A Camping Getaway At Finley Point On Flathead Lake, Montana

A Camping Getaway
At Finley Point
On Flathead Lake, Montana

Published September 14, 2021

Western Montana is an excellent region for camping! This part of the state is home to beautiful Glacier National Park, which has almost a dozen different campgrounds to choose from. But there’s another nearby destination you should also know about: Flathead Lake, and in particular, Finley Point!

This little peninsula on Flathead Lake’s southeast doesn’t draw big crowds like the National Park does, even though it’s only a 90-minute drive away. Finley Point is quiet and relaxing, and a weeklong trip to the region will give you enough time to see both Flathead Lake and Glacier if you want to.

Three friends from high school and I had been talking about a camping trip to Montana for years now, and we finally decided to do it this year. Lots of people recommended checking out Glacier (which we did as well), but we chose to spend the first few days of our getaway on Flathead Lake, and it was a lot of fun!

This blog post will provide some basic information about camping on Finley Point, from reservations to day trip ideas, local dining options, and more! Let’s dive right in!

Camping Logistics

Flathead Lake is huge (about 90 miles in circumference), so there are lots of designated places to camp along its shores. If you want to make a reservation at the Finley Point Unit of Flathead Lake State Park like we did, you can check out the Montana FWP (Fish, Wildlife, and Parks) website here, or go directly to their booking portal here.

This campground has spots for both RVs and tents. If you’re staying in a tent, you’ll most likely be assigned to a lot right next to the water. It’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset over the mountains!

Finley Point Campground has reasonably clean bathrooms but no showers. They allowed campfires while we were there, and the most convenient place to pick up supplies and groceries is the nearby town of Polson. You can find a Walmart, a Safeway, and other stores along US-93.

One final warning: Finley Point is bear country! This doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe for camping, but it does mean that you need to make sure all food is stored in a vehicle overnight. In addition, all trash should be placed in one of the bear-proof metal trash containers on site.

Why Camp at Finley Point?

Flathead Lake is considered to be a well-kept secret that most visitors simply drive by as they head to Glacier National Park. That’s reason enough to check it out, but here are a couple of other highlights of Finley Point.

Sunsets & Stars

Since Finley Point is situated on the eastern side of Flathead Lake, it’s an ideal spot for sunsets! We only stayed for two nights, but the dusk views were incredible, especially with just a little bit of cloud cover.

In addition, this campground is great for stargazing! I knew that my phone had an astrophotography mode, but hadn’t had the chance to try it before this trip. The results were pretty impressive, but not as impressive as seeing that clear night sky in person.

Swim

You can swim at Finley Point if you like, but the water was cold when we visited at the end of August!

The multicolored stones on the shore are pretty, but they’re not the easiest to walk on. If you have water shoes, it might be worth it to bring them.

Vibes

In general, Finley Point is such a serene place away from any type of hustle and bustle. The campground there is surrounded by towering evergreens and high grass that waves in the wind. You’ll also probably run into a few deer, chipmunks, or other critters.

Day Trip Idea: Book a Fishing Charter

We found that the hours passed quickly during our camping trip and that there was always something to do: cook on the grill, go down to the lake, pick up supplies in town, build a campfire, etc. But if you want to schedule a day trip while you stay at Flathead Lake, I highly recommend booking a fishing charter, even if you’ve never fished before!

We went with Hooked On Montana, a company based in Somers on the lake’s northern shore. Two of us had fished before, but for two of us (including me), it was our first time. Hooked On Montana did a great job of accommodating us, and we even managed to catch two big ones!

Note that fishing licenses are required for anyone going on a charter. The specific license depends on whether you plan to fish in the north or south half of the lake, so clarify with the charter company you book with. We purchased ours at the sporting section of Walmart in Polson and the staff were helpful in making sure we got what we needed. We paid $42.50 per person for a two-day nonresident license.

More Info About Polson

As mentioned above, Polson is the nearest major town to Finley Point. It’s where we stopped to get groceries and supplies, but there are also a couple of waterfront parks (namely Sacajawea Park and Point Salish Park) that offer a different view of Flathead Lake looking north.

Sacajawea Park
Point Salish Park

It also looks like there are a couple of interesting restaurants in Polson, but we only had time to check out Glacier Brewing, a casual brewery with a large patio.

I personally would’ve liked to explore Polson a little more, but we only stayed at Finley Point for two nights. If you have a favorite bar or restaurant in town, leave a comment and let me know what I should try next time I’m there!

In Conclusion...

Whether you prefer to camp in a tent or an RV, Finley Point is an excellent destination for anyone heading to Western Montana. We thoroughly enjoyed two full days of relaxing, grilling burgers on our camp stove, sitting around the fire, and admiring Flathead Lake!

If you’re planning to visit the area and can take off a week or more, I highly recommend pairing a few days of camping here with a multi-day trip to Glacier National Park. The park offers jaw-dropping mountain views and incredible hiking. To learn more about Glacier, check out this separate blog post [coming soon]! Thanks for reading, and if you’re headed to Flathead Lake, have an amazing time!

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This post was published on Sept 14, 2021

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Wow, the night sky photo is impressive. Is there an app for that?
    The lake looks perfect for kayaking. Like you did, I think it can be a perfect destination before or after Glacier NP, depending on which direction you go.

  2. Sarah Wilson

    Wow, that looks heavenly. I love camping when not surrounded by large groups of other campers. Looking up at those stars must have been amazing. Saving this post as totally what I would love to do. And the US are allowing us Europeans back in soon.

  3. Sounds like you guys had a great trip to Finley Point. I agree, camping days can go so quickly, but there’s always time to kick back and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Good to know that it’s in bear country. Definitely need to lock that food and trash away!

  4. Kez

    It does look like a very lovely area! I’m not a huge fan of camping though, especially in bear country. I would probably sleep in the car with the food, haha!

  5. Melinda

    Looks like a fun way to reconnect with friends. And those sunsets are beautiful. Now I have to check the settings on my android phone and try for some night sky pics!

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