Discover the Best Fun Things to Do in Montana (Our Curated Picks)

Mark Barnett
Last Updated: December 29th, 2023

Montana’s unofficial nickname is ‘The Treasure State’, and there are plenty of hidden treasures to experience within its breathtaking natural beauty.

Tourists and travelers are drawn to Montana thanks to its mountains and national parks, but that’s not all it has to offer!

Montana has a rich, storied history and a ton of cultural and historical sites to explore.

Whether you’re drawn to outdoor activities like hiking and fishing or you want to visit a museum or brewery, our curated guide has you covered!

We break down everything you need to know about the sites on our list – get ready to go exploring!

1. Visit Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone national park

  • Location: The north entrance is located near Gardiner, Montana. (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: National park featuring stunning natural beauty, wildlife, and geothermal activity.
  • Budget: The fees are variable, but a standard day pass is $20 – $35. If you want to camp or purchase an annual pass, the costs are higher.
  • Best for: Hikers and outdoorsy types
  • Highlights: Awe-inspiring natural beauty, wildlife viewing opportunities, unique geothermal activity.
  • Website: Link

Yellowstone is America’s oldest national park, and also its most famous. It covers an enormous 2,219,789 acres of land and spans three states – Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

The Montana entrance is considered to be the original entrance to the park and is even called  ‘nature’s favorite entrance’ by Gardiner locals.

This is thanks to the huge numbers of elk and bison that frequently stroll through the town; it’s the perfect place to observe animals in their natural habitat.

The park itself is packed with hiking, camping, and sightseeing opportunities. One of the most memorable sights in Yellowstone is the Old Faithful geyser, possibly the best-known geyser in the world.

Its predictable patterns and impressive eruption heights of up to 184 feet mean it’s a favorite attraction for visitors to the park.

Whenever you choose to visit, make sure you check the weather conditions and be prepared for your journey into nature!

2. Explore Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

  • Location: Northwestern Montana, near the Canadian border (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: National park famous for its glaciers, mountains, and valleys.
  • Budget: Standard pass $20 – $35
  • Best for: Hikers and nature enthusiasts.
  • Highlights: Home to stunning natural beauty, with plenty of trails to see unique flora and fauna.
  • Website: Link

Glacier National Park has over 700 miles of hiking trails, with a great mix of short-day hikes and longer multi-day hikes.

Depending on how far you go, you can explore a huge range of unique landscapes, including glaciers, alpine meadows, and craggy valleys.

For those who prefer to drive rather than hike, the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road provides a gorgeous scenic mountain drive and is the only road that goes through the park, crossing the Continental Divide.

The park also has a rich and varied history, with exhibitions detailing both settler and indigenous history.

3. Fishing and Fly Fishing

  • Location: Multiple locations throughout the state
  • Type: River and lake fishing.
  • Budget: Highly variable, depending on whether you prefer guided tours or self-guided trips.
  • Best for: Beginner and experienced anglers
  • Highlights: Madison River, Yellowstone River, Boulder River (and many others!)
  • Website: Link

Montana is known for its many pristine waterways, making it ideal for trout fishing enthusiasts. Visitors to the state can choose between a plethora of paid fishing tours, or explore the waterways on their own.

Whether you prefer fishing from a boat or riverbank, there’s something for everyone!

Before you visit, make sure you do your research and ensure you have all the necessary licenses and permits.

Whether you visit the famously wide Missouri River, the scenic Yellowstone River, or the long Blackfoot River, you’re sure to have an amazing fishing experience.

4. Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman

museum of the rockies, bozeman
Image: Museum of the Rockies
  • Location: Bozeman, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Museum
  • Budget: Free for children or students, $20 for adults, plus an extra $3 charge for the planetarium.
  • Best for: Families, people interested in history and science.
  • Highlights: Dinosaur fossils and a planetarium.
  • Website: Link

The Museum of the Rockies is famous for its world-leading collection of fossils, one of the biggest in the United States.

Its collection includes one of the largest T-Rex skulls in the world, as well as an in-depth look at the history of the area.

When you visit, don’t miss out on seeing the Taylor Planetarium. For only an extra $3, you can be immersed in the sights of the cosmos, with views of galaxies, stars, and nebulas.

The museum is not just a tourist destination, it’s a truly education experience, and is known for being one of the best research museums in the world – definitely worth your time!

5. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

grizzly and wolf discovery center
Image: Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
  • Location: West Yellowstone, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Wildlife Park
  • Budget: $16.50 for adults, $11.50 for children
  • Best for: Wildlife enthusiasts and anyone wanting to see animals up close.
  • Highlights: Live animals, including grizzly bears, wolves and otters.
  • Website: Link

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a haven for wildlife. This not-for-profit wildlife park gives an amazing opportunity to view wildlife in realistic-looking habitats.

