Montana Vacation Planner

2021 Montana Visitors Guide

Montana conjures visions of majestic mountains, the Old West and a less complicated lifestyle. It is also known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from towering mountains in the west to endless plains in the east. Those looking for a taste of the Wild West enjoy the experiences found in eastern Montana, where timeless towns and prairie evoke rustic images. Great Falls and Billings are two of the centers found in this area, each offering a plethora of activities. Plenty of parklands is also found in eastern Montana, including the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, where hunting, camping, and fishing are popular pastimes.

montana mapThe Montana Rockies are home to numerous ski and summer resorts, including Big Mountain in Whitefish. Countless visitors are drawn to Glacier National Park, which boasts spectacular scenery, recreational opportunities, and fine accommodation options. The Montana Rockies also act as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, the world-renowned park that is found in both Montana and Wyoming. Helena is the state capital of Montana and the county seat of Lewis and Clark County.

Montana Rockies Visitors Guide

The Montana Rockies boast spectacular scenery, charming Western towns, and attractive summer and winter resorts. Kalispell, Whitefish, Missoula, and Butte are four of the major centers in this area of the state, each offering its own allure. Kalispell is popular among outdoor enthusiasts, and Glacier National Park is visible from the downtown area. From golfing to wildlife watching, Kalispell offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Whitefish is nearby, offering world-renowned skiing at Big Mountain. Missoula is the site of the University of Montana and the Northern Region Headquarters of the U.S. Forest Service. Situated just three-and-a-half hours from both Glacier and Yellowstone National Park, Missoula entices visitors to explore and discover the wealth of adventure activities available. Butte is home to a rich history that is given voice through museums, historic theaters and the statue of Our Lady of the Rockies that watches over the town. Our Lady was constructed by volunteers and is roughly the same size as the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

East Montana Visitors Guide

For those who wish to revisit the olden days of the Wild West, look no further than East Montana. This region boasts timeless Western towns and over a million acres of forested coulees, native prairies, and badlands, making it an adventurer’s paradise. The Great Falls area is home to a number of scenic waterfalls, including Black Eagle Falls, Crooked Falls and Rainbow Falls. Great Falls and Billings are the two large centers in East Montana, each offering an array of cultural activities. Both these cities make a suitable home base for exploring the many museums, annual rodeos, reserves and parks that this region boasts. For the more adventurous who enjoy recreational activities such as camping, fishing, hunting and boating, a visit to East Montana should include Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area and Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are also drawn to towns such as Sidney and Plentywood, where Montana’s Western heritage clearly thrives.

Missoula Visitors Guide

Known as the Garden City due to its verdant landscape, Missoula is ideally situated at the heart of five valleys. Founded in 1860 as a trading market, the city is the home of the University of Montana and is a major recreational, shopping and entertainment center. Three major rivers run through the area, including the Clark Fork River, which flows through the city, making Missoula an opportune destination for kayaking, rafting and fishing. Missoula hosts numerous festivals, fairs and trade shows throughout the year, including the popular Western Montana Fair in August. This six-day fair includes a rodeo, musical acts and a parade. The 32-acre Historical Museum at Fort Missoula features over 17,000 historical objects and 13 structures. For those who enjoy shopping, historic downtown Missoula features classic 20th-century buildings and offers countless specialty shops, while the Southgate Mall satisfies conventional shopping needs.

Columbia Falls, MT Visitors Guide

Columbia Falls is known as the Gateway to the Rockies and sits just 18 mi (29 km) south of Glacier National Park. Opportunities for outdoor recreation abound, with golf, skiing, hiking, biking and more available for the active traveler. There are eight public parks for visitors to enjoy throughout the year, as well as extensive trails for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. A popular recreation site is Flathead National Forest, home to Big Mountain ski area. Anglers appreciate the fishing and guided charter services available in the area. No matter what the season, there is a myriad of attractions in Columbia Falls, as well as accommodations, dining and amenities to suit all tastes. The town prides itself on its small-town atmosphere and encourages visitors to soak up the rustic charm that makes up the character of Columbia Falls.

Columbia Falls, MT Visitors Guide
Columbia Falls, MT

East Montana Visitors Guide

For those who wish to revisit the olden days of the Wild West, look no further than East Montana. This region boasts timeless Western towns and over a million acres of forested coulees, native prairies, and badlands, making it an adventurer’s paradise. The Great Falls area is home to a number of scenic waterfalls, including Black Eagle Falls, Crooked Falls and Rainbow Falls. Great Falls and Billings are the two large centers in East Montana, each offering an array of cultural activities. Both these cities make a suitable home base for exploring the many museums, annual rodeos, reserves and parks that this region boasts. For the more adventurous who enjoy recreational activities such as camping, fishing, hunting and boating, a visit to East Montana should include Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area and Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are also drawn to towns such as Sidney and Plentywood, where Montana’s Western heritage clearly thrives.

Billings Visitors Guide

The town of Billings began quietly as a rail stop for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Today, it is Montana’s largest city and a gateway to the state’s Western heritage and natural beauty. The Western Heritage Center in downtown Billings presents artifacts and photographs that document the Yellowstone River Valley’s development. Displaying contemporary art of the Rocky Mountains, the Yellowstone Art Museum showcases, among other items, the artwork of renowned Western artist Charles M. Russell. Other city attractions include MetraPark, Zoo Montana and Moss Mansion. Located 65 mi (105 km) from Billings towards the Wyoming border on Interstate 90 is the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, which marks the spot where the forces of General George A. Custer’s American soldiers engaged American Indian tribes in battle in 1876. With a wide range of accommodations, Billings is also an ideal base to see Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.

Bozeman Visitors Guide

The city of Bozeman has experienced unhurried, yet continual, growth since the first settler, John Bozeman, laid claim to the land in 1864. Since that time, Bozeman has become a major tourism and agricultural hub in Montana. A charming blend of artists, professors, ranchers, students and outdoor enthusiasts make up the city’s eclectic population. One popular destination for travelers in Bozeman is The Museum of the Rockies, which features a planetarium as well as displays on the Plains Indians and the pioneers. Every July, visitors are drawn to the Gallatin County Fair as it offers a myriad of events including a rodeo and an exhibition. Bozeman is also a popular destination for adventure seekers, offering an array of activities that include hiking, fishing, camping and rafting. The nearby Gallatin National Forest, which encompasses 1.8-million acres, is host to many of these recreational activities.

Big Sky Visitors Guide

Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers feel at home in Big Sky. Located only 20 mi (32 km) north of Yellowstone National Park, this town offers an array of outdoor activities. Known for its snowy mountains, Big Sky boasts two downhill skiing areas: Big Sky Resort and Moonlight Basin. The surrounding lands are rich with fish and game animals, and numerous guides can help guests bring home a trophy trout, elk or bear. Big Sky features several unique operations, including llama treks around Yellowstone and dog sledding in the surrounding mountains. With the Gallatin River running through the area, conditions for whitewater rafting and kayaking are great. Trails for riding, snowmobiling, ATVing, and mountain biking wind through the wilderness. To top it off, Big Sky has a number of historic sites, such as Karst’s Camp, which was once a dude ranch but is now preserved to show the history of the area.

Glacier National Park Visitors
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Visitors Guide

Glacier National Park is a stunning jewel in the American Rockies. Unspoiled and majestic, Glacier National Park offers what is perhaps America’s finest mountain scenery, not to mention a wide array of outdoor activities, abundant wildlife, over 350 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and six National Historic Landmarks. In the summer, drive the Going to the Sun Road—one of the most outstanding mountains drives anywhere. This road culminates in the magnificent Logan Pass. Visitors can use their own vehicles to explore the scenic passage or see the sights aboard a vintage Red Jammer Bus Tour. Take a boat cruise from Lake McDonald Lodge on Glacier National Park’s largest lake, Lake McDonald. For a taste of Glacier National Park’s tourist tradition, visit the historic Glacier Park Lodge, a 1913 hotel that features a swimming pool, nine-hole golf course, gift shop and lounge.