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Montana, known for its vast landscapes and breathtaking scenery, offers a wealth of activities and experiences for visitors. In this Montana travel guide, we will provide insider tips and recommendations to make the most of your visit to Montana. So let’s explore some of the best things to do in Montana, where to stay, and how to get around in this beautiful state.
- Best Things to Do in Montana
- 1. Glacier National Park
- 2. Bozeman
- 3. Explore the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
- 4. Discover the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
- 5. Take a scenic drive on the Beartooth Highway
- 6. Visit the Museum of the Rockies
- 7. Experience the Wild Horse Island State Park
- 8. West Yellowstone
- 9. Stargaze at the Bannack State Park
- 10. Big Sky Resort
- 11. Yellowstone National Park
- 12. Visit the Charming Small Town of Livingston
- Where to stay in Montana
- How to Get Around in Montana
- Travel Tips for Visiting Montana
- Plan Your Itinerary
- Prepare for Changing Weather
- Travel Insurance
- Be Wildlife Aware
- Respect the Environment
Best Things to Do in Montana
1. Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, as it is home to some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. The park comprises over 1 million acres of rugged mountain peaks, alpine meadows, lush forests, and deep valleys.
Visitors to Glacier National Park can explore the area by car, foot, bike, or boat, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy, including camping, hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching. The park is also home to more than 700 species of animals and plants, so there is plenty to discover.
Bozeman is a small city in southwestern Montana, nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering plenty of opportunities for skiing, mountain biking, fishing, and hiking.
Bozeman is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with a variety of galleries and music venues, and is home to Montana State University, which is a great place to learn about the region’s history and culture.
The city also has a bustling downtown area with a variety of shops and restaurants, making it an ideal destination for visitors looking to escape everyday life. Bozeman is a great place to explore and experience the beauty of the American West.
3. Explore the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Immerse yourself in American history by visiting the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. This historic site commemorates the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes fought against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army.
General Custer and his troops faced off against a coalition of Native American tribes. Today, visitors can explore the exhibit hall that showcases the war’s history and Native American culture. The battlefield boasts excellent hiking trails, where visitors can see the terrain and understand the Battle’s heroics.
The national monument is home to a considerable bighorn population, and the park rangers can offer guided tours and audio equipment to enhance the visitors’ experience.
It is a great experience to take in a piece of history and nature at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Take a guided tour to learn about the events that transpired during this pivotal historical moment.
4. Discover the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Montana’s first state park, the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, is a must-see destination. This awe-inspiring natural wonder features a massive limestone cave with unique formations, such as stalactites and stalagmites.
Guided tours are available to explore the depths of the caverns, and they also offer hiking trails, excellent fly fishing, and camping facilities.
5. Take a scenic drive on the Beartooth Highway
Beartooth Highway winds through the mountains of Montana and Wyoming. It stretches for over 68 miles and offers expansive views of the surrounding landscapes. The highway begins in Red Lodge, Montana, and ends in Cooke City, Wyoming.
The road reaches elevations of over 10,000 feet, making it one of the highest-elevation highways in the country. Along the way, visitors can stop at pullouts to take in the stunning views of snow-capped peaks and pristine lakes.
6. Visit the Museum of the Rockies
For those interested in the natural and cultural history of the region, the Museum of the Rockies in Montana is a fascinating destination and one of the top attractions in Bozeman.
The museum features a vast collection of dinosaur fossils, including the largest T-rex skull ever found. In addition to the paleontological exhibits, the museum also showcases Native American artifacts and historical exhibits.
7. Experience the Wild Horse Island State Park
Located on Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island State Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. This remote island is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, and, of course, wild horses. Visitors can access the island by boat and enjoy hiking, wildlife viewing, and picnicking.
8. West Yellowstone
Located just outside Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance, West Yellowstone is a charming gateway town offering a variety of attractions and amenities for people visiting Yellowstone National Park. We recommend exploring the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, where you can observe grizzly bears and gray wolves in a natural habitat setting.
You can also visit the Yellowstone Giant Screen Theater to watch a film about Yellowstone’s history and wildlife. West Yellowstone is an excellent base for exploring the park, with a range of accommodations, dining options, and outdoor recreational activities available throughout the year.
9. Stargaze at the Bannack State Park
Bannack State Park, a well-preserved ghost town and a National Historic Landmark, offers visitors the chance to step back in time and explore Montana’s gold rush history.
