41 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Montana

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: June 28, 2021  - Last updated: October 17, 2023

things to do in Montana

With its craggy cliffs and wide open spaces, Montana is one of the most beautifully remote places in the US.

Its nickname is “Big Sky Country,” and its blue horizons stretch over all kinds of caves, canyons and caverns.

It’s a state known for its stunning natural beauty as well as its many opportunities for outdoor adventure.

If you’re into hiking, biking, climbing, camping, ziplining or stargazing, this is the destination for you!

A common misconception about Montana, however, is that it has nothing to offer besides its mountains.

The Rockies only take up part of the state, and the rest has plenty of big, bustling cities with restaurants, malls, museums and movie theaters.

There are also a number of ski resorts where you can enjoy five-star amenities such as spas and steakhouses even as you take in the gorgeously rugged scenery outside.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor thrills or indoor luxuries, Big Sky Country has a little something for everyone.

Here are just a few things to do in Montana on your next getaway!

Table of Contents

1. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

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Trekking through the Rocky Mountains is one of the most amazing things to do in Montana, and there are numerous parks where you can scale cliffs, dive into lakes, clamber over rocks and hike to the tops of hills and summits.

If you’re looking for the best of the best, however, you’ll want Glacier National Park .

Hailed as a “hiker’s paradise,” Glacier National Park offers stunning vistas as far as the eye can see.

Many of them are at great heights, including Logan Pass at 7,700 feet and Reynolds Peak at 9,100 feet, but there are also beginner-friendly trails around ponds, plains, tree groves and mountain valleys.

Native species include everything from goats to grizzly bears.

Flowers bloom in all directions.

If you’re looking to fill your scrapbook with amazing photos, Glacier National Park is the place to take them.

There’s nothing like a sunrise over a snow-tipped mountain to make you glad that you traveled to Montana!

Address: Montana, United States

2. Montana State Capitol

Montana State Capitol

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With its large dome overlooking beautifully manicured lawns and other stately buildings, the Montana State Capitol is one of the nicest places to visit in Helena.

The city has historic significance, too: It was only founded after diggers literally struck gold during one of their final excavations of the surrounding era.

For this reason, it’s sometimes called the “Last Chance” city.

What can you do at the state capitol?

It depends on what you’re interested in.

It’s one of the most famous places in Montana, so there’s a certain prestige in simply being there.

You can also take tours, marvel at artwork and artifacts, and participate in scavenger hunts inspired by Lewis and Clark.

When you’re done at the capitol, you might consider exploring the rest of Helena as well.

It boasts many tourist attractions in the form of shops, restaurants, theaters, museums and cathedrals.

If you want to know what Montana is all about, start with a visit to the Montana State Capitol.

It’s one of those genuinely cool places that you’ll want to put on your bucket list, especially if you’re trying to hit all of the major landmarks of the state.

Address: Montana Ave. and 6th St Montana Ave & 6th St, Helena, MT 59601, United States

3. Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

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Located in Great Falls, Montana, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is one of the major points of interest of the mountain states.

Like its name suggests, it’s dedicated to the explorers Lewis and Clark, and it offers everything from artifacts to informative videos about their story, their journey and their impact on American history.

The first thing that you’ll notice when you step into the museum is its two-story diorama of the Missouri River.

It’s hugely colorful as well as surprisingly educational about nature.

From there, you can take a self-guided tour through the exhibits that line the halls, or you can sign up for an audio tour that features actors portraying Lewis and Clark as they reminisce about the past.

There are other forms of entertainment as well.

For example, you can test your strength by pulling a tugboat against a river current.

Kids will love it!

Ultimately, however, the true value of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center lies in its historical preservation.

If you’re at all interested in the explorations of the colonial west, this is the museum for you.

Address: 4201 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT 59405, United States

4. Museum of the Rockies

Museum of the Rockies

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Another place that celebrates the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains, the Museum of the Rockies goes even further with its educational programs dedicated to equality, cultural awareness and environmental conservation.

Located in Bozeman , permanent exhibits include everything from “Enduring Peoples,” which chronicles the lives and times of Native American and Northern Plains tribes, to “The Living History Farm” with costumed actors roleplaying Montana’s frontier days and teaching kids about things like fur trading and butter churning.

Temporary exhibits have been devoted to plants, animals, architecture, music and major historical events such as the gold rush of the 1800s.

Other points of interest include the planetarium for stargazing and the paleontology collection for marveling at dinosaur bones.

Fun fact: The museum boasts the largest T-Rex skull in the entire country!

If you’re looking to combine education and entertainment in Montana attractions, swing by the Museum of the Rockies and learn a little something.

Address: 600 W Kagy Blvd, Bozeman, MT 59717, United States

5. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park is the most famous of Montana attractions.

Though it’s primarily located in Wyoming , it covers so many miles that it also stretches into Montana and Idaho as well.

There are many places of interest in this world-famous park, including mountains, cliffs, canyons, rivers, forests and lakes.

Waterfalls thunder over rocks.

Geysers erupt with spray and steam.

Hot springs are everywhere.

There’s even a supervolcano!

Activities at Yellowstone include traditional fare such as hiking and camping as well as more unique experiences such as horseback riding in the backcountry.

Though summer is the most popular time for tourists, there’s also plenty of stuff to do in the winter, including skiing.

If you’re looking for the must see destinations of Montana, make time for Yellowstone National Park.

The alpine scenery is so wondrous that it’s literally used for postcards, and it offers endless adventure for visitors of all types.

Address: United States

6. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Montana is known for its diverse range of wildlife, especially in the mountain regions where bears, coyotes, moose, wolverines and elks roam freely.

But have you ever wondered what happens when these animals get sick or hurt?

The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a rescue and rehabilitation center for many types of wildlife.

Despite the name, it isn’t just devoted to bears and wolves; it also welcomes everything from tiny ground squirrels to gigantic swooping birds of prey.

The mission of the nonprofit is to help these critters while also educating the public about the important roles that they play in local ecosystems.

In addition to observing the wildlife, visitors can also check out educational exhibits and watch videos and demonstrations by the staff.

There are even livecams posted online so that folks can watch the animals anywhere and anytime!

If you want to support a good cause and have a good time while in Montana, schedule a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

It’s open 365 days per year, so whether you’re headed there tomorrow or next summer, the grey wolves will be waiting for you.

Address: 201 S Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, United States

7. Rimrock Mall

Rimrock mall

Rimrock mall

Looking at the stylish white frame and square-cut glass windows of the Rimrock Mall , you’d never guess that it was originally the site of a beet farm, but that’s Montana for you.

Rimrock Mall is the largest mall in the state, and it’s also one of the most diverse in terms of goods and services.

There are luxury fashion boutiques; there are cheap kiosks for jewelry and body art.

You can get your nails done or your dog groomed.

You can watch something in the movie theater.

You can enjoy a meal at the food court.

You can even get a check-up at the medical center!

Additionally, since the mall plays host to many special events in Billings, its hometown, you can always find book signings or musical acts to enjoy on the weekends.

If you’re in need of an “I Heart Montana” t-shirt, stop by the Rimrock Mall.

You’ll get your shirt, and you’ll probably walk out with bagfuls of other gifts and souvenirs, too.

Address: 300 S 24th St W, Billings, MT 59102, United States

8. Montana Chocolate Company

Montana Chocolate Company

Montana Chocolate Company

Everything about the Montana Chocolate Company is old-fashioned.

Not only is it located in the tiny, sleepy mountain town of Stevensville, but it’s right on Main Street, and it’s a small shop that does everything by hand.

The truffles are sculpted by hand.

The nuts, creams and caramels are dipped by hand.

Even the fudges and the brittles are drizzled and decorated by hand.

Another fun thing about the shop is that they embrace their Montanan roots with creative twists on old favorites.

For example, they sell “Grizzly Paws,” “Elk Tracks” and even “Road Kill” chocolates.

They also utilize many of Montana’s signature ingredients, including huckleberries, for their bars and pastries.

Other things to buy at the shop include Montana-themed souvenirs like mugs, magnets and t-shirts as well as locally-made crafts and jewelry.

Do you have a sweet tooth?

Do you like supporting local businesses while you travel?

Swing by the Montana Chocolate Company for delicious treats just like mama used to make!

Address: 755 Main St, Stevensville, MT 59870, United States

9. Hyalite Canyon

Hyalite Canyon

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If you like the night sky, Hyalite Canyon is one of the best places to visit in Montana for stargazing.

It’s close enough to civilization that you don’t have to trek for days into the wilderness to get a good view, but it’s also far enough from the lights of the big cities to offer stunning skyscapes filled with stars, galaxies and nebulae.

There are fun things to do in the daytime as well.

Known for its misty peaks, the Hyalite Canyon Recreation Area is a popular place for hiking, biking and camping.

The lakes offer fishing and canoeing opportunities.

You can rock climb in the summer and ice climb in the winter.

Ultimately, however, the biggest appeal of Hyalite Canyon is its views.

You can’t visit Big Sky Country without gazing upwards at least once!

Make a trip to Hyalite Canyon for incredible site seeing both night and day.

10. Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park

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Montana’s history stretches back thousands of years, and nowhere is this more apparent than Pictograph Cave State Park .

The drawings carved into its rocks are more than two millennia old!

To see these drawings for yourself, you’ll need to hike a trail that leads to the pictograph caves.

Along the way, you’ll pass a number of signs about the geology, vegetation and indigenous cultures of the area, and you can take breaks at designated picnic areas.

The birds and the reptiles of the rocks might keep you company as you eat.

Once you reach the pictographs, you’ll want to whip out your camera right away.

Their history can be felt in every jagged and faded line.

The oldest drawing is a turtle, but others include warriors, glyphs, mythical creatures and even rifles and other modern weapons that suggest the arrival of Europeans to the area.

You don’t have to be a history buff to be awed by Pictograph Cave State Park.

With the weight of 2,000 years behind it, it’s impressive all on its own.

Address: 3401 Coburn Rd, Billings, MT 59101, United States

11. Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake

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One of the best vacation spots in Montana is only accessible by boat.

It’s called Wild Horse Island, and it’s a place where indigenous tribes used to breed their mares and stallions to keep them from being stolen.

Today, Wild Horse Island is a tourist destination located in the middle of Flathead Lake , which has also become one of the state’s most popular places to go.

It offers stunning natural beauty as well as ample outdoor activities in the form of hiking, swimming, sailing, fishing, camping and picnicking.

Parts of the lake are on tribal land and will require a permit from visitors; others are open to any member of the public.

Flathead Lake also happens to be one of those locations that’s fun to visit year round.

In the summer, you can hike hills and flower-covered valleys that are dazzling in the sunshine.

In the winter, you can rent a cabin in the trees for warm and cozy nights surrounded by snow.

Whether you’re interested in horses or horticulture, Flathead Lake is a must see destination in Montana.

You could spend sunup to sundown exploring its wonder, and you still wouldn’t cover all of its ground or sample all of its activities.

You’ll just have to come back again next year!

12. Western Heritage Center

Western Heritage Center

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If you’re looking for free things to do while you’re in Montana, you might like the Western Heritage Center .

It offers numerous events and activities at free or minimal cost, and that isn’t even including the cool stuff found in the museum itself, which is a treasure trove of photos, videos, artifacts and other collectibles from the Western frontier.

Exhibit topics include everything from women ranchers to indigenous cultures in Montana.

You can wander the halls on your own time, or you can sign up for “high noon” lectures or historic walking tours that explore the surrounding Yellowstone River Valley.

You might also be interested to know that the heritage center is more than a century old.

Originally established in 1901, it’s withstood the test of time to become one of the area’s top historical destinations, and there’s a certain magic to that fact.

You’ll be walking the same corridors as real frontiersmen once did!

Put on your 10-gallon hat and check out the Western Heritage Center.

It isn’t the biggest or flashiest of Montana attractions, but it’s a darn interesting one.

Address: 2822 Montana Ave, Billings, MT 59101, United States

13. Big Sky Resort

Big Sky Resort

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While your mental image of Montana might be filled with prairies and tumbleweeds, the truth is that it’s also a thriving wintertime destination.

It can receive as much as 300 inches of snowfall each year, much of it in the mountains, and it can become quite the winter wonderland with glittering white snow capping the cliffs and covering the tree tops.

Big Sky Resort isn’t the only place to enjoy the snow in Montana, but it’s one of the best.

It covers almost 6,000 acres and offers a half-dozen terrain parks for skiers of all skill levels.

It’s also a popular site for snowboarding, snowshoeing and “snow biking” on motorized bikes.

Other activities are offered when the snow starts to melt, including golf, archery, paintball and horseback riding.

All things considered, Big Sky Resort is one of the nicest of Montana’s attractions.

It doesn’t even matter when you visit since every season has something new and exciting to do.

If you’re looking for awesome places to visit in the northwest, you won’t want to miss this one!

Address: 50 Big Sky Resort Rd, Big Sky, MT 59716, United States

14. Boiling River

Boiling River

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Despite its name, the Boiling River isn’t 100 percent hot.

It’s actually known for its dual temperatures where the water can be scalding hot or icy cold just a few feet apart.

The reason for this bizarre phenomenon is because a natural hot spring feeds into the river, but due to the unique twists and turns of the landscape, it often retains its original temperature rather than mixing together.

Swimming is allowed in the river, and so are calmer water activities such as tubing.

Boating isn’t allowed due to the currents.

To reach the water, you’ll have to hike to it, so pack a good pair of boots.

A dip in the Boiling River is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Montana.

It’s an experience that you’ll never forget, and it’s a story that you’ll continue to tell long after you go home.

Address: N Entrance Rd, Gardiner, MT 59030, United States

15. Bison Range

Bison Range

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The bison is an iconic symbol of the Old West, but it can be hard to glimpse them in the wild thanks to their scarcity and the sheer range of their natural habitats.

Fortunately, places like the Bison Range exist!

The Bison Range covers approximately 18,000 acres in northwestern Montana’s foothills and grasslands.

Somewhere between 300 – 500 bison call it home, and visitors can get quite close to them thanks to scenic driving routes that run through their territory.

There are also a few walking trails, but for safety purposes, these are focused on small flora and fauna rather than the mighty beasts of the herd.

Tourists can also check out the visitor’s center to learn more about the region and to get maps and advice about maximizing their time in bison country.

How many times in your life can you say that you saw hundreds of bison roaming free?

The Bison Range provides a rare opportunity for travelers and adventure seekers, so if you’re headed to northern Montana, don’t miss your chance to make unforgettable memories here.

Address: 58355 Bison Range Rd, Charlo, MT 59824, United States

16. Great Falls Farmer’s Market

Great Falls Original Farmer's Market

Great Falls Original Farmer’s Market

You’ve never seen a farmer’s market quite like this one.

After all, how many farmer’s markets offer pony rides?

Held every year from June to September, the Great Falls Farmer’s Market is more like a months-long festival than a traditional “market.”

There are the usual produce stands, of course, as well as freshly-baked bread and a variety of homemade jams.

There are also flowers, crafts, jewelry and other knickknacks that you’d expect from a farmer’s market.

What makes this market different is both its size and its vendor diversity.

There are more than 100 folks selling their goods and services every week, and with that many people, there’s always something new to try.

Pony rides are just the beginning.

If you’re wondering what to do while canvassing the great state of Montana, make a detour for the Great Falls Original Farmer’s Market.

You won’t regret it!

Address: 2 Park Dr S, Great Falls, MT 59401, United States

17. Earthquake Lake

Earthquake Lake

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With a name like Earthquake Lake , you’d probably expect this to be a very dramatic destination, and you’d be right.

In 1959, an earthquake struck the sleepy towns of southern Montana.

It completely baffled scientists who didn’t expect it and natives who never thought they’d live to see a 7.3 earthquake in their neck of the woods.

Many lives were lost, and millions of tons of mud and sand formed a landslide around the lake.

Today, visitors can tour “Quake Lake” and see the remnants of the destruction on the shores and in the surrounding mountain canyons.

There’s also an on-site facility dedicated to earthquake science that teaches things like plate tectonics and offers folks a chance to check out working seismographs and other tools of the trade.

You won’t want to miss Earthquake Lake.

It’s one of the major points of interest in Montana, and it’s a must do for history buffs, disaster enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys cool and unique sightseeing opportunities.

See for yourself if it’s all that it’s “cracked up” to be!

Address: US Route 287, Cameron, MT 59720, United States

18. Lewis and Clark Brewing Company

Lewis and Clark Brewing Company

Lewis and Clark Brewing Company

If you like fresh, frothy beers, the Lewis and Clark Brewing Company is one of the best things to do in Montana.

Hailing the state as “America’s last great place,” they invoke the spirit of their namesake explorers as they constantly experiment with newer and better ways to make alcohol.

They also do everything without pasteurization, ensuring flavors that are an intoxicating blend of bold, natural and unique.

Another noteworthy thing about the brewery is that they love to host block parties, music festivals and tap room events.

There are always new things to see and do on the weekend, so check their schedule and see what’s coming up next!

If you’ve got a thirst in Montana, visit the Lewis and Clark Brewing Company.

You can channel the spirit of the 19th century explorers as you try new taps, enjoy local music and make like-minded friends who know their beer.

Address: 1517 Dodge Ave, Helena, MT 59601, United States

19. Montana Snowbowl

Montana Snowbowl

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Are you familiar with huckleberries?

They aren’t just something out of a Mark Twain novel.

They’re a real fruit, and they’re a favorite of Montanans; you can find huckleberry pies, jams, ice creams and bear claws all around the state.

You don’t have to rely on other people to get your huckleberry fix, however.

You can pluck them right off the vine at a place like the Snowbowl .

It’s a beautiful ski lodge where the snow is always fresh and powdery and the cabins are always crackling with the warmth and glow of their fireplaces.

Huckleberry bushes can be found all around the slopes, and guests are allowed to pick and eat as many as they want.

If you’re looking for neat places to see in Montana, consider the Snowbowl.

It offers lots of recreational fun as well as cold, crisp and delicious berries that will burst on your tongue!

Address: 1700 Snow Bowl Rd, Missoula, MT 59808, United States

Planning to visit Missoula soon? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Missoula ?

20. American Computer and Robotics Museum

American Computer and Robotics Museum

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With its breweries and bison ranges, Montana might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think about technology, but it’s the location of a very interesting attraction: the American Computer and Robotics Museum .

Like its name suggests, the museum is dedicated to computers, robotics, communications, technology and artificial intelligence.

It traces these subjects back more than 2,000 years when they were just dreams of ancient civilizations.

Visitors can look at various tools and machines related to the history of computing.

They can check out exhibits on brains, automation, algorithms, telegraphs and software.

They can even take a crack at vintage computer games like Pong and Spacewar!

Computers didn’t pop into existence in the late 20th century.

Rudimentary computing machines have been around since the days of the ancient Greeks who wanted to predict the position of the stars.

To learn all about it, visit the American Computer and Robotics Museum.

Address: 2023 Stadium Dr #1a, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States

21. Ringing Rocks

Ringing Rocks

Ringing Rocks

The Ringing Rocks are a unique phenomenon that can only be found in a few places in the world, including Montana.

They’re rocks that sing!

When you tap on them with a mallet, they make strange but beautiful chime-like sounds.

Why do they emit these noises?

No one is sure, but geologists have speculated that it’s due to the rare chemical compositions of these 2,000-year old rock formations.

It might also have something to do with the way that the rocks have eroded and shifted against each other over time.

Another fun fact is that the rocks don’t sing on their own.

They’re only musical in their big pile of boulders.

This has deterred many thieves over the years, which is a good thing for you and future travelers who can still experience their magic firsthand.

If you’re wondering what to do while on vacation in Montana, consider the Ringing Rocks.

You can only see them in a few places in the entire world, and they’ll give you a great experience and an even greater story to tell when you get home.

Address: Whitehall, MT 59759, United States

22. Castle City Ghost Town

Castle Ghost Town

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America had a “silver rush” in the late 1800s that resulted in many towns being founded and abandoned along the path to promised riches.

Castle City Ghost Town is just one of these towns, but it’s the only one that still stands in Montana today.

Notable sights include all of the old, historic buildings that marked Wild West frontiers, including saloons, jails and a number of brothels.

Visitors can explore the architecture and poke around at the many rusted objects and abandoned vehicles that dot the landscape.

Another cool thing about the town is that it’s rumored to be haunted.

According to legend, Calamity Jane spent a few months in Castle in the 1890s, and she was up to no good.

Castle City Ghost Town is one of the coolest places to go in Montana, but it’s also one of the eeriest.

If you like your tourist attractions with a bit of dark and spooky glamour, this is the town to visit!

Address: Meagher, MT 59053, United States

23. Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa

Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

The Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa is one of the most luxurious places to visit in Montana.

It’s attached to the Chico Resort, but you don’t have to be lodging with them to enjoy their amenities.

You can book a date with a mud mask as part of any travel experience, including vacations, weddings, honeymoons and destination getaways.

Do you want to pamper yourself?

Sign up for a massage or an aromatherapy treatment.

Do you want to release all of the tension in your shoulders?

Slide into the natural mineral spring pools, which steam in the cold air of the mountains and provide many health benefits as well as an amazingly relaxing experience.

There are many other places to go in the resort as well, so if you are interested in staying there, be prepared for a full roster of entertainment options that includes hiking, skiing, river rafting, horseback riding, painting classes, wagon rides and more.

Vacations can be tiring.

When you need to recharge, call the Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa.

It’s one of the nicest things to do in Montana, and you might never want to leave once you’ve slipped into the hot springs for a nice hot soak!

Address: 163 Chico Rd, Pray, MT 59065, United States

24. Havre Beneath the Streets

In the early 1900s, a fire destroyed much of the city of Havre.

Local business owners decided that they couldn’t wait the long years for everything to be rebuilt on top of the ashes, so they did something unique: They moved below the ashes.

Havre Beneath the Streets, also known as the “Havre Historical Underground,” is an entire subterranean city that lies below the unassuming surface of the modern-day streets.

Many of the buildings have a slightly illicit air, including the bordellos, opium dens and honky tonks, but there are also legitimate enterprises such as taverns and butcher’s shops.

No one uses these businesses anymore; they’re purely the stuff of a historical tour.

All things considered, however, a tour in Havre Beneath the Streets is one of the coolest and most interesting things to do in Montana.

How many states have vintage underground brothels?

Address: 120 3rd Ave, Havre, MT 59501, United States

25. C.M. Russell Museum

C.M. Russell Museum

C.M. Russell Museum

Do you love the frontier days?

Do you wish you’d been born in the back of a covered wagon as you bumped and jostled over the dusty trails of early colonial America?

If so, you’ll have a blast at the C.M. Russell Museum .

While technically an art museum, its premiere artist Charles Marion “Kid” Russell lived during the days of the Wild West, and all of his works feature cowboy themes.

You can grab your spurs and pony up for a wild ride through deserts, saloons, rodeos and bank-robbing outlaws.

There are even exhibits dedicated to things like the American bison and the weapons of the Old West!

The museum also boasts several architectural exhibits such as Russell’s log cabin studio and his square-framed wooden house.

Not only can you enjoy his artwork, but you can see where his inspiration struck day after day.

If you’re wondering what to do in Montana that celebrates its unique history and iconography as a frontier destination, consider a trip to the C. M. Russell Museum.

It’ll revive those cowboy days like they never left.

Address: 400 13th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401, United States

26. ZooMontana

ZooMontana

Were you aware that there’s only one zoo in Montana?

Despite the abundance of wildlife, the sparse population and the wide-ranging natural habitats for the animals means that zoos just aren’t a thing there.

The exception is ZooMontana .

With more than 58 species calling it home, it’s a wildlife park where visitors can take in a broad and diverse mix of animals in a single location.

It’s also known for its peaceful, tranquil atmosphere; since a canyon runs right through the zoo, there are many natural cliffs and water features that simulate the native landscapes of its critters.

Species at the zoo include everything from tiny chinchillas to larger-than-life tigers, wolves and grizzly bears.

There are also cool and unique animals such as hissing cockroaches and red-tailed boa constrictors.

ZooMontana is a rarity in its state, which already makes it one of the most interesting things to see, but it’s also a cool trip in its own right.

Once you’re staring into the eyes of a raptor, everything else will fall away.

Address: 2100 Shiloh Rd, Billings, MT 59106, United States

27. Jim’s Horn House

Jim’s Horn House is one of the craziest things to see in Montana.

Created by a regular guy and housed in the shed behind his home, it’s a collection of antlers that has been gathered, cultivated and artfully displayed over the course of 60 years.

The homeowner, Jim, is known to locals as “The Antler Man.”

Jim doesn’t actually hunt the animals.

Instead, he wanders through the backcountry of Montana and picks up antlers that have been shed by local deer, elk, moose and antelope.

Then he adds them to a rattling floor-to-ceiling collection in his shed.

The end result is one of the weirdest but most interesting natural history displays that the world has ever seen.

To visit, you’ll need to contact Jim directly; he’ll turn you away if you just show up at his door.

Be polite and ask when you can come to his home.

Jim’s Horn House definitely has to be seen to be believed!

Address: Three Forks, MT 59752, United States

28. Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Another great place to enjoy wintertime fun, the Whitefish Mountain Resort is a premiere skiing destination in the Rockies.

It’s conveniently located right by an airport and offers tons of events, activities and amenities for travelers worldwide.

Your first decision will be about lodging.

The resort offers everything from cozy cabins nestled in the snow to luxurious hotel suites with hot tubs and high thread counts, so it’s just a matter of choosing the type of vacation experience that you want.

Once you’re settled in, you can hit the slopes.

There’s skiing and snowboarding; there are dog sledding shows and guided tours around the mountain.

You can even hop on the lifts to find “night skiing” trails under the glowing moon.

The best places to vacation in Montana are the ones that take advantage of its stunning natural beauty.

At Whitefish Mountain Resort, you won’t have to worry about sightseeing.

Every view from your window will be picture-perfect, and it’ll only get better once you actually venture outdoors.

Address: 1015 Glades Dr, Whitefish, MT 59937, United States

29. A Carousel for Missoula

A Carousel for Missoula

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With its carved, hand-painted animals, A Carousel for Missoula is one of the niftiest sites to see in Montana.

It’s even better when you learn its history.

It was designed, funded and constructed entirely by volunteers, and to this day, it charges just 75 cents for kids’ rides.

Another nice thing about the carousel is that it’s located in a prime area of Missoula .

A riverwalk is just a few blocks away, and nearby tourist attractions include everything from a baseball stadium to a performing arts theater.

If you’re on a budget in Montana, consider a trip to a Carousel for Missoula.

The ride itself is cheap, and the surrounding area has plenty of low-cost and free things to do that will keep you occupied long after the hand-painted horses have come to a stop.

Address: 101 Carousel Dr, Missoula, MT 59802, United States

30. Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest

Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock

Montana is one of the most beautiful places in the US , and the proof can be found in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest .

Unlike the remote rock formations that dominate so much of the state, this forest is lush, green and teeming with life from the bugs in the dirt to the birds flying high.

You’ll want to plan your trip carefully since the forest covers more than 3.3 million acres.

There are countless things to see and do on the lakes, fields and alpine mountain passes, but since they’re geographically distant from each other, you’ll need to prioritize.

Do you want to swim and fish?

Hit up the water with your fishing rod.

Do you prefer camping under the stars and cooking hot dogs over an open fire?

Head to the campgrounds.

There are even driving trails if you enjoy nature the best while you’re cruising in an air-conditioned vehicle and viewing it from your window.

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is one of the top destinations of Montana.

Its beauty is unparalleled, and its size means that you’ll never run out of new things to try.

You could have an entire vacation without ever leaving the borders of the forest!

Address: 420 Barrett St, Dillon, MT 59725, United States

31. World Museum of Mining

World Museum of Mining

Radoslaw Lecyk / Shutterstock

How many museums let you go into an underground mine?

At the World Museum of Mining , it isn’t just possible; it’s encouraged.

The World Museum of Mining is dedicated to the preservation of mining history.

It’s centered around an old, abandoned mine called Orphan Girl, and it offers photos, videos and tours to give you an idea of what it was like to mine copper and zinc in the 1800s.

The underground tour will take you 100 feet below the earth, so it’s best if you aren’t afraid of dark and cramped spaces!

Other places to see around the mine include industrial yards, miner memorials and mineral and rock collections.

There’s also a recreated mining town with historic buildings made out of genuine turn-of-the-century materials.

The World Museum of Mining is one of the coolest places to visit in Montana.

Whether you’re a history buff or just an enthusiastic explorer who likes underground tourist attractions, you should appreciate the significance of what’s on display here.

Address: 155 Museum Way, Butte, MT 59701, United States

32. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

G Seeger / Shutterstock

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument isn’t one of those flashy Montana attractions.

In fact, it’s quite solemn.

It mainly consists of small white graves dotting the green grass of a wide open plain.

If you know your history, however, you know that Little Bighorn was one of the major battles of the 19th century, and it resulted in a major loss of life between both American soldiers and the Lakota and Arapaho tribes.

This destination pays respect to both sides of the conflict with grave markers and a series of pictures and plaques putting names and faces to the fallen.

If you have a car, there’s also a scenic driving route to another battlefield nearby; if you don’t, you can just walk a trail that covers Little Bighorn in its entirety.

It isn’t a “fun” attraction, but it’s an important one.

Visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument if you want to learn more about the history that America was founded upon.

Address: I-90 Frontage Rd, Crow Agency, MT 59022, United States

33. St. Ignatius Mission

St. Ignatius Mission

Marty Nelson / Shutterstock

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate St. Ignatius Mission .

With its gothic revival architecture that includes red clay bricks and a 100-foot bell tower, it’s a delight to the eyes as well as the soul.

The inside is just as impressive as the outside, too.

It boasts 58 colorful and hand-painted murals, and they’re all the more stunning for being the work of a church cook rather than a renowned artist.

They go hand-in-hand with the high ceilings and stained glass windows that will leave you looking up, up and up as you walk down the rows of pews.

St. Ignatius Mission is a marvel, and it’s easily one of the coolest places to visit in Montana.

If you’ll be near the city of St. Ignatius while you’re there, you’ll want to make time for the parish.

Address: 300 Beartrack Ave, St Ignatius, MT 59865, United States

34. Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Laurens Hoddenbagh / Shutterstock

With a name that translates to “bad land” or “land of bad spirits,” Makoshika State Park is definitely a place that gets your attention.

Despite its reputation, however, it’s a beautiful stretch of terrain with red-brown rock formations jutting from rugged hills and cliffs under a wide open sky.

There are many sights to see at the park, including the fossilized remains of triceratops and thescelosaurus dinosaurs.

Visitors can also hike trails, camp under the stars, take lessons at an archery range or enjoy an outdoor concert at an amphitheater.

Special events at the park include an annual “Buzzard Day” held in June as well as various marathons and outdoor sporting events for disc golf and corn hole.

Don’t let the name scare you off.

Makoshika State Park is one of the most beautiful places in Montana, and the only bad thing would be if you missed it!

Address: 1301 Snyder St, Glendive, MT 59330, United States

35. Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

Patrick Ryan / Shutterstock

Located on the Flathead Indian Reservation of Lake County, Montana, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is still in development, but visitors are free to check out what’s already been built.

It’s an excellent sightseeing destination whether you’re religious or not!

Statues of the Buddha cover a sweeping circular landscape that leads to a grand pavilion in the middle.

Most of the statues are made of plain, unpretentious stone, but others are colorfully painted or beautifully presented around natural features such as lakes and gardens.

There’s a small gift shop for souvenirs, and you can also make a donation if you’d like to support the cause.

One day, the builders hope that the garden can become a pilgrimage site for people of all faiths.

Take a walk through the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas if you’re looking for a place to catch a breath, find inner peace or just experience a moment of serenity.

It hasn’t yet become the mecca that it’s destined to be, but you can tell everyone that you got in on the ground floor of something amazing.

Address: 34574 White Coyote Rd, Arlee, MT 59821, United States

36. Yellowstone Big Gun Fun

Yellowstone Big Gun Fun

Yellowstone Big Gun Fun

Some of the stereotypes about cowboys are true.

They wouldn’t be caught dead without their pistols, and at Yellowstone Big Gun Fun , you can channel your inner yeehaw with a state-of-the-art shooting range.

Rentals are offered for rifles, handguns, machine guns and more.

You can shoot an AK-47; you can shoot an M-4. Lessons are available for beginners to learn about safe handling and shooting.

The staff also hosts regular demonstrations and workshops to learn about the history of handguns in the United States.

If you’re wondering what to do that’s off the beaten path in Montana, consider taking aim at Yellowstone Big Gun Fun.

Not only is it a fun, unique activity for your vacation experience, but it’ll also let you unleash your inner cowboy in a state known for its Wild West history.

Address: 15 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, United States

37. Virginia Falls

Virginia Falls

RyanTangPhoto / Shutterstock

Some of the most stunning things to see in Montana are the waterfalls, especially when they’re tucked into mountain valleys and surrounded by smoothly eroded stone.

Such is the case with Virginia Falls .

Located in Glacier National Park, Virginia Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall that offers equal parts beauty and power.

Its waters slam into the rocks below with the force of a dozen car crashes, but it’s also a gorgeous sight, and it can be quite soothing when you stand right next to the spray and listen to the music of nature.

To reach the waterfall, you’ll have to hike to it, but you’ll have several options ranging from “a small stroll” to “miles of hoofing it across rugged terrain.”

If you like beautiful things, however, Virginia Falls is worth the effort.

It’s one of the most stunning places to visit in Montana by a wide margin.

Address: Montana 59417, United States

38. Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum

Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum

Dave Thomas / flickr

Many beautiful places in Montana involve the outdoors, and the Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum is no exception.

Rather than forcing you to put on your hiking boots, however, it will allow you to take a leisurely stroll around creeks, bridges, gazebos and gardens that have been carefully cultivated in a place of stillness.

Here’s just a small sample of what to see in the gardens:

– Wildflower Walk – Rose Garden – Prickly Pear Creek – Meditation Garden – Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden

There are many other attractions as well, making the Tizer Botanic Gardens and Arboretum one of the most gorgeous places to visit in Montana.

Whether you’re interested in romantic strolls along the water or family-friendly fun among the colorful set pieces of the children’s garden, there’s a little something for everyone here.

Address: 38 Tizer Lake Rd, Jefferson City, MT 59638, United States

39. Clark Fork River Market

Clark Fork River Market

Clark Fork River Market

If you don’t have a lot of money to burn, it behooves you to find free things to do around Montana.

One option is the Clark Fork River Market .

Essentially an overgrown farmer’s market, the Clark Fork River Market is a great place to window shop.

Dozens of vendors come together to sell fruits, vegetables, meats, flowers, crafts and more, and their sights and smells make a wonderful feast for your senses.

There’s no pressure to buy, but you might find yourself tempted when you see all of the amazing things for sale.

There’s homemade jewelry in every color.

There’s freshly made honey and freshly harvested plant seeds.

If you’re hungry, food trucks offer everything from savory burritos to sweet cinnamon rolls and caramel popcorn.

You can even find hearty mountain staples such as biscuits and gravy!

You don’t have to empty your wallet to enjoy a trip to Montana.

Just find places like the Clark Fork River Market where breathing the air and seeing the dazzling rows of vendor stalls is an experience in itself.

40. Slippery Otter Pub

Slippery Otter Pub

Adam Fagen / flickr

Montana is no stranger to pubs.

After long days of hiking through deserts and grappling around jagged, sun-burned rocks, a person works up a thirst!

The Slippery Otter Pub isn’t the only pub of its kind, but it’s one of the best.

It serves ice-cold regional beers as well as a variety of other drinks and cocktails to keep you buzzed.

Additionally, it’s known for its hearty, meat-based menu, the kind that you’ll only find in Montana.

Are you ready to try an elk burger?

Other nice things about the pub include its roomy hangout spaces with lots of entertainment options such as widescreen TVs and shuffleboard games.

All things considered, if you want a drink while you’re in the Yellowstone area, there are worse places to get it than the Slippery Otter Pub.

Shake off the dirt from the mountains and kick up your boots in a pub that’s worth visiting.

Address: 139 N Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, United States

41. McGinnis Meadows Ranch

McGinnis Meadows Ranch

McGinnis Meadows Ranch

While there are lots of places to see horses in Montana, the McGinnis Meadows Ranch stands out as one of the best.

For starters, it’s a working cattle ranch with many barnyard animals in addition to the horses, so it presents a rustic yet authentic atmosphere.

It also offers unique opportunities for you to roll up your sleeves and experience real cattle and equestrian work through the horsemanship clinic!

You can even sign up for 10- to 30-day stays where you wander the ranch at will, learning new things and trying your hand at the various everyday tasks of running a ranch.

Food and lodgings are included with overnight trips.

If you don’t want to work, you can also kick back and relax by fishing from a private deck or enjoying hearty, home-cooked meals with the staff.

The horses are always available as well, so feel free to hop in the saddle and go strolling or galloping through the countryside.

The McGinnis Meadows Ranch is one of the most interesting places in Montana.

It’s much more than a tourist attraction; it’s an entire tourist experience.

If you have a few days to spare, there’s nothing else quite like it.

Address: 6220 Mc Ginnis Meadows Rd, Libby, MT 59923, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Montana

These are just a few of the best things to do in Montana.

Whether you’re interested in art, nature, culture, history or just great places to grab a beer, there’s a little something for everyone in Big Sky Country.

Pocket Montana

29 Best Things to Do in Montana You Shouldn’t Miss

Photo of author

Montana, famously known as “Big Sky Country,” is an all-encompassing destination rich in diverse experiences, from cultural and historical value to pulse-quickening adventures, making it a travel enthusiast’s haven.

If you fancy the idea of frolicking through beautiful gardens, witnessing natural wonders, and observing wildlife in their natural habitat, Montana has much to delight you. The state beckons to both change chasers and tranquility seekers alike, with an extensive array of must-do activities that guarantee a vacation to remember.

Across our comprehensive journey in this article, we’ll unravel the top 29 things to do in Montana that you cannot afford to miss. From exploring the iconic national parks of Glacier and Yellowstone, biking the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Road, to experiencing the local culture in towns like Bozeman, our route promises to be exciting, educational, and serene.

  • Discover the Wonders of Montana

So, if you’re eager to truly understand why they call this place “The Last Best Place,” join us as we uncover the off-the-beaten-path delights and well-known attractions in Montana . The Big Sky state stands ready to compel us with all its awe with its evergreen allure and myriad of adventures.

7 Key Takeaways on Best Things to Do in Montana

  • From river rafting to cattle driving, Montana offers a medley of experiences to captivate every traveler, blending nature, adrenaline, and relaxation. 
  • Explore Glacier National Park’s natural beauty, with its varied landscapes and visitor centers offer a rich and educational experience for all.
  • Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the world, is a diverse landscape offering activities for nature enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, and leisure travelers. 
  • Cycling through Going-to-the-Sun Road at Glacier National Park is a picturesque and sometimes challenging experience, offering gorgeous views and the chance to immerse in natural beauty.
  • Paddle over the tranquil waters of Lake McDonald, Montana’s largest lake located in Glacier National Park. 
  • Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the western U.S., offers a variety of water-based and outdoor activities, such as camping, sailing, and even fresh fruit sampling in the summer.
  • Montana’s seemingly infinite possibilities, from wildlife encounters in its picturesque national parks to serene sunset views at Lake McDonald, create a tapestry of adventures. 

Must-Do Activities in Montana for a Memorable Vacation

A man is riding a bike down a road with mountains in the background, showcasing one of the things to do in Montana.

Montana, with its expansive wilderness, craggy mountains, and postcard-perfect rustic towns, is more than just a place to visit; it’s a destination to experience. It’s a place that never tires of surprising you; and as you stumble upon hidden gem after hidden gem, you’ll find yourself falling in love with it over and over.

The state has a charm and allure that’s tough to put into words, so it’s better to experience it firsthand. So, strap in for new experiences, become acquainted with old favorites, and maybe even add a touch of wanderlust to your life, all in the land of seemingly infinite possibilities.

1. Visit Glacier National Park

A woman sits on a rock overlooking a lake in Glacier National Park, Montana.

One of my all-time favorite places to wield a camera and embrace Mother Nature’s finest hour, Glacier National Park is a captivating blend of alpine wonderland and rich cultural history. It’s a hub of outdoor attractions and activities for travelers, including but not limited to hiking, camping, fishing, and boating.

Glacier National Park is also home to 3 visitor centers, each offering an array of exhibits and information for visitors, including:

  • St. Mary Visitor Center – The St. Mary Visitor Center on the east side beautifully intertwines culture with nature, delving into the American Indian tribes’ connection with the landscape.
  • Apgar Visitor Center – The Apgar Visitor Center on the west side of the park is staffed with volunteers and park personnel who can answer questions and help with trip planning.
  • Logan Pass Visitor Center – Atop the Going-to-the-Sun Road sits the Logan Pass Visitor Center, featuring exhibits on alpine zone plants and animals.

Glacier National Park is a popular attraction not just for its spectacular beauty but also for the array of exhibits — both natural and human-made. Every trail feels like a step into a beautifully illustrated natural history book.

The park offers everything from contemplative fishing to heart-racing boating tours. If you’re the one who’s always gushing over the next perfect Instagram shot, here’s your eternal muse.

2. Explore Yellowstone National Park

A woman is standing in front of a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, Montana.

What’s Montana without a visit to its show-stopping neighbor, Yellowstone Park? It’s like crossing over from the tranquility of rural life into an orchestra of nature’s best.

Some of the popular attractions in Yellowstone National Park include:

  • Old Faithful Geyser – It’s the marquee superstar, renowned for its punctual, jaw-dropping eruptions that’ll have you setting your watch by it.
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River – If the Colorado River garners a standing ovation, then this is its equally astonishing relative.
  • Lamar Valley – Decked with wildlife, it’s like walking into a live-action wildlife documentary — seriously, no binoculars required.

You can’t discuss Yellowstone without mentioning it was the trailblazer, a genuine groundbreaker if you will, becoming the very first national park in 1872 . It’s like the cherry on top of the natural marvel sundae — as it’s officially the place where anyone is invited to come and behold unique geologic features.

But don’t let the museum vibe fool you; Yellowstone is as excitingly varied as it is historic. From wildlife spotting to hiking, and from horseback riding to snow coach tours, you’ve got yourself a buffet of outdoor adventures served with a side of breathtaking landscapes.

In a city, variety can be the spice of life. In Yellowstone Park, it’s the entire banquet. The park’s diverse set of landscapes — from roaring waterfalls and towering peaks to whispering meadows — will have you writing exaggerated postcards to your friends, promising the sights are practically unreal. 

3. Bike the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Two cyclists ride down Going-to-the-Sun Road with Montana's stunning mountains in the background.

Pedaling your way through Going-to-the-Sun Road is like immersing yourself in a National Geographic cover. Seriously, you won’t believe how pristine and dramatic Glacier National Park looks from a bike saddle.

So, here’s the lowdown — Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile (around 80 km) road masterpiece. Roll-flowing across alpine peaks, alongside glacial lakes, and through deep valleys, you’re effectively journeying on a path perfected by time and glaciers.

In terms of skill level, you should consider this popular route as suitable only if you’re already used to heavy vehicle traffic in both directions. Oh, and endurance. This isn’t a casual bike ride down the boardwalk.

Thinking about embarking on this one-of-a-kind journey? Always follow these biking principles: Wear a helmet (it’s non-negotiable), use hand signals as if you’re speaking to the cars passing you, and don’t even think about starting without bear spray, just in case your pedal path unexpectedly merges with a grizzly’s stroll. Speaking of grizzlies, this animal is one of the iconic symbols for Montana and a breathtaking creature to behold. Nonetheless, you never want to be caught off guard when these magnificent beasts are on the prowl.

The awe-inspiring views, the challenging yet rewarding terrain, and the possibility of animal encounters — biking Going-to-the-Sun Road is every bit as unforgettable as you’d expect. Just make sure to be prepared, focused, and open to what Mother Nature might throw your way.

4. Kayak on Lake McDonald

A red kayak gliding on Lake McDonald in Montana with mountains in the background.

Kayaking on Lake McDonald, the largest lake in Glacier National Park, isn’t just another item to tick off your adventure list; it’s a chance to immerse yourself in Montana’s pristine natural scenery.

As you paddle over the tranquil crystal-clear waters in Lake McDonald, the glorious backdrop of the glacier-carved basin and towering mountains is nothing short of breathtaking. And you don’t need to worry about lugging a kayak across the country; there are plenty of rental options available.

But it’s not just the visual feast that makes this experience a must. Lake McDonald is surrounded by mountains that act as a rain block, giving you calm water conditions perfect for a leisurely kayaking trip.

If you’re lucky, your eyes may feast on a wildlife scene, not just the stunning views. Imagine the thrill of catching glimpses of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, or even a black bear from the safety of your kayak.

After kayaking, a popular choice for a home base is the Lake McDonald Lodge. While it’s not the only place to stay, it’s convenient for quick access to the lake.

This isn’t just another kayaking spot; it’s an opportunity to experience Montana’s natural beauty at its grandest. And who knows, if you’re lucky, the incredible scenery might just be accompanied by a spectacular wildlife show, making your paddling adventure on Lake McDonald truly unforgettable.

5. Enjoy Outdoor Activities on Flathead Lake

A tent is set up in front of Flathead Lake in Montana.

One of the crown jewels of Montana’s landscape, Flathead Lake, isn’t just a picturesque spot for your Insta-feed. It’s the epicenter for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone looking to seriously unwind in nature’s embrace.

With 5 state park units encircling Flathead Lake’s stunning 191 square miles (307 square km) and 160 miles (257 km) of shoreline, camping, hiking, and swimming become intimate experiences among mature forests and Instagram-worthy views of the Swan Range and Mission Mountains. 

“You can pick the vibe that suits you best,” says Jim, a local who’s practically part fish, spending every summer at Flathead. Here’s what you could get up to at Flathead Lake State Park:

  • Camping – You can rough it out like an early pioneer or opt for more modern RV amenities.
  • Sailing and Power Boating – Bring out your inner sailor or let your hair down with a powerboat — the cool breeze and placid waters are equally inviting.
  • Roadside Temptations – In summer, the east shore of the lake is a fruity delight. You can munch on locally grown cherries, apples, and plums — think of it as sampling the best Montana has to offer. 

In addition, you can also enjoy fishing, water skiing, or simply practicing the fine art of doing nothing while floating on gentle ripples. “Here, you’re not just on vacation; you’re part of a narrative that dates back centuries,” says Jim, and it’s easy to see why. 

6. Experience the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

Two grizzly bears playing in the water in the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in Montana.

At the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, you’re in for a real wildlife treat. It’s like hitting ‘play’ on a National Geographic documentary, only this time you’re the director.

With naturalistic settings that allow these animals to exhibit their natural behaviors, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center provides a safe space for animals that can’t fend for themselves in the wild. You won’t just see them—you’ll appreciate the grizzly bears and applaud the wolves.

From playful pond splashes and joyful overland runs to observant scavenging and interactive feeding, it’s a live reel of nature you won’t soon forget. At the right times, usually early mornings or evenings, you might even catch the vibrant sound of active wolf packs howling into the crisp Montana sky.

The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center houses not only grizzlies and wolves, but also otters, ground squirrels, and birds of prey — there’s a whole cast of wild characters calling this place home. It’s less like a zoo and more like a wildlife sanctuary gone prime time.

Just be prepared, you might find yourself lingering a lot longer than you planned — it’s easy to get caught up in the magic of this place. 

7. Hike to Avalanche Lake

A man sitting on rocks near Avalanche lake in Montana's mountains.

This is no ordinary hike. It’s a journey that unfurls like a storybook, taking you through towering cedars, past crystal-clear waterfalls, and finally depositing you at the iconic Avalanche Lake.

“Alright, lacing up for Avalanche Lake is like preparing for an expedition,” I kidded when I first made my way through it. But in all earnest, it’s a hiker’s dream, especially for travelers who enjoy a touch of moderate challenge.

What’s in store for you on the trail to Avalanche Lake:

  • Trail Length – 5.9 miles (9.5 km) round trip
  • Starting Point – The Trail of the Cedars, a short 1 mile (1.6 km) trail
  • Duration of Hike  – About 2 hours and 28 minutes
  • Most Scenic Months  – June through October
  • Key Points to Savor – Lush cedar forest, gushing waterfalls, and the lake itself, hemmed in by towering peaks

It’s a trail that offers a symphony of natural delights, from the rustle of leaves in the cedar forests to the roaring crescendo of the waterfalls. My first glimpse of the cerulean waters of Avalanche Lake felt just as breathtaking as a well-timed plot twist in a thriller novel.

The Avalanche Lake hike is an essential entry on the bucket list of any adventurous traveler. With its perfect blend of challenge, scenery, and not to mention, the bragging rights that come with it, why would you skip this gem in Glacier National Park?

8. Enjoy Swiftcurrent Lake

Swiftcurrent Lake in Montana surrounded by mountains and boasting crystal-clear water.

Get ready for a slice of heaven right here on Earth. Swiftcurrent Lake, nestled in the heart of Many Glacier Valley, is the kind of place Instagram dreams are made of.

The combination of the clear blue waters mirroring towering peaks, the chance to paddle under a wide Montana sky, and the hushed anticipation of bumping into the local fauna makes it a destination to remember.

The Swiftcurrent Lake area is part of Glacier National Park, which is a forever-trending hotspot that’s a must for any traveler, Montana or not. In this corner alone, you’re treated to Many Glacier Hotel, a splendid architectural marvel that adds to the lake’s allure. 

Scenic boat rides are big here too, taking you not just around Swiftcurrent Lake, but across to the enchanting Lake Josephine as well. For the power voyagers among us, canoes, kayaks, and rowboats are at your disposal, allowing you to call the shots on how slow or fast you’d like to take in the scenery. 

So, in a nutshell, Swiftcurrent Lake has more stories to tell than just the beautiful stills you will click. The variety of activities — be it hiking, an afternoon of bird-watching, rowing, relaxing on a boat, or simply taking a stroll around the lake — guarantee memorable experiences.

9. Explore Pictograph Cave State Park

Rock formation amid the pristine snowscape, complemented by a striking backdrop of towering trees at Pictograph Cave State Park, Montana.

The evocative Pictograph Cave State Park is like an open-air museum, and I guarantee this — your inner history buff will thank you.

A gentle three-quarter-mile (1.2 km) loop spirals around Pictograph Cave State Park, leading you through a living timeline of Montana’s prehistoric past. Following it is an expedition through the stories and daily lives of those who came before us, complete with artifacts and over 100 rock paintings.

Stepping into the visitor center is your ticket to time travel. It’s as if the artifacts and displays, curated over years of exploration, whisper tales of a Montana we never knew. They’ll also direct you to prime vantage points, where with the help of good binoculars, these faded pieces of art come to life.

These aren’t just cave paintings; they’re remnants of the daily lives of prehistoric hunters, etched in stone like an ancient Instagram feed. The park lets you be not just a spectator but a participant in this journey through time. 

If there’s one thing I’d prioritize, it’s the rock paintings. The oldest is older than your great-to-the-n-th-grandma and dates back over 2,000 years, while the most ‘recent’ additions were made just 200 to 500 years ago. That’s older than most historical sites in the United States.

Pictograph Cave State Park honors the traditions of our ancestors. Each painting – be it a bison or a ritual scene – is a piece of the story of Montana. If you have an extra day in Billings, don’t skip this walk among civilizations long gone. It’s a haunting glimpse into a Montana that’s much more than just our present.

10. Discover Big Sky Resort

An aerial view of Big Sky Resort in Montana with snowy mountains in the background.

Sitting majestically in the heart of Montana, surrounded by the stunning Greater Yellowstone Region, Big Sky Resort beautifully blends the charm of vast open spaces with the commanding presence of dramatic peaks.

Get the chance to experience being on top of Lone Peak, at 11,166 feet (around 3,403 m) elevation, with panoramic views that stretch out to eternity. In the winter months, it’s a paradise for lovers of snow — Big Sky is decorated with over 400 inches of snow annually, perfect for exhilarating ski slopes and exciting winter activities like cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, sleigh rides, ice skating, and even dog sledding.

But let’s not forget the warmer seasons. The resort boasts a plethora of summer activities, from zip lines that send you flying over the mountains to scenic lift rides that offer a serene view.

The fun doesn’t stop there, as Big Sky is a destination for families too. Half of the ski terrain is perfect for beginners and intermediates, ensuring that everyone, young and old, can find their groove. For the more experienced thrill-seekers, the advanced ski terrain guarantees a challenge like no other.

Whether you’re speeding across the landscape on a thrilling sled dog ride or just relaxing with a comforting cup of hot chocolate between runs, there’s a warm invitation for everyone.

So for those seeking winter thrills or relaxing beneath the summer sun, Big Sky Resort is the ideal showcase of Montana’s year-round hospitality. Without a doubt, a visit to Big Sky Resort will be one for the books — or rather, the family photo album.

11. Tour the Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

A row of benches is set up in a grassy field with mountains in the background at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, Montana.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park is not only Montana’s oldest state park but also its best-known. Get ready to go subterranean because this park boasts the largest limestone caves in the Northwest, perfect for spelunking adventures through landscapes millions of years in the making.

While the big draw is, of course, the caves — which you can only explore through a guided tour, strap on those comfortable shoes because there’s more fun to be had.

Winding hiking and biking trails, a top-notch visitor center with interactive displays that shed light on the cave network, and even a gift shop. In the summer, the amphitheater comes alive with special interpretive events, giving you a glimpse into the rich geological and cultural history of the area.

If you’re someone who likes to pair adventure with a little history, you’re in the right place. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park isn’t just an outdoor playground. The caverns were once roamed by native tribes and hold a fascinating historical significance.

For die-hard explorers, the cave tours are available year-round, each season offering something unique. If you’re looking to pair your underground explorations with some above-ground fun, come in the summer when the interpretive events and special tours are in full swing.

Remember, it’s not just about the caves; it’s a giant park filled with hiking and biking trails, a state-of-the-art visitor center, and a whole lot of surprises. So, are you ready to delve deep into Montana’s subterranean wonders? I sure hope so!

12. Ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort

A group of people skiing down a snowy slope at Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana.

When the snow falls, Montana’s Whitefish Mountain Resort is the place to be, offering a buffet of snowy delights. Spread over 3,000 skiable acres, it’s no surprise that this is one of the largest ski resorts you’ll find in both the US and Canada.

Come one, come all, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total newbie, Whitefish Mountain Resort promises a downhill experience that is both exhilarating and inviting. And if skiing and snowboarding don’t quite hit the spot for you, how about exploring the pristine winter landscapes on snowshoes, or revving it up with guided snowmobile rentals?

Not exclusive to just winter sports, as the snow thaws and spring dances closer, Whitefish Mountain Resort morphs into an adventure park fit for the sun. Get ready for thrill rides of an entirely different kind.

Montana’s only Alpine Slide offers hair-raising fun at your own pace, while lift-accessed downhill mountain biking lets you conquer the slopes on two wheels. If you’re seeking a more relaxed experience, the Aerial Adventure Park, scenic lift rides, and the unique Walk in the Treetops are perfect for creating those priceless family memories.

The summer months at Whitefish Mountain Resort are as fantastic as the winter ones. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and that’s exactly what Whitefish Mountain Resort offers — a delightful array of winter and summer sports. 

13. Relax by Whitefish Lake

Whitefish Lake in Montana surrounded by rocks and towering trees.

One of my favorite ways to recharge in Montana is by spending a serene day at Whitefish Lake. This pristine lake, set against an incredible backdrop of mountainous views, offers a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and leisure seekers.

Adding to the allure of Whitefish Lake is its thriving fishing scene. The lake boasts populations of lake trout that rival those of nearby Flathead Lake, with catches often exceeding 20 pounds (around 9.1 kilos). Anglers can also pursue brown trout, and rainbow trout, making it a diverse and exciting destination for fishing enthusiasts.

Whether you’re into fishing, boating, taking a casual swim, or trying your hand at water skiing, the options in Whitefish Lake are as diverse as they are refreshing. The water is crystal clear, making it an ideal spot to cool off in summer.

For those who appreciate a more laid-back approach, Whitefish Lake State Park is a must-visit. Here, a mature woodland envelops the beautiful and secluded campground and beach, providing a natural setting for retreat and relaxation. With 25 campsites offering tent-only and RV camping, you can sleep under the stars with the gentle lull of the lake as your soundtrack.

Whitefish Lake is more than just a body of water; it’s a source of calmness and exploration that defines Montana’s love for the great outdoors. So if you’re planning a trip to Montana , this destination checks all the boxes for a blissful escape.

14. Expand Your Knowledge at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

A small building in the middle of a grassy field in front of a graveyard at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is like a living history lesson etched into the very land it stands upon. For all you history buffs out there, this is more than a “been there, done that” spot; it’s a journey to the very heart of an extraordinary moment in American history.

The Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, was a pivotal moment in both U.S. Army and Native American history. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is where the legendary Native American leaders orchestrated a stunning victory over the U.S. 7th Cavalry.

Walking the very grounds where these events unfolded is an undeniably sobering experience. The visitor center and museum offer a deeper dive into the strategies and roles of the different factions, making the historical narrative come alive.

Lesser known but equally moving are the Custer National Cemetery and the Indian Memorial, each telling a different side of the same story. The Indian Memorial, in particular, gives voice to the Native American warriors who fought and died here, providing a much-needed balance to the historical narrative. You can take also take a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) self-guided tour between two battlefields, the Custer Battlefield and the Reno-Benteen Battlefield.

But hold on — the surprises don’t stop there. Montana’s rich biodiversity leaves its mark even on this historic site. The monument is also home to a rich and diverse ecosystem, encompassing various species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians native to this part of Montana.

So, in a single trip, you get to walk through the annals of American history, contemplate pivotal moments, and appreciate the intricacies of Montana’s natural world — that is simply mind-blowing to me.

15. Cattle Drive at a Montana Ranch

A woman riding a horse with other horses in the background at a Montana ranch.

Ever dreamt of experiencing a day in the life of cowboys, herding cattle across open ranges and down dusty trails, just like in the old Wild West movies? Montana makes this dream an authentic reality, with ranches offering exhilarating cattle drive experiences amid the iconic backdrop of Big Sky Country.

Here are some of the best ranches in Montana where you can experience cattle drives:

  • Dryhead Ranch – For an authentic old-west adventure, try their 50-mile (80 km) cattle drive along the old Sioux Trail.
  • The Bar W Guest Ranch – Offers a Western Cattle Drive exclusively on their expansive 5,300-acre ranch.
  • The Resort at Paws Up – Uncover the history of cattle driving and master essential rodeo skills.
  • Bear Creek Guest Ranch – Delivers an authentic week-long experience moving cattle towards the Rockies.

The cattle drive itself is far from just a leisurely ride. Not only do you inherit the vast blue skies and the rugged panoramas, but you also pick up a bit of Montana’s rich history in cattle ranching.

If the idea of churning up dust tracks through vast plains, and herding majestic creatures under Montana skies stirs feelings of absolute joy, I’d say this experience is not to be missed!

16. Stroll Through Downtown Bozeman

An aerial view of Downtown Bozeman, Montana.

Downtown Bozeman is like a time machine that swings you back to the Old West while adding a touch of modern flavor. As you amble down the streets, the blend of historic architecture and modern storefronts will keep your camera busy and your Instagram followers happy.

I often tell fellow travelers, you’ve not truly soaked in Bozeman’s local vibe until you’ve spent time strolling through Downtown Main Street. Immersed in an array of historic buildings, local shops, and tempting dining spots, it’s a vibrant hotspot brimming with history and culture.

Everything in Downtown Bozeman is walkable. If you’re the type that likes to take your time, your day can easily be spent wandering through local stores. And when hunger strikes, don’t miss out on the culinary diversity, offering everything from gourmet ice cream parlors to farm-to-table dining experiences.

And if, after your explorations, you need a bit of relaxation, head over to Bozeman Hot Springs located in the scenic Gallatin Valley, and immerse yourself in the state’s natural hot spring — a must-do experience in Montana.

My biggest advice? Keep your itinerary open. Bozeman’s downtown area has a way of pulling you deeper into its charm. The historic, the modern, the local, the new — they all intertwine to create an eclectic tapestry that’s distinctly Bozeman.

17. Drive the Beartooth Highway

A winding road on a snow-covered mountain at Beartooth Highway, Montana.

Montana’s Beartooth Highway, a 68-mile (109.4 km) stretch of sensory overload, is like a rock-star road trip — high, glamorous, and abundantly scenic. This fantastic two-to-three-hour scenic drive, officially known as U.S. Highway 212, spans from Red Lodge to Cooke City and passes the Beartooth Mountain range.

Just to put a cherry on top, Beartooth Highway, dubbed as an “All-American Road” is the only road that touches the northeastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Cranking up nearly 5,000 feet (around 1,524 m) through lodgepole pine forests, the road serves as a VIP ticket to an enchanting alpine world. 

In a world of ever-evolving beauty norms, Beartooth Highway isn’t a pageant contestant but a timeless classic. The scenery is equally staggering and offers unmatched photo opportunities with alpine lakes, peaks towering over 12,000 feet (around 3,658 m), glacially-carved cirques (those are like nature’s amphitheaters), and a riot of wildflowers.

When visiting this amazing road, be sure to remember that the best time to experience its utmost grandeur is generally between 10 am and 5 pm for that “natural filter” of alpine light. And just like the beats in your favorite song, dates for Beartooth’s opening and closing vary every year.

The best advice? Before you pack your camera and sandwiches, stop for a minute and check the official highway status. A bit of prep can save you from an unnecessary “road trip sunset”.

18. Tour the World Museum of Mining

An old wooden wagon sits in a dirt field at the World Museum of Mining, Montana.

The appeal of Montana’s World Museum of Mining isn’t just in the exhibits; it’s in the setting. Founded in the twilight years of Butte’s mining heyday in 1963, the museum is nestled within the Orphan Girl Mine’s actual mine yard, a place where nearly a century of hard-rock mining was carried out.

The World Museum of Mining proudly displays over 60 exhibits, including authentic artifacts and a sprawling recreation of a mining town from the 1890s. Aside from that, the guided tours allow you to delve beneath the museum and into the Orphan Girl Mine.

Let the prospect of going 100 feet underground not daunt you; this is a thrill worth experiencing. As we made our way through dimly lit tunnels and chambers, it was more than just a history lesson; it was an immersion into the challenges faced by the hardworking miners.

If you have even a passing interest in history, industry, or just understanding the culture and spirit that helped build this great state, the World Museum of Mining should be at the top of your Montana bucket list. 

19. Check Out The Resort at Paws Up

A lodge with a picturesque pond in the middle of a grassy field at The Resort at Paws Up, Montana.

Welcome to The Resort at Paws Up. Not just a resort, but a portal to nature’s grandest theater with 37,000 acres of sprawling property, an intricate network of 100 miles of trails or 161 kilometers, and the Blackfoot River stretching 10 scenic miles or 16 kilometers.

The Resort at Paws Up is all about family-friendly outdoor recreation, just a stone’s throw away from the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area; a staggering 1.5 million acres (around 6,070 sq km), mind you. Paws Up doesn’t just offer nature in bite-sized pieces; it serves up super-sized helpings right at your doorstep.

Year-round, the resort isn’t only a destination but a lifestyle. Its incredible selection of 28 vacation homes, each nestled within a forest of tall timbers and scenic landscapes, is like a ticket to Montana’s private show.

Paws Up is like a nature enthusiast’s dream come true. Ever considered an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tour across this expansive Montana property? Or perhaps something more traditional like horseback riding? The activities here are as varied as the landscape.

And if you like your adventure with a dose of luxury, why not try glamping? The Resort at Paws Up is North America’s premier Montana glamping resort, offering 6 camps with safari-style luxury tents.

What’s even cooler is that these glamping sites are designed for everyone. Whether you’re a family wanting to reconnect, a couple looking for a romantic rendezvous, or a large group itching to spend quality time together, there’s a perfect spot awaiting your arrival.

20. Admire the Ringing Rocks

A towering heap of rocks at the Ringing Rocks in Montana.

Nestled 18 miles (around 29 km) east of Butte and just north of I-90 lies a geological oddity that’ll have your auditory senses piqued — the Ringing Rocks. A boulder field that, when tapped delicately with a hammer, produces harmonious tones that resonate through the air. It’s like Mother Nature’s very own xylophone.

This unconventional concert of nature offers a wonderfully interactive experience. “When I visited,” shares avid traveler Lucy, “I was giddy like a kid, trying out different-sized hammers on the rocks and listening as the tones changed. It’s like a musical scavenger hunt!”

If you’re planning a visit to the Ringing Rocks, here are things you must know:

  • Expect an off-the-beaten-path adventure, perfect for a day trip from Butte.
  • Not every rock serenades, but there’s a robust 1-in-3 chance of finding a melodious one.
  • Feel free to explore the entire boulder field and engage in a little ‘rock concert’ of your own.
  • A rack of hammers awaits you, so channel your inner rock star and try as many as you fancy.

The Ringing Rocks is a symphony of geology and acoustics, sure to strike a chord with nature enthusiasts and music lovers alike. So why not add this unique stop to your Montana bucket list? This isn’t your typical ‘rocky’ experience — both literally and figuratively.

21. See Wildlife at the National Bison Range

A herd of bison grazing in a grassy field at the National Bison Range, Montana.

The National Bison Range isn’t just a place to glance at bison and check it off your “Montana Bucket List.” It’s a fascinating conservation area where you can get up close and personal with Montana’s native species.

The National Bison Range, home to around 350 bison, stands as a historical treasure. This sanctuary not only shelters a diverse array of Montana’s native species, such as birds, deer, elk, pronghorns, and bears but also offers an immersive experience through two scenic self-directed driving tours.

The primary Red Sleep Drive treats you to amazing views of the valley, and if you’re lucky, a bear or two. The Prairie Drive, on the other hand, gives you the best chance at bison spotting — think of it as a real-life National Geographic experience.

A helpful suggestion is to start your visit early. Animals are creatures of habit, and the early bird does catch the worm, or in this case, the bison.

As you leave the range, know that you’re carrying a bit of Montana’s heart with you. Wildlife sightings aren’t just Instagrammable memories; they’re a reminder of the delicate balance we must preserve between nature and humanity.

22. Appreciate Cowboy Art at C.M. Russell Museum

A painting of a cowboy riding on horseback from the C.M. Russell Museum, Montana.

You might think your appreciation of cowboys and the splendor of big sky vistas is confined to watching old Western movies on repeat. But let me introduce you to an experience that’ll enrich your understanding and appeal to your visual sense at the same time — The C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.

I have to say, this is one museum you don’t want to overlook. As you step into C.M. Russell’s world, you’re diving deep into the imagery of the Wild West. Russell depicts cowboys, Plains Indians, and rugged natural landscapes like nobody else. 

Stepping into the museum’s permanent collection, you’re virtually time-traveling through Russell’s life. You’ll see depictions of the daily lives of cowboys, scenes from Native American life, and his epic take on Montana’s landscapes. Russell’s art is a visual testament to the closing days of the Western frontier.

And it’s not just a static experience. The museum keeps things fresh with its rotating exhibits, often hosting works by contemporary artists who share Russell’s passion for the American West. 

So go ahead, indulge your inner cowboy or cowgirl in more than just an Instagram selfie with cowboy boots and a fishing rod. Instead, come face-to-face with the revolutionary art of C.M. Russell. You might just find yourself looking at Montana in a whole new light — one that Russell himself would’ve been proud of. 

23. Find Your Peace at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

A row of white Buddha statues in the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, Montana.

Encased in the gentle cradle of Montana’s scenic vistas, lays a gem of tranquil spirituality — the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. This public park and Buddhist center, following the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, is not just for the devout, but for anyone seeking spiritual solace or a peaceful disconnect from life’s noisy hustle. 

As you stroll through the garden surrounded by indigenous trees and flowers, you’ll be greeted by 1,000 hand-cast Buddha statues, each unique in posture, expression, and story. There’s a magnetic draw towards the central figure of the Garden, the Great Mother.

The transformative aura of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas extends beyond its statues and foliage. Both a contemplative sanctuary and an outdoor museum, every step holds an opportunity for personal reflection.

It’s as if every pebble, every whispering tree, and every gaze from a Buddha statue conspire to prompt a closer introspection of your inner garden. Emphasis is not just on the garden’s aesthetic appeal, but rather on how it serves as a place of refuge and restoration for many.

The calmness of the garden seeps into your soul, making it a go-to place for those needing to hit the pause button on life or those actively searching for a spiritual connection. This isn’t a mundane stroll; it’s a chance to reconnect with yourself and your purpose.

24. Cruise the Gates of the Mountains

A boat is cruising on a river with mountains in the background at the Gates of the Mountains, Montana.

Midway between the iconic Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, there’s a lesser-known Montana gem that just demands to be explored. Cruising the Gates of the Mountains is like flipping through the pages of a living history book, narrated by Mother Nature herself.

Set in the heart of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, imagine an epic two-hour boat ride, where every bend in the placid Missouri River reveals a new and breathtaking vista. This spectacular journey doesn’t just prompt your jaw to drop; it also invites you to step into the shoes of the famed explorer Meriwether Lewis.

As the story goes, he named this awe-inspiring spot while navigating the river in 1805, marveling at how the towering limestone cliffs seemed to open like gates before him — a scene that’s just as arresting over 200 years later.

Don’t forget your binoculars, because alongside the historical magic, you’re in for a wildlife lover’s dream. From elk and deer grazing lazily in the forests to the more elusive mountain lions and bears who occasionally patrol the cliffs, every sighting feels like an exclusive backstage pass to Montana’s unspoiled beauty. And keep an eagle eye out for golden eagles, the monarchs of these Montana skies.

Gates of the Mountains, with its wooded slopes, craggy rock formations, and serene river, is a place where time slows down, allowing you to bond with nature. So if you’re intrigued by the untold stories etched into Montana’s landscapes or simply seeking a scenic reprieve, this historic landing is your intriguing mid-Montana interlude.

25. Encounter Dinosaur Fossils at the Museum of the Rockies

A display of dinosaur skeletons at the Museum of the Rockies, Montana.

If you’re ready for a dash of prehistoric wonder, look no further than the Museum of the Rockies, acclaimed as one of the world’s top research and history museums. Nestled in Bozeman, this expansive cultural gem offers a window into Montana’s ancient past that’s impossible to ignore.

Home to one of the most extensive dinosaur displays on the planet, get set to step back in time in the Museum of the Rockies with their fully-mounted Montana’s T. rex skeleton, conducting a silent symphony from its prehistoric perch. And that’s just the tip of the fossilized iceberg — you’ll also marvel at the “Big Al” Allosaurus, a brother-from-another-era to the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Looking for a deeper dive? The museum doesn’t stop with its dinosaur wonders; it expertly weaves in Montana’s human history. Offering something for every type of history aficionado, the Museum of the Rockies delights visitors with:

  • Displays of the native people of Yellowstone Country
  • A pioneer log home from the late 1800s
  • Changing exhibits from around the world including Western art
  • Regional and natural history showcases
  • Planetarium shows that are out of this world
  • Educational programs for all ages
  • Insightful lectures that open up new perspectives
  • Benefit events for those who want to give back
  • A museum store for souvenirs to spark their memories

It’s not just the Museum of the Rockies’ largest collection that’s a must-see; make sure to keep an eye on their rotating special exhibits. You never know if you might stumble upon the next great discovery — a sort of 21st-century dinosaur hunt if you will.

26. Visit Garnet Ghost Town

An aerial view of the abandoned buildings in Garnet Ghost Town, Montana.

Located in west-central Montana, Garnet Ghost Town is a fascinating, well-preserved relic of Montana’s rich mining history. With over 30 structures left standing, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the town’s founding in 1895.

Garnet was more than a quiet place — it was a thriving hub with 7 bustling saloons, 3 hotels, and a daily stage between Bearmouth and Coloma. Imagine the hustle and bustle as you walk down its streets!

The town was named after the garnet rocks found in the area, which were prized as abrasives and semi-precious stones. And that’s not all – around Garnet, 50 active mines were sustaining the town’s prosperity.

Feeling intrigued? I know I was. When you visit Garnet Ghost Town, expect a well-organized experience. The Visitor Center is a great starting point, offering information on the town’s history and the people who once lived there.

For those who prefer a more interactive experience, there are interpretive signs as well as self-guided trails, letting you explore at your own pace. You can pick up books, cards, and other memorabilia to learn more about the past in this Montana time capsule.

27. Observe Wildlife at ZooMontana

A red panda is sitting on top of a tree in ZooMontana.

At the junction of zoological wonder and botanical extravaganza, we’ve got ZooMontana, a wildlife sanctuary that doubles as a botanical garden. Feel the pulse of Montana’s diverse species across grasslands and appreciate their naturalistic habitats, all in Billings.

From the awe-inspiring Amur Tigers to the wily River Otters, ZooMontana houses over 100 animals of 56 species. These aren’t just your run-of-the-mill creatures; we’re talking about Grizzly Bears, Wolverines, and Canada Lynx. Many of these animals are rescued, nursed back to health, and now thriving under the loving care of the zoo’s team.

Not just that, at ZooMontana, you’ll live the experience, as they offer hands-on, educational programs on Yellowstone’s ecosystem. Imagine, instead of a textbook, all the interpretive display becomes a real-life adventure.

So, for all zoology enthusiasts, or just an appreciator of natural beauty, ZooMontana is a must. Get ready to observe, learn, and walk away with a deeper connection to the rich wildlife of Montana.

28. Watch a Skijoring Competition at Big Sky

Two men at a skijoring competition in Montana, one on horseback and the other rider jumping over obstacles with a rope.

If you’re a snow lover and an adrenaline junkie, watching a skijoring competition in Big Sky is an experience you shouldn’t miss. It’s a winter sport where skiers are towed behind galloping horses, maneuvering through jumps and turns, all while racing against the clock.

Say goodbye to your usual winter plans and dive into this exhilarating spectacle. Skijoring not only takes your skiing skills to the next level, but it’s also a fantastic way to appreciate the harmonious blend of tradition and thrill.

Big Sky Skijoring hosts the Best in the West Showdown, attracting legendary locals and top skijoring teams from across North America. The event typically takes place in late January or early February. Clear your calendar and prepare to witness gravity-defying stunts and fierce competition in Montana’s winter wonderland.

In a sea of traditional winter activities, skijoring stands out as a captivating blend of speed, skill, and the unpredictable nature of these four-legged athletes. So what are you waiting for? Swap your ski poles for reins and let the thrill of skijoring show you a brand new side of Montana’s winter beauty.

Check out this fun video of skijoring in Montana!

29. Try Rock and Ice Climbing With Montana Alpine Guides

Two people ice climbing on a snowy mountain in Montana.

One of the experiences you can’t afford to miss in Montana, especially if you’re an adrenaline junkie like myself, is the heart-thumping adventure of rock and ice climbing. I dipped my toes into this icy world with the experts at Montana Alpine Guides, and let me tell you, no amusement park ride can come close to this natural high.

Based in Bozeman, Montana Alpine Guides is the golden ticket to Montana’s epic rock and ice climbing experiences. They’re so legit that they’re the leading guide service, offering a variety of courses and trips suitable for every level of expertise, including:

  • Rock Climbing – Ascend Montana’s legendary granite walls are suitable for beginners and experts.
  • Ice Climbing – Embrace the chill as you conquer frozen waterfalls and cliffs.
  • Backcountry Skiing – Find your path off the beaten track in the stunning Rocky Mountains.
  • Mountaineering – Seek new heights with guided ascents of Montana’s most iconic peaks.

Montana Alpine Guides doesn’t just help you climb; they cultivate a passion for Montana’s landscapes that you’ll carry with you long after you’ve left the mountain. So, if you’re prepared to kick your boundaries to the curb and rock and ice climb your way to uncharted territories, Montana Alpine Guides is your go-to. 

Best Things to Do in Montana Final Thoughts

A man with a backpack standing on a rocky cliff overlooking a forest in Montana.

Montana, the treasure trove of outdoor adventures and cultural explorations, offers visitors a palette of experiences that stretches across its expansive vistas and quaint towns. Whether you’re exploring the architectural richness of Missoula or navigating the awe-inspiring Going-to-the-Sun Road in the ethereal Glacier National Park, there are unending delights at every turn.

By covering a wide spectrum of activities, Montana’s dynamic nature carves out a vibrant itinerary for every traveler. As you traverse this Treasure State, expect real connections with nature, unforgettable adrenaline rushes, and the enrichment of cultural insights.

Montana doesn’t just tickle your sense of adventure; it offers a symphony of experiences that linger in your memory long after you’ve left. So go ahead, and dive into this wonderland of seemingly endless opportunities, enriched with both grandeur and simplicity. There, your next great adventure waits.

Things to Do in Montana FAQs

1. what is montana best known for.

Montana is best known for its stunning natural landscapes, including the majestic Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park, and Yellowstone National Park, as well as its rich outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, fishing, and skiing.

2. Is Montana Worth Seeing?

Montana is worth seeing for its breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and outdoor activities, offering a unique and memorable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

3. Why Do Tourists Go to Montana?

People travel to Montana to enjoy its stunning natural beauty, which includes famous landmarks such as Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

They also come to participate in outdoor activities, like hiking, spotting wildlife, and exploring the diverse landscapes that make it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike.

4. Where Should I Go for My First Time in Montana?

If you’re traveling to Montana for the first time, you should check out Glacier National Park. It’s famous for its breathtaking scenery, crystal-clear lakes, and diverse wildlife. This park is a perfect introduction to the natural beauty of Montana and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures.

5. What Are 5 Interesting Facts About Montana?

  • Montana got its name from the Spanish word montaña, which in turn comes from the Latin word Montanea, meaning “mountain” or more broadly “mountainous country”.
  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.
  • There are over 10,000 miles (16,093 km) of underground tunnels beneath the city of Butte.
  • There are more cattle in Montana than there are people.
  • Montana was the first state to elect a woman to Congress in 1916.

Unlock new insights about Montana in the articles below:

  • Gemstones in Montana
  • Montana Economy at a Glance
  • Montana’s Origins
  • Montana Law Essentials
  • Insights Into Montana Life
  • Montana Size Facts
  • https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm
  • https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm
  • https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/goingtothesunroad.htm
  • https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/flathead-lake
  • https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/lakemcdonald.htm
  • https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/pictograph-cave/
  • https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/lewis-and-clark-caverns
  • https://fwp.mt.gov/whitefish-lake
  • https://www.nps.gov/libi/index.htm
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/19371842885/
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/50048208467
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/josephnv/35990036982
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanw100/7922152650
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/ryan_mckee/14860195422
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/tjflex/9402978998
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/20577370109
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/5447888883
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/mytravelphotos/2148329490
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/high_trails/27444774555
  • https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gates_of_the_Mountains_opening_02.jpg
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/timevanson/9336675750
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/mjrehm/5841014819/
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/number7cloud/49604600247

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20 Best Places to Visit in Montana

Are you interested in finding the truly best places to visit in Montana ? Perhaps you’ve heard of Glacier National Park or Yellowstone National Park. Both are otherworldly and are top Montana vacation spots for a reason. But did you know that there are many more lesser-known Montana vacation spots that are equally as wonderful as the big ones?

For example, have you ever heard of the Lewis and Clark Caverns? They are as incredible as they sound. It’s time to explore the best places to visit in Montana , from the vast Glacier National Park to the sleepy ghost towns of the prairies.

Here is our list of top Montana vacation spots that you can spend either one afternoon or a whole week exploring. Here’s a deep dive into the best places to see in Montana.

20 Best Places to Visit in Montana – Montana vacation spots

Where are the best places to visit in Montana? If you want to know where to vacation in Montana in summer and winter, then we’ve got you covered:

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Lake McDonald
  • Glacier National Park
  • Lewis and Clark Caverns
  • Pryor Mountains
  • Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
  • Beartooth Mountains
  • East Rosebud
  • Great Falls
  • Chico Hot Springs

Let’s discuss each one in detail.

1. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to visit in Montana and is also one of the most popular. And well, it’s one of the most popular for a reason. It’s beauty and awe are unmatched by any other place in the state. This is why we’ve put it at the top of our list, despite not being a hidden gem of top Montana vacation spots. 

If you’ve ever seen a photo of Yellowstone National Park then you may already know why. Underneath the whole area of Yellowstone National Park is a caldera, sometimes called the Yellowstone Supervolcano. 

The result of this deep and diverse caldera underneath this whole land mass is an otherworldly landscape of geysers, hot springs, colorful pools, steaming lakes and boiling rivers. 

Top Montana Vacation Spots – Pools of bright orange and electric blue

Pools of bright orange and deep blue with white steam climbing to the skies are common in Yellowstone. In many of these areas you’re able to park, get out of your car and walk a boardwalk around the pools so you can get an up close look at the natural phenomenon. 

Just be aware of your step and be sure you always remain on the designated walkways. These pools can reach over 400 degrees fahrenheit. The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world. 

Other, less hot streams and pools of water exist that you can even swim in. Some of these are pools and other places in the park there are rivers with hot water flowing from geysers into the river, making for a very pleasant water temperature for swimming. 

Of course, only jump in if you are a confident swimmer, because these are wild pools of water and, of course, there are no lifeguards on duty. Some of the calmer pools of water are generally safe for everyone and are a delight to sit and relax in stress free. I highly recommend them.

Top Montana Vacation Spot – Old Faithful Geyser

Any Montana trip to Yellowstone National Park should include a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser. Old Faithful is one of the most famous geysers of Yellowstone and this is for good reason.

Each time Old Faithful erupts it releases 3,700 to 8,400 gallons (14,000 to 32,000 l) of boiling hot water straight up into the sky. There aren’t too many places on earth where you can watch such a beautiful spectacle occur in the wild without any human engineering behind it. 

The water column reaches a height of 100 to 200 ft (30–55 m) and has an average temperature of 169.7°F (76.5°C).

After some time in the otherworldly environment of Yellowstone National Park, you may even forget that you’re in Montana.

See it on the map .

2. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Lake McDonald

(Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park)

Lake McDonald is one of the best places to visit in Montana because of its mystic natural beauty nestled in between dramatic mountain ranges. Perhaps you’ve heard of Glacier National Park. I will talk more about the park below. But first, Lake McDonald deserves some attention of its own. 

Lake McDonald is one of the reasons Glacier National Park is so admired by Montanans and out-of-state visitors and is one of the best places to visit in Montana. It’s one of the reasons Glacier National Park has the reputation it does.

This natural spectacle is 10 miles long and 470 ft deep. Many visitors say it reminds them of a Norwegian fjord. It is the largest lake in Glacier National Park. 

Going-to-the-Sun Road – Best places to visit in Montana

If you’re ever here, one popular driving route is on the nationally-renowned and scenic Going-to-the-Sun road, which eventually runs right up and along the southern shore of Lake McDonald. 

Lake McDonald is a popular Montana vacation spot not only for its natural beauty but because of its historical significance. The lake sits in an ancient basin that was carved out of the ground by glaciers during the Ice Age.

People looking for the best place to visit in Montana for hiking and walking in nature will be delighted by Lake McDonald. 

The lake is one of the best places to visit in Montana for: 

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Sightseeing

Aside from the lake, this area abounds with wildlife. Keep an eye out for:

  • Black bears
  • Mountain goats
  • Bighorn sheep

And much more. As with almost every natural area in Montana, it’s always advised to be prepared for bears. A bottle of bear spray is a good method of defense. 

(Importance of Bear Spray in Montana)

Wherever you purchase your bear spray from, ask one of the specialists from the shop to explain how to use it. Basically, a canister of bear spray shoots a strong stream of highly potent, stinging liquid several yards. 

When it comes in contact with the bear’s eyes, it immobilizes it and gives you a chance to get away.

Important note: If you decide to test your canister of bear spray at any time, make sure you’re in an open space outdoors, that no one’s nearby, and never spray it upwind. 

Even if the slightest remnant floating through the air in your direction comes into contact, it can be a very painful experience and take hours before you start to feel normal again.

Unfortunately, it’s a necessary topic to cover when we’re talking about Montana travel and vacation spots. Montana’s wild and stunning natural environment is what continuously draws visitors to the state. However, there are aspects of wild nature that we need to be prepared for. 

A little foresight and preparedness goes a long way. It can ensure you avoid any serious problems and make sure your vacation in Montana is a pleasant one!

Back to Lake McDonald

On the other hand, the natural wildlife underwater in Lake Powel is absolutely stunning and doesn’t pose a threat! Many natural inhabitants call Lake McDonald home, which is another reason it’s considered one of the best places to visit in Montana:

  • Native trout

And much more. 

There are many places to see in Montana which can make it hard to decide which is the best place to visit in Montana for you. However, if your time is limited and you’re going to visit some of the top spots, like Glacier National Park, we highly recommend stopping by Lake McDonald. 

See it on the map . 

3. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Glacier National Park

Besides the beauty of Lake McDonald, there is much more to see in Glacier National Park. It’s also one of the most popular Montana vacation spots. We’ve included it in this list of the best places to visit in Montana because it just never disappoints. If you’re in Montana, I can’t recommend enough that you visit Glacier. 

Glacier National Park is an expansive area of majestic beauty sitting on the US-Canada border, where sites like Lake McDonald abound. The park covers an area of 1 million acres and includes two mountain ranges, more than 100 lakes and thousands of animal and plant life.

It’s a natural oasis sitting in the middle of what many scientists refer to as the Crown of the Continent Biosphere Reserve. 

One of the reasons Glacier is one of the top Montana vacation spots is that here, you can do many outdoor activities:

  • Mountain climbing
  • Wildlife watching 

There are more than 650 miles of trails that twist and roll through the forests and meadows, past the mountains and lakes. If you prefer exploring Glacier by car, you’re in for a treat. The Going-to-the-Sun road is a famous scenic 50-mile road that is also a marvel of modern engineering.

Other Sites in the Park – Best Montana vacation spots 

Inside the park you can also visit Two Medicine, the Goat Haunt and Many Glacier where you can learn about Native American history, see some former homesteading sites and further immerse yourself in the history and nature of the park.

The views and the atmosphere that Glacier has to offer are what many visitors to Montana came here hoping to see. 

This makes it one of the best places to visit in Montana.

Glacier National Park is one of the most famous Montana tourist attractions. Be sure to add it to your list of Montana destinations . I think the best time to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer. Though if you love the sparkle and charm of a dramatic natural setting blanketed in snow, visiting Glacier National Park in the winter also won’t disappoint. 

4. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Columbus

Columbus, the town, is very small and doesn’t offer much beyond some historic antique shopping, a large gas station right off I-90 which is great for refueling on a long road trip to Montana, some restaurants serving local cuisine and the Yellowstone river flowing through. 

However, it’s on this list of the best places to visit in Montana because the town itself is quiet and pleasant to stop through and just outside of Columbus is some of the nicest nature Montana has to offer. 

Follow the road through Columbus, cross the tracks over the Yellowstone bridge and veer right up towards the Stillwater River. Take this road as far as you like. The drive itself is beautiful. 

Drive Along the River – Best Montana vacation spots

Stop at any of the many public accesses to the river and take it all in. The Stillwater is one of the most pristine and beautiful rivers in Montana. It’s not a far drive from Billings – about an hour. This makes it one of the best places to visit in Montana if you’re in or nearby Billings. 

The further you follow the highway up the valley along the Stillwater River, the scenery changes and reveals itself in a new way, opening up to new hillsides and mountains where the river narrows and widens. 

This Montana vacation spot is suited for those who are looking to get a taste of Montana nature with the opportunity to eat at a small restaurant on the way without being in the city.  

If you’re not interested in small towns off the beaten path, then I can’t recommend this as one the best places to visit in Montana. You may prefer Livingston or Bozeman better.

Absarokee – Best places to visit in Montana

It can make you feel as if you’re driving through the setting of a Hollywood film. Take the road all the way to Absarokee (pr. abzorkee ), a small town that is well prepared to cater to the many local and foreign tourists that make their way up there. 

Despite how small Absarokee is, there are several nice restaurants serving local food.

After lunch continue on up road 420 to continue following the Stillwater. The scenery remains as beautiful as ever and there are several public accesses along the road with bathrooms and places to picnic.

Again, cell service can be intermittent when you’re this far up in hills, so be sure to take note of how you got to where you are so that if it’s already dark when you decide to go back, you know how to get there. 

At the very least, you can simply remember to follow the 420 back to Absarokee. From there, you just follow highway 78 back to Columbus, where you can get back on I-90 and head back to Billings or continue West to Livingston or Bozeman. 

5. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Livingston 

Livingston is a well-kept, medium-sized historic Montana town, with a main street that could have been taken straight from a film set. This makes it one of the best places to visit in Montana.

Livingston is set in a picturesque location and offers almost everything you could desire if you are looking for the modern version of an old western town. This includes antique shops filled with mysteries, historic souvenirs, stylish furniture and more.

The restaurants in Livingston are equally impressive, which makes the town one of the best places to visit for those looking to experience local Montana cuisine. 

Paradise Valley – Top Montana vacation spots

A short 30 minute drive from Livingston, in the opposite direction of I-90, is another stunning area, called Paradise Valley, that is worth taking a drive through if you’re Livingston. 

The name speaks for itself. Paradise Valley is another example of a beautiful place that is a short drive from a city. Once you leave Livingstone and enter Paradise Valley, it feels like you’ve entered another world and are miles from the nearest town. 

The sweeping meadows lined by jagged mountains are about as dramatic and beautiful as it gets in Montana. You can expect winding rivers that glide through open fields and forests set below dramatic rising mountains. Just driving through is enough to feel the atmosphere. 

Paradise Valley is a top Montana vacation spot, which means slowly and surely, homes and cabins continue popping up here and there, but it’s mostly open nature with a very special atmosphere, especially in the summer. 

6. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Bozeman

(Hyalite Canyon, 5 minute drive from Bozeman)

Bozeman is one of the most unique places to visit in Montana. Because it’s one of the larger towns in Montana, with a University and a relatively diverse population, it has become one of the top Montana vacation spots in the past several decades and one of the best cities to visit in Montana. 

Bozeman is a small town of about 50,000 residents with one of the most popular Universities in the state. It’s also one of the most popular places in Montana that people from out of state and even out of the country choose to move to.

At the same time, Bozeman was originally a small, farming town, without much outside influence. The current mix of residents makes for a very diverse and stimulating atmosphere. 

This is one of the main reasons many people consider it one of the best places to visit in montana.

Shopping Bozeman – Best places to visit in Montana

If you’re interested in Montana shopping, Bozeman will be a top Montana vacation spot for you. Main street is a typical western American main street, lined with record stores, chic boutiques, coffee shops, book stores, ski and snowboard shops, restaurants, historic hotels and much much more. Historic hotels are some of the best places to stay in Montana.

Once you’ve strolled main street, step one block north or south and stroll up and down one of the side streets parallel to main street. There’re more small restaurants and shops to be discovered. 

Skiing Bozeman – Best Montana vacation spots

Bozeman doesn’t only have an energetic city-life to offer. Bozeman is located one hours’ drive from Big Sky Mountain Resort and about 45 minutes’ drive from Bridger Bowl Ski Area. These are two of the most popular Montana vacation spots in the whole state. 

Big Sky is known for being wide and open, offering almost every type of terrain imaginable. Bridger Bowl is a ski resort spread across a large ridge, with different runs peeling off from different points cutting through forests and glades. 

Back in Bozeman you can find many restaurants on Main street and plenty of hotels throughout the town. It’s one of the more expensive cities in Montana, but still relatively affordable relative to the rest of the country. Except for its real estate. Bozeman real estate is exceptionally expensive. But this is because it’s such a popular place to live.

7. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Lewis and Clark Caverns

The Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is as incredible as the name suggests, which is why it is one of the best places to visit in Montana. It is one of the most popular Montana vacation spots. 

The caverns are one of the biggest and most elaborate limestone cave complexes of the Northwestern United States. 

