30 Best Places To Visit In Montana, The USA - Updated 2021

best places to visit in montana
Ruth Alexis
Ruth Alexis
Updated

Montana is a sprawling, beautiful western state in the United States known for its rugged terrain and quaint small towns. Montana is a popular spot for hiking, caving, and mountain climbing, particularly in the famous Rocky Mountains and the wondrous Great Plains. Even if you are not keen on doing an expedition through the snow-capped mountains of Glacier National Park, there are many other fun and amazing things to do in Montana. To find out more, read on. Below are some of the best places to visit in Montana, the USA. Be sure to check this list out before your next trip to this part of the vast USA.

1. Helena

Helena, Montana looking East on Cedar Street
Source: Photo by user 5of7 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Helena is the state capital of Montana, known for being the site of the gold camp during the Montana gold rush. You can do some hiking on a sunny day through Mount Helena, visit Cathedral of Saint Helena for a church service, or go check out Holter Museum of Art if you want to take a few snapshots with some contemporary art pieces made by local artists. If you are interested to find out more about the role that Helena plays in the governing of Montana, head down to the impressive Montana State Capitol for a guided tour.

2. Columbia Falls

Columbia Falls Montana Sign on US2
Source: Photo by user Royalbroil used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Columbia Falls is a quaint town known for its locally owned restaurants and cosy brewery. It is known primarily as the gateway to many amazing ski resorts and cosy mountain huts. If you are looking for a cosy or sporty winter getaway to the mountains, this is the place to go. Once you stop by, you will find yourself entranced by its charm and homely feel. Head to the enticing Big Sky Waterpark for some fun on waterslides and thrilling rides. Rent a snowmobile to experience the thrill at Swan Mountain Snowmobiling.

3. Billings

4th Av Downtown Billings, Montana
Source: Photo by user Sara goth used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Billings is a charming city that borders the Yellowstone River. If you are a nature lover, this is the place to head down to in order to enjoy trekking through sandstone cliffs and hiking through gorgeous rimrock formations. History buffs should head towards the iconic Western Heritage Center, where you can enjoy looking at local historical works and artifacts. One of the highlights of the small town of Billings, however, is Pictograph Cave State Park, which has rock paintings dating back to many centuries ago. Pictograph Cave State Park is located just outside of town, perfect for a fun yet educational day trip out of Billings.

4. Fort Peck

Fort Peck Dam (Fort Peck Montana) 1986 01
Source: Photo by user US Army Corps of ... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

There is something for people of all ages to do in Fort Peck. The Children’s Museum of Montana incorporates hands-on activities such as painting, playing with dough, and playing in the sand, with learning about science, history, and culture. Wheatgrass Arts and Gallery is dedicated to art lovers who want to enjoy viewing a wide range of works made by local artists. Even after the city has gone to sleep, you can let your creative juices flow while enjoying a pint at the Sip n Paint evenings arranged by the gallery.

5. Bannack

Bannack, Montana (25064171061)
Source: Photo by user Mark Holloway used under CC BY 2.0

Bannack is one of the best-kept ghost towns in Montana. Though once a vibrant town that was buzzing with gold rush miners, the town has now been depleted of its resources and is now largely deserted. Take a ghost tour of the old mining town and hear some spooky stories in the dark of the night. If you want a fun day out with friends and family while on your trip, head to Bannack State Park for some fishing, hiking, or camping. Special events–such as Living History Weekend when you can re-live the Gold Rush era or Bannack Days when you can get a glimpse into pioneer life–can also be anticipated.

6. Missoula

Missoula Sunset (2006-07)
Source: Photo by user Prizrak 2084 used under CC BY 2.0

Missoula is a hidden gem of a travel spot definitely worth a visit. Start your day off with some hearty American food at one of the many cosy local diners along the motorway, then head down to Missoula Art Museum to enjoy viewing some fascinating contemporary art pieces. End your day with an evening stroll along the rugged trails of one of the many parks surrounding Missoula, including Mount Sentinel, Mount Jumbo, and Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness. There are many scenic spots with gorgeous waterfalls and towering trees for you to take the perfect snapshot along the way.

7. Kalispell

Kalispell Main Street
Source: Photo by user Jeff the quiet used under CC0

Kalispell is a small and cosy town in northwest Montana known as America’s gateway to the awe-inspiring Glacier National Park, with its abundance of walking trails, waterfalls, and wildlife like grizzly bears. Even if you are less keen on the outdoors, there are many opportunities for you to have a blast at Kalispell. Head to Conrad Mansion Museum to enjoy viewing period furnishings, or go down to Hockaday Museum to get inspired by the contemporary artists of Montana.

8. Bozeman

Bozeman MT areal
Source: Photo by user Feetyouwear used under CC BY 2.0

Bozeman is yet another town famous for its beautiful mountainous regions. It is located near the Rocky Mountains, Bridger Range, and Spanish Peaks, where you can go fishing, hiking, or cycling. If you are bringing young children along with you, you might want to head down to the interesting Siebel Dinosaur Complex, where you can enjoy their large collection of T. rex specimens as a family. If you are a tech geek and want to browse through some fascinating tech artefacts, then American Computer and Robotics Museum is the place to go.

9. Belgrade

Belgrade Montana
Source: Photo by user Nicolás Boullosa used under CC BY 2.0

Belgrade is a trendy and sprawling city in Montana known for its warm and welcoming residents. You can head down to the sunny Lewis and Clark Park, where the younger ones can have a blast at the playground and families can take a stroll around the park. For a more adventurous day out, head over to the majestic Sacajawea Peak Drive to hike, fish, bike or even do some canyoning.

10. Belt

Belt Commercial Cascade County, MT
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jon Roanhaus used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Belt is a cosy town in Cascade County, Montana that is known for being the home to Montana’s first coal mine. You can learn more about the small town’s history as a coal mining town in the History Museum or enjoy a leisurely stroll by the river at River’s Edge Trail. The Children’s Museum of Montana is located in Belt so if you have younger ones with you on your travels, make sure to make a stop at the museum for a splendid time.

11. Butte

Butte, Montana (7877876182)
Source: Photo by user Tracy used under CC BY 2.0

One of Butte’s key places of interest is World Museum of Mining, where you can learn more about the history of Montana as a mining state and marvel at a recreation of a typical 1890s mining town. Learn more about the history of prostitution in the town as you can take a guided tour of the Dumas Brothel, a 19th-century brothel. The famous Table Mountain is located on the edge of Butte and you can admire its interesting shape or take a hike up the mountain as a day trip.

12. Polson

Polson2
Source: Photo by user Montanabw used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Polson is a beautiful city located by the edges of Flathead Lake in Lake County, Montana. Buy some traditional handmade crafts at Flathead Indian Reservation, take a stroll around the vast Flathead Lake, or do some fishing at Point Salish Park. When you are feeling peckish, head over to Blodgett Creamery Coffee Saloon or Lakeview Bar & Grill for some authentic food and great views of the city.

13. Whitefish

Whitefish Montana Railroad Depot
Source: Photo by user Andy Merrill used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Whitefish is a lush resort town in the depths of the rugged Rocky Mountains of the northwest Montana region. It serves as one of the major gateways to the famed peaks, lakes, and valleys of the stunning Glacier National Park. Enjoy traversing ski and mountain biking trails at the sprawling Whitefish Mountain Resort or have a picnic and a stroll around Whitefish Lake and Whitefish Lake State Park.

14. Havre

Fresno Beach Free Campsite Bathroom Havre Montana (32989607521)
Source: Photo by user Tony Webster used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Havre is one of the lesser-known towns in Montana, but is nonetheless worth a visit for its quaint small-town vibes and welcoming atmosphere. You can have a hearty meal at one of the many family-owned restaurants around town, take a stroll around the historic Wahkpa Chu'gn Archaeological Site, or engage in a fun game of basketball with the locals at Pepin Park. For its simple pleasures, Havre deserves checking out on a trip through Montana.

15. Miles City

Montana Theatre Miles City
Source: Photo by user dave_mcmt used under CC BY 2.0

Miles City is a metropolitan city nestled by the Yellowstone River. It is the seat of Custer County and is a true-blue Western town despite its modernness. Learn more about the life of a cowboy at Range Rider’s Museum, appreciate some local art at WaterWorks Art Museum, or channel your inner adventurer as you boat or hike around Pirogue Island State Park.

16. West Yellowstone

Yellowstone River in Hayden Valley
Source: Photo by user Ed Austin/Herb Jones used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

West Yellowstone is one of the most popular places in Montana with tourists, as it is a key gateway to the famous Yellowstone National Park. Rent a caravan and journey into the woods to see the Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone over the weekend. Even if you did not get a chance to spot some grizzly bears in the forest, simply head into town to spot one at Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. To understand more about the history of Yellowstone National Park, go to Yellowstone Historic Center to learn more about local history and the development of transportation routes around town.

17. Sidney

Yellowstone River - Sidney Montana - 2013-07-03
Source: Photo by user Tim Evanson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sidney is considered one of the prime spots around the state to enjoy some good bird-watching near the Yellowstone River. In the summer months, enjoy a relaxing day by the river as you watch mallards, pintails, Canadian geese, and white pelicans splash about in the river. If you are looking to enjoy some sports in the beautiful Yellowstone Valley, Sidney Country Club has a golf course you can spend the day in. In fact, Sidney Country Club is the only 18-hole golf course in the eastern half of the state, making it one of the best places to play a game of golf around town.

18. Glasgow

Glasgow Montana
Source: Photo by user Royalbroil used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The word Glasgow might immediately bring to mind the famous city in Scotland. While Glasgow, Montana might be a small, relatively unknown town, it offers a wide range of activities for the young and the old to enjoy while travelling here. Take a pit stop at the Valley County Pioneer Museum, where you can admire a wide range of hunting and aviation artefacts. The Children’s Museum of NE Montana is also located in Glasgow, where the young ones can engage in fun hands-on activities such as building LEGO and miniature train tracks. If you are taking a road trip around Montana, you will be able to enjoy breathtaking sceneries of farmland and mountains as you approach Glasgow city.

19. Darby

Npnht-091820120-near-darby-mt-rogermpeterson-001 (8146227158)
Source: Photo by user Forest Service No... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Much like many towns in Montana, Darby is a nature lover’s paradise. Spend a sunny afternoon biking, hiking, or fishing around Lake Como with friends and family. Head deep into the mountains on Chaffin Creek Trail for a day hike. For the history buffs amongst us, Darby Pioneer Memorial Museum is for you. You can learn a lot about America’s past and their founding fathers here.

20. Anaconda

Club Moderne, Anaconda, Montana
Source: Photo by user Jet Lowe used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Discovery Ski Area is one of the standout places of interest in Anaconda. Beginners at the sport can head here to in order to hone their skills on gentle ski slopes during the winter. For those hoping to spot some elk or deer in the forest, then Anaconda Pintler Wilderness Park is a great place to go for a day’s worth of hiking, swimming, or fishing. For even more fun in the sun, Georgetown Lake is a vast recreational lake where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains while doing some canoeing or kitesurfing on the lake.

21. Dillon

Russell Lee street corner Dillon Montana
Source: Photo by user Russell Lee used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Dillon is a small but bustling town known for its automobile industry. Head to the grand Beaverhead County Museum to learn more about Dillon’s fascinating history. However, just a short drive away from the main town will bring you into a completely different world. Blacktail Deer Creek is a gorgeous creek in the middle of the woods for fishing or a stroll in quiet solitude. If you want a bird’s-eye view of Dillon, head over to Clarks Lookout State Park for the perfect vantage point.

22. Three Forks

Three Forks, Montana
Source: Photo by user Photo and digital... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Three Forks is known for being the place where the majestic Missouri River starts. Many of its parks and nature reserves remain largely untouched by tourists but are definitely hidden gems worth a visit. If you are feeling adventurous, head over to Missouri Headwaters State Park for a weekend of camping outdoors, fishing, and hiking. Three Forks Pond is a great place to enjoy the sunset with some great views of a sprawling lake and gently swaying trees.

23. Red Lodge

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Red Lodge is known as one of the most convenient gateways to the majestic Yellowstone National Park. With a wide range of lodging and caravan rent options in town, Red Lodge is a great place to go. Get yourself equipped with the gear you need for an amazing adventure to Yellowstone National Park. While most people head into this town just for a day or two before heading into Yellowstone, there are many reasons why Red Lodge is worth a visit in its own right. Coal Miners Memorial Park is a great place to go to understand more about the culture and history of the coal miners of Montana. Immerse yourself in an authentic farm experience with Beartooth Wagon & Sleigh Rides, where you can enjoy horse riding and learning more about the ranch life.

24. Virginia City

Virginia City, Montana
Source: Photo by user SchmuckyTheCat used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Virginia City is a sprawling mountainside town in Montana known for its rich history. Virginia City and its surrounding area were designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1961. You can drop by Montana Heritage Commission to learn about how Virginia City received its National Historic Landmark status. You can also learn more about farm life at Nevada City Museum & Music Hall or take a tour of the surrounding mountains and beautiful rivers with Alder Gulch Summit Tours.

25. Deer Lodge

Deer Lodge County (Mt) Courthouse
Source: Photo by user Mark A. Holloway used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Deer Lodge is a small town in Powell County. One of its most popular and most intriguing places of interest is Old Montana Prison Museum, where you can learn more about the prison that used to sit in Deer Lodge. If you are interested in visiting an authentic working ranch to experience ranch life just for a day or two, you can head over to Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site for a tour. Finally, Montana Auto Museum is also worth a mention - automobile enthusiasts can spend an afternoon in this museum marvelling at vintage American cars unable to be found on the streets any more.

26. Stevensville

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Stevensville is known as the first permanent settlement in the state of Montana. Head down to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy breathtaking views of lakes, streams, and the woods or take a half-day hike through Kootenai Creek Trailhead and be greeted by the sight of a gushing waterfall at the end. In the town centre, there are shopping, dining, and entertainment options. If you are looking for some hearty American fare to chow down on after a long day in the woods, CJ’s Den is a great place for sticky smoked ribs and a juicy steak.

27. Thompson Falls

PRESTON HOUSE, THOMPSON FALLS, SANDERS COUNTY, MONTANA
Source: Photo by user JERRYE AND ROY KL... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Thompson Falls is a small but friendly town hidden in a peaceful valley near the majestic Clark Fork River. At the national forest just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, you can engage in a wide range of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting. In the winter, if you are a snow sport enthusiast, head over to the mountains for an exhilarating ski or snowmobile experience.

28. Hardin

HardinMT StJosephCatholicChurch
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Magicpiano used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Hardin is a great place to visit to experience the authentic ranch and country life. Start your day off at the rustic Big Horn County Museum to marvel at a wide range of artefacts from farm life of the 90s, from vintage truck models to an old horse cart. Savour some yummy fried chicken at Four Aces Bar and Lounge for lunch. Afterwards, take a short drive out of town to the lovely St. Joseph Catholic Church, where you can appreciate some Gothic architecture and pay your respects. End your day off with a farm tour at one of the many open farms along the outskirts of town.

29. Wolf Point

Montana Highway 25 Wolf Point MT
Source: Photo by user I, the copyright ... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Wolf Point runs along the Missouri River and is a great place to take a few snapshots with the iconic waterway. If you would like to taste some authentic Montana brews and get a taste of the social life here, head over to Missouri Breaks Brewing Pub for a delicious pint after dinner. Wolf Point Area Museum is a great place to learn more about the history of the early Indian settlers in the Wolf Point region, a historical landmark in its own right and a designated Indian reserve up till today.

30. Glendive

GlendiveMT DowntownHD
Source: Photo by user Magicpiano used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Glendive is a sprawling mountainous town known for its rich history and beautiful natural places of interest. Makoshika State Park is the perfect place to go to make an escape from the city into the tranquil wilderness. You can camp, fish, hike, and engage in a wide variety of other thrilling outdoor activities there. If the great outdoors is not your thing, you can always spend a fun afternoon at Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum learning more about the fossils that archaeologists have discovered in the Glendive region. Finish your day off with some scrumptious American fare and a pint of beer at Cross Country Brewery in town and have a chat with the locals there.

Many fantastic places to visit in Montana

Montana is a rugged, sprawling state in the USA with so much to do and see. Whether you are keen on visiting a quaint, small town or a sprawling city, Montana has it all. Better yet, all these towns have something to offer everyone - visitors can experience the wilderness, learn more at a museum or have some delicious food, and beer all within a single day. If you are planning your next trip to Montana, be sure to check out the above best places to visit before your next trip there!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Ruth is a freelance writer and novelist who loves snuggling, skating, and all things matcha.

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