All the animals at the rescue center are rescues that were brought to the center after either being orphaned or becoming too familiar with people.

The wildlife center not only cares for these animals, it serves as an educational tool to teach people about conservation and how to interact with wildlife.

Grizzlies and wolves are not the only animals you can see at this rescue center; there is also a fascinating bird of prey exhibit for birds that are not able to survive in the wild.

Also, don’t miss the freshwater exhibit that features local trout species and river otters – a must-see experience for animal lovers!

6. Hyalite Canyon

the history of hyalite canyon

  • Location: Close to Bozeman, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Recreational area
  • Budget: Free to enter, but donations are appreciated
  • Best for: Hikers and general outdoors enthusiasts
  • Highlights: Hiking and mountain biking trails, wildlife.
  • Website: Link

Hyalite Canyon is part of the Custer Gallatin National Forest and is a popular destination thanks to its many recreational opportunities.

If you love mountain biking, hiking, fishing, or boating, this is the place for you! It’s equally great for winter sports enthusiasts, with ice climbing and Nordic skiing both popular pastimes.

As well as a range of outdoor activities, Hyalite Canyon is an amazing place for wildlife viewing.

It’s known as a wildlife corridor, allowing animals to pass safely through its lands without fear of being hunted. If you’re lucky, you may see elk, mountain goats, moose, bighorns, and even Grizzly bears!

7. Pictograph Cave State Park

pictograph cave state park
Image: Ali Eminov
  • Location: Close to Billings, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: State Park with archaeological sites.
  • Budget: $8 with a vehicle, $4 without a vehicle.
  • Best for: Nature lovers and those interested in history and archaeology
  • Highlights: A network of caves containing ancient rock paintings.
  • Website: Link

This State park is the perfect destination for history and archaeology enthusiasts. Some of the pictographs are over 2000 years old and were created by prehistoric hunters.

It’s a slightly eerie feeling to stand in the same place where these ancient people stood thousands of years ago and view the pictures that they painted on the walls of the caves.

Visitors to the caves can walk a short loop trail with a myriad of displays on the way to the cave system.

As well as the cave paintings, many artifacts have been excavated from the site on display, giving insights into the ancient people who once called the caves their home.

In addition to ancient art, the park is also known for its birdwatching – so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

8. Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake, Montana

  • Location: Northwestern Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Large freshwater lake
  • Budget: Free public access
  • Best for: Hiking, fishing and boating.
  • Highlights: Wild Horse Island State Park plus many water-based activities
  • Website: Link

Flathead Lake is known for being the biggest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, with over 200 square miles of water.

It’s perfect for anglers, with a massive variety of freshwater fish available, including trout, pike, and Kokanee salmon.

As well as water activities, there are many hiking trails and camping sites for adventurous travelers, with a variety of stunning natural landscapes and opportunities to view wildlife.

If you travel by boat, you can visit Wild Horse Island – a State park that is only accessible by boat.

It’s famous for its old-growth Ponderosa pine forest and its many wildlife viewing opportunities – including wild horses!

9. Rimrock Mall in Billings

Rimrock Mall
Image: ELL1111
  • Location: Billings, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Shopping mall
  • Budget: Variable – depends on where you shop!
  • Best for: Shopping enthusiasts, foodies.
  • Highlights: Over 60 shops plus a food court full of food outlets.
  • Website: Link

Rimrock Mall is the largest shopping center of its kind in Montana and an ideal place to go if you want to do some vacation shopping!

The mall has been around since the 1970s and has remained popular ever since.

The mall has Montana’s biggest collection of state and local retailers, and popular stores such as Build-A-Bear, GameStop, Bath and Body Works, and many, many more.

There’s also a 10-screen movie theater if you want to sit back and relax after a hard day’s shopping!

10. Montana Chocolate Company

  • Location: Stevensville, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Chocolate maker
  • Budget: Depends on what you buy!
  • Best for: Chocolate lovers or anyone looking to buy gifts on vacation.
  • Highlights: More than 75 types of chocolate, all made in small batches and of the highest quality.
  • Website: Link

If you love chocolate, the Montana Chocolate Company is a must-visit! With their huge range of chocolate, ranging from gourmet, high-end truffles to toffees, there’s something to cater to every taste.

If you’re looking to bring a little taste of Montana back home for family and friends, they also specialize in local delicacies including a range of huckleberry chocolates and jams.

The Montana Chocolate Company prides itself on its artisanal approach, with everything handmade in small batches.

Each chocolate is hand-dipped, and you can really taste the care and effort they put into every product.

