With most of the places mostly being rural, the Big Sky State is a top destination for anyone who loves and appreciates stunning scenic views and great outdoor adventure. Montana houses all sorts of fun-filled features including great scenic byways, national parks, spectacular sceneries, and wildlife abundance. Check out our comprehensive sampling of Montana road trip destinations.
That’s not all. The Big Sky State boasts of vibrant cities offering the amazing cowboy tradition. Being the 4th largest state with about 147,000 square miles, Montana has about 1 million people coupled with diversity and low population density. This and lots more are some of the reasons it’s one of the top destinations in the country for vacations as well as road trip escapades.
During your road trip in the Big Sky State, don’t forget to cruise through these amazing destinations to spark memories of a lifetime. Further, if you want to know about the affordable things to do in Montana, have look at our dedicated sampling.
If you are planning on the go, simply check below slides to find out everything you should know:
- 1 Glacier National Park – Montana’s Crown Jewel
- 2 Great Falls – Electric City, Ryan Dam & More Montana’s Interesting Spots
- 3 Missoula – Missoula Art Museum, Roxy Theater & More!
- 4 Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
- 5 Virginia City – 100+ Historic Structures & More!
- 6 Helena – Capitol Building & Gates of the Mountains
- 7 Livingston – A Scenic Ranch Town
- 8 Whitefish – Abundance of Outdoor Adventures
- 9 Bozeman – Hiking, Skiing, Fly Fishing & More!
- 10 Ready to Take the Montana Road Trip?
Glacier National Park – Montana’s Crown Jewel
No itinerary of Montana road trip destinations will miss out on this one. This is an enormous vast wonderland with great scenic views on the northwestern side of Montana State that borders British Columbia and Alberta. With a natural abundance of more than 16,000 square miles of pristine wilderness, Glacier National Park is referred to as the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this is the paradise you’re looking for to experience a thrill of outdoor adventure. The park boasts of a wide range of wildlife species including the endangered and rare animals like the Canadian lynx and grizzly bear. The park is also home to bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
For a fun-filled up-close experience, you should head out on the hiking trails cruising miles around the park and explore it. If racing against time, or even if you’ve got the time, you should cruise the 50-mile long highway, Going to the Sun Road for a chance to view the most spectacular views of the park.
If you are a hiking enthusiast, this is the place to be, as the Huckleberry Mountain Trail is located here which features on one of the 7 hardest hikes in the US.
Great Falls – Electric City, Ryan Dam & More Montana’s Interesting Spots
At the heart of the Big Sky State lies the spectacular Great Falls, a spot nicknamed Electric City due to its beauty.
Great Falls is a perfect stopping point, especially when cruising through Montana State or when exploring the national parks close by. On its own, the city also offers a lot of great views and fun activities. For instance, you can visit Ryan Dam which has amazing miles of hiking trails surrounding it and is where the name Electric City came from.
Take a walk along Missouri River banks feeding the aquatic animals there such as trout. Immerse yourself into the history of America at Giant Springs State Park and get to appreciate the huddles America has crossed at Lewis and Clark National Interpretive Center.
Missoula – Missoula Art Museum, Roxy Theater & More!
If you haven’t visited the amazing beauty at the University of Montana, grab this opportunity and visit the university in Missoula, the second-largest city in Montana. Back in the days, Missoula served as a rail travel hub and you’ll see the preserved historic railroad stations in various places in the city.
Those who love to take a walk down memory lane by exploring historic sites or items might want to visit Caras Park Carousel, the iconic Missoula Art Museum, without forgetting the remarkable Roxy Theater. The city also has Clark Fork River with scenic views flowing across it, which is a recreation hub. Head to the river and enjoy some outdoor fun like rafting or trek along Kim Williams Trail waterfront.
If you take the route downtown, you’ll come across several local breweries, stunning boutique shops, and excellent restaurants to heighten the thrill in this road trip adventure.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Little Bighorn Battlefield is the ground where possibly one of the most famous American military battles took place. It’s the spot at which Custer’s Last Stand occurred in 1876 between the US and the native American tribes such as Arapaho, Lakota, Dakota, and Northern Cheyenne. Up to date, the biggest attraction to the region is the reenactments that take place here every year.
On this trip, visit Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument to see the preserved sites where the battle of the Little Bighorn took place. The site, initially known as Custer Battlefield National Monument was renamed on December 10, 1991, to its current name by President George W. Bush in memory of all those who took part in the battle; the 7th Cavalry and Native Americans. The battle occurred on June 25th and June 26th, 1876.
The museum and the Visitor Center houses some of the displays related to the 1876 battle, which claimed the lives of 263 Cavalrymen. You can also visit the town nearby, Crow Agency to enjoy shopping, water sports, and dining.
