase, though limited.
  • By Wednesday, your kids will have hit their stride, and so will have you.
  • You can tip at any time during your stay, but most guests find it easiest to add a tip onto their bill at the end of their stay. A tip amount of 10% is standard.
  • Be sure to bring riding boots (they need to have a heel) and plenty of jeans, as they get dirty easily. A cowboy hat is helpful, but not required.
  • Laundry is free after 3 pm, when the machines are no longer needed by the housekeeping staff. Just pop in…there is soap available, too.

Still not sure? Check out a video of our week at the ranch!

A Week at the Ranch: August 6th – 12th from Flathead Lake Lodge on Vimeo.

Disclosure: We experienced Flathead Lake Lodge as guests of the resort, for the purpose of review. All opinion remains our own.




About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



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