Lodging is expensive in Bigfork (although during the spring, fall, and winter, prices can drop by nearly 50 percent at many lodgings).
The town is a little too highfalutin to have a good selection of budget motels. In fact, the only place that comes close to fitting that bill is the Timbers Motel (8540 Hwy. 35, 406/837-6200 or 800/821-4546, www.timbersmotel.com, $99 and up), located slightly out of Bigfork proper, above Bigfork Bay and Highway 35. There’s a pool, sauna, and outdoor hot tub; pets are welcome with a $10 fee. The setting, back off the highway among trees, is rather snug and comfortable.
The centrally located Grand Hotel Bigfork (425 Grand Dr., 406/837-7377, www.grandhotelbigfork.com, $149) is another good bet. The six upstairs rooms all have private balconies; downstairs is a deli.
Marina Cay (180 Vista Lane, 406/837-5861 or 800/433-6516, www.marinacay.com, rooms $119–195, condos $215–359) is a large, attractive resort complex right on the bay that contains the majority of the rooms available in Bigfork. Facilities include several restaurants and bars, a marina with boat rentals and other recreational outings, lounge-side pool, and a couple of hot tubs.
For a more intimate place to stay right in the heart of downtown Bigfork, the Swan River Inn (360 Grand Ave., 406/837-2220, $145 and up) has comfortable and carefully decorated B&B suites overlooking Bigfork Bay and a good restaurant downstairs.
Right on the edge of town, where the Swan River flows into Bigfork Bay, the
Bridge Street Cottages (309 Bridge St., 406/837-2785 or 888/264-4974, www.bridgestreetcottages.com, studios $185, one-bedroom cottages $250–325) are just close enough to town, but not smack-dab in the middle of it. Most are one-bedroom cottages with full kitchens, but there are also a few studios with refrigerators and coffeemakers. These cottages are good places to stay if you want to settle in for a while; weekly and monthly rates are available.
Five miles south of town in Woods Bay, the Mountain Lake Lodge (1950 Sylvan Dr., 406/837-3800 or 877/823-4923, www.mountainlakelodge.com, $195–285) is a classy lodge-style motel with spacious rooms, an outdoor pool, two on-site restaurants, and great views.
A few miles south of town, just across the road from the lake, the Islander Inn (39 Orchard Lane, 406/837-5472, www.sleepeatdrink.com, $119–179) has accommodations in bungalows, each one named after a different island—from Bali to Zanzibar to Wild Horse—and decorated in the style of that place. These colorful cottages have basic cooking facilities (most have microwaves and refrigerators, while a couple have full kitchens), and well-behaved dogs are allowed in some units with a stiff deposit and $20 nightly surcharge. During the off-season, room rates drop dramatically.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition