The Getaway
Experience the Simple Life in Montana's Small Towns

From rolling prairies to towering mountain vistas, Montana is a state of breathtaking natural beauty. Combine that with its rich history and diverse cultures, and this is a must-visit location in the United States. But it's not just about the wild landscapes.

Montana towns also have a thriving artistic community, a rich cowboy culture, and some of the best food and drinks you'll ever taste! No matter what you're looking for, Montana has something to offer everyone.

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01 Enjoy breathtaking views in Bozeman

This college town is located in the heart of the Gallatin Valley and is surrounded by mountains and rivers. Take a scenic drive through the Gallatin Canyon and hike the nearby trails for breathtaking views. If you enjoy fishing, the Gallatin River has some of the best trout fishing in the country.

History buffs can explore the Museum of the Rockies, which showcases the rich cultural and geological history of the region. In the evening, take a stroll through Bozeman's historic downtown for a delicious meal or catch a performance at the Ellen Theatre.

Aerial view of the new district in Bozeman Montana, Cannery Row. Water tower, field and new buildings at sunset with a dramatic sky. DianeBentleyRaymond/ Getty Images

02 Get outdoors in Whitefish

This charming town is nestled at the foot of Big Mountain, one of Montana's premier locations for year-round fun. Whitefish is a great summer destination for outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. If you enjoy being on the water, take some time to go fishing and boating on Whitefish Lake. Whitefish is a great spot for a winter vacation as well. During the winter, ski or snowboard at the nearby Big Mountain Resort.

For a cultural experience, visit the Whitefish Theatre Company to catch a live performance. For those interested in local history, visiting the Depot Park Museum is a must, offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into the town's railway heritage.

Whitefish and Whitefish Lake at Montana, United States Shunyu Fan/ Getty Images

03 Explore the culture in Missoula

Missoula is a vibrant college town with a rich cultural scene. Visit the Montana Museum of Art & Culture to explore a diverse collection of works by Montana artists, with over 10,000 works of art that span over 150 years of Montana's artistic history. For a night of entertainment, grab a bite at one of the town's many excellent restaurants and then catch a performance at the Montana Theatre. In the summer, attend one of the city's many outdoor concerts and festivals.

Like many other Montana cities, the outdoor recreation options are plenty, including rafting or kayaking down the Clark Fork River.

View of Missoula from Mount Sentinel, in Missoula, Montana Jon Bilous/ Getty Images

04 Check out a big lake in Bigfork

This picturesque town is located on the shores of Flathead Lake, one of the largest natural lakes in the western United States. You'll have plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating, and kayaking. And, of course, take a sunset walk along the Flathead Lake shoreline to enjoy the beauty of nature.

For a taste of local flavor, visit the Bigfork Summer Playhouse to catch a live performance or explore the downtown area to find the perfect souvenir.

flat head lake, Montana Karina Donaldson/ Getty Images

05 Experience city life in Kalispell

Kalispell is the largest city in the Flathead Valley and has tons to explore. Visit the Hockaday Museum of Art to see works by local and regional artists, or catch a performance at the Kalispell Grand Hotel, a historic venue that hosts various shows.

Additionally, Kalispell is known for its thriving craft beer scene, with several local breweries offering tastings and tours. Finally, be sure to take a stroll through the city's beautiful parks, including Depot Park and Evergreen Park, for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

06 Take a history lesson in Helena

Helena is the state capital of Montana and is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. While you're in Helena, visit the Montana State Capitol Building. This stunning structure serves as the center of Montana's state government and is open to the public for tours. The Montana Historical Society Museum is another must-see attraction, offering a glimpse into the state's history, including its Native American heritage and the gold rush of the late 19th century.

In addition to the historical attractions, Helena is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene. The Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts is an arts venue that offers live performances, films, and events. The Holter Museum of Art is another popular destination, showcasing works by local and regional artists.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Helena offers several beautiful parks and hiking trails, including Mount Helena City Park. Make sure to look at Last Chance Gulch, a historic canyon that runs through the heart of the city.

Drone view of the Montana State Capitol, in Helena, on a sunny afternoon with hazy sky caused by wildfires. The Montana State Capitol houses the Montana State Legislature. Ultima_Gaina/ Getty Images

07 But don't miss visiting Butte

Butte is located in the heart of the Rockies and is surrounded by mountains and rivers. This offers a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Homestake Pass Trail is a popular destination for hikers, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and a chance to explore the area's mining history. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest provides even more opportunities for outdoor recreation, with miles of trails and fishing opportunities. Of course, there are many mining attractions in the area. The Mai Wah Museum showcases the history of the Chinese immigrants who helped build the city and played a vital role in the area's mining industry.

Stop by the World Museum of Mining, which offers a unique look into the city's rich mining history. Check out the old mine yard, a restored miner's cottage, and several exhibits on the area's rich mining heritage. When you're done at the museum, the Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook offers a breathtaking view of the city. This scenic spot is a tribute to the miners who worked in the area's mines.

One of fourteen headframes, nicked named gallows frames, dot the Butte, Montana skyline which mark the remnants of mines that made the area The Richest Hill on Earth in the early 1900's. Jonathan W. Cohen/ Getty Images

08 Relax in Red Lodge

For more mining history, visit the Carbon County Historical Society and Museum, which showcases the area's rich mining heritage, as well as the history of the Native American tribes who have lived in the area for thousands of years. Another great attraction is the Beartooth Highway, a scenic drive through some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the state.

Red Lodge is also a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby Custer National Forest provides miles of trails for exploration. The Red Lodge Mountain Resort is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders, offering world-class skiing and snowboarding in the winter. For a more leisurely outdoor activity, take a drive along the scenic Byway, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

American town - Red Lodge, Montana peeterv/ Getty Images

09 Embrace nature in West Yellowstone

West Yellowstone is a gateway to one of America's most iconic national parks. The town offers a variety of attractions for visitors, both inside and outside of the park. Yellowstone National Park features an array of natural wonders, including geysers, hot springs, and wildlife such as bison, elk, and bears. Another wildlife attraction is the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, which offers visitors the chance to learn about the area's native wildlife through interactive exhibits and live animal demonstrations.

Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic pool in Yellowstone National Park lucky-photographer/ Getty Images

10 Have a great time in Great Falls

Visit the C.M. Russell Museum, which showcases the life and works of the famous Western artist Charles M. Russell. Another must-see attraction is the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, which traces the path of the famous explorers as they made their way through Montana in the early 1800s.

The city is also home to several parks, including the Black Eagle Falls Park and Riverside Park, which offer beautiful views of the Missouri River and opportunities for picnicking and bird-watching.

One of a series of 5 waterfalls that cascade over hydroelectric dams along the upper Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana. leezsnow/ Getty Images

11 Carve out relaxation time in Columbia Falls

Golf enthusiasts can visit the Meadow Lake Golf Course, which offers 18 holes of championship golf set amidst stunning mountain scenery.

A short drive from town is Glacier National Park, where you can enjoy views of snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear lakes.

Columbia Falls is also home to a number of historic buildings and landmarks, including the Old Schoolhouse Museum, which showcases the history of education in the area, and the Columbia Falls Pioneer Museum, which celebrates the town's early settlers and pioneers.

Saint Mary Lake In Glacier National Park Zack Frank / 500px/ Getty Images

12 Feel the history in Fort Benton

One of the top attractions in the area is the Fort Benton Historic District, which includes several historic buildings, such as the Fort Benton Chouteau County Museum, the Grand Union Hotel, and the Overholser Opera House. These historic structures provide visitors with a glimpse into the town's past and offer a look at the way life was lived during the days of the frontier.

Another must-see attraction in Fort Benton is the Missouri Riverfront Park, which offers panoramic views of the river and provides a perfect spot for picnicking, fishing, or simply enjoying the area's natural beauty. Visitors can also explore the nearby Benton Lake Wildlife Refuge, which is home to a variety of wildlife. For those interested in outdoor recreation, Fort Benton is also a great starting point for hikes and outdoor adventures in the surrounding wilderness.

13 Get outdoors in Miles City

One of the top cultural attractions in Miles City is the Range Riders Museum, which showcases the history of the American West and provides a fascinating look at the way of life on the frontier.

The nearby Tongue River Reservoir is a popular spot for fishing, boating, and other water sports. For more scenic views, Medicine Rocks State Park has plenty of hiking trails, rock climbing, and picnicking opportunities.

Another popular outdoor destination in the Miles City area is the Baker Hunting Unit, which provides hunting opportunities for a variety of species, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and upland game birds.

Medicine Rocks State Park Ekalaka MT Montana Landscape ChrisBoswell/ Getty Images

14 Check out the tribal history in Choteau

Choteau is home to the Museum of the Rockies, which showcases the rich history and natural beauty of the region. The museum features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and displays about the history of the area, including the indigenous Blackfeet people, pioneers, and the unique geology of the region.

Other outdoor attractions in the Choteau area include the Lewis and Clark National Forest, the Rocky Mountain Front, and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Visitors to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation can stop by the Museum of the Plains Indian, which showcases the history, culture, and art of the Blackfeet people and other Plains tribes. The museum features a collection of artifacts, paintings, and sculptures, as well as interactive exhibits and educational programs. Visitors can learn about the traditional way of life of the Blackfeet, including their hunting and gathering practices, spiritual beliefs, and daily activities. The reservation is also home to the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, which provides stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.

Rocky Mountain Front Range in the Fall JeffGoulden/ Getty Images

15 Learn to love Lewistown

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Lewistown, which is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the Big Snowy Mountains. Hikers and horseback riders can enjoy the trails that lead into the wilderness, offering breathtaking views of the landscape. Take a boat or kayak on the Judith River for a relaxing day of fishing.

Fall/summer colors - Montana jkauffeld/ Getty Images
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