The park is the first and one of the best known national parks of Montana. It’s been a popular Montana vacation spot for a long time. The park covers 3,000 acres of land and sits at around 5,000 ft above sea level. 

Underground – Top Montana vacation spots

Once you descend into the caverns you’ll notice it’s naturally air conditioned, which is a delight if you decide to visit this Montana vacation spot on one the hottest June or July days. 

Stalagmites, stalactites, helictites and columns are stacked all around you, coming from the ceiling of the caves and shooting up from the ground. 

The caverns and their stalactites and columns are electrically lit, making for a very dramatic environment. The lights also ensure it is safe and easy to see as you walk the pathway and its stairs.

Above the caverns are 10 miles of trails above ground, which give you a great opportunity to explore the surrounding beautiful nature. 

For those that want to stick around for more than just a couple hours, there is a campground nearby the park, fully equipped with:

  • camping cabins: max 6 people; disabled access; no plumbing, kitchen facilities or bedding provided. Equipped with electric lights 
  • Picnic area
  • Toilets (flush and vault)
  • RV dump station
  • Grill and fire rings
  • Garbage cans
  • Food, beverage concession

Your pets are welcome on the campgrounds if they are on a leash.

The Lewis and Clark cabins are such a sought after Montana vacation spot that they’re open year round. This makes them one of the best places to visit in Montana, no matter which time of the year you come. 

However, guided tours are available only from May 1 to September 30. Also, the event program in the summer makes this one of the best places to visit in Montana in the summer. 

Nearby are the towns of Three Forks and Whitehall where you’ll find access to all the amenities you missed while camping out, including a golf course and museums.

8. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Billings

(Zimmerman Park)

Billings is the largest city in Montana. This means it can be one of the most interesting Montana destinations. It’s population is about 100,000 people. This fact, alone, is good enough reason to at least see it once. The large population makes it one of the best cities to visit in Montana. If you’re flying to Montana, there’s a good chance you’ll fly into Billings. 

It’s worth it to stay a couple nights if you have the time, because it truly is one of the best places to visit in Montana if you’re interested in Montana’s cities.  

Largest City in Montana – Best places to visit in Montana

Because Billings is the largest city in the state, it has more to offer than other cities in terms of services, restaurants, neighborhoods and city activities. Billings’ historic downtown is a great place for a walk. 

Despite being the largest city in the state, the population is only 100,000, which means downtown is almost never overcrowded. 

Downtown has a wide range of western boutiques, book shops, restaurants and more. You can get a lot of your Montana souvenir shopping done if you are in billings. There are also several shops selling Native American items and souvenirs.

Outside of downtown are a number of pleasant neighborhoods to drive through. One neighborhood, referred to by residents as ‘the avenues’ is a historic neighborhood with a historic feel. 

Leaving downtown past the hospital heading northwest, you can turn off Poly Dr. and cruise through the avenues. If you turn back onto Rimrock road and go west, you’ll drive past many houses and the local private college called Rocky Mountain College.

Zimmerman Park – Best places to visit in Montana

Continue heading west on Rimrock for about 10 minutes until you reach Zimmerman trail. Turn right on Zimmerman trail to wind your way and around the sandstone cliff that borders the whole northern side of the central part of Billings. 

You’ll wind your way up to the top of the cliffside to the open prairie and farmland up top. At the roundabout at the top, take the third exit and drive west. 

Several hundred yards ahead of you you’ll see a small gravel parking lot on the left. This is Zimmerman Park. Here you can park your car and walk the trails all across the top of the sandstone cliff. 

There are several levels that cascade down to the cliff’s edge. Before the edge are various trails to stroll on, past boulders, drops, caves and open areas all overlooking the city below. If you like views, Zimmerman Park is one of the best places for views in Billings, especially if you want to experience pristine nature at the same time.

Looking out over the city, you’ll see the green trees, the farm land out west and further south on a clear day you can see the Pryor Mountains, one of the best places to visit in Montana, which is just a short drive from Billings.

Lake Elmo – Best places to visit in Montana

If you leave Zimmerman Park and drive back East towards the roundabout and continue straight past Zimmerman trail you’ll reach the airport. Past the airport lies Billings Heights. 

A vacation in Montana is always special. If you’re in the heights on a summer day, I recommend stopping by Lake Elmo, a small state park in the heights with a small man made lake. It’s a nice place to unwind and have a picnic by the water. 

Billings is a relatively large town, so I recommend driving around and exploring each neighborhood as you come across it. There’s lots to see. 

9. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Pryor Mountains

The Pryor Mountains are a unique mountain range that don’t get much recognition outside of the state of Montana. Those who visit the Pryors are often locals, from Billings or one of the other nearby towns. 

They are near the top of our list for a reason. They feature an extra degree of that dry, otherworldly desert landscape that is so often found in Montana and North & South Dakota. There are forests in the Pryor Mountains as well, which balance out the dry, winding coulees, red rocks and low lying desert vegetation. 

Wild Horses – Montana vacation spots

Amidst it all, if you’re out driving through the Pryors or riding your mountain bike, you’re likely to be met with a herd of wild mustangs (horses) led by a couple wild stallions darting through the forest or cutting across the fields. 

These aren’t horses from a nearby farm. They are the live wild mustangs of the Pryor Mountains. While wild horses aren’t aggressive in nature, they are still wild animals, so if you come across a herd while exploring this top Montana vacation spot, it’s a good idea to give them their space if you want to capture some photos. 

As I mentioned, the Pryor mountains feature a dry arid landscape that is reminiscent of the southwestern US with desert vegetation, multiple shades of red and beige colored hill and cliff sides. 

Hiking and Biking – Best places to visit in Montana

Many visitors come by car and cruise slowly around the dirt roads in the region, but if you have the energy and the desire to see more of this mountain range, a hike or a mountain bike through the trails and dirt roads is a great way to explore where the roads don’t lead. 

It can be extremely hot in the Pryor Mountains in the summer, so be sure to remember to pack lots of water. 

Cell service is spotty in the Pryor Mountains, so also be sure to tell someone where you’re going and for how long, to be sure that help will be on the way if you run into trouble.

Billings, the biggest city in the state, is just about an hours’ drive from the Pryors, making it a perfect day trip if you are in Billings for a couple days.

10. Top Montana Vacation Spots – Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a unique Montana destination. It sits just outside of the small town of Arlee in the Jocko Valley. This is a calm and natural area of the state that isn’t visited as often as Glacier or Yellowstone National Park. 

It is an International Peace Center with the goal of helping the human race cultivate inner peace via preserving the ancient culture of Tibet. 

A Thousand Stupas – Best places to visit in Montana

The central statue of the grounds is a 24-foot tall figure of the Great Mother of Transcendent Wisdom, Yum Chenmo. 

Surrounding the whole garden complex are one thousand stupas, which are one one of the human race’s oldest forms of architecture. They honor past great warriors and kings.

The Garden was established by Tulku San-ngag Rinpoche and is situated on the land of Ewam Sang-ngag Ling. The Garden is a piece of Bhuddist culture in Montana that aims to bring about awakening of the human qualities of compassion, joy and wisdom.

The garden is open from dawn to dusk to people of any religion. Visitors to the garden enjoy walking around and absorbing the atmosphere while admiring various Bhuddhist statues, images, symbols and structures. 

The unique atmosphere makes this garden one of the best places to visit in Montana. It’s especially popular because visitors of Montana can spend an afternoon connecting with another culture. 

It is one of the top Montana vacation spots for those interested in making an afternoon trip or stopping for a few hours to see an interesting site on their way to their final destination.

11. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Beartooth Mountains

The Beartooth Mountains are devastatingly beautiful and dramatic. If you’ve ever seen a picture of the Beartooth Mountains then you already understand their beauty and why many consider them to be one of the best places to visit in Montana. 

The Beartooth Pass, which is the road leading up and over the Beartooth Mountains, begins right in the nearby town of Red Lodge. From Red Lodge, you can follow main street out of the town and continue on until the road starts climbing upward. 

From here, the road winds back and forth up a steep mountain side all the way to the top. As you climb higher and higher, the view from the road becomes greater and greater. There are several pull-outs on the way up where you can park your car and gaze out across the landscape below. 

The sheer elevation of the pass can make major mountains down below seem small. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll continue driving across flatlands and tundra with very unique vegetation. At this point, you are far above the treeline and the surrounding vegetation reminds you of this fact. 

Short vegetation that clings to the ground are likely a result of the high winds that come across this area. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

The Bear’s Tooth

A famous mountain that can be seen from certain points along the road is the Bear’s Tooth. This is a jagged peak that is so narrow and pointed that the top of it resembles a tooth of a wild animal. 

In the spring, when the road is finally cleared by snow plows and the pass opens up to the public, visitors come from all over to drive the pass and enjoy the views. Some people come to ski the glaciers up top. 

To explore the Beartooth Mountains more deeply, you can park your car at a trailhead and hike one of the many trails that lead across the tundra, through the forests, past lakes and deep into the mountain range. 

12. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Red Lodge

If you’re thinking about visiting the Beartooth Pass, then you’ll likely go through Red Lodge, unless you start the drive from the other side of the pass. Red Lodge is easily one of the best places to visit in Montana. It is an incredibly charming town with an atmosphere of an old western town with lots of dense forest in the surrounding nature.

From Billings, Red Lodge is a scenic one hour drive through small towns and open fields and hills. The highway to Red Lodge becomes Main Street once it reaches there. Upon driving up Main Street you’ll notice new and old restaurants, cafes, diners, antique shops, boutiques, toy stores, historic hotels and more. As I mentioned above, historic hotels are some of the best places to stay in Montana 

Red Lodge is a small town tucked away in the hills of Montana. The population is about 2,000 people, so it’s surely a place where you can experience the way people in Montana live. 

Skiing and Snowboarding – Top things to do in Montana

One of the best places to visit in Montana in the winter is one of the many ski resorts. Red Lodge Mountain is a ski area a few minutes’ drive from the town. 

Red Lodge is one of the best places to visit in Montana in summer. If you visit during the summer, there’s plenty to enjoy, including the drive there, the many restaurants and any of the hiking trails and creeks nearby. The Rock Creek runs through the town, making for some pleasant spots for a picnic. 

Red Lodge’s residents are a diverse group of people with different heritages. They are known for preserving their history and culture and celebrate it each year at the local Festival of Nations in Lion’s Park. If you’re in Red Lodge at the end of July, it may be of interest to you. It’s free. 

 See it on the map .

13. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Missoula

Missoula isn’t known as a tourist destination in Montana, but it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Montana. It’s in an absolutely beautiful region of the state, with the Clark Fork River running straight through town. Missoula sits at the convergence of five mountain ranges: Bitterroot Mountains, Sapphire Range, Garnet Range, Rattlesnake Mountains and the Reservation Divide. 

But most locals and visitors, if they’ve heard of Missoula, know the town as one of the major cities of Montana, with a lot of university students and a lively, liberal environment. It’s large population of young university students tends to continuously attract more young people from around the state, especially those getting ready to attend university. 

Missoula really is a quaint, comfortable town in Montana, making it one of the top Montana vacation spots, if you’re interested in checking out one of the most interesting and pleasant towns in Montana. 

Access to Nature – Best places to visit in Montana

As with most cities in Montana, Missoula is surrounded by beautiful nature that is quickly and easily accessible. If you’re into outdoor activities like skiing, biking, rafting, paddleboarding, kayaking and more, Missoula is a great place for you. 

Endless hiking trails cut through the surrounding forests. You can see the remnants of an ancient lake and discover the signs of the former Indian tribe that used to occupy this area – the Salish American Indian Tribe.

From Missoula you can also visit one of the nearby ghost towns. Missoula almost has it all and is easily one of the best places to visit in Montana. 

14. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Whitefish

Whitefish is a great town in the northwestern part of the state. If you fly into Billings, it’s about a seven hour drive to Whitefish. But once you’re up in this part of the state, it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best places to visit in Montana.

Whitefish Lake – Best places to visit in Montana

Right in town is Whitefish Lake. Visitors to Whitefish in the summer can enjoy the convenience of having a pristine lake right on the edge of town. Not only is the water fresh, the landscape of mountains and forests surrounding the lake and town add to the atmosphere. It’s one of the many wonderful lakes of Montana in the summer.

Whitefish is also home to Whitefish ski resort. If you visit this town in the winter, it’s likely because you’re interested in Montana skiing and you’ve heard of Whitefish Mountain Resort. 

Just south of Whitefish is the town of Kalispell, an equally beautiful town that is almost synonymous with Whitefish. When Montanans refer to Whitefish, they often refer to Kalispell as well, since it’s considered the Whitefish/Kalispell region among Montana residents. 

Flathead Lake – Best places to visit in Montana

Drive 10 minutes south of Kalispell and you’ll reach one of the most beautiful lakes in Montana – Flathead Lake. Flathead is a popular lake among Montana residents and visitors from out of state. The lake is enormous and its waters are crystal clear. 

Glacier National Park – Best places to visit in Montana

And, of course, not far from Whitefish and Kalispell is Glacier National Park. There is a lot to see in the top Montana vacation spot. It’s clear to see why this area is considered one of the best places to visit in Montana.

15. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Butte

If you’re driving from Bozeman to Missoula, Butte is a highlight of the journey. It’s one of the best cities to visit in montana. I highly recommend stopping and staying for a day or two if you have the time. Butte is one of the best places to visit in Montana because of its history and its unique atmosphere. 

It’s best known for its history as a major mining town of Montana. Today, visitors to the mine walk out on a viewing platform and look down into the Berkeley Pit, a former open pit copper mine. 

At one point in time, Butte was the largest city in the Rocky Mountains. Even back then, it was one of the best places to visit in Montana. The World Museum of Mining preserves the history and culture of Butte. 

After visiting the museum, I suggest having a stroll through town and stopping in one of the many restaurants or cafes. There is a strong Irish population in Butte who are proud of their heritage, so you’ll likely see signs of Irish heritage in some places in the city. 

Irish Heritage – Top Montana vacation spots

Butte is a storied city that has changed greatly over the past 100 years. This is another reason why it’s one of the best places to visit in Montana. Its booming years were around 1917. Some people estimate that the city had around 100,000 inhabitants back then. It now has around 34,000 inhabitants. 

After exploring the history and culture of Butte, you may very well understand why so many people consider Butte as one of the best places to visit in Montana. 

16. Best Places to Visit in Montana – East Rosebud

(East Rosebud road)

East Rosebud is, yet again, another one of the pristine natural areas that people in Montana cherish. It’s one of the best places to visit in Montana if you want to explore the nature of the Southwestern part of the state. 

If you decide to drive through Columbus and up to Absarokee, as I described above in this article, you may want to consider visiting East Rosebud. From Absarokee, you’ll take highway 78 to Roscoe. And from Roscoe, there’s a road that leads directly to East Rosebud. 

When you reach East Rosebud, you’ll see an incredible, crystal clear lake with a small grouping of cabins, all surrounded by the walls of incredible mountains shooting to the sky on either side of the lake.

It’s an incredible sight. 

At the East Rosebud Lake there is also a trailhead for hiking. There is a campground there if you’d like to stay the night. The water is cold year round. The peacefulness and beauty of the East Rosebud lake is worth seeing at least once, especially if you’re already nearby. It’s easily one of the best places to visit in Montana.

17. Top Montana Vacation Spots – Helena

(Montana State Capitol)

Helena is the capital of Montana. It’s located right in between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. If you’re driving from Billings, Bozeman, Yellowstone National Park or anywhere in the southern part of the state to Glacier, you may want to stop in Helena at least for the afternoon. If you can stay for a day or two, that’s better.

Helena is one of the best places to visit in Montana also because of its history and its access to nature. All throughout the town are areas of historical significance including the State Capitol Building, the Mansion District and Carroll college. 

There are also 75 miles of nearby trails for hikers and bikers to access straight from town.

Helena is a very quaint, pleasant Montana town with a wide range of restaurants and comfortable small town feel. Many visitors love to stay at least a night in Helena to explore the capitol, learn about the history of the town, stroll the sidewalks of the different districts and neighborhoods and get out for a walk on one of the local trails. 

After a rest in Helena, you’ll be fully energized to continue on to Glacier or Yellowstone.

18. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Great Falls

Great Falls is a small, but spectacular town. It’s surroundings make it one of the best Montana destinations. Any direction you look in, you’ll see either the rolling Missouri River, snow-capped mountains, soaring buttes or rolling endless plains. 

The city is also in the center point between five waterfalls. Visitors of Great Falls immediately see why this is considered one of the best places to visit in Montana. 

Great Falls is one of the largest cities in Montana and has some interesting cultural events and sites for visitors. These include the C.M. Russell Museum, the Mansfield Center for Performing Arts, the Paris Gibson Square Museum and more.  

If you’re interested in learning about a unique part of Montana’s history, I can recommend the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. This is situated above the Missouri river on the bluff. 

The views from the center are spectacular. Visitors can gaze out across the terrain that Lewis and Clark crossed in 1805, strategically finding their way around the region’s waterfalls and rivers.

Other historic and natural points of interest include: 

  • First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park
  • University of Great Falls
  • 40 miles of River’s Edge Trail
  • The Electric City Water Park

The outdoors is a major aspect of this town’s beauty and is what makes it one of the best places to visit in Montana for an afternoon. It’s a short drive northeast of Helena.

19. Top Montana Vacation Spots – Chico Hot Springs

Chico Hot Springs is a resort and day spa about a 30 minutes’ drive south from Livingston. It is one of the best places to stay in Montana. 

If you happen to be in Livingston, you may want to consider driving up to Chico and spending the night. It’s one of the best places to visit in Montana because the man made pools are sourced by chemical-free, geothermally heated mineral water from the ground. 

There are several pools, varying in temperature. Find the one that’s right for you and sit back, relax and gaze over the absaroka mountains. The pools are open earlier and later for guests staying in the hotel. Admission to the pools is included in the lodging cost. 

Montana History – Top Montana vacation spots

The best places to visit in Montana always have a storied history. The first records of people using the springs in this region were of gold miners working in the nearby Emigrant Gulch. By the 1890s, the people in the region had constructed a little wooden building where the source of the springs was located. The springs then flowed into two wooden tubs, about 4 ft deep. 

Before the miners, the hot springs were used by the local Native American tribes for cooking, bathing and preparing hides.

Many Montanans see Chico Hot Springs as a top Montana vacation spot. This is one of the best places to visit in Montana for a reason. It’s a place to get away from the city, get in touch with the history of Montana and experience ultimate relaxation that penetrates deep into your soul.

20. Best Places to Visit in Montana – Big Timber

If you’re wondering where to visit in Montana besides majestic parks and major towns, I suggest exploring a small town.

If you drive from Billings to Bozeman, you’ll pass Big Timber on I-90. I recommend stopping in this small community for at least a day. It’s small population of 1,639 people make it one of the best vacation spots in Montana for relaxation and calm.

The territory between Billings and Bozeman, especially where Big Timber sits below the Crazy Mountains, is especially serene, which put it on the list of best places to visit in Montana. 

Here, you can hike, float the river, golf, souvenir shop or have a picnic and watch the sun set over the Crazies. 

To take a dive into the history of this special part of Montana, stop in the Crazy Mountain Museum. Inside you’ll see a miniature model of Big Timber as it stood back in 1907, called the “Cobblestone City”.

You’ll also find an example of a Norwegian Stabbur, a house made of stone. This is to display the Norwegian heritage of Big Timber. The cultural heritage of Big Timber is another reason we think it’s one of the best places to visit in Montana. You’ll also find a small, one-room school with images of Presidents and blackboards and chalk.

Yellowstone River – Top Montana vacation spot

The mighty Yellowstone River flows through Big Timber. This is one of the largest rivers in Montana and flows through many of the towns along I-90. I can recommend stopping in any town along I-90 between Billings and Bozeman for a small break or picnic. 

That whole drive is one spectacular scene unfolding after the next. They aren’t the most popular places to visit in Montana but they are truly Montanan. I can say they are some of the best places to visit in Montana. 

They offer a unique experience, especially if you decide to stay the night and spend some time strolling the sidewalks and along the waterways, enjoying the silence and atmosphere of small town Montana life.

20 Best Places to Visit in Montana – Final verdict

The best place to visit in Montana is the one that suits your preferences. Enjoy picking out your next Montana vacation spot !

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Montana 

Otherwise known as Big Sky Country, I personally think the diverse and dazzling Western state does live up to the hype! This is a seriously gorgeous place, home to a large and pristine wilderness preserve that crosses into Canada.

It’s a tough choice as pretty much all the scenery here is jaw-dropping, but here are my favorite spots…

1. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Aptly called the “Coorown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park is home to over one million acres of beautiful, unspoiled terrain.

The scenic wilderness area encompasses jaw-dropping scenery, such as spectacular lakes, glacier-carved peaks, pristine forests, and alpine meadows.

It also forms part of the world’s first International Peace Park , perfect for both adventurous souls and solitude seekers. I would suggest gazing in awe at the huge glacier and spotting mountain goats amid the gorgeous scenery at Grinnell Glacier.

Drive along the breathtaking scenic mountain road of the Sun Highway, which passes through more than fifty miles of unique terrain, and then paddle across the pristine waters of Lake McDonald. 

See the beauty of Glacier National Park in 4k…

https://youtu.be/x7GkebUe6XQ

My favorite highlights…

  • Driving to Logan Pass, the highest point in the park (that can be reached by car) and saw some seriously gorgeous panoramic views.
  • Hiking to the Grinnell Glacier where I found stunning waterfalls, vibrant emerald lakes and beautiful scenery along the way.
  • Taking a boat tour across the Lake McDonald Valley.

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2. American Prairie Reserve

American Prairie Reserve

The American Prairie Reserve is located on Montana’s Great Plains and is, I honestly think, one of the most stunning spots to explore in Montana.

Stretching north and south of the Missouri River, the massive conservation area preserves the natural mixed-grass prairie ecosystem and native wildlife, including deer, elk, pronghorn, burrowing owls, bison, and bighorn sheep. 

The area is another beautiful gem in the Montana Tourism crown. Dive into the history at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum or visit the restored Prairie Union Schoolhouse.

Wake up to the awesome free-roaming bison and chirping birds. This place will force you to slow down and observe the beauty of the prairie ecosystem. Roam around freely, hike, or bike. This is a truly magical place that nature lovers will adore. 

My personal highlights…

  • Stopping by the National Discovery Center and learning about the area and its history.
  • Exploring by mountain bike, where trails include obstacles such as steep hills, soft sand, and ruts.
  • Staying until it was dark to see the clear, starry skies, I even saw the Milky Way.

3. Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains Montana

Home to over a hundred ranges in Central Montana, the Rocky Mountains run along the western part of Montana. The rugged and rustic charm of the Rockies is the best place to seek both solace and outdoor adventures.

Snuggled in the Madison Range of Montana, the Big Sky ski resort is enveloped by mountains in every direction. It is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re a fan of winter sports. 

Another charming destination located at the doorstep of Glacier National Park is Whitefish Resort Mountain, home to a shimmering lake, lofty peaks, stunning trails, and a quirky downtown area. 

My highlights…

  • Watching a breathtaking sunrise at Dream Lake before heading to Emerald Lake.
  • Visiting the Coffee on The Rocks café for beautiful views whilst enjoying an oat milk latte.
  • Discovering cross-country skiing in the winter.

4. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

One of North America’s most loved national parks, the world-famous Yellowstone National Park sprawls over a 3,500-square-mile area. The beautiful landscapes sit atop a volcanic hot spot, which makes them extra special and offers some truly unique landscapes. 

Home to many species of wildlife, dramatic canyons, rivers, hot springs, and gushing geysers, the park is mostly in Wyoming but crosses over to Montana and Idaho . 

  • Driving to the Northeast Entrance road and looking out at the incredible scenery.
  • Rafting ride down the river. 
  • Hiking the scenic Fairy Falls Trail and seeing one of the best waterfalls in the park.

Bozeman Montana

Located in Gallatin County in southwest Montana, Bozeman is ranked among the most livable places in the US, and for good reason.

I love the dramatic mountains, impressive wildlife and cultural scenes here, and the opportunities to go hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, and backcountry exploring. 

Ski in the Bridger Bowl area, raft on the Gallatin River, or witness the stunning fall colors of nearby Yellowstone Park. The city of Bozeman is a true Montana treasure! 

  • Learning how to rock climb on a climbing indoor wall. 
  • Going on a scavenger hunt which was a fun way to explore the city.
  • Soaking in Bozeman Hot Springs which was the perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing.

6. West Yellowstone

West Montana - one of the best small towns to visit in Montana

West Yellowstone is one of the best small towns in southern Montana. It’s a gateway to the world-famous Yellowstone National Park, but it is also a wonderful tourist attraction and a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts in both summer and winter.

The charming Montana town is quaint and easy on the eye. It is home to some interesting independent shops and restaurants, a theatre, and plenty of places to stay.

Highlights of West Yellowstone include the Yellowstone River ( the country’s last “free-flowing” river), the popular Playmill Theatre, the beautiful Earthquake Lake, and The Museum of Yellowstone. During the winter, I would recommend snowmobiling as a fun Montana activity!

  • Visiting the Museum of Yellowstone located in the old train station and learning all about the area’s history.
  • Going on a thrilling adventure on a snowmobile during the winter season months.
  • Enjoying hearty homestyle food at the Western-style Outpost Restaurant. 

7. Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley Montana

It is close enough to Yellowstone yet far away from the crowds; the Paradise Valley is dwarfed by the towering Absaroka Range on the east and Gallatin Range on the west.

Located in southwest Montana, Paradise Valley is Montana’s premier vacation destination. With the gushing waters of the Yellowstone River, snow-capped mountains, a crisp blue sky, and beautiful ranch land, It deserves a place on this list!

I highly recommend soaking in the naturally warm waters at the Chico Hot Springs or La Duke Hot Springs or hiking along the breathtaking trails! 

  • Watching and videoing the magnificent eruption of the Old Faithful.
  • Relaxing at the Chico Hot Springs which was surrounded by lush greenery.
  • Having a go at frisbee golf! 

8. Livingston

Livingston- best cities in Montana

This lovely town in SouthWestern Montana enjoys a truly gorgeous position nestled on the banks of the Yellowstone River between the rugged Crazy and Absaroka mountain ranges. The town dates from the late 1880s and is quiet and charming, but its striking mountain backdrop is truly jaw-dropping.

The main focus here is on outdoor activities. Still, its historic buildings have drawn many notable visitors over the years and have even been featured in popular films A River Runs Through It , The Horse Whisperer, and even Marlboro advertisements.

There are some good accommodation options, museums , art galleries and restaurants to explore. Popular things here include cross-country skiing, river rafting, hiking, or just kicking back and enjoying the wonderful scenery!

  • Watching live music at the cool venue, The Attic which is housed in a restored historic building.
  • Taking a picnic to enjoy at Sacajawea Park after having a stroll through the gardens.
  • Checking out the art galleries throughout the town filled with vibrant pieces, and the art walk during summer.

9. Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway - best places to visit in Montana

On the Beartooth Highway, you can experience one of Montana’s most beautiful road trips. Located on the northeast entrance of the Yellowstone National Park, this highway offers some truly wonderful scenery.

The mesmerizing views include the majestic Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, countless glacial lakes, pristine waterfalls, and high alpine plateaus. 

Camp around the wide wilderness or hike across the broad plateaus. The Beartooth Highway offers a rare opportunity to explore the untouched landscapes of Montana’s alpine country. Every wilderness lover’s dream, this 68-mile panoramic drive is a spectacular journey of a lifetime! 

  • Soaking up the picturesque scenery and taking photographs of the views along the way.
  • Browsing souvenirs at the Top of The World Store.

10. Montana State Capitol 

Montana State Capitol

Montana’s state capital is on a gentle slope and surrounded by beautiful lawns. One of the best things to see in Montana is the majestic state capitol, completed in 1902 and resides in Helena, the capital of Montana and one of the best cities to explore in the state.

Outside, the building comprises granite and exquisite sandstone; inside, it houses the Montana state legislature. The prominent feature of the Capitol includes the attractive rotunda with four circular paintings depicting the people of Montana’s early history.

The Lady Liberty, or the Montana statue, sits atop the copper-based Capitol dome. Visit and enjoy viewing the beautiful murals, stained glass, and marble preserving the early history of the Treasure State.

  • Taking an interesitng self-guided tour around the building.
  • Admiring the stunning murals, stained glass and historic marble.
  • Being in awe of the beautiful art displays.

11. City Beach

Whitefish Lake Montana

Located in Whitefish, this wonderful place offers seven miles of sandy shorelines that surround the south end of Whitefish Lake. It’s a much-loved hang-out area with a designated swimming area, kayak and paddleboard rentals (during the summer), picnic tables, and gazebos. 

I recommend swimming in crystal clear water or just lazing around on the beach, all with the amazing backdrop of beautiful mountains.

  • Taking a dip in the refreshing crystal-clear water and cooling off on a hot day.
  • Renting a kayak.
  • Enjoying a picnic on the sandy shores.

12. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park 

The Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is a World Heritage Site and a wonderful example of friendly Canada-USA relations. A union of Glacier National Park and Waterton National Park of Canada, it is the first-ever global peace park.

Here, you can expect exceptional mountain scenery, glacial landforms, crystal clear lakes, abundant wildlife, and a distinctive climate, which make both national parks wonderful places to explore. A little slice of paradise, the park is home to travelers seeking solitude and adventure.

The park also features dark night skies free from light pollution and has even received a Gold Tier Designation with provisional status from the International Dark Sky Association. 

  • Renting a bike from the town exploring the roads that wind through the scenic park.
  • Hiking up to Bertha Falls and witnessing the stunning views.
  • Going on a boat tour and cruising down Waterton Lake which was a very relaxed way to admire the surroundings.

13. Conrad Mansion

Conrad Mansion Montana

A beautifully preserved mansion in Kalispell, the Conrad Mansion Museum reflects the luxurious Norman-style architecture and the lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest. Built in 1895, the Conrad Mansion was the home of renowned businessman Charles E. Conrad.

A dreamy mansion in the backdrop of Montana wilderness, the Conrad Mansion overlooks the flathead valley and Swan mountain range. Tour the 26 rooms with diamond-paned, Tiffany stained glass windows with the original family furnishings, landscaped gardens, and a drystone fence. 

  • Taking a guided tour of the 26-roomed mansion and discovering the history of how the Conrad family impacted Montana.
  • Strolling through the gorgeous gardens surrounding the property which feature six large flower beds filled with different colors.

14. Helena National Forest

Helena National Forest

This stunning natural area is located in west-central Montana. The wonderful Helena National Forest covers a vast expanse of 984,558 acres.

The Big Belt Mountains dominate the eastern region, which is broken into several separate sections. The Scapegoat wilderness and the Elkhorn Mountains form the national forest’s west and south borders.

A mix of grass, sagebrush lowlands, and shaded groves, the park also offers camping in designated areas. Covering the Gates of the Mountain Wilderness Area and a portion of the Scapegoat Wilderness Area, the National Forest is a little slice of paradise for naturalists and photographers.

  • Spending the night in one of the rentals available at the campgrounds located throughout the forest.
  • Having fun on the water with jet skiing, tubing and water skiing.
  • Hiking the scenic and easy Willard Creek Trail which was filled with pretty scenery and a creek at the end.

15. Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

The largest primitive island on Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island State Park , is only accessible by water. For centuries, the Salish-Kootenai Indians used this beautiful island as pasture land to keep horses from being stolen.

Full of pine forests, incredible trails, and wildlife watching, you can catch a glimpse of the wild horses still inhabiting this park. A designated state park since 1987, Horse Island’s 2,200-acre beautiful state park offers swimming, hiking, boating, and kayaking. 

  • Admiring the picturesque landscapes as I sailed to the island by boat. 
  • Going for a refreshing swim on a hot summer’s day.
  • Walking through the picturesque pine forests via the Trail #2 Loop.

16. Gates of the Mountains Wilderness

Gates of the Mountains Wilderness

In the lofty hills, the legendary Missouri River carves a path through towering sandstone cliffs once named the Gates of the Mountains by Meriwether Lewis (an American explorer, soldier, and politician).

Encompassing a wide area of 28,465 acres, the Helena National Forest manages the wilderness.

The Montana beauty spot is known for its prominent grey cliffs, an ancient lake, high meadows, narrow gorges, and open forests. It also offers an excellent opportunity to spot bighorn sheep and mountain goats up close.

Hike along Refrigerator Canyon or camp on Bear Prairie. The scenic gates promise pristine natural beauty galore! 

  • Visiting the unique point of Refrigerator Canyon which also acts like a wind funnel! 
  • Paddleboarding on Holter Lake.
  • Camping overnight near the river at White Bridge Lane Private Campsite.

17. Blodgett Canyon

Blodgett Canyon Montana

If you’re anything like me, when traveling in Montana, you will want to find the best hiking spots, and I honestly think this one is one of the best.

Nestled in southwestern Montana, the Blodgett Canyon – carved out by ice age glaciers – is beautifully positioned in the middle of the Bitterroot Mountain Range.

It features over two dozen scenic canyons, steeply carved granite mountains, meandering valleys, and moraines.  Known for its wall climbing spots and excellent hiking trails, the Blodgett Canyon provides one of the best scenic hikes in Montana, surrounded by truly spectacular landscapes. 

  • Hiking to the magnificent overlook for dramatic views of the canyon.
  • Going on a rock climbing lesson.
  • Going mountain biking along the 6-mile round trail.

18. Moss Mansion

Moss Mansion Montana

Head to the Montana city of Billings and seek out this wonderful red-stoned Moss Mansion Museum . I’m a big fan of this place, once home to the wealthy Moss family. The stunning mansion was designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh in 1905.

The high-end interiors, with walls with gold threading, a marble fireplace, and beautiful paintings, are a perfect example of early American residential architecture.

Still intact with the original items of the home, the mansion is a doorway to the unique architecture of the past. Listed as a National Historic Place, the mansion has appeared in many period films.

Today, the Billings Preservation Society manages it, and the museum hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year.

  • Admiring the gorgeous and upscale interiors within the property.
  • Going on a Historian Walking Tour event.
  • Taking a private tour to learn about the history.

19. Lolo Trail

Wild Goose Island Lookout

Described by Lewis and Clark as the most challenging yet majestic portion of their journey, the Lolo Trail is not only of immense significance in US history, but it is also one of the top places to visit in Montana. Go hiking or mountain biking for miles on one of the most famous trails in the United States.

You can visit the Lewis and Clark camps, such as 13-Mile, Sinque Hole, Lonesome Cove, and others, and stop at the visitor center to get practical information and historical insight into the Lewis and Clark and Native American trails.

  • Enjoying the trail by mountain bike .
  • Taking a picnic whilst being surrounded by the tranquil nature.
  • Exploring this location on foot and discovering the beautiful forests.

20. Whitefish Mountain Resort

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Big Mountain in northwestern Montana is home to one of the top destinations in the state. Whitefish Mountain Resort has hosted its fair share of championships and has provided training slopes for many US Olympic athletes such as Andrea Mead, Tommy Moe, and others.

Located in Flathead County, near Going-to-the-Sun Road and Glacier National Park, the town of Whitefish is famous for its world-class skiing. It also boasts a freshwater lake, a popular Montana travel destination for those who like boating or simply taking in spectacular views.

  • Going on Montana’s longest zipline tour.
  • Going skiing in the winter, the snowy landscapes are magical! 
  • Enjoying the scenic chair lift over the gorgeous landscapes.

montana fun places to visit

Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh - writer and photographer With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook . Hotel Reviewing Experience - Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board ,  Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos .

1 thought on “20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Montana ”

Montana has been on my bucket list for years now! Love how majestic your photos are.

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14 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Montana

Written by Brad Lane Updated May 11, 2023

Author Brad Lane lived in Montana between 2018 and 2021.

Whether you're visiting Montana for the first time or you're a long-term resident of the state, Big Sky Country offers unique landscapes found in few other places in North America.

Glacier National Park, Montana

From glaciated lakes to towering headframes still seen in mining towns, Montana has a distinct flavor that is only experienced by visiting. But visitors beware — once a taste of the wild adventure and wide-open spaces of Montana hits, it's hard to live anywhere else.

Mountainous backdrops define much of Montana, especially the western half, where the Continental Divide protrudes with Rocky Mountain grandeur. This rugged region has several desirable places to visit, including the world-renowned Glacier National Park, also known as the Crown of the Continent.

But Glacier is just the tip of Montana's adventures. The state is also home to some of the most extensive wilderness tracts in the country and millions of acres of national forest. And among these big wide-open spaces, several notable Western cities, like Missoula and Bozeman, entice with other cultural offerings.

Plan your visit to Big Sky Country with our list of the top places to visit in Montana.

1. Glacier National Park

3. missoula, 4. whitefish, 5. yellowstone national park, 8. flathead lake, 9. great falls, 10. philipsburg and anaconda, 11. livingston, 12. virginia city, 13. little bighorn national monument, 14. billings, map of places to visit in montana, best time to visit montana.

Glacier National Park

Highlights : Crown jewel of Montana with stunning mountain peaks, lakes, and campgrounds

Glacier National Park , in Northwest Montana, is accurately nicknamed The Crown of the Continent . It shares this title with Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada, connected at the border.

Spanning the Continental Divide, the park contains headwaters for three major North American watersheds. It also tops the list as one of Montana's best state and national parks .

A combination of massive snowfalls and millennia-old glaciers carved this Rocky Mountain region into a surreal alpine landscape of U-shaped valleys, ice-cold lakes, and scenic mountain peaks. The main thoroughfare transporting visitors through Glacier is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, spanning 50 miles and connecting many of the park's best places to see.

Mountain goat in Glacier National Park

When considering where to go in Glacier National Park, a few suggestions include Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, and St. Mary —the western terminus, middle, and eastern terminus of the Going-to-the-Sun Road . These areas are all prominent stops on the park's free shuttle system . Several trailheads and campgrounds line the route, as well as a few historic chalets.

Hiking , backpacking, fishing, boating, camping , and simply enjoying the views define much of the summer fun at Glacier, and more solitary opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing occur in winter. The peak season at Glacier is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with an estimated three million visitors this time of year.

Accommodation: Best Places to Stay near Glacier National Park

Read More: Top-Rated Things to Do in Glacier National Park

Glen Lake Rotary Park

Highlights : University town with museums, restaurants, and easy access to the vast outdoors

Bozeman, in southwest Montana, is a university city with great access to the outdoors. Places like Bridger Bowl Ski Area and Custer Gallatin National Forest backdrop this charming western town, offering quintessential Montana adventures throughout the year. This ease of access to wild environments makes Bozeman a hot spot for hiking , fishing, and skiing.

Bozeman also has a distinct academic appeal as the home to Montana State University. This adds a scholarly touch to the historic Main Street running through downtown and a constant flow of young people, especially on the weekends.

Museum of the Rockies

Among the other educational opportunities, the city is also home to the widely recognized Museum of the Rockies, with one of the largest dinosaur fossil collections in the country. And the American Museum of Robotics is a few blocks away, offering a visible timeline of technology.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Bozeman

Missoula

Highlights : Excellent basecamp and lively city for exploring Montana and its outdoor spaces

The university city of Missoula is well worth the visit or long-term stay. The Clark Fork River runs right through the center of town, connected to a historic downtown district and railroad depot. With a healthy college population and local community, the city offers several outlets for culture and entertainment.

Alongside the University of Montana campus, other fun city attractions include the Missoula Art Museum , a lively music scene, and A Hip Strip of local storefronts. Adjacent to the river, the Clark Fork River Trail is the main pedestrian corridor that connects several attractions and things to do.

Adjacent to the city, places like the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Montana Snowbowl offer hiking trails and ski slopes. And several national forests surround the city, offering deeper dives into iconic Montana landscapes. The summer and shoulder seasons offer the best weather to enjoy Missoula, but winter offers its own kind of frosty enjoyment.

Read More: Best Campgrounds in Missoula

Flathead Lake

Highlights : Gateway to Whitefish Ski Resort, Glacier National Park, and Flathead Lake

Whitefish is a prominent stop on the Empire Builder Amtrak line in far Northwest Montana. It's a resort community thanks to the adjacent Whitefish Mountain Resort , also known as Big Mountain. It's also a jumping-off point for adventures in Glacier National Park, with the western Apgar Entrance approximately 30 minutes away.

The downtown district of Whitefish is filled with local shops, restaurants, and art galleries. It features lively entertainment throughout the year, including the winter, when skiers and snowboarders at Whitefish Mountain Resort fill the streets. And several other attractions , like Whitefish Lake and the surrounding Flathead National Forest , also draw interest to this mountain town.

Whitefish is also an excellent home base for other scenic places to visit. Alongside Glacier to the north, the city is also within a quick driving distance of Kalispell and Flathead Lake to the south. Similar to Whitefish, Kalispell offers a small-town charm and western appeal.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Highlights : The nation's first National Park, encompassing over two million acres of geothermal attractions

The northern tip of Yellowstone National Park is accessible via Gardiner, Montana, at the southern end of the aptly named Paradise Valley in the southwest part of the state. Visitors to this park entrance immediately encounter the Boiling River and the colorful travertine terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs . Also on-site are the Albright Visitor Center and the historic Fort Yellowstone.

Mammoth Hot Springs is well worth the visit alone. This steamy part of the park offers campgrounds, dining, and several boardwalk trails. And the near 3,500 square miles of Yellowstone invite further exploration from this unique and aromatic side of the park. This includes a multitude of geothermal features and places to see.

A few more notable places to visit within Yellowstone National Park include Yellowstone Lake, Grand Prismatic Spring , and the Upper Geyser Basin, including Old Faithful. Wildlife such as the park's native bison are commonly spotted from vehicles, as are other large animals, including black and grizzly bears, grey wolves, and elk.

Campground and lodge reservations often fill up fast during the summer season, and colder months attract winter enthusiasts from around the world.

  • Best Campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park
  • Best Hiking Trails in Yellowstone National Park

World Museum of Mining in Butte

Highlights : Historic mining town with museums, guided tours, and a lively downtown district

In western Montana, near the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 15, Butte is a good place to visit for an authentic Montana experience. Once regarded as the "Richest Hill on Earth," Butte has a long history in the mining industry still apparent on the streets today.

The Berkeley Pit bordering the city provides a colorful testament to this past, as does the World Museum of Mining , set atop the retired Orphan Girl Mine. One of the best ways to experience Butte's history is by hopping on one of several guided tours throughout the town. Old Butte Historical Adventures provides some of the most popular narrated excursions, including a classic Underground City Tour.

The surrounding Rocky Mountain landscape provides adventure opportunities throughout the year, including access to the Continental Divide Trail. The adjacent town of Anaconda also provides outlets of enjoyment from Butte.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Butte, Montana

Helena State Capitol building

Highlights : Montana's state capital backdropped by Mount Helena and Lewis and Clark National Forest

Once known as Last Chance Gulch and the state capital since Montana's statehood in 1889, Helena has a long history steeped in the Montana Gold Rush. Much of that gold-panning past can be experienced in Helena today, particularly within Reeder's Alley near downtown, complete with a preserved Pioneer's cabin.

For more history on a Helena vacation , the ornate State Capitol building is lined with interpretive information and historical paintings. Free self-guided tours are available anytime the capital building is open, which offers the perfect chance to enjoy the massive murals inside at leisure. Next door, the Montana Historical Society also displays a collection of state-inspired art and interpretive information.

Montana Historical Society

Mount Helena is the defining backdrop of the city, and the city park of the same name provides great hiking trails and excellent vistas close to downtown.

For families looking for where to go in Helena, the ExplorationWorks Plaza hosts an engaging science museum and the adjacent Great Northern Carousel. A piece of architecture easy to appreciate in Helena, the century-old Cathedral of St. Helena towers impressively near the city center.

Wildflowers blooming along Flathead Lake

Highlights : Massive freshwater lake popular for its boating, fishing, and camping near the shore

Flathead Lake is an incredible expanse of water in Northwest Montana. As one of the largest lakes in the American West outside of Alaska, it encompasses over 180 miles of shoreline. Just driving the length of the lake takes at least 45 minutes, and that's without stopping at the seasonal roadside cherry stands.

Boating and accessing the water are among the most popular things to do at Flathead Lake . The water is notorious for its flat surface and good fishing conditions. Several boat ramps and public access points line the shores, including different Flathead Lake State Park units.

One of the most adventurous units of Flathead Lake State Park is the aptly named Wild Horse Island. Feral horses still roam this largest island in the lake, which is only accessible to visitors via boat. Communities on the west side of the lake near Wild Horse Island offer ferries, kayak rentals, and powerboat rentals.

Giant Spring State Park

Highlights : Vacation destination with significant Montana history and access to the outdoors

Great Falls is home to a growing collection of world-class museums, restaurants, and genuine Montana experiences. It's also the site of significant history, spanning back to Cowboy Artists, the Corps of Discovery, and indigenous populations roaming the region. And today, it offers several things to do and great places to visit.

The C.M. Russell Museum and the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art and highlight some iconic work in modern and Western art. And the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center provides further insight on the city's storied past.

The River's Edge Trail is the main pedestrian corridor spanning the city on both sides of the Missouri River. It connects several stunning outdoor attractions, including Giant Springs State Park , home to one of the large natural freshwater springs in the country. For more outdoor appeal, just west of Great Falls is First People's Buffalo Jump State Park and the site of ancient buffalo hunting grounds.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Great Falls, Montana

Philipsburg, Montana

Highlights : Charming small towns on a scenic highway between Butte and Missoula

Philipsburg and Anaconda are two historic towns turned tourist destinations in Southwest Montana. The 64-mile Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Highway connects the two towns, also known as the Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Highway. And the stunning Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest spans much of the drive.

Approximately an hour east of Missoula, Philipsburg is a charming 19th-century mining town with a lively main street that's fun to wander.

Just a few Philipsburg attractions lining the street include art galleries; old-fashioned soda shops; and one of the best candy stores in the country, aptly named The Sweet Palace. The downtown area also features opportunities to mine for Montana sapphires and other Western gems.

Old Works Golf Club, Anaconda

Anaconda is on the other end of the byway, just 20 minutes from Butte, and with a history tied to the neighboring "Richest Hill on Earth." This history is most visible from the towering Anaconda Smelter Stack rising above the city. Other Anaconda attractions include a historic theater; a hot spring resort; and the Old Works Golf Club , complete with black slag bunkers.

Livingston, Montana

Highlights : Artsy Montana town at the end of Paradise Valley, opposite Yellowstone National Park

Livingston is on the Yellowstone River in southwestern Montana. Its Old West mixes well with the resident artists who now call this Western town home. The city is an hour's drive from Yellowstone National Park, but you don't have to leave Main Street to enjoy the impressive sights of this Rocky Mountain region — the towering Livingston Peak provides postcard views from the sidewalk.

Restaurants, art galleries, and a vibrant cultural scene now define this Old West town, as well as abundant access to fly fishing, hiking, and hot springs. It's a common stopover on Yellowstone vacations and a fun weekend trip from Bozeman, located 25 miles west. The town is also home, or second home, to a growing number of past and present celebrities.

Ghost town of Virginia City

Highlights: Preserved ghost town available for self-guided tours

Virginia City was once the most vibrant Gold Rush locale in the state, but today, few precious minerals remain in this now ghost town just west of Yellowstone National Park . What has endured over the years is the unmistakable air of an Old West gold-mining town.

As one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the state, Virginia City attracts tourists and families to take a fun step back in time. Live performances at the Virginia City Opera House are great for historical interest, as are the various guided tours and costumed characters roaming the streets.

Little Bighorn Indian Memorial

Highlights: Historic monument and battlefield commemorating the Battle of Little Bighorn

This national monument is the site of "Custer's Last Stand" and commemorates the Battle of Little Bighorn and the many men who lost their lives fighting in 1876. Visitors to the Little Bighorn National Monument today learn more about the events on the battlefield and the cultural elements that culminated in warfare.

Some of the unique places to visit at the monument include the Custer National Cemetery and Deep Ravine Trail, and the 7th Cavalry and Indian Memorial. Guided and self-guided tours are available.

Address: I-90 Frontage Road, Crow Agency, Montana

Rimrock Drive in Billings

Highlights: Montana's most populated city with stunning sandstone cliffs carving through town

Billings, in the south-central part of the state, is the largest city in Montana. With a population topping over 100,000 residents, the town sits on the Yellowstone River and invites several outlets for exploration. Magnificent sandstone cliffs known as the Rimrocks divide the city and offer a preview of its rugged Western landscapes.

The Great Outdoors is a major attraction of Billings, and the city is sometimes better known as Montana's Trailhead. The Yellowstone River offers major in-town outdoor attractions, as do Lake Elmo and Pictograph Caves State Parks. And heading south from Billings, the world-renowned Beartooth Highway navigates alpine terrain for 68 miles to reach Yellowstone National Park.

And it's the Billings culture, too, that warrants a visit. Museums, restaurants, and historic mansions line the downtown district, and the city's larger population keeps the pavement busy. Other Billings attractions include seasonal gardens and a wildlife zoo.

The best time to visit Montana is during the summer months, including June, July, and August. These months offer the warmest temperatures and longest days, aiding in exploring everything the state has to offer, especially its outdoors. Over 16 hours of sunlight shine throughout the day by late June, heading into July. The summer is the busiest time on Montana's roadways and at major points of interest.

Summer extends into September in Montana, and the following shoulder season also offers a nice time to visit. September is almost guaranteed nice weather, and October is commonly pleasant until near the end of the month. Plan a trip during the autumn season and expect less-crowded conditions alongside chilly overnight temperatures.

The spring is also a good time to visit Montana. Nicer weather emerges in March, although the ski season continues throughout the month. Visit in April or May for a comfortable visit with a good chance of sunny weather and only the occasional rain cloud.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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More to Explore in Montana: The top-rated tourist attractions in Montana offer even more places to see in the state, including Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park and The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. For winter fun in the state, Montana's best ski resorts deliver on glades, groomers, and chutes. Easily accommodating extra special visits, the top-rated resorts in Montana all come with excellent views.

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Insider’s Guide: Best Things to Do in Montana

Montana activities for every season and every interest.

Montana is full of so many incredible things to do. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities, museums, foodie adventures, breweries, road trips, or other activities, you’re bound to find something to entertain you during a trip to MT.

Of course, with so many things to do, it can be overwhelming trying to plan a vacation to Montana and figuring out what all there is to do and how to fit it all in!

Here at Travel Montana Now we strive to make it easier to narrow down exactly what it is you want to see and do in Montana.

We do that through our “Best of Montana lists” if you’re completely new to Montana and need a good place to start your Montana trip dreaming. We also have more detailed guides for specific activities, such as skiing or hiking.

Click one of the images below that it is most in line with what you want to do next! Still not sure, read on for more details of what you’ll find in each category.

Best of Montana Lists: The Best Things to Do in Montana

Best of Montana: Our Best of Montana lists cover hidden gems, scenic drives, dude ranches, girls getaways, romantic things to do, family friendly activities, and more.

National and State Parks: Find out the best things to do in the parks of Montana., including national historic sites and monuments.

Lake Activities: Montana is home to some epic lakes. Find out the best lakes and the top activities to do while visiting them.

River Activities: Here’s where you’ll find more info on river activities like white water rafting, kayaking, and fly fishing.

Road Trips: Whether you’re looking for day trip ideas or itinerary inspiration for multi-day or week vacations, this is the travel guide section for you.

Food & Drink: Where and what to eat and drink in Montana.

Fall Things to Do: Learn more about the best spots for fall foliage and scenic autumn drives in Montana, plus the best things to do in the fall.

Winter Things to Do: Here’s where you’ll find info on skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, Christmas festivals, and more winter fun.

More Inspiration for Things to Do in Montana

Still don’t see what you’re looking for? Check out our Montana Cities and Towns page:

Things to Do in Montana's top cities and towns.

We have articles on the top things to do for over 20 destinations in Montana, and adding more guides all the time!

These things to do include museums, hiking, historic walks, beautiful architecture, and more of our favorite things in each place. So find the things to do guide for the city or town where you’re headed and start putting together a list of the activities that sound best to you.

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30 Fun Things to Do in Helena, MT: An Insider’s Guide

From history to food to the outdoors, these are the very best things to do when you’re in Helena.

November 14, 2021 //  by  Jen Ambrose //   Leave a Comment

Updated April 9, 2024

Don’t want to miss the best things to do in Helena, Montana? Use this insider’s guide to plan your trip!

Looking down on a town, filled with trees and with a cathedral in the center and fields in the background.

The more times I visit Helena, Montana, (and being from Great Falls, just 90 miles away, I’ve made dozens of trips to Helena over the years), the more I think it’s really an underrated town.

It’s got just 35,000 people, making it the second-smallest of Montana’s seven “cities,” and the town’s primary claim to fame is that it’s the state capital.

But look a little deeper, and you’ll find so many fun things to do in Helena, plus easy access to outdoor activities year-round – and the central location means tons of options for great day trips from Helena, too.

Whether you’re touring the country’s state capitals, driving I-15 from Canada to Mexico, or taking a road trip from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park, there are plenty of reasons to visit Helena – and this guide will help you make the most of however much time you have there.

Some links in this post are affiliates, meaning we may earn a small commission if you make a reservation. Your cost stays the same!

Table of Contents

Walk the pedestrian-only Last Chance Gulch.

Walk the lesser-known reeder’s alley., visit the montana capitol building., tour montana’s original governor’s mansion., learn the state’s history at the montana historical society museum., learn even more at the montana military museum., stop by the archie bray foundation for the ceramic arts., visit the cathedral of st. helena., see local art at the holter museum of art., climb mount helena., see a show at one of helena’s venues., take the kids to the explorationworks., stroll around spring meadow lake., visit the montana wild education center., explore the marysville ghost town., line up for pastries at cotton-top..

  • Sip Montago coffee, and read a banned book.

Visit one or more of Helena’s craft breweries.

Eat mexican street food at el vaquero taqueria., drink with the former governor at brothers tapworks., attend alive at five on wednesday nights., browse one of helena’s farmers’ markets., take the last chance train tour., take the boat tour of gates of the mountains., visit tizer botanic gardens and arboretum., get out on the water at canyon ferry lake., go horseback riding., ice skate at memorial park., go skiing at great divide., cross-country ski at macdonald pass., even more things to do near helena, montana, hotels in helena, helena airbnb & vrbo rentals, camping in helena, map of helena, montana, the best things to do in helena, montana.

From local art and Montana history to fun shopping and the great outdoors, these are the top Helena activities to consider including in your itinerary. Bonus: many of them are centrally located (and Helena’s pretty compact anyway), making it easy to see a lot in a short amount of time.

Last Chance Gulch is a road that runs through the heart of downtown Helena and should be part of any Helena itinerary. The last quarter-mile or so of the road, known as the Walking Mall , is closed to vehicles and lined with shops, restaurants, and galleries. And head north of the Walking Mall along the main part of Last Chance Gulch for even more.

Wide walkway lined with buildings and with trees and benches in the center, and a purple sign reading "Walking Mall Trolley Block."

A few beloved spots?

  • Big Dipper Ice Cream
  • Lasso the Moon Wonderful Toys
  • The Parrot Confectionery
  • Birds & Beasleys
  • Wild Child Collective
  • Aunt Bonnie’s Books & Gifts
  • Montana Book Company
  • General Mercantile (“The Merc”)

Colorful bookstore storefront with pride flag in the window.

Last Chance Gulch isn’t the only walking street in Helena. Nearly adjacent to it is tiny Reeder’s Alley – blink and you’ll miss its entrance, right by Cotton-Top Pastries. What this street lacks in size (it’s only about 200 feet long), it makes up for in intrigue, as the site of Helena’s oldest intact settlement.

Cobblestone street with wooden barrel in the foreground and historic red brick buildings lining the street.

A narrow cobblestone road lined with brick buildings, it served as a housing complex for miners in the 1800s. Today, Reeder’s Alley is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The self-guided walking tour of the alley teaches some fascinating history, and the pioneer cabin at its base is open to visitors during the summer.

Like in every state capital, the capitol building is one of the top attractions in Helena. Known for its copper-covered dome – as well as the paintings on the dome’s interior – the building has served as the Montana state capitol since 1902.

Sprinklers running on a grass lawn with a stately domed-capitol building in the background.

After a hiatus, guided tours of the Capitol are back and available Monday-Friday during the summer. Visitors can still explore the building on a self-guided tour any time of year, and kids will love the scavenger hunt led by Lewis and Clark’s dog, Seaman.

The Original Governor’s Mansion is one of Helena’s most historic buildings, dating to 1888. An example of Queen Anne-style architecture, it housed Montana’s governors for about 45 years.

Red Queen Anne style house with bright blue sky and a mountain in the background.

Today, it serves as a historic museum and is only open for tours, which are free and last one hour. The tours are led by very knowledgeable guides who can tell you pretty much anything about the mansion and the early history of the capital. (Note that the mansion is only open on Saturdays outside of summer months.)

As of April 2024, Montana’s Museum is temporarily closed for renovations.

Known as Montana’s Museum , it really is the most comprehensive and informative museum on the history of the state. It’s surprisingly big and there’s a lot to read, with exhibits on wildlife, Lewis and Clark, Native American history and culture, paleontology, and more, plus local art collections. And it’s got a sizable gift shop, too.

Museum interior with cardboard cutouts of historic figures and Native American portrait paintings on a purple wall.

This is easily one of the biggest attractions in Helena, and one of the best museums in Montana, so don’t miss it!

Head out to Fort Harrison on the edge of town to see this relatively little-known museum. Housed in World War II-era buildings, the Montana Military Museum depicts the history of the armed forces in Montana, all the way back to the days of Lewis and Clark. You’ll also see several historic military vehicles parked outside.

Two things to know: the museum is only open on Thursdays, and you’ll need a photo ID to get in. Oh, and it’s free!

Easily one of the most unusual things to do in Helena, the Archie Bray Foundation feels like a pretty unexpected find. A 70-year-old institute situated on a National Historic Register-listed brickyard, “the Bray” is said to house some of the country’s finest ceramic art.

Red brick building with colorful tiles attached. A railing made out of old ceramic pipe topped with ceramic heads.

The exhibitions rotate frequently throughout the year, and they’re always free and open to the public. With indoor and outdoor spaces spread over 26 acres, there’s a lot to see – art galleries, kilns, functioning artists’ studios, and the remains of the historic brickyard, all surrounded by a very wide range of outdoor sculptures.

12-foot-tall winged ceramic statue in front of a run-down factory building.

Its twin spires soaring 230 feet in the air, the 109-year-old Cathedral of St. Helena towers above downtown. The building was modeled after the neo-Gothic Votive Church in Vienna, and you can easily see the resemblance (probably the only thing Helena and Vienna have in common!).

Cathedral with Gothic spires surrounded by leafy trees.

An active parish with daily mass, the church is open to visitors and even offers tours during the summer. Otherwise, you can let yourself in whenever it’s not in use and look around on your own. Keep an eye out for the pipe organ, 59 stained glass windows, and 15 hand-cast bells, as well as the 29 limestone statues around the exterior.

The building is incredibly ornate inside and out, and whether you’re Catholic or not, it’s certainly one of the most awe-inspiring things to see in Helena.

The Holter Museum , specializing in contemporary art from the Northwest, has served as the center of Helena’s art community since it opened in 1987. Today, it houses a permanent art collection and hosts 15 or more rotating exhibitions each year, featuring a wide variety of styles and mediums. There’s a cool gift shop, and (even cooler if you ask me!) a vending machine that sells hand-drawn cards for $0.75 each.

Several abstract art heads sitting on white wooden pedestals in a museum gallery.

We were also really interested to read about the museum’s work with healthcare facilities in the area, like bringing art projects to cancer patients and teaching classes for adults in crisis situations.

If you’re a hiker, you’re in luck! Not only are there plenty of great options for hiking near Helena, you don’t even have to leave town to hit the trail. Just a few minutes from downtown is Mount Helena City Park – which is supposedly the country’s second-biggest city park, after Central Park in New York (although nobody seems to be able to verify that claim!).

Regardless, several of the park’s trails lead to the summit of Mount Helena, which sits 1,300 feet above town. The 1906 Trail is the most popular one and makes for the easiest climb.

Sunrise over a mountain trail with a cityscape in the distant background.

Don’t feel like climbing all the way to the top? Mount Helena is part of the South Hills Trail System , with tons of other hiking options in the area.

At first glance, the Helena Civic Center looks like it’d be more at home in the Middle East than in small-town Montana. But this building actually has no connection to Islam, and was just built by the local Shriners group (over 100 years ago). Today, its massive auditorium, the largest concert hall in Montana, hosts occasional concerts, plays, and other performances.

Besides the Civic Center, there’s community theatre at Grandstreet and all kinds of live music, film screenings, and other programs at The Myrna Loy . And don’t forget to check the Carroll College events calendar for even more performances, films, and other events that are (usually) open to the public. Among these four spots, there’s a good chance something will be going on while you’re in town – and it’ll make the perfect date night in Helena!

If you’re looking for Helena activities for kids, make ExplorationWorks your first stop. This family-friendly museum is 13,000 square feet full of educational play spaces and interactive exhibits for kids. They also host frequent classes and other events, all included in the $10.50 admission cost.

Colorful archways leads to a modern museum building under a bright blue sky.

