Here at Flathead Lake Lodge, we want our guests to feel like family. After all, among our 2,000 acres of Montana you’ll find plenty of room to adventure, breathe, relax, unwind and make memories. While we do our best to share what to expect, what to pack and everything you can do as a guest of Flathead Lake Lodge, sometimes we need to turn over the reins and have other folks do it for us.

Most of the content of this blog post was written for first-time guests by other first-times guests (or as the ladies who wrote this say – written by newbies for newbies), after their inaugural first week at Flathead Lake Lodge, July 10 – 17, 2022.

Without further ado, here are the “Top 12 Things Flathead Lake Lodge Newbies Need to Know.”

1. If you planned out your entire week ahead of time, know that it won’t turn out exactly as you planned. This is okay. You’ll still have fun and get to do everything you want. We promise!  

2. On sign-up day (which is Monday), arrive early and have your top priority activities picked out. Give each person in your group an assigned activity to get in line for and sign up, that way you can cover more ground quicker.

3. If you don’t get to sign up for something you wanted, put your name on the waitlist and still show up for that activity. Chances are, at least one of the folks who did sign up won’t show up and you’ll get to do it.  

4.  At times, sailing lessons can be hit-or-miss activities because there may or may not be wind. Be sure to plan an activity to substitute in case it doesn’t work out. (But if you can take a lesson, do!)

5. Be sure to sign up for horse-related activities, including horseback trail rides. And if you need a lesson, be sure to mark that on the sign-up sheet. (You can also talk to the gals in the office and they can be sure you get squared away for a lesson.) Same goes for the watersports lessons in the morning – be sure you sign up! In the afternoon, all you need to do is write your name down on the whiteboard and you will get to go.

6. The families who have been coming for years are very nice, we promise! Don’t be intimidated. You’ll quickly meet them during the on-ranch activities and before you know it, you’ll have some lovely new friends.  

7. For meals, find other newbies to sit with or other families that don’t have a large extended family group staying at the lodge. If you met someone at an activity, ask if you can join them for dinner!  

8. When it comes to mouse races, be sure to bring some cold hard cash. Plus, you can combine your funds with other families.

9. Jump on YouTube and look up “How to pen” before team penning. Trust us.  

10. Check in with the office for the daily schedule and any changes. 

11. Come a day or two early and visit Glacier National Park! It’s 40 minutes from the ranch and is well worth a visit.

12. Take advantage of the laundry service – you can pack less!

*Ladies, it was a joy to have you and your families here at the ranch! Thanks for sharing what you learned and passing along your experiences for future fist-time guests.