Here’s the thing: there are so many places to visit in the United States (and the world) that sometimes it’s hard to pick a vacation destination. That’s where I come in. Please allow me to introduce you to my best girl: Montana. 

Wide open spaces.
Wide-open spaces are one of Montana’s trademarks.

Sitting at 147,040 square miles, Montana is the fourth largest state in the country and is home to just over 1 million people. If I were to describe her, the traits I’d use would be stunning, charming, enchanting and fascinating. From the prairies in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west, Montana is big and beautiful.

Without further ado, here are 5 reasons to visit Montana.

1. Big blue sky + nighttime stargazing.   
The fact of the matter is this: Montana is called “big sky country” for a reason. And when you come here and take in the views, you’ll see why. The landscape tends to take center stage and sometimes it’s hard to tell where the earth ends and the sky begins.

A perfect reflection in the Mission Valley.
A perfect reflection in the Mission Valley.

Also, and I’ll stand by this, the best view of the stars is from my parent’s house in Augusta, Montana. When we were younger and growing up wild and free, OMR used to take us out to the field at night where we’d climb up the haystack and lay on our backs looking up at a seemingly endless sky that was filled completely with stars and an unparalleled view of the Milky Way.

2. Glacier National Park = the Crown of the Continent. 
Encompassing one million acres, Glacier National Park is home to the Going-to-the-Sun Road, historic lodges, backcountry chalets, 700+ miles of hiking trails, 25 glaciers, a plenitude of wildlife, cascading waterfalls and incredible glacial-carved terrain. An added bonus: Glacier National Park is open year-round and each season provides a distinct look and experience in the park.

A rainbow near Logan Pass. Photo: NPS / Tim Rains
A rainbow near Logan Pass. Photo: NPS / Tim Rains

3. Yellowstone National Park. 
Truth time: 96% of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, 3% is in Montana and 1% is in Idaho. Which I guess if state’s were claiming national parks, Yellowstone would probably go to Wyoming. But the fact of the matter is this: no matter where it’s located, Yellowstone National Park is a national treasure (and more than likely, you’ll enter it from Montana as three of the five entrances to the park are right here in Big Sky Country) and a place that needs to be explored. It’s also home to the world’s greatest concentration of geysers.

The Gardiner, Montana entrance into Yellowstone National Park.
The Gardiner, Montana entrance into Yellowstone National Park. Photo: NPS / Jim Peaco
Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park. Photo:
Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: NPS / Jim Peaco

4. The people: Montana’s first nations, cowboys, pioneers + outdoor lovers.
I’m a firm believer that Montanans are some of the nicest, most genuine people you’ll ever meet. Montana’s residents are made from a melting pot of backgrounds, including Montana’s Indian nations (Montana is home to 7 reservations and 12 tribes), working cowboys, small town cafe owners, writers and fly-fishing guides.

Mouse Hall, a Blackfeet Indian cowboy.
Mouse Hall, a Blackfeet Indian cowboy.

5. Montana is wild. 
There are few places that are still untouched and off-the-grid, but I’m happy to tell you that wild places can still be found in Montana. From the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and the Missouri River Breaks, Montana is home to wild country.

The Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Photo: Teslie Mills
The Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Photo: Teslie Mills

What are some of your reasons for visiting Montana?


September 8, 2015

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Pamela Haggerty
I went to Glacier park two years ago and I can't get it out of my dreams. It is the most amazing place. The crown of our land is definitely how I see the park. I am just starting my travels in life the last 5 years, and I pick a trip each year. I try to go somewhere new each time but I just want to go back to Montana and forget the rest. I am saving to go to Alaska this summer but Montana is calling... We will see.. :)
Lesley | artsy forager
Glacier continues to be our spirt place. We have traveled all over the West and Northwest and Glacier is the only place that brought my husband and I to tears. A very special spot of earth.
Cathy and Bruce Thompson
We visited Montana for the first time in late July and stayed in a log cabin at Flathead Lake, Mission Valley. We visited Glacier Park and Yellowstone, and then went up to Alaska. In New Zealand, we have mountains and associated scenery in the South Island that are spectacular in their own right, but Glacier Park is breathtaking! Couldn’t get over how big Yellowstone is - or how high. We parked at Mud Volcano and started walking up the boardwalk into the hills beyond the road and wondered why we were puffing. Then we remembered that a sign back down the road had said something about being over 8,000 feet above sea level. Back home we have *mountains* that don’t go that high! During our trip, we visited four different parks in four different states - Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone and Denali. Each one different, each one magnificent. As for Montana: we were there for eleven days and it wasn’t long enough. We’ll be back.
Lesley, thanks so much for sharing that. It really is such a beautiful place and I'm so glad it's a special place to you and your husband.
Cathy, it sounds like you had an amazing time! When you come back, let me know. I'm happy to share some of my favorite places with you and your hubs.
Howard Hansen
While I was born, raised, educated in Montana... and then moved, I've never left Montana. You explained why. Thanks. Howard
Montana sucks!
Well shoot, you must have never been to Montana, eh Steve?

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