This amazing landmark features over 60 historic structures, and at night, it becomes a prime location for stargazing due to its remote location and minimal light pollution. In addition to its historic structures, the park boasts a diverse landscape with canyons, mesas, and sandstone formations.
Visitors can explore hiking trails, camping, and enjoy ranger-led programs to learn about the park’s unique history and geology. This area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bats, coyotes, and several species of rare birds.
10. Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort is one of the top skiing destinations in the United States. Located about an hour’s drive from Bozeman, it is nestled in the heart of big sky country, with its vast expanses of blue sky and towering mountains. The resort boasts over 5,800 acres of skiable terrain, with runs ranging from beginner to expert.
Big Sky Resort is known for its challenging terrain, including steep chutes and deep powder bowls, making it a favorite among experienced skiers. But there are plenty of options for beginners and intermediates, too.
What sets the resort apart, however, is its stunning scenery. The views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are breathtaking, and there are plenty of opportunities for non-skiers to enjoy the great outdoors, too.
11. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, spanning Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. While most of the Yellowstone lies within Wyoming, the West Yellowstone entrance in south-central Montana provides easy access to many of the park’s iconic attractions.
Marvel at the park’s diverse wildlife, including bison, wolves, and elk. Discover the famous Old Faithful geyser, which erupts approximately every 90 minutes, or take a scenic drive to explore the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. In the summer, spend a day or two exploring Lake Yellowstone, where you can go boating,
Don’t forget to visit the Yellowstone National Park official website for updates on weather conditions and seasonal activities.
12. Visit the Charming Small Town of Livingston
Nestled along the Yellowstone River, the picturesque town of Livingston is one of my favorite places to visit in Montana. Known for its vibrant arts scene, historic downtown, excellent main street shops, and stunning natural surroundings, Livingston offers a unique blend of culture and adventure.
Stroll through the quaint downtown area, where you’ll find art galleries, boutiques, and delicious dining options. Experience the area’s rich history by visiting the Livingston Depot Center, a beautifully restored train station that now serves as a museum and event center.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy fly fishing on the Yellowstone River or explore the nearby Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness for a true Montana wilderness experience. This is one of the most charming small towns in all of Montana. Stop by here if you visit Montana for Yellowstone National Park.
Where to stay in Montana
Montana offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs. Here are some of the best options for you when you visit Montana:
- The Ranch at Rock Creek – A luxury ranch resort in Philipsburg.
- Gibson Mansion Bed and Breakfast – A charming B&B in Missoula.
- Triple Creek Ranch – An all-inclusive adults-only resort in Darby
- Lodge at Whitefish Lake – A lakeside retreat in Whitefish.
- The Firebrand Hotel – A boutique hotel in downtown Whitefish.
- Yellowstone Valley Lodge – A cozy lodge near Livingston.
- Sage Lodge – A luxury resort in Pray, close to Yellowstone National Park.
- Rattlesnake Creek Inn – A peaceful bed and breakfast in Missoula.
How to Get Around in Montana
Montana’s vast landscapes can make getting around a bit challenging. The most convenient way to explore the state is by renting a car.
RentalCars.com offers a variety of options to suit your needs, from compact cars to SUVs. Public transportation is limited outside of major cities, so having a rental car allows you to visit Montana’s attractions at your own pace.
Travel Tips for Visiting Montana
Montana is a unique destination with its diverse landscapes, rich history, and outdoor adventures. To make the most of your visit, consider the following travel tips:
Plan Your Itinerary
Montana is a vast state, so planning your itinerary is essential. Consider your interests and allocate time for each activity. Don’t forget to factor in travel time between destinations.
Prepare for Changing Weather
Montana’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden temperature changes and occasional rain or snow. Pack layers and always check the local forecast before heading out for the day.
Make sure you bring comfortable shoes for all the outdoor activities you plan to do. Bring a map or GPS, if you plan on spending significant time camping in the state or national parks.
Before your trip, consider purchasing travel insurance from a reputable provider like VisitorsCoverage.com. Travel insurance can offer peace of mind by covering unexpected costs such as medical emergencies or trip cancellations.
Be Wildlife Aware
Montana is home to an abundance of wildlife, including bears, moose, and elk. Maintain a safe distance from animals and carry bear spray when hiking in remote areas.
Respect the Environment
Montana’s pristine landscapes are one of its greatest attractions. Help preserve these natural wonders by practicing Leave No Trace principles and disposing of waste properly.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.