Best of all, if you fall in love with their chocolates, they have an online store so you can keep eating their chocolate even after your vacation ends!

11. National Bison Range

national bison range
Image: NatureLifePhoto
  • Location: North-Central Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Natural reserce
  • Budget: $20 per vehicle
  • Best for: Viewing wildlife, hiking and photography
  • Highlights: The stunning scenic drive, bison viewing experience, and informative visitor center.
  • Website: Link

The National Bison Range, also known as the CSKT Bison Range, was established in 1908 to preserve the Bison.

It spans more than 18,524 acres and is managed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes since ownership was passed to them in 2022. It protects a herd of 350 adult bison that welcomes around 50 new calves every year.

The range has two scenic roads that allow access to areas to view the bison, as well as stunning scenic views of the Mission Mountains.

There are also designated nature trails and picnic facilities that allow visitors to enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.

12. Conrad Mansion Museum

conrad mansion museum, kalispell
Image: Conrad Mansion
  • Location: Kalispell, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Museum in a historic house
  • Budget: Guided tours $20, self-guided tours $15
  • Best for: History enthusiasts
  • Highlights: Perfectly preserved Victorian mansion providing a glimpse into life in the 1800s
  • Website: Link

The Conrad Mansion was built for Charles and Alicia Conrad in 1895 and is a perfect example of the home of a wealthy pioneer family in Montana.

The mansion has been restored to the state it was in when it was built, including a large amount of original furniture, clothing, children’s toys, and china.

Visitors can either explore the mansion on their own or pay a small amount extra for a knowledgeable guided tour.

We recommend paying for the tour; the tour guides are incredibly knowledgeable and add a unique dimension to this fascinating glimpse into the past.

13. Lewis & Clark Brewing Company

history lewis & clark interpretive center

  • Location: Helena, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Craft brewery
  • Budget: Depends on what you buy!
  • Best for: Beer lovers, group outings.
  • Highlights: A huge range of delicious ales, lagers, and seltzers, as well as a massive taproom where you can try classic and seasonal brews.
  • Website: Link

Named after the two famous explorers, the Lewis and Clark Brewing Company is definitely worth a visit on your trip to Montana.

They boast a huge range of brews, including beer and seltzer. Their wheat beer, known as Miner’s Gold, is award-winning, and sold in multiple states.

A visit to the taproom is a must – it’s the perfect place for trying their beers while listening to live music and soaking up the atmosphere.

If you get hungry while enjoying your brew, the delicious pizzas from Vigilante Pizza are a must-try. With a huge range of flavors and by-the-slice options, there is something to suit everyone!

14. Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

  • Location: Arlee, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Spiritual and cultural attraction
  • Budget: Free entry, but donations are encouraged
  • Best for: People interested in culture and spirituality
  • Highlights: 1,000 Buddha statues, many cultural events.
  • Website: Link

As the name suggests. The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas features 1,000 statues of Buddha, set in a gorgeously landscaped garden that specializes in native plants.

The garden serves as a symbol of peace and spirituality, with stunning architectural arrangements of the Buddha statues around a central figure of Yum Chenmo, the Great Mother.

As well as being beautiful to look at, the garden is a center for Tibetan Buddhist studies in Montana, with meditation classes and other teachings on offer for those interested. Every year the gardens host the annual Festival of Peace, which brings together people from all faiths and traditions to talk about and honor peace.

15. Whitefish Mountain Resort

whitefish mountain resort
Image: Simon
  • Location: Whitefish, Montana (Open in Google Maps)
  • Type: Ski resort
  • Budget: Variable – depends on what activities you do
  • Best for: Skier and winter sport enthusiasts
  • Highlights: Skiing and snowboarding, scenic lift rides, apres-ski.
  • Website: Link

If you’re visiting Montana over winter, don’t miss out on visiting the stunning Whitefish Mountain Resort.

It offers amazing skiing and snowboarding opportunities for enthusiasts of all ages and levels of proficiency, as well as scenic lift rides and breathtaking mountain views.

It’s not only open in winter – in summer, the resort transforms into an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with mountain biking and hiking trails – as well as zip line tours for the adrenaline junkies.

It’s not all about being active, though; there are also plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation, with a wide range of dining and apres-ski options to enjoy after a big day on the slopes!

About The Author

Mark Barnett

Mark Philip is a writer and lifestyle enthusiast from the Midlands in the U.K. With a background in martial arts and fitness, Mark headed out to Bangkok, Thailand where he now lives and works. Mark has authored e-books, articles, and blogs across a wide range of topics for commercial, educational, factual, lifestyle and leisure-based purposes.

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