Virginia City – 100+ Historic Structures & More!
This is one of the unique Montana road trip destinations especially for history buffs. With a population of about 10,000, Virginia City used to be the largest inland northwest town in 1864. The place rose to fame in the period 1863-1875 following gold worth more than $90 million being extracted here.
From the 1960s, preservation of the city began, keeping off commercialism and restoring the authenticity of the place. Today, Virgin City has got a little more than 100 households residing there. However, there are over 100 historic structures and buildings, fully furnished, and with artifacts.
With Virgin City booming as the center of tourist attraction, there are plenty of ways you can experience what life and fun used to be during its heydays. These fun activities include riding on a narrow-gauge railway and hopping aboard the old school stagecoach. Also head down to the opera house to see the popular Virgin City Players performing melodrama and vaudeville, the region’s most popular entertainment before the emergence of television and movies.
Helena – Capitol Building & Gates of the Mountains
Before Montana became a state, it used to be a territory of the United States with Helena as its territorial capital. Most people on vacation or road trips in Montana often like to start their adventures by visiting Helena, the Capital City of Montana.
The main attraction point in Helena is the Capitol Building, usually available throughout the week for those who want to go on a guided tour. The building is one of the oldest in the state, being constructed between 1896 and 1902. Later on in 1909 annexes were added.
You also wouldn’t want to miss Missouri River’s Gates of the Mountains, which is a collection of several cliffs open to the river and was named by two explorers Clark and Lewis.
Helena also serves as the home to Reeder’s Alley, a historic mining district, handcrafted Great Northern Carousel, and Old Fire Tower of the 19th century.
Livingston – A Scenic Ranch Town
This is a scenic ranch town located on Yellowstone River banks to the northern side of Yellowstone National Park. It is a popular town globally known as the hub of trout fishing and is also home to the popular frontierswoman Calamity Jane.
Livingston is a top destination especially for those seeking to learn from historic sites more or are on an educational tour. You’ll get to visit top regional art and history museums, western apparel emporium, sporting equipment stores, art galleries, a western saloon, and go gift shopping at the splendid gift shops.
Lovers of the outdoor adventure will enjoy lots of fun in the surrounding mountainous region by indulging themselves in biking, horseback riding, and hiking. During summer, the town of Livingston is prominently known for its abundance of activities including hosting annual events and festivals such as Gallery Associated Art Walk, Summerfest Music Festival, and 4th of July Rodeo.
Whitefish – Abundance of Outdoor Adventures
Just a couple miles north of Kalispell is a city prominent for its charming resort and Glacier National Park gateway. Whitefish awaits you to enjoy the abundance of outdoor fun it has to offer.
Situated in Flathead Valley, the city was born out of the glacier activities in the region, and serves as a major source of freshwater for the nearby areas, marking the landscape with natural lakes and scenic streams. The majority of Whitefish attractions are natural and still are in their pristine state.
The city boasts of abundant outdoor fun activities. Head to Whitefish Lake for some fishing fun, or go to Whitefish Mountain Resort for fun-filled skiing. Flathead River also offers amazing opportunities for kayaking. You’ll also get the chance to enjoy amazing golfing on one of the best golf courses in the region.
Bozeman – Hiking, Skiing, Fly Fishing & More!
While Bozeman is mostly prominent for the abundance of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fly fishing, the town has lots of fun activities to indulge in, making it one of the most eclectic and diverse cities in the state.
Bozeman has a unique Old West flavor, but you’ll also encounter its college town charm as it serves as the home of the famous Montana State University. A visit to the University’s Museum of the Rockies will yield a fun thrill like never experienced as it’s one of the liveliest museums in Montana with amazing exhibits of a dinosaur, arts from early Native Americans, laser planetarium show, and more.
Although the top 10 Ski resorts in US are concentrated in the western US, but Montana is one of the states which offers great skiing options
If you’re a fine ale enthusiast, you might want to visit Bozeman Brewery, among the best in American West, and located about 10 minutes from town. Head to Bozeman Hot Springs and enjoy soaking away the stress in the amazing pool containing geothermally heated water.
Ready to Take the Montana Road Trip?
Wild wide Montana has some of the most spectacular scenic views in the country that you might want to include in your itinerary. Pack up your car, grab some cash, and a camera for a lively road trip experience in America’s 4th largest state.
Hope our sampling of Montana road trip destinations helps you plan an amazing vacation. To have the experience of a lifetime, book your vacation rentals at RentalTrader.com. If you need any more information, fill our web form or give us a call, we’ll be happy to help you.