Probably even more important to the kids if we’re being realistic, ExplorationWorks is right next to the Great Northern Carousel , beloved for its 37 colorful hand-carved animals that go round and round. Rides are just $3! (Before you get the kids’ hopes up, be aware that the Carousel is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.)

Spring Meadow Lake State Park might be one of the smaller Montana state parks, but it’s also one of the most accessible – located right in Helena. So if you’re looking for a peaceful retreat into nature that doesn’t require a long drive, this is it. The lake takes up most of the park, and the mile-long trail that loops around it makes for an easy stroll.

Right on the edge of Spring Meadow Lake you’ll find one of the best free things to do in Helena: Montana WILD , an education and rehabilitation center run by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

The interactive exhibits offer tons of information about lands and wildlife across Montana, and there’s even an aquarium full of native fish species. Kids (and maybe adults!) will enjoy the scavenger hunt and all the things you can touch. (Note that Montana WILD is closed on weekends.)

There are so many ghost towns in Montana, ranging from fully-preserved tourist experiences to some untouched buildings crumbling on the side of the road. Marysville , the closest one to Helena, falls somewhere in between. In fact, like many of Montana’s ghost towns, it’s not completely abandoned – an estimated 97 people live there today.

Small historic church on a snowy field with rolling hills in the background.

But the abandoned area is open to visitors and well worth exploring (and full of great photo ops), with the 135-year-old wooden church standing out as the biggest highlight. It’s only 30 minutes northwest of Helena, so don’t miss the chance to see one of Montana’s less-visited ghost towns – just be respectful of the people who still call Marysville their home.

Abandoned building leaning to one side against a snowy landscape.

Things to Do in Helena, MT: Food & Drink Edition

Does Helena have a massive dining scene? Maybe not. But it does have a few surprises in store – and these are the ones you cannot miss!

I said “line up” because if Cotton-Top is open, there’s a line – but I promise you, it’ll be worth the wait. The owner went to pastry school in France, and every pastry she sells is like a work of art. They’re all small-batch and made with local ingredients whenever possible (and always with Wheat Montana flour).

Cotton-Top has a different menu every week, always featuring seasonal flavors and the best ingredients available. They usually have a dozen or so pastries, and the current list is always posted on their Facebook page .

Pastry counter with various baked goods, a point of sale tablet, and a cloth bag underneath with the name Cotton-Top Pastries on it.

A few recent favorites? Churro cruffins, Mexican chocolate chunk scones, cheddar green onion butter biscuits, ham + swiss everything croissants, honey cinnamon caramel buns…mmmm.

Cotton-Top sits at the bottom of Reeder’s Alley, and – this part is important! – it’s only open on Friday and Saturday morning, and only for however long it takes them to sell out.

Sip Montago coffee, and read a banned book .

In addition to multiple Starbucks and outposts of some smaller chains, Helena’s got a handful of independent coffee shops. But if you ask me, Montago Coffee Co. is the one you can’t miss (yes, I’ve tried them all). They’re serious about quality coffee, from rich Americanos to the best pumpkin latte I’ve ever had.

White and green vintage travel trailer with the name Montago Coffee Company on the side.

Montago (the word is a combination of “Montana” and “Otago,” the region of New Zealand where the owners were living when they had the idea to open a coffee shop) originally served coffee out of an adorable Shasta camper trailer. There’s now a permanent location just off Last Chance Gulch, which hosts a free little Banned Bookshelf curated by the Montana Book Company .

Like most Montana towns these days, Helena punches far above its weight when it comes to craft beer. There are currently seven breweries in Helena, and they all have something different to offer. Lewis & Clark hosts frequent events, Copper Furrow (previously called Crooked Furrow) has a huge yard and patio, and Speakeasy 41 is like a step back in time.

Brewery interior with modern high top tables, a barrel with arranged around it, and a mural of a mountain landscape on the wall.

But if I had to recommend just one to visitors, it’d be Blackfoot River Brewing Company . In addition to a big tap list (including rotating beers served on a traditional hand-pumped beer engine), Blackfoot serves free popcorn, allows patrons to bring pizza from Brooklyn Pizza next door, and has a second-floor balcony overlooking Last Chance Gulch. What more could you want in a brewery?

Plus, Ten Mile Creek Brewery and Mt. Ascension Brewing are both just a few minutes’ walk away if you want to make it a brewery crawl.

Not many Montana towns have anything that could be termed “real” Mexican food. But Helena does! El Vaquero Taqueria is a small spot with a basic menu, but they serve all the Mexican classics at lunchtime. Street tacos are their specialty, and come with your choice of filling.

Exterior of a building with signs on the windows reading "Burritos, Tacos, Mexican Takeout, El Vaquero Taqueria," and a chalkboard with handwritten menu items.

There’s no indoor seating, just a few picnic tables outside, so plan on taking it to go if you aren’t visiting on a warm day.

Most former politicians spend their time writing books or appearing on TV – or in Montana, many of them return to farming or ranching. But after Steve Bullock, the state’s governor from 2013-2021, retired from politics, he opened a bar with his brother, Bill!

Brothers Tapworks sits right on Last Chance Gulch and serves a huge variety of beers from breweries around Montana. They host weekly trivia and bingo, plus lots of other events, and there’s often a food truck parked nearby. Word has it that the former governor doesn’t serve drinks at the bar, as many Helena residents had been hoping, but he can sometimes be found hanging out there.

What to Do in Helena, MT, in Summer

If you’re visiting Helena in the summer, you’ll have a few more possible activities to add to your list. Summer days are looong this far north, so there will be plenty of time to squeeze them in!

Alive at Five (formerly known as Revive at Five) is Helena’s summer outdoor concert series. On Wednesday evenings, the downtown venue (it rotates among several parks and other locations) buzzes with live music, food trucks, and a showcase of local non-profits. If you’re in Helena on a Wednesday in the summer, don’t miss it!

During the summer in Helena, the farmers’ markets are the place to be. The main Helena Farmers’ Market takes place on Saturday mornings on Fuller Avenue (very near Last Chance Gulch). And the Capitol Square Farmers’ Market is held on Tuesday afternoons right behind the capitol building.

Bonus: the Capitol Square market has an outdoor yoga class that’s open to the public (for the sake of full transparency, it’s taught by my friend Robyn, the owner of Gentle Healing Center – who’s a pro at making yoga inviting to everyone!).

At both markets, you’ll find local produce, handmade crafts and décor, plants and flowers, artisanal baked goods, and more, plus at least a couple food trucks are usually in attendance.

If you visit Helena in the summer, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see the Last Chance tour train rolling through town. These open-air, multi-car “trains” take visitors on a one-hour tour that goes past all the main sights in town.

This hour-long tour is not only one of the most popular Helena attractions, it’s also a great way to get the lay of the land if it’s your first visit. Is it a cheesy tourist experience? Sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not also fun and informative (and it’s very kid-friendly to boot!).

Tourist train that's been outfitted to look like a historic steam engine.

Tours run multiple times a day on Monday-Saturday during the summer, and tickets cost $12. They’re available online or at the kiosk in front of Montana’s Museum.

Named by Lewis and Clark as they paddled up the Missouri River, the Gates of the Mountains is a wilderness area about 25 minutes north of Helena. It’s best experienced on the boat tour, which is considered not just one of the top attractions near Helena, but one of the best things to do in Montana .

It’s a comfortable, smooth boat ride past stunning scenery, and knowledgeable captains tell stories about the area’s history, explain its natural features, and point out wildlife. For such an incredible trip that lasts two hours, tickets are a steal at $20 per person.

Just 25 minutes south of Helena is Tizer Gardens , Montana’s only full-time botanical garden and arboretum. It’s got six acres of gardens to wander through, with roses, vegetables, herbs, and wildflowers, plus a children’s garden, a meditation garden, and others. You’ll feel like you’re bathing in nature.

Back of two wooden chairs facing a garden and small pond, with a few people and a gazebo in the background.

Tizer Gardens is typically open to visitors from May through October, depending on the weather. They also host occasional events, including the extremely popular High Tea in the Garden (book as early as possible to get a spot!). Little known fact: you can rent the garden’s rustic cabin and stay there overnight!

Canyon Ferry Lake is the Helena area’s go-to spot for all kinds of water activities. A massive reservoir in the Missouri River, the closest access points are on its north end, about 30 minutes east of town. It’s a great spot for paddling, swimming, boating, fishing, or just having a laid-back lake day.

Dark clouds hang over a glassy lake with a few forested hills in the background.

Goose Bay Marina on the lake’s eastern edge rents kayaks and SUPs, you can save a bit by renting at Capital Sports in town, if you have a way to transport them. Canyon Ferry is also a very popular spot for camping near Helena, with several campgrounds around edge of the lake.

If horseback riding has always been on your bucket list, you can finally cross it off while you’re in Helena. Head out to Summer Star Ranch , about 40 minutes from town, for a trail ride. Their guided rides take visitors along trails that are only open to horses, with high chances of spotting wildlife like elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. It’s the quintessential Montana experience.

Choose from 1-, 1.5-, and 2-hour options – and if you’re thinking those don’t sound very long, believe me when I say it will feel much longer once you’re in the saddle (especially if you’ve never been in one before!).

What to Do in Helena, MT, in Winter

Like the rest of Montana , Helena becomes a winter wonderland in the colder months – and locals don’t shy away from outdoor activities just because it’s chilly. You’ll need to bundle up before you head out, but these are some of the top ways to experience Helena at its snowy best.

If you’re in Helena between December and February, don’t miss the chance to hit the ice! The outdoor ice rink in Memorial Park is open Wednesday-Sunday (weather permitting), and it’s equally fun as a family outing or a date night. If you ask me, there’s something extra special about outdoors at night.

Kids and adults skating in small groups on an outdoor ice rink at dusk.

Admission is shockingly low at just $3.50, including skate rentals (and only $3 for Helena residents!), and you can skate as long as you like.

In the central and western parts of the state, every Montana town has its local ski hill. And for Helena, that hill is Great Divide Ski Area , about 35 minutes northwest of town (just past the Marysville ghost town).

Snowy ski slope with trail sign stating "Hard Luck"

Great Divide may not be the biggest or snowiest of Montana’s ski areas , but it is the sunniest – and if you hate (or are rightly terrified of) skiing blind in the fog, that means a lot.

It’s also easily accessible from town and has pretty affordable lift tickets – plus night skiing on Fridays (and Saturdays in January) for just $15. They offer some of the lowest-cost lessons in the state, too, which makes it a great opportunity for newbies and anyone who wants to level up.

Double chairlift illuminated at night with a few skiers riding.

Great Divide’s other claim to fame? It typically has the longest ski season of any hill in Montana, traditionally being the first to open and last to close. If you’re visiting Helena anytime between Thanksgiving and the end of April, there’s a good chance the lifts will probably be spinning.

If you prefer to do your skiing on flat ground, Helena’s still got you covered. Just 20 minutes from town is the MacDonald Pass Ski Trails , located in Helena National Forest. There’s 15 miles of trails with varying difficulty levels, and the non-profit Last Chance Nordic Ski Club grooms them almost every day during the season, so you know they’ll be in good condition.

The trails are typically open from late November to late April, and while it’s technically free to the public, donations are strongly encouraged to help defray the costs of grooming (and it feels like the right thing to do). If you don’t have your own cross-country skis, you can pick up rentals at The BaseCamp in town before you head out.

A safety tip from the club’s website: “Give moose, if you’re lucky enough to see one, plenty of room.”

Are you willing to make a little more of a drive? There are tons of other things to do around Helena, and these are all less than 1.5 hours away.

  • Float down the Missouri River from Craig . 45 minutes
  • Explore the Elkhorn ghost town (including Elkhorn State Park). 1 hour
  • Visit the Old Montana Prison Museum in Deer Lodge – or take the ghost tour! 1 hour
  • Tour the caverns at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park . 1 hour 20 minutes

Where to Stay in Helena, Montana

Accommodations in Helena get more expensive in the summer, as well as during legislative sessions (January through May in odd-numbered years). If that’s when you’re visiting, make your reservations in advance to get the best options.

There’s a surprising number of very poorly-rated hotels in Helena (yikes), but there are plenty of nice ones, too – so just make sure you read the reviews before you book! These would be our top picks at every price point:

Baymont by Wyndham :The highest-rated budget hotel in town, complete with a pool, gym, and complimentary breakfast

Lamplighter Cabins & Suites : A unique option offering one-of-a-kind cabins with themes like skiing, cowboys, and movie stars, plus cozy suites with full kitchens

Great Northern Hotel : One of the most iconic places to stay in Helena, just a short walk from Last Chance Gulch

The Carolina Bed & Breakfast : A traditional B&B in a turn-of-the-century home, perfect for splurging on a romantic getaway in Helena

Both VRBO and Airbnb have tons of listings in the Helena area as well, and many of them incredibly unique and well-equipped, like these rentals:

  • Rhinestone Cowboy Apartment
  • Botanic Gardens Cabin
  • Victorian Home Guest Suite
  • Stylish Apartment in Historic Downtown
  • Creekside Getaway & Retreat

Log cabin surrounded by lush green plants and trees. A wooden sign above the door reads Creekside Cowboy Cabin, and a wagon wheel leans against the front.

If you’re planning to camp while you’re visiting Helena, you can choose from a wide variety of campgrounds in the area, but note that most of them are 20-30 minutes from town:

  • Cromwell Dixon Campground – Helena National Forest (25 minutes)
  • Devil’s Elbow Recreation Site – Hauser Lake (30 minutes)
  • Court Sheriff Campground – Canyon Ferry Lake (35 minutes)
  • Helena North KOA Journey – north of town (20 minutes)
  • Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds (in town)

Our custom map of Helena shows the locations of all the above-mentioned restaurants, accommodations, and things to do. Helena has been growing rapidly toward the north and the east, but most of the main attractions are closer to the center of town, in the areas around Last Chance Gulch and near the capitol building.

Click here for an interactive version of the map!

montana fun places to visit

And there you have it! After more visits than I can count, these are all my top recommendations. And with all these fun things to do, Helena is a place I know I’ll keep going back to.

What are your favorite things to do in Helena, MT?

Collage of four photos - looking up at a twin-spire cathedral, lake with tree-covered hill in the background, domed capitol building behind a manicured lawn and row of flags, and dirt trail on a hillside leading toward trees. In the center is a white rectangle with text reading Best things to do in Helena, Montana.

About Jen Ambrose

Jen Ambrose was born and raised in Great Falls, MT, and has also spent extensive time in Missoula, Helena, Bozeman, and Butte. She and her husband Ryan are well on their way to their goal of visiting every county and every state park in Montana! When she’s not writing, Jen is also a yoga teacher and personal trainer, and you’ll find her teaching and taking classes across Montana and wherever she goes.

Historic brick building with red trim, street seen with pickup truck below.

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  • Last Updated On
  • September 29, 2023

15 Best Places to Visit in Montana — Fun & Unique Places to Go!

Andrew Carter

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Montana is a treasure trove of breathtaking natural wonders and outdoor adventures.

If you’re planning a trip there, deciding on the best places to visit can be overwhelming, given the state’s vast size and varied topography.

But don’t worry. 

I’m here to help you plan your Montana adventure.

I’ve explored Montana extensively and spoken to locals and travelers to provide a comprehensive guide to the best vacation spots in Montana.

This guide covers everything from famous national parks to lesser-known but equally stunning destinations.

To make this review more accurate, these activities are rated based on family-friendliness, affordability, educational value, entertainment variety, and accessibility. 

You won’t want to miss the stunning views of snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and pristine forests.

So pack your bags, grab your camera, and prepare for a lifetime adventure in Montana.

Let’s explore the best places to visit in Montana together.

Best Places To Visit In Montana Compared

Montana’s rugged landscapes offer a stunning backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. 

Here’s a handy list of the top places to visit in Montana.

Editor’s Choice

Flathead Lake State Park — Big Arm

Flathead Lake State Park — Big Arm

Flathead Lake State Park, established in 1966, spans roughly 217 acres.

  • Family-friendliness: 5/5
  • Affordability: 4/5 
  • Educational Value: 3/5
  • Entertainment Variety: 4/5
  • Accessibility: 5/5

#2nd Best Choice

West Yellowstone

West Yellowstone

West Yellowstone serves as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

  • Family-friendliness: 4/5
  • Affordability: 3/5
  • Educational Value: 5/5
  • Entertainment Variety: 4/5 

#3rd Best Choice

Glacier National Park Scenic Float

Glacier National Park Scenic Float

This float, operated by Great Northern Whitewater Rafting, tours you around the Flathead River.

  • Entertainment Variety: 3/5
  • Accessibility: 4/5

Here are the top 15 places to visit in Montana.

1. Flathead Lake State Park — Big Arm (Editor’s Choice)

28031 Big Arm State Park Rd Big Arm, MT 59910 (406) 837-3041 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

It rests on the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the western area of the country.

Ratings Criteria

  • Stunning views 
  • Has various outdoor recreational activities
  • It can get crowded

Why You Should Visit This Place

Are you looking for places to go in Montana for an amazing vacation that your family or friends will never forget?

If you are, grab your things and head on over to this eye-catching state park.

It features a postcard-perfect landscape with mountain backdrops and towering ponderosa pines.

There are tons of activities you can enjoy here, like hiking, swimming, camping, biking, sunbathing, fishing, boating, water skiing, scuba diving, board sailing, and so on.

It also features countless amenities, such as well-maintained restrooms, campsites, spaces for you to park your RV, coin-operated showers, picnic shelters, and tons more.

An Expert Tip Before You Go

If you want to enjoy your day trip to the fullest without having to worry about your personal items, you can rent storage lockers for a fee at this state park.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Red Lion Ridgewater Inn & Suites Polson

2. West Yellowstone

West Yellowstone, MT 59758 (406) 646-7715 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

It is home to numerous gift shops, lodging facilities, and nature-related attractions.

  • Has a range of lodging
  • Various dining options
  • It can be expensive

Enjoy the best of Montana with your friends or a special someone at West Yellowstone.

It offers many stores where you can buy an assortment of souvenir items to take to your family back home and countless activities to enjoy a terrific time outdoors.

For example, river rafting, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and so much more.

Before leaving West Yellowstone, pay a visit to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.

It is a superb wildlife park where you can get the chance to see grizzly bears and wolf packs up close.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Kelly Inn West Yellowstone

Related: Best Places to Eat in Missoula

Related: Best Things to Do in Montana

3. Glacier National Park Scenic Float

12127 U.S. Rte 2 suite a West Glacier, MT 59936 (406) 888-8754 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

  • Offers a unique and peaceful experience 
  • Wildlife spotting opportunities
  • Weather dependent

Glacier National Park is full of natural wonders, and one of the best ways to explore this place is through this activity. 

Picture yourself gently gliding along waters, surrounded by mountains, lush forests, and the occasional glimpse of wildlife. 

It’s an awe-inspiring adventure that will captivate both kids and adults alike.

To make the most of your experience, remember to dress in layers and bring a waterproof jacket. 

The weather can change quickly in the mountains, and being prepared will ensure your comfort throughout the trip. 

Additionally, don’t forget your camera.

You’ll encounter breathtaking sights along the way, and capture those moments.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Sacajawea Hotel

4. Ziplining across Gallatin River

Ziplining across Gallatin River

63960 Gallatin Rd Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730 (702) 648-5873 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Experience the thrill of ziplining across the scenic Gallatin River in Montana. Soar through the air with breathtaking views of the river and surrounding mountains.

It is a great alternative for West Yellowstone and Glacier National Park Scenic Float.

Ziplining across the Gallatin River is an exhilarating experience that should not be missed.

It offers a thrilling adventure and breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty.

Soaring through the air on a zipline provides an adrenaline rush and a unique perspective of the Gallatin River and its scenic surroundings.

It’s an unforgettable activity that combines excitement and awe-inspiring landscapes.

To enhance your ziplining experience across the Gallatin River, wear comfortable and sturdy closed-toe shoes.

Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.

Secure loose items and valuables.

Follow the safety instructions provided by the guides and pay attention during the orientation.

Embrace the thrill, keep a relaxed posture, and enjoy the exhilarating ride while taking in the stunning scenery below.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Grouse Mountain Lodge

Related: Best Places to Eat in Whitefish

helena

Helena, MT (406) 449-2107 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Helena, nicknamed the Queen City of the Rockies, is the capital city of the state.

It was a gold camp in the Montana gold rush, making it one of the wealthiest cities in the late 19th century.

Helena is a lovely city featuring a fun and laid-back environment for you to explore on your own or with your companions.

Popular sites you can tour here are the Montana State Capitol offering guided tours of its facility, ExplorationWorks, a science museum with interactive exhibits, and Spring Meadow Lake State Park, where you go scuba diving, kayaking, swimming, and the like.

End the day by having a delicious dinner at one of its best eateries , Lucca’s.

It is a fine-dining, Italian restaurant where you can try various dishes, like savory steaks and pasta, with a tall glass of fine wine.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Baymont by Wyndham Helena

6. Great Falls

great falls

Great Falls, MT (406) 771-1180 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Great Falls, incorporated in 1888, is a charming city with the Missouri River running through it.

It has two nicknames, the Western Art Capital of the World and the River City.

If you are looking for what to do in Montana to jump start the vacation of a lifetime, make your way to Great Falls.

Here, you can enjoy a myriad of activities, like going on an adventure on the Missouri River, golfing, exploring its many museums, cooling off from the heat at a water park, taking in the fresh air at an urban park, and so much more.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is one of the top attractions in this city that you must visit.

It allows you to learn about local history and enjoy many guided activities in nature.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: La Quinta by Wyndham Butte

Related: Best Weekend Getaways in Montana

bozeman

Bozeman, MT (406)582-2300 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Bozeman , found in the southwestern region of Montana, is a beautiful city offering a boat-load of recreational possibilities.

If you are on a budget and looking for affordable Montana tourist attractions to visit, consider Bozeman.

This city has many places you can explore for free or at a cheap price that won’t break the bank.

Like, the American Computer & Robotics Museum, where you can discover the wonder of technology, the Gallatin History Museum, a renovated jail building with galleries on local history, and the Montana Grizzly Encounter, a haven for bears.

One of the top places to see in Montana is the vibrant downtown district of Bozeman, where you can watch its annual summer concert series, Music on Main.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus GranTree Inn

Related: Best Places to Eat in Bozeman

8. Glacier National Park — West Glacier

glacier national park — west glacier

West Glacier, MT 59936 (406) 888-7800 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Glacier National Park, nicknamed the Crown of the Continent, is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.

It encompasses more than 1 million acres and beckons visitors from all over the country.

When searching for beautiful places to visit near you to enjoy an epic excursion in the heart of mother nature, there is no better option than Glacier National Park.

It has an awe-inspiring scenery featuring lush greenery, over 1,000 plant species, majestic mountain ranges, and towering trees.

Pack your necessities as you prepare to do activities like hiking through trails of varying lengths and difficulties, back-country camping, rock climbing, observing passing wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, practicing nature photography, and plenty of other options.

The best time to visit this national park is in July and August.

During these months, the weather condition is at its most ideal.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Riverfront Hotel and Suites

9. Missoula

missoula

Missoula, MT (406) 552-6000 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

You can find Missoula in the western region of Montana.

It is a natural beauty featuring sparkling rivers, jaw-dropping mountain views, and seven wilderness areas surrounding it.

One of the top places to visit in Montana with your companions is this gorgeous city.

Whether you want to enjoy activities in the great outdoors or spend time indoors, Missoula is the place for you.

Some destinations for you to explore here are the Historic Wilma Theater, where you can watch an independent film or a live show, the Missoula Art Museum, featuring an impressive collection of Native American artwork, and numerous other options.

Other things you can enjoy in nature are hiking, horseback riding, rafting, fishing, kayaking, and the like.

Do not leave the city without visiting the top-rated Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.

Here, you can learn about the rich history of western Montana and discover the significance of the fort in the late 19th century.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Big Sky Motel

Related: Best Places to Eat in West Yellowstone

10. Philipsburg

philipsburg

Philipsburg, MT (406) 859-6726 Visit Website Open in Google Maps

Philipsburg was once a prominent mining town in the late 1800s.

It is a must-visit for history buffs, featuring a boat-load of historical sites for you to explore.

Bond with your companions as you spend quality time together exploring the many fascinating tourist hotspots in Philipsburg.

Like the Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine, the oldest sapphire mine in Montana, the Opera House Theatre, where you can watch an enthralling live show in a historic theater, and the Granite Ghost Town State Park, a once lively town in the 1890s.

If you want to enjoy a couple of beers with your friends, the Philipsburg Brewing Company is your best choice.

It offers some of the tastiest craft beer in Montana.

butte

Butte, MT (406) 497-6200 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Butte, settled in 1864, is the fifth-largest city in Montana.

Many movies and television series featured Butte, like Evel Knievel and Dead 7.

Butte is one of the best cities to visit in Montana, offering you and your partner, friends, or family the perfect place to spend quality time together.

Here, you can enjoy a multitude of fun-filled activities to guarantee an entertaining visit.

Such as learning about its rich mining history, touring a distillery, strolling through beautiful gardens, taking your kids to a charming park, going down slides at a waterpark, and lots more.

Replenish your energy by dining at the Uptown Cafe, arguably one of the best restaurants in Montana, serving mouth-watering dishes, like pork stir fry and various cakes.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: Best Western Plus Butte Plaza Inn

12. Fort Benton

fort benton

Fort Benton, MT (406) 622-5494 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Fort Benton, nicknamed the Birthplace of Montana, is the oldest settlement in the state.

A destination you should not miss out on visiting on your Montana escapade with your travel buddies is Fort Benton.

It features numerous superb eateries, awe-striking art galleries, and countless historic attractions.

Some places of interest for you to explore are the Museum of the Northern Great Plains, where you can learn stories of local farmers from the 1900s, Fort Benton Bridge, a stunning bridge constructed in 1888, and tons more.

Don’t leave without going on a tour of Old Fort Benton, a National Landmark.

This fort, abandoned in 1881, is now a history museum where you can learn all about the city’s past from a knowledgeable guide.

13. Virginia City

Virginia City

Virginia City, MT (406) 843-5247 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Virginia City is a historic town in Montana founded in the 1860s, and it is known for its well-preserved architecture and mining history.

Travel back in time to the Wild West with a visit to Virginia City, Montana.

This historic town, founded during the gold rush of the 1860s, boasts well-preserved architecture, saloons, and shops that offer a glimpse into the past.

Take a stagecoach ride for an even more immersive experience—a must-visit for any history lover or adventure seeker.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing as you walk on uneven terrain and up and down hills while exploring the historic town of Virginia City.

14. Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort — Plains

quinn's hot springs resort — plains

195 Quinn’s Canyon Road Route 135 Plains, MT 59859 (406) 826-3150 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort is a renowned facility offering natural hot spring pools, an onsite eatery, and lodging facilities.

Do you need to go on a relaxing getaway, far from the worries and tiring cycle of your day-to-day life?

If you do, prepare to unwind and enjoy a much-desired day of pampering at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort.

It is the perfect place to soak in the warm waters of a crystalline hot spring pool.

After relaxing at the hot spring, you can visit its onsite tavern for a chill time with your companions as you play a game of pool, listen to the performance of a live band, and sip exquisite-tasting cocktails.

Time your visit during the annual Montana Baroque Music Festival, held at this world-class hot springs resort.

It usually takes place in August and includes talented artists performing classical music at a magnificent outdoor pavilion.

Related: Montana Itinerary

15. Museum of the Rockies — Bozeman

museum of the rockies — bozeman

600 W Kagy Blvd Bozeman, MT 59717 (406) 994-2251 Visit Website Social Media Open in Google Maps

Museum of the Rockies, founded in 1957, is home to the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the country.

It is one of the best places to visit in Montana and features exhibits dating as far as 500 million years into the past.

If you are searching for where to go in Montana to enjoy an unforgettable vacation, the Museum of the Rockies is a brilliant choice.

It features countless exhibits for you to discover, a high-tech planetarium, a state-of-the-art theater, and a gift shop selling a wide range of items.

Go on a fun and educational experience with your family or friends as you tour this museum.

Here, you can view displays about dinosaurs, Vikings, Native American tribes, local wildlife, sea creatures that existed millions of years ago, and so much more.

At its planetarium, you can watch captivating shows that will take you to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, a journey through the stars, and the like.

Check their website ahead of time because they often hold promotions and engaging events that may interest you.

Depending on what they have lined up, you can enjoy live music shows, dancing, an auction, and interactive games.

Recommended Hotel Nearby: The LARK

Traveler’s Guide 

Comparing destinations: which one is right for you.

Choosing a destination in Montana for an outdoor adventure doesn’t have to be complicated.

Each location has its own unique offerings, pros, and cons.

To secure a memorable trip, always widen your options and compare the benefits and drawbacks of every destination.

Flathead Lake State Park – Big Arm is an excellent destination for families seeking a relaxing lakeside retreat.

However, it may not offer as much in terms of adventure activities compared to the other locations.

West Yellowstone is perfect for those who want to explore Yellowstone National Park, but it can be crowded during peak season.

Furthermore, Glacier National Park Scenic Float is ideal for nature lovers who want to experience the park’s stunning scenery from a unique perspective.

However, those who are prone to motion sickness may find it challenging.

Ziplining across the Gallatin River is perfect for adventure seekers who want an exhilarating experience.

However, it may not be suitable for those who are afraid of heights.

Consider what activities you want to do, the budget, and other factors when choosing a destination.

Regardless of which location you choose, Montana’s natural beauty and outdoor activities will leave you with unforgettable memories.

How I Picked The Destinations 

As a seasoned traveler, I have explored Montana’s popular destinations and activities.

With my knowledge and expertise, I aim to help you make the most out of your visit to Montana.

Through my personal experiences, research, and talking with locals, I’ve gathered valuable insights to help you plan a memorable trip.

For those activities and locations that I haven’t personally visited, I’ve relied on trusted sources to provide you with reliable and accurate information.

Our Rating Method 

I rate these attractions based on the following criteria. 

  • Family-friendliness: I use this to rate the family-friendly appeal of an attraction. Are the activities appropriate for everyone in the family? Is it fun and safe for the little ones? Does it have convenient amenities? I ask myself these questions to assess family friendliness. 
  • Affordability: This criterion evaluates how budget-friendly the activity is. Is there an admission fee? Is the price reasonable? Does it have special packages or discounts? These questions are essential when evaluating affordability.
  • Educational Value: This is used to evaluate the educational benefits of the activity. Is it an enriching and educational experience? Will it teach visitors lessons in nature, history, culture, or science? Does it encourage physical and mental development? These are the questions I ask myself when rating educational value.
  • Entertainment Variety: I use this to rate the variety and quality of entertainment in every location. Is the place fun, engaging and enjoyable? Does it offer activities for different age groups? I ask myself these questions to assess entertainment variety.
  • Accessibility: This is used to evaluate how accessible the activity is. Is there ample parking space? Is the location easily accessible by public transportation? Can people with young children or mobility problems easily navigate the site? I use these questions when evaluating accessibility.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are the top montana destinations for families.

