11 Interesting And Beautiful Places To Visit In Montana

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There’s plenty of adventure to be discovered in Montana. America’s Big Sky Country, Montana boasts sweeping plains, dramatic mountains, pristine rivers, and wide open landscapes.

You’ll find unique culture, too. From huckleberry ice cream to river surfing, the people and experiences that make up Montana are full of fun surprises.

As you’re planning your Montana vacation, be sure to check out our list of 11 interesting and beautiful places to visit for a trip you won’t soon forget!

1. Glacier National Park

The “Crown of the Continent”—Glacier National Park—should be at the top of your Montana vacation list. This extremely popular national park draws visitors every year for its majestic mountains, fascinating glaciers, and impressive outdoor beauty.

Hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing abound in the park. However, make sure you prioritize a scenic drive along the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road before anything else (it’ll take your breath away!).

Some of my personal favorite activities include kayaking on Two Medicine Lake and hiking to Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake. For a memorable place to stay, check out the two historic lodges in the park: Lake McDonald Lodge and Many Glacier Hotel

Glacier-carved mountain landscapes in Glacier National Park

2. Missoula Farmers Market – Missoula, MT

Montana isn’t densely populated, but it does boast some fun smaller cities to explore, like Missoula. A hip “college town” with a walkable and lively downtown scene, the picturesque Missoula has perhaps the coolest farmer’s market in America.

For over 50 years, the Missoula Farmers Market literally takes over the city every Saturday from May until October each year. This bustling farmers market provides fresh local produce (grab a bag of homegrown huckleberries!), enticing foods, art, and unique crafts made in Montana. 

Each block has a variety of live music performances and fun people watching. After exploring the market, make a stop at the nearby Big Dipper for some excellent huckleberry ice cream. 

The lively Missoula Farmers Market

3. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Heading east into Montana’s expansive plains, be sure to check out Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, the famous site of “Custer’s Last Stand.”

Here you can explore the epic battle between the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians and the US Cavalry in 1876, led by larger-than-life General George Custer. Relive history as you wander through the battlefield monuments and Custer National Cemetery.

Visitors can also marvel at fascinating exhibits at the visitor center and museum, explore a self-guided driving tour through the battlefields, and enjoy ranger programs and bus tours in the summer.

Indian Memorial Sculpture at Little Bighorn (Photo by Karen Martinez on Unsplash)

4. The Bison Range – Charlo, MT

Nothing captures the Montana spirit more than seeing wild buffalo (AKA bison) roam the prairies. Perhaps no better place to see these wild Montana bison is The Bison Range, located in the Flathead Indian Reservation. 

The Bison Range protects a permanent herd of 300-500 bison in its vast 18,500-acre preserve. When you make a visit to the range, you can enjoy some spectacular scenic drives that will give you an in-person look at wild buffalo (and other wildlife) in their natural habitat.

In addition, the range’s headquarters provides exhibit opportunities to learn more about these magnificent animals and their impact on the area.

Montana bison roaming freely at the Bison Range

5. Downtown Whitefish – Whitefish, MT

Considered one of the “top 25 ski towns in the world” by National Geographic, the scenic town of Whitefish is a must-see during your trip to Montana. Providing a great homebase for exploring Glacier National Park, Whitefish has plenty to enjoy year-round. 

Upon visiting, check out Downtown Whitefish, a charming setting of small-town shops, restaurants, and accommodations worth exploring. Plus you can see the historic train depot which still brings in regular Amtrak passenger trains. 

Afterwards, take advantage of Whitefish’s popular recreation activities, like hiking, skiing, snowboarding, or the scenic City Beach along Whitefish Lake.

Exploring Downtown Whitefish

6. Yellowstone National Park

Though mostly located in Wyoming, you can experience the famous beauty of America’s first national park—Yellowstone National Park—in Montana as well. In fact, you can see the original entrance to the park, with its iconic Roosevelt Arch, in Gardiner.

After passing through this famous entrance, you’ll come across the unique Boiling River on Montana’s border. This is one of the few places in Yellowstone where you can enjoy a relaxing swim in the park’s hot springs.

Another prominent Yellowstone entrance in Montana is the Beartooth Highway, starting in Red Lodge and continuing into the northeast entrance of the park. Considered one of the most beautiful roads in America, this national scenic byway provides spectacular high-altitude mountain views.

The historic Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone National Park (Photo by Allan Grossman from Pixabay)

7. Museum of the Rockies – Bozeman, MT

Are you a fan of dinosaurs? Consider making a visit to the renowned Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, one of Montana’s most well-known attractions. 

Famous for having one of the largest collections of dinosaur fossils in the world, the Museum of the Rockies is the only Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Montana. The museum houses the world’s largest t-rex skull, a full t-rex skeleton, and numerous other fascinating exhibits. 

While you could spend hours in the museum, be sure to set aside time to explore the city of Bozeman as well. Considered one of the best places to live in the US, Bozeman boasts a lively arts and culture scene, fun shopping and restaurants, and numerous outdoor recreation activities. 

Aerial view of Bozeman (Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash

8. Flathead Cherry Festival – Polson, MT

Located in the charming small town of Polson along the scenic Flathead Lake, the Flathead Cherry Festival draws loads of visitors every summer—and for good reason!

Dedicated to all things cherry, the Flathead Cherry Festival provides a lively scene of local vendors, artists, and unique foods. Of course, you’ll want to make sure to grab a bag of freshly picked cherries for sale at the festival from orchards nearby. 

After you’ve indulged in some cherry desserts, stick around to watch a variety of fun contests, such as cherry pit spitting, cherry pie eating, and sidewalk chalk art. 

The Flathead Cherry Festival

9. Brennan’s Wave – Missoula, MT

Did you know you can go surfing in Montana? That’s hard to believe in a landlocked state, but river surfing is catching on rapidly in Big Sky Country, particularly in Missoula. 

One of the best places to watch this unique sport firsthand is at Brennan’s Wave near downtown. Located in the Clark Fork River, you can easily watch surfers and kayakers ride this man-made wave (and do a few tricks!) from the overlook at Caras Park. 

If you want to experience river surfing yourself, nearby local outfitters provide equipment and guided day trips where you can learn how to hang ten, Montana-style. 

A river surfer rides Brennan’s Wave

10. Bannack Ghost Town – Bannack State Park

If you’re looking to experience Montana’s best-preserved ghost town, be sure to add a trip to Bannack State Park to your Montana vacation itinerary.

The site of Montana’s first major gold discovery in 1862, the ghost town of Bannack now has over 60 preserved buildings you can visit to relive the boom-or-bust days of gold rush history. 

The summer months provide guided tours of the town from the visitors center, as well as Bannack Days, where the town comes alive with historical reenactors providing food, activities, and entertainment. 

The best-preserved ghost town in Montana (Photo by Mike Goad from Pixabay)

11. Bigfork Summer Playhouse – Bigfork, MT

Along the northern shores of the beautiful Flathead Lake rests the quaint small town of Bigfork, a wonderful place to stop while on your way to Glacier National Park. Bigfork provides charming shops, accommodations, and restaurants, as well as prime access to lake recreation. 

If you’re looking for a fun evening of entertainment in the area, be sure to check out the Bigfork Summer Playhouse, right in the heart of town, for its fantastic lineup of theater performances.

For over 60 seasons and counting, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse attracts rising Broadway-level talent to this idyllic small town to perform a variety of popular musicals and shows. Be sure to get your tickets in advance! 

The quaint town of Bigfork

Did we miss any of your favorite places in Montana?

Let us know in the comments if there are any more places in Montana that you would add to our list!

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