Montana's Best Beaches

Best beaches and swimming holes in Montana

Now that summer is here, Montana Living brings you a sample of where to cool off around the state, from Whitefish to Yellowstone. (Full disclosure: with so many rivers and lakes in Montana we don't have ALL of them, but here are a few)

City Beach, Whitefish Lake

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Whitefish Lake State Park

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 Gardiner River Bridge

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 Lake Mary Ronan

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Old Bridge in West Glacier, Glacier National Park

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 Wayfarer's State Park, Flathead Lake

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Clark Fork River, Plains Montana

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Swimmer's guide for tracking water quality on Flathead Lake


An online tool helps swimmers find the cleanest waters on Flathead Lake.

The Flathead Lake Biological Station, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers unveiled a new app and website that provide water-quality information on Flathead Lake.

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Called the “Swim Guide,” the website and app help users find areas of Flathead Lake where water quality is best. In addition to Montana’s Flathead Lake, the website delivers real-time water quality information for over 7,000 swimming areas in six countries, including Canada, the United States, Mexico and Australia.

In the Swim Guide Project, dedicated volunteers collect water samples from their local recreational or public swim areas and then submit those samples to a laboratory for analysis.

In Montana, Polson swimmers Mark Johnston and Dana Johnston founded Flathead Lake Open Water (FLOW) Swimmers in 2014. They were interested in conducting E. coli testing at public swim areas on Flathead Lake.

Adam Baumann, lab manager at the Flathead Lake Biological Station, said the app helps monitor water quality around the lake.

“It’s only going to keep growing,” Baumann said. “Not only at Flathead, but surrounding lakes as well. The people who get involved with community-based science projects like this do so because they care about their local environment. In the Flathead Valley, a lot of people care about clean water, so this has a lot of potential.”