The top Montana destinations for families include West Yellowstone and Flathead Lake State Park — Big Arm.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Montana?

The best time to visit Montana is during the summer months of June to August, when the weather is warm.

best places to visit in montana travel photo

When it comes to the best places to visit in Montana, there are a few destinations that stand out for their unique offerings and unforgettable experiences.

My family and I enjoyed our visit to West Yellowstone.

It is a gateway to the iconic Yellowstone National Park, known for its abundant wildlife, geothermal features, and breathtaking landscapes.

This charming town is also home to various lodging options, dining spots, and souvenir shops.

Glacier National Park Scenic Float is an excellent way to experience Montana’s stunning scenery from a different perspective.

The float offers a relaxed and scenic journey through the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and it’s ideal for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

For those looking for a more immersive and adventurous experience, Glacier National Park Scenic Float is a thrilling way to explore the natural beauty of Montana.

The park’s abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery provide an unforgettable backdrop for a relaxing float down the river.

For a heart-pumping adventure, ziplining across the Gallatin River is an absolute must.

I enjoyed the thrilling way to take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape while soaring through the air.

Finally, Flathead Lake State Park – Big Arm is a perfect destination for those looking for a family-friendly and budget-friendly vacation.

With its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a plethora of outdoor activities, it offers something for everyone.

To me, it’s the best of the bunch. 

Each of these destinations has its own unique charm and attractions.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, have a heart-pumping adventure, or simply relax on the beach, Montana has something to offer.

best family vacations in montana travel photo

The Tourist Checklist

23 Best & Fun Things To Do in Bigfork (MT)

Bigfork, Montana, is a charming community in Flathead County, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The town’s name likely comes from the Salish word for the area. It’s situated at the northern tip of Flathead Lake, where the Flathead and Swan Rivers meet. The census-designated place boasts a population of 4,953 as of 2022. Bigfork is known for its scenic beauty and rich history. 

Bigfork is famous for its thriving art scene, featuring numerous galleries and the renowned Bigfork Summer Playhouse. The town is also home to a 27-hole golf course and the Bigfork Independent Film Festival. Bigfork’s location near Jewel Basin, Glacier National Park, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness makes it a hub for nature lovers.

The town’s economy once revolved around cherry orchards, a legacy that continues today. Bigfork’s historic downtown is a blend of old-world charm and modern attractions.

Known as the “Village by the Bay,” Bigfork offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a welcoming community spirit. This small Montana town is a hidden gem, providing visitors and residents alike with a delightful slice of the good life.

Wondering what to do in Bigfork? Here are the best things to do in Bigfork, MT.

Things To Do in Bigfork, MT

1. visit flathead lake.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. The clear, blue waters stretch over 191 square miles. This makes it a perfect spot for boating, fishing, and swimming. The lake is surrounded by picturesque mountains and lush forests, offering stunning views from every angle.

There are numerous access points around the lake. Bigfork sits on the northeast shore, providing easy access to the water. You can rent a boat or kayak from local marinas. If you prefer, take a guided tour to learn about the lake’s history and ecology. Fishing enthusiasts will love the variety of fish species. Expect to catch lake trout, yellow perch, and whitefish.

Flathead Lake State Park has several units along the shoreline. Wayfarers Unit, located just south of Bigfork, is popular for picnicking and camping. The rocky cliffs and pebble beaches are ideal for a relaxing day out. Birdwatchers can spot eagles, ospreys, and other wildlife.

The lake’s water is famously clear, with visibility often exceeding 20 feet. This clarity is due to the lake’s relatively low nutrient levels and lack of industrial pollution. It’s a pristine natural treasure. Spend a day or a week, Flathead Lake offers endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation.

Address: Flathead Lake, Bigfork, MT 59911

2. Explore the Bigfork Summer Playhouse

Bigfork Summer Playhouse

The Bigfork Summer Playhouse is a must-visit for theater lovers. Established in 1960, it has become a cultural cornerstone of Bigfork. The playhouse offers Broadway-caliber performances throughout the summer. Each season, talented actors, directors, and technicians gather to put on a variety of shows.

The repertoire includes musicals, comedies, and dramas. Past productions have included classics like “Mamma Mia!” and “The Sound of Music.” The playhouse is known for its high production values and vibrant performances. The intimate theater setting allows for an engaging experience. Each show promises to entertain audiences of all ages.

The playhouse is more than just a theater; it’s a community hub. It hosts workshops and educational programs for aspiring performers. Many who perform here go on to successful careers in the arts. The playhouse also contributes to the local economy, drawing visitors from all over.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially for popular shows. Attending a performance here is a great way to spend an evening in Bigfork. It’s an experience that combines culture, community, and entertainment.

Address: 526 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

3. Hike in Jewel Basin

Jewel Basin

Jewel Basin is a hiker’s paradise located in the Swan Range of the Rocky Mountains. This 15,000-acre area is designated specifically for hiking and camping. Motorized vehicles and bicycles are not allowed, ensuring a peaceful experience. The basin is known for its alpine lakes, scenic vistas, and diverse wildlife.

There are over 35 miles of trails catering to various skill levels. One of the most popular hikes is the Mount Aeneas Trail. This 6-mile round-trip hike offers breathtaking views of Flathead Lake and the surrounding peaks. Along the way, you might spot mountain goats and wildflowers.

Twin Lakes Trail is another favorite, providing access to serene mountain lakes. The Jewel Basin Hiking Area is also a fantastic spot for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for species like Clark’s nutcracker and the elusive American dipper.

Camping is permitted, but it’s important to follow Leave No Trace principles. This helps preserve the natural beauty of the area. Make sure to carry a map and be prepared for changing weather conditions. The trails are well-marked, but it’s always good to have a guide.

Jewel Basin offers an escape into nature. It’s a place where you can disconnect from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with the wilderness. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, Jewel Basin has something for everyone.

Address: Jewel Basin, Bigfork, MT 59911

4. Tour the Local Art Galleries

Local Art Galleries Bigfork, Montana

Bigfork, Montana, is an art lover’s haven. The town is brimming with charming art galleries that showcase a diverse range of artworks. Strolling through downtown Bigfork, you’ll encounter several galleries, each offering unique pieces from local and regional artists.

The Bjorge Gallery is a must-visit. It features contemporary Western art with stunning landscapes and wildlife paintings. The gallery also hosts regular exhibitions, providing fresh perspectives and new works. You’ll find everything from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and pottery.

Next, visit the Eric Thorsen Gallery. Eric Thorsen is a renowned wildlife sculptor, and his gallery is filled with his intricate and lifelike bronze sculptures. The attention to detail in his work is breathtaking. The gallery also features works by other talented artists, making it a rich and varied collection.

Another highlight is the Persimmon Gallery, known for its eclectic mix of fine art and crafts. From abstract paintings to handcrafted furniture, this gallery has it all. The friendly staff are always willing to share the stories behind the pieces, making your visit even more enjoyable.

Art galleries in Bigfork are not just places to view art; they’re also hubs for cultural exchange. Many galleries host workshops, artist talks, and special events. These activities provide opportunities to learn and engage with the art community.

Address: Bjorge Gallery, 573 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: Eric Thorsen Gallery, 570 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: Persimmon Gallery, 537 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

5. Play Golf at Eagle Bend Golf Club

Golf at Eagle Bend Golf Club

Eagle Bend Golf Club is a 27-hole championship course that offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for all skill levels. The course is beautifully designed, with stunning views of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains.

The course is divided into three distinct nine-hole courses: Eagle, Bear, and Lake. Each course offers unique challenges and scenic beauty. The Eagle course is known for its rolling terrain and water hazards. The Bear course is slightly more challenging, with tight fairways and strategic bunkers. The Lake course offers breathtaking views and a more relaxed layout.

Eagle Bend Golf Club also boasts top-notch facilities. The clubhouse includes a pro shop stocked with the latest golf gear and apparel. There’s also a restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious meal or a refreshing drink after your game. The practice facilities are excellent, with a driving range, putting green, and chipping area.

Golf lessons are available for those looking to improve their game. The club’s professional staff offers personalized instruction tailored to your skill level. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, you’ll find the lessons invaluable.

Playing a round at Eagle Bend is more than just a game of golf; it’s an experience. The meticulously maintained greens, the friendly atmosphere, and the stunning surroundings make it a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

Address: Eagle Bend Golf Club, 279 Eagle Bend Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911

6. Enjoy the Bigfork Whitewater Festival

Bigfork Whitewater Festival

The Bigfork Whitewater Festival is an adrenaline-packed event held every Memorial Day weekend. This annual festival celebrates the excitement of whitewater kayaking and rafting on the Swan River. It attracts top paddlers from across the country and provides thrilling entertainment for spectators.

The festival began in 1975 and has grown in popularity over the years. It features various competitive events, including slalom races, downriver races, and a boatercross event. The slalom race is particularly exciting, as paddlers navigate through a course of gates in the turbulent waters of the “Wild Mile.”

For those new to the sport, the festival also offers opportunities to learn. There are clinics and workshops where beginners can get a taste of whitewater paddling under the guidance of experienced instructors. Safety is a top priority, and all necessary gear and equipment are provided.

Apart from the water events, the festival has a vibrant atmosphere with live music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities. It’s a great way to spend a day by the river, soaking up the sun and enjoying the festive spirit. Local businesses also get involved, offering special promotions and activities during the festival weekend.

The Bigfork Whitewater Festival is not just about the thrill of the rapids; it’s also about community. It brings people together, celebrating the natural beauty of the Swan River and the adventurous spirit of those who paddle its waters. 

Address: Swan River, Bigfork, MT 59911

7. Stroll through Wayfarers State Park

Wayfarers State Park

Wayfarers State Park is a gem on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake. It offers stunning views, peaceful trails, and various outdoor activities. The park spans over 67 acres and is known for its picturesque scenery and serene environment.

Begin your visit with a stroll along the shoreline. The park features rocky cliffs and pebble beaches that provide a perfect setting for a relaxing walk. The clear waters of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains create a breathtaking backdrop. Bring your camera, as the park offers many photo opportunities, especially during sunrise and sunset.

The park is also home to several hiking trails. These trails range from easy walks to more challenging hikes. One popular trail leads to an elevated viewpoint overlooking the lake. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views and observe local wildlife. Birdwatchers will find plenty of opportunities to spot eagles, ospreys, and other native birds.

Picnicking is another popular activity at Wayfarers State Park. The park has well-maintained picnic areas equipped with tables and grills. These spots are ideal for a family outing or a romantic meal with a view. For those interested in camping, the park offers several campsites. These sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and provide a great way to immerse yourself in nature.

Address: Wayfarers State Park, 8600 MT-35, Bigfork, MT 59911

8. Visit the Flathead Lake Brewing Company

Flathead Lake Brewing Company

Flathead Lake Brewing Company is a must-visit for beer enthusiasts. Located in Bigfork, this brewery offers a delightful experience with its wide range of craft beers, delicious food, and welcoming atmosphere. The brewery is situated on the shore of Flathead Lake, providing stunning views and a perfect spot to relax.

Start your visit with a tour of the brewery. Learn about the brewing process, the ingredients used, and the history of the company. The knowledgeable staff are passionate about their craft and happy to answer any questions. After the tour, head to the tasting room to sample some of their best brews.

The brewery offers a diverse selection of beers. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, there’s something for every palate. Their flagship beer, the Flathead Lake Monster, is a crowd favorite. It’s a robust imperial IPA with bold flavors and a smooth finish. Don’t miss the seasonal and limited-edition brews, which often showcase local ingredients and innovative brewing techniques.

Pair your beer with a meal at the brewery’s restaurant. The menu features a variety of dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Try the beer-battered fish and chips or the Flathead Lake Burger for a satisfying meal. The outdoor patio is a great place to enjoy your food and drink while taking in the beautiful lake views.

Address: Flathead Lake Brewing Company, 116 Holt Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911

9. Attend the Bigfork Independent Film Festival

Bigfork Independent Film Festival

The Bigfork Independent Film Festival is a highlight of the local cultural scene. Held annually in the fall, this festival celebrates Montana-made films and showcases the talent of local filmmakers. It’s a fantastic event for movie enthusiasts and a great way to experience the creative spirit of Bigfork.

The festival takes place over several days, featuring a diverse lineup of films. These include feature-length movies, documentaries, and short films. Each screening is followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers, offering a unique opportunity to learn about the creative process and the stories behind the films.

In addition to film screenings, the festival includes panel discussions and workshops. These sessions cover various aspects of filmmaking, from screenwriting to production techniques. They provide valuable insights and inspiration for aspiring filmmakers and film lovers alike.

The festival atmosphere is lively and engaging. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with other film enthusiasts, network with industry professionals, and enjoy high-quality cinema. The event also supports the local economy, drawing visitors from across the region.

The Bigfork Independent Film Festival is not just about watching films; it’s about celebrating creativity and community. Whether you’re a serious cinephile or just looking for a fun cultural experience, this festival is a must-attend event in Bigfork.

Address: Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts, 526 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

10. Go Fishing on Swan River

Swan River

Fishing on the Swan River is a serene and rewarding experience. The river flows through the heart of Bigfork, offering anglers a chance to catch a variety of fish. It’s known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic surroundings, making it a perfect spot for both novice and experienced fishermen.

The Swan River is home to several fish species. You can expect to catch rainbow trout, brook trout, and mountain whitefish. The best times for fishing are early morning and late afternoon. These are the peak feeding times for fish, increasing your chances of a good catch.

Fly fishing is particularly popular on the Swan River. The river’s gentle currents and diverse aquatic insect life make it ideal for this technique. Local shops offer guided fly fishing tours, providing you with the gear and expertise needed for a successful outing. These guides know the best spots along the river and can help improve your fishing skills.

Remember to check the local fishing regulations before you go. Montana requires a fishing license, which you can purchase online or at local sporting goods stores. The serene environment and the thrill of catching fish make fishing on the Swan River a must-do activity in Bigfork.

11. Shop in Downtown Bigfork

Downtown Bigfork

Downtown Bigfork is a shopper’s delight. The charming streets are lined with unique boutiques, art galleries, and specialty stores. Strolling through the downtown area, you’ll find a wide range of items that make for perfect souvenirs or gifts.

Start your shopping adventure at the Electric Avenue Gifts. This store offers a variety of Montana-made products, including handcrafted jewelry, local art, and unique home decor. It’s a great place to find something special to remember your trip by.

Next, visit the Bigfork Village Shop. This boutique features a curated selection of clothing, accessories, and gifts. You’ll find stylish apparel for all seasons, as well as beautiful jewelry and accessories. The friendly staff are always ready to help you find the perfect item.

For art enthusiasts, the Frame of Reference Fine Art Gallery is a must-visit. This gallery showcases works from local and regional artists, including paintings, sculptures, and photography. It’s a great place to find a piece of art that captures the beauty of Montana.

Don’t forget to stop by the Bigfork Farmer’s Market if you’re visiting during the summer. The market offers fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious baked goods. It’s a vibrant spot to experience the local culture and taste the flavors of Montana.

Address: Electric Avenue, Bigfork, MT 59911

12. Take a Scenic Drive on Highway 35

Highway 35

Highway 35 offers one of the most scenic drives in Montana. This route takes you along the eastern shore of Flathead Lake, providing stunning views and numerous points of interest. The drive is a perfect way to explore the natural beauty surrounding Bigfork.

Start your journey in Bigfork and head south on Highway 35. As you drive, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Flathead Lake on your right and the Mission Mountains on your left. The road winds through charming small towns and lush orchards, offering plenty of opportunities to stop and explore.

One of the highlights of this drive is the Flathead Lake State Park. Stop at one of the park’s units to enjoy the lakeside scenery, have a picnic, or take a swim. The park’s well-maintained facilities make it a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

Another must-see along Highway 35 is the Cherry Blossom Festival, held in early summer. The festival celebrates the region’s cherry orchards, which are in full bloom at this time. You can visit local farms, taste fresh cherries, and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

The drive also takes you past several wineries and tasting rooms. Stop by a vineyard to sample local wines and learn about the winemaking process. The combination of beautiful scenery, delicious food, and friendly locals makes this drive unforgettable.

Address: Highway 35, Bigfork, MT 59911

13. Visit the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts

Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts

The Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural gem in the heart of Bigfork. This venue hosts a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, concerts, and dance shows. It’s a hub for local arts and a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the vibrant cultural scene of Bigfork.

The center is known for its high-quality productions. The Bigfork Summer Playhouse, located within the center, is famous for its Broadway-caliber performances. Each summer, the playhouse stages a series of musicals, drawing talented performers from across the country. The intimate setting of the theater ensures that every seat offers a great view of the stage.

Throughout the year, the center also hosts concerts featuring a range of musical genres, from classical to contemporary. Local and visiting artists alike grace the stage, providing entertainment that appeals to all tastes. The center’s dance performances showcase both traditional and modern styles, adding to the diversity of its offerings.

The Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts is not just about performances; it’s also a community space. It hosts workshops, lectures, and other educational events. These activities help foster a love for the arts in the community and provide opportunities for learning and engagement.

14. Explore Wild Mile Nature Trail

Wild Mile Nature Trail

The Wild Mile Nature Trail is a hidden treasure in Bigfork. This trail follows the Swan River as it rushes through a narrow canyon, creating a series of exciting rapids. The trail is relatively short, making it accessible for hikers of all ages and skill levels.

Start your hike at the Swan River Nature Trailhead. The trail meanders along the river, offering stunning views of the rapids and the surrounding forest. In spring and early summer, the river is at its most powerful, providing a dramatic backdrop for your hike. The sound of the rushing water and the lush greenery make for a refreshing and invigorating walk.

Wildlife is abundant along the trail. You might spot deer, squirrels, and a variety of birds. Keep your eyes peeled for eagles and ospreys soaring above the river. The trail is well-maintained, with informative signs along the way that provide insights into the local flora and fauna.

The Wild Mile Nature Trail is also popular for fishing and birdwatching. There are several spots along the river where you can cast a line or simply sit and enjoy the tranquility. The trail is open year-round, but each season offers a different experience. Fall brings vibrant foliage, while winter turns the landscape into a snowy wonderland.

Address: Swan River Nature Trail, Bigfork, MT 59911

15. Enjoy Live Music at Local Venues

Bigfork Summer Playhouse

Bigfork is alive with music, and there are plenty of venues where you can enjoy live performances. Whether you prefer rock, jazz, country, or folk, you’ll find something to suit your taste in this lively town.

The Garden Bar is a popular spot for live music. This rustic bar features local bands and solo artists, providing a laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy great music with friends. The outdoor patio is perfect for summer evenings, and the friendly crowd adds to the fun vibe.

For a more intimate setting, visit the Raven Brewpub & Grill. This venue offers live music on weekends, featuring talented musicians from the area. The cozy interior and excellent food make it a great place to spend an evening. Try their craft beers and enjoy the warm, welcoming ambiance.

The Bigfork Inn also hosts live music, often featuring classical and acoustic performances. This historic inn offers a more refined setting, making it a great choice for a special night out. Enjoy a delicious meal in their elegant dining room while listening to beautiful music.

During the summer, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse hosts musical performances that are not to be missed. These shows feature a mix of musical theater and live music, providing top-notch entertainment in a professional setting.

Address: The Garden Bar, 451 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911 Address: The Raven Brewpub & Grill, 15321 MT-35, Bigfork, MT 59911 Address: Bigfork Inn, 604 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

16. Tour Local Cherry Orchards

Local Cherry Orchards Bigfork, Montana

Bigfork, Montana, is famous for its cherry orchards. Touring these orchards offers a delightful experience. The region’s climate and soil make it perfect for growing sweet cherries. During the summer, the orchards are in full bloom, creating a picturesque landscape.

Start your tour at Flathead Lake Cherry Growers. This cooperative of local farmers offers guided tours of their orchards. Learn about the history of cherry farming in the area and see the trees laden with ripe fruit. You can also pick your own cherries, a fun activity for the whole family.

Next, visit Orchard Springs. This orchard offers tours and tastings. Walk through the rows of cherry trees and learn about the different varieties grown here. The friendly staff are happy to share their knowledge and answer any questions. Don’t forget to sample the freshly picked cherries; the flavor is unmatched.

Many orchards also sell cherry products. You’ll find jams, jellies, and even cherry wines. These make great souvenirs or gifts. The orchards often have picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day surrounded by nature and delicious fruit.

Address: Flathead Lake Cherry Growers, 8010 MT-35, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: Orchard Springs, 8600 MT-35, Bigfork, MT 59911

17. Visit the Bigfork Museum of Art & History

Bigfork Museum of Art & History

The Bigfork Museum of Art & History is a cultural highlight of the town. This museum showcases the rich history and vibrant art scene of Bigfork and the surrounding region. It’s a great place to learn about the area’s heritage and appreciate local artistry.

The museum’s exhibits cover a range of topics. You’ll find displays on the early settlers of the area, Native American history, and the development of the town. The historical artifacts provide a fascinating glimpse into the past. Learn about the logging industry, early agriculture, and the people who shaped Bigfork’s history.

Art is a major focus of the museum. It features works by local artists, including paintings, sculptures, and photography. The exhibits change regularly, so there’s always something new to see. The museum also hosts special exhibitions and events throughout the year, showcasing different themes and artists.

The museum offers educational programs for all ages. These include workshops, lectures, and tours. It’s a wonderful resource for schools and community groups. The gift shop sells a variety of items, from books and prints to handcrafted jewelry, all made by local artists.

Visiting the Bigfork Museum of Art & History provides a deeper understanding of the community and its culture. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history and art.

Address: 525 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

18. Enjoy Water Activities at Flathead Lake Lodge

Flathead Lake Lodge

Flathead Lake Lodge is a premier destination for water activities. This family-owned guest ranch offers a range of fun and exciting activities on Flathead Lake. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or looking for a relaxing day on the water, the lodge has something for everyone.

Start your day with a guided boat tour of the lake. The lodge offers tours that take you to some of the most scenic spots on the lake. Enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and crystal-clear water. The guides provide interesting insights about the lake’s history and ecology.

For those who love adventure, try water skiing or wakeboarding. The lodge provides all the necessary equipment and instruction. It’s a thrilling experience to skim across the surface of the lake. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also popular activities. These offer a peaceful way to explore the lake’s shoreline and coves.

Fishing is another great option at Flathead Lake Lodge. The lake is home to a variety of fish, including trout and bass. The lodge can arrange fishing trips, providing gear and guidance. Relax on the dock or take a boat out for a day of fishing.

After a day of water activities, unwind at the lodge’s lakeside facilities. Enjoy a meal at the restaurant, which offers stunning views of the lake. The lodge also has a swimming pool, hot tubs, and a private beach, perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

Address: Flathead Lake Lodge, 150 Flathead Lodge Rd, Bigfork, MT 59911

19. Dine at Local Restaurants

Pocketstone Cafe

Bigfork, Montana, offers a delightful culinary scene. The town’s local restaurants serve a variety of delicious dishes, showcasing both local and international flavors. Dining in Bigfork is a treat for food lovers, with options ranging from casual cafes to fine dining establishments.

Start your day at Pocketstone Cafe. This cozy spot is known for its hearty breakfasts. Try their famous huckleberry pancakes or a savory omelet. The friendly atmosphere and generous portions make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

For lunch, head to Flathead Lake Brewing Company. This brewery not only offers great craft beers but also a diverse menu. Enjoy a burger or fish and chips while taking in the stunning lake views from their outdoor patio. Their locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes ensure a satisfying meal.

Dinner in Bigfork can be a special affair. Visit Showthyme for an upscale dining experience. The menu features dishes like Montana-raised beef, fresh seafood, and seasonal vegetables. The elegant setting and exceptional service make it perfect for a romantic evening or a celebration.

If you’re craving Italian, check out When in Rome. This charming restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine, including pasta, pizza, and gelato. The rustic decor and warm ambiance transport you to Italy, right in the heart of Montana.

Address: Pocketstone Cafe, 444 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: Showthyme, 548 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: When in Rome, 8270 MT-35, Bigfork, MT 59911

20. Go Boating on Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake

Boating on Flathead Lake is a quintessential Bigfork experience. The lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, offers vast waters and scenic views. Whether you own a boat or rent one, a day on the lake is a must.

Start your adventure at one of the local marinas. Bigfork Marina and Boat Club offers boat rentals, including pontoons, speedboats, and jet skis. They also provide all necessary safety equipment and instructions for beginners. Once you’re on the water, explore the lake’s many bays and islands.

Flathead Lake is perfect for water sports. Try water skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing for an adrenaline rush. The calm, clear waters are ideal for these activities. If you prefer a more relaxed pace, paddleboarding and kayaking are great options. They allow you to quietly explore the shoreline and enjoy the natural beauty.

Fishing is another popular activity on the lake. Flathead Lake is home to various fish species, including lake trout and whitefish. Bring your fishing gear or hire a guide for a fishing trip. The local guides know the best spots and can help you have a successful and enjoyable day.

End your boating day with a picnic on one of the lake’s islands or at a lakeside park. Bring some local treats and enjoy the stunning sunset over the water.

Address: Bigfork Marina and Boat Club, 7125 US-93, Lakeside, MT 59922

21. Participate in the Annual Rumble in the Bay Car Show

Rumble in the Bay Car Show

The annual Rumble in the Bay Car Show is a highlight event in Bigfork. Held every August, this car show attracts automobile enthusiasts from all over. It features a stunning array of classic cars, hot rods, and custom vehicles.

The event takes place in downtown Bigfork. The streets are lined with beautifully restored and modified cars. Walk through the display and admire the craftsmanship and dedication of car owners. Each car has a story, and owners are often eager to share their experiences and passion for their vehicles.

The car show includes competitions and awards. Judges evaluate the cars based on various criteria, including originality, condition, and modifications. Awards are given in several categories, such as Best in Show, Best Classic, and Best Hot Rod. The friendly competition adds excitement to the event.

In addition to the cars, the show features live music, food vendors, and local crafts. Enjoy a meal from one of the food trucks while listening to live performances. The festive atmosphere makes it a fun day out for the whole family.

Rumble in the Bay is more than just a car show; it’s a community celebration. It brings together car lovers and locals, creating a vibrant and enjoyable event. Mark your calendar for this unique Bigfork experience.

Address: Downtown Bigfork, Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911

22. Explore Glacier National Park Nearby

Glacier National Park, located near Bigfork

Glacier National Park, located near Bigfork, is a paradise for nature lovers. This park, known as the “Crown of the Continent,” offers stunning landscapes, including towering mountains, pristine lakes, and ancient glaciers. The park spans over one million acres, providing endless opportunities for exploration.

One of the park’s highlights is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This scenic drive offers breathtaking views of the park’s rugged terrain. The road winds through the mountains, offering panoramic vistas and numerous pullouts for photo opportunities. The road is typically open from late June to mid-September, depending on weather conditions.

Hiking is a popular activity in Glacier National Park. The park boasts over 700 miles of trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging backcountry hikes. Popular trails include the Hidden Lake Trail and the Grinnell Glacier Trail. These hikes offer stunning views of the park’s natural beauty and are a great way to experience the diverse flora and fauna.

Wildlife viewing is another highlight. The park is home to a variety of animals, including grizzly bears, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Visitors should keep a safe distance and respect the wildlife. For those interested in history, the park features historic lodges and chalets that provide a glimpse into the past.

Address: Glacier National Park, West Glacier, MT 59936

23. Relax at the Local Spas and Wellness Centers

Eagle Bend Massage Therapy

After exploring the rugged outdoors, unwind at one of Bigfork’s local spas and wellness centers. These facilities offer a range of treatments designed to relax and rejuvenate.

Begin your relaxation journey at Eagle Bend Massage Therapy. This spa offers various massages, including deep tissue, hot stone, and Swedish massages. The therapists are highly skilled and tailor each session to meet your specific needs. A massage here is the perfect way to soothe tired muscles after a day of hiking or boating.

For a more comprehensive wellness experience, visit the Bigfork Yoga Studio and Healing Center. This center offers yoga classes, meditation sessions, and holistic healing therapies. The tranquil environment helps you disconnect from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with yourself. Yoga classes cater to all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.

Another excellent option is the Mountain Lake Lodge Spa. This spa provides a luxurious setting with stunning views of Flathead Lake. Enjoy a range of treatments, including facials, body wraps, and aromatherapy. The spa uses high-quality, natural products to enhance your experience. After your treatment, relax in the lounge or on the outdoor terrace.

These spas and wellness centers offer the perfect balance to Bigfork’s outdoor adventures. They provide a peaceful retreat where you can rejuvenate your body and mind.

Address: Eagle Bend Massage Therapy, 279 Eagle Bend Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: Bigfork Yoga Studio and Healing Center, 750 Grand Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911

Address: Mountain Lake Lodge Spa, 14735 Sylvan Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911

Final Thoughts

Bigfork, Montana, offers an incredible array of activities that cater to all interests. Enjoying local cuisine, exploring charming shops, and participating in vibrant events like the Rumble in the Bay Car Show add to the town’s charm.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or someone seeking relaxation, Bigfork promises a memorable experience. This quaint town truly embodies the spirit of Montana, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler.

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Considered one of the world's best places to visit , Glacier National Park spans two mountain ranges and includes more than 700 lakes across Montana. Take advantage of the park's expansive hiking trails, and be sure to hit traveler favorites like the Trail of the Cedars and Iceberg Lake Trail. Other activities include a ride along the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road and a trip to the unique Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Canadian border. What's more, Glacier National Park hosts plenty of free ranger-led activities like guided hikes and stargazing events ideal for visitors of all ages.

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Even if Yellowstone didn't hold the incredible distinction of being the world's first national park, the 2.2 million-acre park, which stretches across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, could easily stand on its own for its unique natural attractions and magnificent landscapes . Here, travelers can get lost in the splendor of Yellowstone's many lakes, mountains, bison-filled valleys and, of course, its unmatched hot springs and active geysers (of which the park boasts more than half of the world's supply). To avoid the crowds that often plague Yellowstone while also ensuring excellent weather, plan to visit in April, May or October.

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One of California's most-visited national parks, Yosemite National Park stands out for its bevy of impressive waterfalls, such as Vernal Fall and Bridalveil Fall, as well as its unique granite rock formations like Half Dome and El Capitan. There are also ample scenic hiking and camping opportunities; just keep in mind that campsites sell out quickly after becoming available for booking, so make your reservations in advance. Whatever your itinerary may be, make sure to stop by the Tunnel View overlook, which offers showstopping panoramas of Yosemite Valley. What's more, the picturesque lookout spot is relatively easy to access (no hiking is required).

