Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
In a Gorgeous Mountain Setting, Cozy Whitefish is a Touristy Year Round Resort with Theater, Great Eateries and Outstanding Outdoor Recreaton
Scenic Whitefish sits along Whitefish Lake in beautiful northwestern Montana and started out as a logging hub and a stop on the Great Northern Railway in the early 1900s. In the 1940s, developers built the ski resort Whitefish Mountain Resort and tourists began to discover this cozy mountain hamlet.
Today, tens of thousands of vacationers come to Whitefish each year. With the majestic Rocky Mountains as its backdrop, the town has become a thriving year round resort and has grown 26% during the last decade. It is just minutes away from Glacier National Park, a stunning area perfect for photography, hiking, fishing, biking, camping and horseback riding. Whitefish plays host to several festivals, including the Huckleberry Days Arts Festival, the Whitefish Winter Carnival and the Great Northwest Oktoberfest celebration. The town is also home to the Whitefish Theater Company, the Whitefish Performing Arts Center, art galleries, great restaurants and unique retailers, most of which owe their existence to tourism.
Homes are nestled in the forest and range from spectacular mountain chalets to more modest condominiums.
Population: 8,800 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 37%
Cost of Living: 104% above the national average
Median Home Price: $945,000
Climate: Whitefish has a four-season climate with mildly warm summers, and wet, cold winters. Summer temperatures are usually in the 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures are in the teens, 20s and 30s. On average, Whitefish receives 75 inches of snow and 18 inches of rain per year. The elevation is 3,035 feet above sea level.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No
Public Transit: Local service is provided by Eagle Transit. A dial-a-ride service is also available.
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 53%
Is Montana Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: This is a pretty town, but it is remote. Class lines are somewhat evident.
Notes: The hospital, while small with 25 beds and not accredited, receives good reviews and is a part of Logan Health, which also has a 330-bed hospital 15 miles away in Kalispell. Home prices have increased 15% since last year. Amtrak and Greyhound both have a station here (and the Greyhound station has a car rental facility).
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
By area, Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States. With an average of only six people per square mile, it is one of the country's least populated states. This Big Sky Country was the 41st state to enter the union in 1889 and is home to 12 tribal nations.
Split by the Continental Divide, the state can experience dramatic climate differences from east to west. The west usually has milder winters and cooler summers than the east. Western Montana is characterized rocky peaks, forests, streams and lakes, while eastern Montana is open prairie punctuated by occasional buttes and hills. This prairie is drained by the Missouri River and its tributaries. Elk, moose, and grizzly bears are still abundant across the state.
Although manufacturing, tourism, and minerals contribute to Montana's wealth, agriculture may be the top economic driver. Cattle, calves, barley, hay, and black cherries are important products.
Tourist favorites include Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and Glacier National Park. The Park contains 250 lakes. The largest, Flathead, is 28 miles long and between five and 15 feet wide.
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