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The Grand Canyon is so magnificent that even the highest quality photos don't do the Arizona park's vast beauty justice – you just have to see it in person. The 18-by-277-mile UNESCO World Heritage Site offers endless hiking opportunities with trails of various lengths and degrees of difficulty, as well as the chance to raft the Colorado River. For a slight break from the tourist crowds, head to the less-congested North Rim. And if you're looking for a different vantage point, consider a helicopter tour to learn more about Grand Canyon National Park and see it in all its glory from above.

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Jackson Hole's backcountry is a wild wonderland begging to be explored. Once home to ranchers and fur trappers, this Wyoming park now offers more than 250 miles of trails that weave past forests, lakes and the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Grand Teton mountain range. The Cascade Canyon Trail – which takes travelers past waterfalls, glacier-carved canyons and more – shows off the best of Grand Teton National Park's stunning topography. Don't forget to stop by the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center to stock up on maps, check out its informational exhibits and watch the interesting documentary film about the park.

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Utah's Zion National Park is a paradise for thrill-seekers. Hike Angels Landing, which brings you up through a nearly 1,500-foot natural staircase (permits are required to hike this popular trail and are awarded through an online lottery system). You can also trek The Narrows, a roughly 10-mile hike through the thinnest section of Zion Canyon, which requires hikers to travel upstream through the Virgin River. For a less strenuous exploration of the park, join a shuttle bus tour to traverse the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which takes you past many of the park's most famous landmarks.

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Spanning six million acres of unspoiled Alaskan wilderness, Denali National Park and Preserve is as vast as it is fascinating. One-sixth of the park is covered in glaciers, and the tallest mountain in North America, Denali, stands within its bounds, towering at 20,310 feet high. The park appeals to true explorers as there isn't an abundance of marked trails. However, free ranger-led trail hikes are available seasonally. Visitors can also watch a sled dog demonstration, go snowmobiling or take a narrated bus tour of the 92-mile Denali Park Road to see scenic landmarks like Savage River and Wonder Lake.

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Comprised of glaciers, coastal fjords and icefields, Kenai Fjords National Park transports guests to an age where ice covered large parts of the earth. The Harding Icefield – which was created more than 23,000 years ago – is one of this Alaska park's main features, extending for 700 square miles and viewable via the 8.2-mile Harding Icefield Trail. Visitors can also embark on the Glacier Overlook Trail and Glacier View Loop Trail to catch vistas of Exit Glacier, which flows from the famed icefield. Or, take a kayak or a boat tour to experience the awe-inspiring landscapes from the water.

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Hoodoos are odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from forces of erosion, and Bryce Canyon National Park is home to the most extensive collection of hoodoos in the world. Located in southern Utah, the nearly 36,000-acre park offers an array of hiking opportunities. All trails offer a glimpse of the impressive red rock formations; visitors can also sign up for guided horseback riding tours. While Bryce Canyon is most popular in summer, the park's stark white snow-covered landscape juxtaposed with the orange-red rocks is an unforgettable sight. Winter is also a prime time for activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

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As the name suggests, Redwood National and State Parks are best known for their sky-high redwood trees, which typically soar more than 300 feet tall. Along with exploring the old-growth redwood groves, travelers can hike past rivers, through prairies and along 40 miles of Pacific Coast shoreline, spotting wildlife like elk, sea lions and various species of birds as they go. If you can't stay long, scenic drives like Howland Hill Road and Enderts Beach Road showcase park highlights. But for those wanting to sleep under the stars and rise with the sun, there are four developed campgrounds.

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Established in 1929 and awarded national park status in 1971, Arches National Park covers nearly 77,000 acres in eastern Utah. Oddly shaped sandstone monuments occupy every view, and the formations make the park an excellent place for backpackers, rock climbers and hikers, not to mention photographers. Visitors will find a whopping 2,000-plus arches in the park – the world's densest concentration of these natural structures. The most popular to see are Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch and Double Arch. Plus, travelers will want to check out the visitor center, which features a wealth of information and exhibits outlining Arches National Park's history, geology and more.

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Sequoia National Park is defined by its beautiful, towering sequoia trees – the largest trees in the world. Travelers can hike through this unique California national park to admire its trees, rivers, meadows and wildlife. A visit here is not complete without seeing the Giant Forest's General Sherman Tree, which measures nearly 275 feet tall and more than 36 feet in diameter, making it the world's largest tree by volume. After you ogle the truly impressive evergreens, try some other adventurous activities like rock climbing, horseback riding or fishing.

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Among the nearly 1 million acres that make up Olympic National Park, visitors can wander through the enchanting Hoh Rainforest, trek to stunning overlooks and relax on more than 70 miles of Pacific Northwest coastline. One of North America's top hiking destinations , this Washington state gem features top trails like Mount Storm King and the Hall of Mosses. However, you will also want to save time for trying out one of Olympic National Park's other popular activities, which range from canoeing on Lake Crescent to birdwatching on Kalaloch and Ruby Beach.

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Visit Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park for a chance to get up close and personal with two of the world's most active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. The latter almost continually erupts, which visitors can witness from multiple points in the park, including Crater Rim Drive and the famous Chain of Craters Road (although eruption sightings are never guaranteed). While driving along Chain of Craters Road, set aside time to stop at the Kealakomo Overlook. The scenic lookout offers expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and the ancient village of Kealakomo.

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At 14,410 feet tall, Mount Rainer is the highest peak in the Cascade Range and the tallest volcano in the contiguous United States. Though thousands of travelers tackle the ambitious hike to the mountain's summit each year, it's far more popular to drive to Sunrise, the highest point accessible by vehicle, to soak in 360-degree views of the Cascade Range and Emmons Glacier. Numerous shorter hikes are also available at Mount Rainier National Park, so visitors can explore the temperate rainforests of Carbon River, admire the picturesque wildflower meadows at Paradise or search for the waterfalls in the old-growth forests at Ohanapecosh.

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The Rockies earn plenty of points for their convenience. Sitting about 70 miles northwest of Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park makes for an easy daytrip. However, you could also spend days exploring this Colorado park. The Rockies' magnificent landscape is one for the books, featuring more than 350 miles of scenic trails, plenty of lakes and numerous mountain peaks taller than 10,000 feet. If you're short on time, Emerald Lake Trail is a popular trek that's less than 5 miles round trip and promises spectacular alpine views. If you'd rather skip the hiking, opt instead for an auto tour of Trail Ridge Road.

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montana fun places to visit

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10 Things To Do In Bozeman: Complete Guide To The Most Livable Place In MT

T hose who consider Bozeman a small sleepy city in Montana have obviously never visited it. This city is anything but sleepy. Granted, Bozeman isn’t large, with a population of slightly over 50,000. Plus, it’s not even the second or third-largest city in Montana : those titles go to Missoula and Great Falls respectively, and the largest city is Billings. Nonetheless, Bozeman has taken the more important title of the most livable place in the US.

Therefore, the city's small size is no reason to disregard this haven of nature. It is located in one of the most scenic spots in Montana, in the Rocky Mountains, right next to Yellowstone National Park. As one would expect, several trails that weave through the mountains and forests start from Bozeman, offering hiking, biking, and even skiing sites. Plus, Downtown Montana is always a beehive of fun activities and is considered a tourist attraction. Bozeman certainly has a lot to offer both residents and visitors. For anyone planning a trip to the most livable place, this ultimate travel guide to Bozeman has everything one needs to know before visiting.

UPDATE: 2023/07/28 12:14 EST BY NICHOLAS MAYAMBA

Top Things To Do In Bozeman

Bozeman draws visitors from far and wide to experience the allure of the most livable place. This updated list features more of the city's top attractions, including the Montana Grizzly Encounter and Big Sky Resort.

Top Things To Do In Bozeman, Montana

First-timers should definitely include Bozeman among the first stops on their Montana itinerary . This charming town boasts picturesque scenery marked by jagged snow-capped mountains, pristine nature, and a vibrant downtown. Here are just some of the top things to do in the city.

Related: 10 Most Unique Montana Tours To Experience The Best Of This Iconic State

Tour The Gallatin History Museum

Tourists interested in Native American History should visit the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman. The museum building is a historic site where the former Gallatin County Jail was built in 1911.

Presently, the building hosts the museum, which chronicles the region's past through exhibits on its agricultural history and the lifestyle of Bozeman’s early settlers.

  • Address : 317 W Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Hours : Tue - Sat: 11 am - 4 pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
  • Fees : Adults: $7.50; 17 and under Free; Seniors (age 62+): $5

Take advantage of guided tours to get a more immersive feel of the artifacts, images, and other exhibits at the Gallatin History Museum, including a closer look at the old jail cells.

Visit The Museum Of The Rockies

For a trip even further back into the past, to an age when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Museum of the Rockies is the place to visit. This museum is home to a largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the country; the most popular is the Montana T.Rex, a fully mounted Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.

Visitors are also fascinated by the Taylor Planetarium, which boasts a 40-foot dome on which 4k images are projected.

  • Address : 600 W Kagy Blvd, Bozeman, MT 59717, United States
  • Hours : 9 am - 5 pm (daily)
  • Fees : Children (under 5): Free; Youth (5 - 17): $12; Adults (18 - 64): $18; Seniors (65+): $17

All admission tickets to the museum are valid over two days; a great incentive for those who like to get the most out of their money.

Explore The American Computer & Robotics Museum

Visitors interested in the history of computers should head to the American Computer & Robotics Museum . The exhibits showcase exciting artifacts like the first computers and the original cuneiform tablets used in the Bronze Age.

The museum also explores the future of computing, with exhibits on fascinating topics from Artificial Intelligence to Quantum Computing.

  • Address : 2023 Stadium Dr #1a, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Hours : Tue - Sun: 10 am - 4 pm (closed on Mon)
  • Fees : Adults: $8.50; Youth (10 - 17): $5; Seniors (65+): $5; Children under 9: Free

Related: Here’s Why Winter Is The Most Magical Time To Visit Yellowstone National Park

Take A Road Trip To Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is about 80 miles from Bozeman, a road trip that will take roughly an hour and 20 minutes. Visitors are drawn to the vast wildlife population at the park led by bison, moose, and elk population. There are also bears and hundreds of bird species in Yellowstone.

However, other spectacles await guests at Yellowstone National Park , including geysers, waterfalls, and one of the largest petrified forests in the world.

All these can be viewed on a hike on one of the park's trails; there are over 900 miles of hiking trails in the National Park .

  • Hours : 24 hours (daily)
  • Fees : Single Vehicle (Private): $35; Buses/Vans (Private): $20 per person; Single Motorcycle/Snowmobile: $30; Individual Person: $20
  • Activities : Hiking, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing, bird watching

For a comprehensive experience at Yellowstone National Park, tourists can book a tour with Yellowstone Safari Company. They provide well-curated excursions to the historical national park, complete with food and lodging arrangements.

Check Out The City’s Historic Buildings

Since Bozeman was founded in 1864, there are a number of historical buildings that reveal its rich past. Visitors can check out these structures, take photographs, and learn more about Bozeman’s past.

Here are some of the top 5 historical buildings in Bozeman;

Holy Rosary Church Rectory

  • Date constructed : 1912
  • Address : 220 W Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States

Brandenburg House

  • Date constructed : 1882
  • Address : 121 N Willson Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States

St. James Episcopal Church

  • Date constructed : 1889
  • Address : 5 W Olive St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States

R.T. Barnett and Co.Building

  • Date constructed : 1890
  • Address : 13 E Main St, Bozeman, MT

The Hotel Baxter

  • Date constructed : 1929
  • Address : 105 W Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States

Hike In Burke Park

This is a popular hiking, biking, and running spot in Bozeman with 41 acres for visitors to explore. The chief attraction here is Peets Hill, an elevated part of the park from where visitors get breathtaking views.

Plus, those who visit in winter can enjoy sledding down the hill.

  • Address : Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Fees : Free

Burke Park is only a few blocks from downtown Bozeman, offering the most convenient escape from the city's hustle and bustle for those who need a short break from civilization.

Walk Around Downtown Bozeman

For an authentic feel of the city's vibe and culture, downtown Bozeman is an exciting area to explore. The vibrant district is laden with cute antique stores, trendy shopping boutiques, quaint eateries, and other businesses to keep newcomers busy. Yet, the friendly and welcoming locals help Bozeman maintain a small-town charm that visitors are drawn to.

Main Street is probably the most famous corridor in downtown. It hosts many of the area's businesses and sees a continuous flow of foot traffic. Whether looking to shop, sample local dishes at the different restaurants, or simply admire the historic buildings, downtown won't disappoint.

Hit The Slopes At Bridger Bowl Ski Area & Big Sky Resort

Montana is known throughout the country for its alpine adventures. Fortunately, Bozeman is home to some of the best ski resorts in the state , led by Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl Ski Area. The former is just an hour's drive from the city and offers international-level amenities tailored to skiers and snowboarders.

It boasts about 6000 acres of terrain spread across four mountains with consistent snowfall through the winter period. Meanwhile, Bridger Bowl Ski Area offers a more local vibe, having grown from community-inspired beginnings.

Today, it has over 2000 acres of rideable terrain and beckons the students from Montana State University, as well as tourists from all around.

Big Sky Resort

  • Address : 50 Big Sky Resort Road, Big Sky, Montana
  • Hours : Open daily, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Cost : Full-day Lift Ticket -$200 for Adults, $115 for Juniors, $140 for Seniors over 70) and $1 (kids 6 and under)

Bridger Bowl Ski Area

  • Address : 15795 Bridger Canyon Road, Bozeman, Montana
  • Hours : Monday to Thursday, 9 am - 4 pm
  • Cost : Not provided

The best time to go skiing is March when Bozeman experiences the most snow in the year . This means there is ample powder to fuel all kinds of alpine expeditions.

Face The Beasts At Montana Grizzly Encounter

The Montana Grizzly Encounter is an amazing sanctuary in rural Bozeman that rescues bears born into captivity, providing them with a haven to grow and live a happy, healthy life. It opened in 2002 by adopting Brutus from a wildlife park.

Today, Brutus is a fully-grown 900-pound and 7-foot grizzly bear, proving to be the main attraction at the sanctuary.

The facility strives to educate the public about co-existing with the state's resident wildlife through various informative programs like demonstrations and workshops.

  • Address : 80 W Bozeman Hill Rd, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Hours : Wednesday to Monday, 10 am - 6 pm
  • Cost : Adult $10, Seniors $9, Kids $8

The Montana Grizzly Encounter offers free admission to school groups, but they must call in advance.

Partake In Water Sports On The Gallatin River

The Gallatin River is a tributary of the great Missouri River and offers endless water fun opportunities for visitors in Bozeman. Spanning about 120 miles into neighboring Wyoming, the river attracts kayakers, boaters, anglers, paddleboarders, and other thrill seekers who don't mind a splash.

For those with a penchant for high-octane activities, the infamous "Mad Mile" rapids are perfect for whitewater rafting.

Water sports aside, the banks of the river offer the ideal setting for outdoor lovers who just want to take advantage of Mother Nature's bounty and bask in her glory.

What To Know When Visiting Bozeman

  • The weather in Bozeman can be quite erratic, so visitors are advised to always have warm clothes, even in summer.
  • There are several campgrounds in and around Bozeman but visitors should always book in advance, especially during summer. This is because they are popular among visitors during this season.
  • Bears are common in the forests, so hikers should take the necessary precautions, like carrying bear spray and hiking as a group.
  • Visitors planning to head to Yellowstone should note that there are two entrances to the national park, both of which are slightly over an hour from Bozeman.

Best Time To Visit Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman welcomes a lot of visitors no matter what time of year. So, the best time to visit depends on a tourist’s preferred activities.

Winter (December to February)

Those interested in winter activities like skiing may visit Bozeman at this time. The ski season in Bozeman starts in December and lasts until March. Temperatures at this time can dip to as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), with up to 5 inches of snow in January.

Spring (March to May)

Spring’s coldest month in Bozeman is March, with spillover low temperatures from the previous months. However, the city starts to slowly warm up in April and May as summer approaches. Highs in May can get to 64 degrees (18 degrees Celsius), with lows of about 37 degrees (3 degrees Celsius).

There are fewer visitors in spring, allowing those who visit at this time to enjoy low hotel rates. April and May are also good months for outdoor activities although some higher-altitude trails are still covered in snow. Moreover, the chances of rain in spring are high.

Summer (June to August)

Tourists who prefer warm weather may visit Bozeman in June, July, and August. Naturally, these are the busiest months, so prices are at their highest. However, there are numerous activities to enjoy in the good weather.

Temperatures reach 82 degrees (28 degrees Celsius) in July and August. The chances of rain are high in June, so those visiting during this month should prepare for some wet days.

Autumn (September to November)

With the summer crowds gone, autumn presents a good opportunity for those who want to save money and enjoy decent weather. September is still warm, peaking at 71 degrees (22 degrees Celsius).

This is the best month to visit in autumn as many campgrounds start to close at the end of September. However, the trails are still open and ideal for hiking and cycling. Temperatures start to drop in October, and chances of snow increase as winter approaches.

Best Ways To Get Around Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman is served by a free public bus known as the Streamline Bus , which operates on four routes in the city. The bus runs from 6:30 am to 10 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 6 pm on weekends, covering most of the city’s places of interest.

Several car rental companies operate at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, including Alamo, Avis, Budget Car Rental, and National.

This is a convenient way of getting around Bozeman, as tourists get to travel on their own schedule.

By Bike/On Foot

Bozeman is a walkable city, with a lot of places of interest found within a few minutes of the downtown area. Visitors can rent bikes to explore these sites or tour on foot.

Companies like Owenhouse Cycling and Bangtail BIcycle are found in the downtown area.

Where To Eat In Bozeman

Montana's best bites are available in Bozeman's plethora of restaurants. Here are some of the places a visitor can eat in the city.

Jam is a vibrant eatery in Bozeman with an eclectic breakfast and lunch menu. Past visitors have been impressed by their breakfast options, with dishes like biscuit sandwiches, Loaded Hash Browns, and Grazi’s Granola.

Jam also serves a variety of pancakes, including coconut banana pancakes, cinnamon roll pancakes, peanut buttercup pancakes, and blueberry ricotta pancakes. All these can be downed with a choice of coffee or tea.

  • Address : 25 W Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Hours : 7 am - 3 pm (daily)

Sidewinders American Grill

This charming restaurant is renowned for its array of comfort food enjoyed with a view, at least for those who choose its outdoor seating. It is an all-American grill where visitors can enjoy classic American treats like Buffalo Wings, hamburgers, or ribeye steak.

Lovers of sandwiches will love the available options: Philly Beef, Reuben, and BBQ Pulled Pork, to name a few.

  • Address : 780 Boardwalk Ave, Bozeman, MT 59718, United States
  • Hours : 11:30 am - 10 pm (daily)

Dinner & Drinks:

Plonk Bozeman

Plonk is a fun place to enjoy an evening in Bozeman, with a variety of wines and cocktails that bring night owls after dark.

They serve cocktails like their own Plonk Cosmo, a concoction of ginger vodka, orange liqueur, lime, and pomegranate. However, several other options exist, including Midday Manhattan, Czech Toddy, and the Salma Hayek!

Visitors can start with dinner; the restaurant's menu includes seared salmon, Angus hanger steak, and grilled pork chops.

  • Address : 29 E Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Hours : 3 pm - 1:30 am (daily)

Copper is a rustic bar and grill with a quaint interior and a welcoming vibe. This joint serves mouthwatering food, but the drinks have earned the spot from rave reviews. Patrons can try out house cocktails like Smoked Maple Old Fashioned, Copper Old Fashioned, and the creatively named That One!

There’s also an elaborate beer and wine menu, with wines sold by the glass or bottle.

  • Address : 101 E Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Hours : 3 pm - 10 pm (daily)

Related: Fill Your Mug In Montana At One Of Big Sky Country's Best Breweries

Where To Stay in Bozeman, Montana: Top Accommodations

Montana offers campgrounds , cabins, and hotel rooms in and near Bozeman, where tourists may want to stay.

Campgrounds

Spire Rock Campground

  • Location : Gallatin Canyon, Gallatin National Forest
  • Amenities : Picnic tables, toilets, fire pit, firewood
  • Activities : Wildlife viewing, biking, hiking, birding
  • Price : From $24

Bozeman Hot Springs Campground

  • Location : 150 Welcome Dr, Bozeman, MT 59718, United States
  • Amenities : Laundry, Wi-Fi, bathroom facilities, free breakfast, game room, outdoor pools, indoor pools
  • Activities : Ladder golf, pedal carts, volleyball
  • Price : From $15 per day

Secluded Mountain-Modern Chalet for Outdoor Lovers

  • Amenities : 2 bedrooms, outdoor hot tub, internet, full kitchen, stone fireplace
  • Price : From $1000

Papa's Treehouse

  • Amenities : Deck, fire pit, gas heater, 1 bedroom, kitchen
  • Price : From $180

Residence Inn by Marriott Bozeman Downtown

  • Address : 815 E Main St, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Amenities : Indoor pool, fitness center, hot tub, dry cleaning, picnic area, Wi-Fi
  • Price : From $161

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Bozeman

  • Address : 1601 Baxter Ln, Bozeman, MT 59715, United States
  • Amenities : Heated pool, hot tub, dry cleaning, Wi-Fi, fitness center, outdoor fireplace,
  • Price : From $170

Related: 10 Most Beautiful Montana Small Towns You Should Add To Your Bucket List

Spending The Perfect Day In Bozeman, Montana

The perfect day in Bozeman starts with a hearty breakfast at a local restaurant like Jam! Afterward, head to the Museum of the Rockies to learn about natural history then pick up some lunch and enjoy it on a picnic at Burke Park before exploring the park's trails.

Later in the afternoon, drop by the American Computer & Robotics Museum to check out the exhibits. Then, the rest of the evening can be spent strolling around Downtown Bozeman, scoping out the stores and shopping.

After cleaning up, go for dinner at a local restaurant like Plonk Bozeman, then end the day with drinks at a bar like Copper.

Q: What is Bozeman, Montana, most known for?

Bozeman is most known for its proximity to natural sites like Yellowstone National Park , which offers exciting outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, and hunting. This city has earned the title of being the most livable place.

Q: What is the coldest month in Bozeman, Montana?

The coldest month in Bozeman is January, with average lows of 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 degrees Celsius) and average highs of just 33 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).

Q: Can you get around Bozeman without a car?

Yes, Bozeman has a public bus known as the Streamline Bus, which is fare-free and operates every day. Visitors can also explore Bozeman on foot or by bike as this is a walkable and bike-friendly city.

10 Things To Do In Bozeman: Complete Guide To The Most Livable Place In MT

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  2. 15 Best Places To Visit in Montana

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  3. The Top Things to Do in Montana

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  4. 21 of the most beautiful places to visit in Montana

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  5. 41 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Montana

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COMMENTS

  1. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Montana

    Things to Do in Montana, United States: See Tripadvisor's 628,019 traveler reviews and photos of Montana tourist attractions. Find what to do today or anytime in June. ... If you are in West Yellostone and want to experience some fun theater, this is the place. Read more. Review of: Playmill Theatre. Written June 10, 2024.

  2. 25 Best Places to Visit in Montana: A Local's 2024 Guide

    3. Yellowstone National Park. Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook view in Yellowstone. With drives, hiking trails, and wide, open plains that make it easy to see wildlife, Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to visit in Montana for many reasons. However, for many visitors it's the wildlife that stands out.

  3. 41 Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Montana

    Address: Montana Ave. and 6th St Montana Ave & 6th St, Helena, MT 59601, United States. 3. Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Teresa Otto / Shutterstock. Located in Great Falls, Montana, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is one of the major points of interest of the mountain states.

  4. 65 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Montana

    65 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Montana Updated February 20, 2024 Share Tweet Email Cities Top Cities ... See All 65 Things To Do in Montana Cool Places to Eat & Drink in Montana Button.

  5. 18 Top Things to Do in Montana

    The museum is rated as one of the top things to do in Bozeman. Past visitors call out the dinosaurs, in particular, as a major draw. If you're looking for accommodations in Bozeman, consider ...

  6. 21 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Montana

    The Mineral Museum is also a fun place to visit, featuring more than 1,300 specimens, like a 27-and-a-half-troy-ounce gold nugget. Address: 155 Museum Way, Butte, Montana ... 14 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Montana. 13 Best Small Towns in Montana. 15 Best Lakes in Montana. 12 Best Hot Springs in Montana.

  7. Top 21 Montana Attractions You Don't Want to Miss

    6. Lake McDonald. Lake McDonald, nestled on Glacier National Park's west side, spans 10 miles (approx. 16.1 km) in length and 500 feet (around 152.4 m) in depth, surrounded by hiking trails, waterfalls, and majestic mountains. It's a serene haven offering opportunities to spot wildlife like bears and moose.

  8. The 15 Best Montana Vacations

    Fun Things to Do in New Mexico From one-of-a-kind attractions to desert landscapes to historic sites, the Land of Enchantment has much to explore. Alissa Grisler and Ashley M. Biggers June 11, 2024

  9. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Montana (UPDATED 2024)

    1. Going-to-the-Sun Road. 3,267. Scenic Drives. A spectacular and scenic 52-mile highway through Glacier National Park, which crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass in Montana. See way to experience (1) 2023. 2. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

  10. Top Things to Do in Montana, United States

    Things to Do in Montana, United States: See Tripadvisor's 628,535 traveller reviews and photos of Montana tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend or in June. ... 18-Mile 6Hrs of Fun on the Yellowstone River with lunch! On the Water. from . £112. per adult. Alpine Lake Float and Guided Hike in the Bitterroot Mountains. 2. On ...

  11. 29 Best Things to Do in Montana You Shouldn't Miss

    Check out this fun video of skijoring in Montana! 29. Try Rock and Ice Climbing With Montana Alpine Guides. One of the experiences you can't afford to miss in Montana, especially if you're an adrenaline junkie like myself, is the heart-thumping adventure of rock and ice climbing.

  12. Ultimate Montana Bucket List: 22 Incredible Things To Do & Places To

    16 amazing things to do in Montana. The ultimate bucket list to make sure you experience the very best of what this state has to offer. ... Tubing the Clark Fork river is a popular past time with locals in the summer and a fun way for you to experience the city of Missoula. ... This is a good place to see examples of what 19th century frontier ...

  13. 20+ Best Places to Visit in Montana

    Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Fort Smith. Best Places to Stay. Surely one of the state's best-kept secrets, the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is located 80 miles south of Billings and has been compared to the Grand Canyon. It spans 70 miles of canyon walls, some of which are over 1,000 feet high.

  14. 20 Best Places to Visit in Montana at Least Once

    Chico Hot Springs. Big Timber. Let's discuss each one in detail. 1. Best Places to Visit in Montana - Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places to visit in Montana and is also one of the most popular. And well, it's one of the most popular for a reason.

  15. 20 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Montana

    1. Glacier National Park. Aptly called the "Coorown of the Continent," Glacier National Park is home to over one million acres of beautiful, unspoiled terrain. The scenic wilderness area encompasses jaw-dropping scenery, such as spectacular lakes, glacier-carved peaks, pristine forests, and alpine meadows.

  16. 14 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Montana

    More to Explore in Montana: The top-rated tourist attractions in Montana offer even more places to see in the state, including Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park and The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. For winter fun in the state, Montana's best ski resorts deliver on glades, groomers, and chutes. Easily accommodating extra special visits ...

  17. Montana's Official Tourism, Travel & Vacation Info Site

    When you Montana, you discover a feeling that can only be found here. To Montana is to live fully, to experience authenticity, to awaken your inner adventurer. So come, Montana with us, and take in the essence of a place affectionately known as "the last best.". A place that's as welcoming as it is wild. A thing that'll change you forever.

  18. Insider's Guide: Best Things to Do in Montana

    Lake Activities: Montana is home to some epic lakes. Find out the best lakes and the top activities to do while visiting them. River Activities: Here's where you'll find more info on river activities like white water rafting, kayaking, and fly fishing. Road Trips: Whether you're looking for day trip ideas or itinerary inspiration for ...

  19. 15 Best Places To Visit in Montana in 2023

    13. Off the Beaten Path Ski Resorts. 14. Georgetown Lake. 15. Flathead Lake. FAQs About Visiting Montana. In Conclusion. Montana is famous for being a part of the Wild Wild West, most visitors come to enjoy the great outdoors and get a feel for what the original pioneers must have felt.

  20. 30 Fun Things to Do in Helena, MT: An Insider's Guide

    There are tons of other things to do around Helena, and these are all less than 1.5 hours away. Float down the Missouri River from Craig. 45 minutes. Explore the Elkhorn ghost town (including Elkhorn State Park). 1 hour. Visit the Old Montana Prison Museum in Deer Lodge - or take the ghost tour! 1 hour.

  21. 15 Best Places to Visit in Montana (2024) Fun & Unique!

    This float, operated by Great Northern Whitewater Rafting, tours you around the Flathead River. Here are the top 15 places to visit in Montana. 1. Flathead Lake State Park — Big Arm (Editor's Choice) Flathead Lake State Park, established in 1966, spans roughly 217 acres.

  22. THE 10 BEST Fun Things to Do in Montana (Updated 2024)

    Beginner friendly, I highly recommend Big Gun Fun. 3. Dragon Hollow Play Area. 88. Playgrounds. By mammameenah. It provides a beautiful play area, very well maintained, a carousel restrooms and a great place to let the kids run... 4. The Grand Escape Room.

  23. Top 24 Montana Attractions You Shouldn't Miss

    6: Lake McDonald. Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park and a visit to the lake is one of the best things to do in Montana. The lake is located on the west side of the park and stretches ten miles long and five hundred feet deep. The lake is surrounded by hiking trails, waterfalls, and mountains.

  24. 23 Best & Fun Things To Do in Bigfork (MT)

    Bigfork, Montana, is a charming community in Flathead County, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The town's name likely comes from the Salish word for the area. It's situated at the northern tip of Flathead Lake, where the Flathead and Swan Rivers meet. The census-designated place boasts a population of 4,953 as of 2022.

  25. Best U.S. National Parks for 2024

    Considered one of the world's best places to visit, Glacier National Park spans two mountain ranges and includes more than 700 lakes across Montana.Take advantage of the park's expansive hiking ...

  26. 10 Things To Do In Bozeman: Complete Guide To The Most Livable ...

    With so many things to do in Bozeman, Montana, travelers will want to book a trip in every season—or stay longer. ... Best Time To Visit Bozeman, Montana . ... Plonk is a fun place to enjoy an ...

  27. Things to Do in Branson

    From outdoor fun to world-class live music shows, there's no shortage of great things to do in Branson. Enjoy fishing on Table Rock Lake to catch big bass. Scream with delight on thrill rides at Silver Dollar City. Explore some of our fun attractions. Race the kids in go-karts. Play a round at a local golf course.