Oddly, we don’t ever hear much about Montana. Why is this odd? Because this state is absolutely incredible. From the enormous blue skies and beautiful national parks to the many museums and more, there’s always something new and amazing to see in the Treasure State, and as the nickname suggests, it truly is a treasure.
Are you planning a visit to Montana soon? If so, we highly recommend using a Montana bucket list to organize your thoughts and make sure you see and do the very best things while you’re there.
What is a Bucket List?
Not sure what exactly a bucket list is? Let’s take care of that really quickly. A bucket list is simply a list of things you wish to do before you die. These might be places to visit, people to meet, or foods to eat. Whatever it is you want to make sure you do in this life, it needs to go on your bucket list.
Those looking to make a Montana bucket list specifically will want to focus on the experiences they want to have while in the state of Montana. You can, of course, do this same thing for every state you plan to visit, but today we are going to focus on giving you some bucket list ideas for your time in Montana.
Below is our travel bucket list for Montana. Pick and choose from this list, add some stops of your own, and make your own travel list for this incredible state.
— Bucket List Vacations: Montana’s National Parks —
Let’s start with Montana’s national parks. Our National Park Service does an excellent job of running some fantastic parks and historic sites, and the ones in the Treasure State are no exception. Be sure to add a few of these to your Montana bucket list.
#1. Big Hole National Battlefield
In August of 1877, a camp of Nez Percé tribespeople awoke to the sound of gunshots—they were under attack. Learn more about this battle and how it played a pivotal role in history at the Big hole National Battlefield, an NPS site created to honor all who were involved in this fateful battle.
#2. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Montana has some seriously awe-inspiring natural beauty. Immerse yourself in this incredible beauty at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Check out the diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and plants, and learn about over 10,000 years of human history.
#3. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
For many years in the mid-1800s, Fort Union was the most important trading post in the area. Here, tribes exchanged robes and furs for various items from all around the world. This place was a bastion of peaceful coexistence and is now a historic site sharing the stories of this important piece of history.
#4. Glacier National Park
Easily the most beautiful place in Montana, and quite likely one of the most beautiful places in the world, Glacier National Park is a must-visit while in the state. Go on hikes through dense forests, look out over spectacular lakes, and enjoy the sounds of rushing streams and waterfalls as you explore this amazing place.
#5. Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Cowboys are a huge and often romanticized part of American history. Visit the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site to learn more about the role of cattlemen in American history, in the spot that was once home to the headquarters of a 10-million-cattle empire.
#6. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
In June of 1876, a battle was fought between the US Army and both the Lakota and Cheyenne Native American tribes. This was one of the last armed efforts the tribes made to protect their way of life, and they fought hard. A huge number of individuals died during this battle, and they deserve to be learned about.
#7. Nez Perce National Historical Park
The Nimíipuu (or Nez Percé) people have called this area home for thousands of years. Learn more about the culture and heritage of these people at the Nez Perce National Historical Park, which includes 38 spots to explore.
#8. Yellowstone National Park
One of the most visited national parks in the country, most people think Yellowstone is purely a Wyoming park. While the majority of the park is located in Wyoming, parts of it are also in Idaho and Montana, and we think the Montana part is pretty fantastic. Make sure to go to south Montana to check it out.
— More Montana Bucket List Experiences —
Of course, you’re going to want to see more than just the NPS sites. Fortunately, you have lots of awesome options. We recommend the sites and attractions below, and promise any combination of these experiences will leave you with a smile on your face.
#9. Drive the Beartooth Highway
Often referred to as the most beautiful drive in America, Beartooth Highway is an absolutely gorgeous way to see the state of Montana. You’ll pass lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls, and more. Be sure to pack hiking boots and a picnic for any impromptu stops you might make along the way.
#10. Explore the Museum of the Rockies
Home to the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the country, the Museum of the Rockies is a super interesting place to visit. We highly recommend this place if you have a history or dinosaur fanatic in your group. That said, almost anyone would have a great time wandering this place and taking in all it has to offer.
#11. Taste Huckleberries
Huckleberries are an incredibly popular fruit in Montana. These tart, round berries grow all over the state during the summer season and can be found in everything from ice cream to pancakes. Be sure to try something with huckleberry in it during your visit.
#12. Learn at the Conrad Mansion
Costumed tour guides are happy to answer questions and give little tidbits as you wander the 26 rooms of the enormous Conrad Mansion. This beautiful Victorian home is surrounded by enchanting gardens and offers a scenic view of the valley. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to really enjoy it all.
#13. Visit Bannack State Park
Bannack was founded in 1862 and abandoned in the 1970s, leaving it a ghost town. Now the town is a unique state park that allows people from all over the country to explore a Wild West mining town that is perfectly preserved. Be sure to read about the town while exploring in order to understand the history behind it.
#14. Wander ZooMontana
Everyone loves a zoo day, and zoo day at ZooMontana is especially fun. This fun Billings attraction features a huge number of species, including our favorite: red pandas. In addition to animals, this zoo also features a botanical garden, giving you the opportunity to wander through lovely plants as you view the animals.
#15. Ride the Carousel for Missoula
The Carousel for Missoula is an amazing, hand-carved carousel that was created by volunteers in 1991. It is absolutely stunning and takes kids on exciting rides every chance it gets. Once your ride is over, be sure to take your little ones to the Dragon Hollow play area next door, where children of all abilities can play together.
#16. Try a Montana-Style Sub Sandwich
We’ve all had a sub sandwich, but have you ever had a Montana-style version? These enormous sandwiches are a full 17.5 inches long and come served with an entire dill pickle. You can pick one of these big boys up at the Pickle Barrel, a local chain that can be found in Bozeman, Livingston, and Billings.
#17. Hit the Slopes at Big Sky Resort
Looking at taking a winter trip to the Big Sky State? Be sure to pay Big Sky Resort a visit. The world-class slopes at this resort make it the perfect place for skiing and snowboarding, and dog sledding is also popular here. Additionally, there are sleigh rides, snow coach tours, and snowmobile tours available.
#18. Tour the Moss Mansion
Another historic mansion that is worth touring, Moss Mansion was the home of entrepreneur Preston Boyd Moss. It was built in 1903 and features all of the ornate decor you’d expect from such a home. Why not go for a self-guided tour of the house to see it all for yourself?
#19. See Animals at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Those who want to get wild during their Montana getaway will love the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Here, you can get up close and personal with both bears and wolves and learn more about these beautiful animals.
#20. Shop the Missoula Farmers Market
When visiting a new place, it is important to check out local businesses. What better way to do that than by visiting a farmers market? We particularly love the Missoula Farmers Market, which has been around since the 1970s and plays host to a wide variety of booths.
#21. Munch on Flathead Cherries
Nothing says summer in Montana quite like flathead cherries. These delicious cherries are specific to the area surrounding Flathead Lake, and are a must-try if you happen to be in the state when they are in season. Just pick some up from a roadside stand!
#22. Relax at City Beach
Whitefish Lake is an enormous glacial lake with crystal clear water that is perfect for cooling you off on a hot day. We highly recommend planning a day at Whitefish Lake’s City Beach in order to take full advantage of this beautiful lake and the sandy beach it offers.
#23. Hike to Ousel Falls
You pretty much have to go on at least one hike while in Montana. Obviously, hiking in the national parks is a good idea. That said, we also suggest you go on a hike to Ousel Falls. This waterfall is absolutely gorgeous, and the trail to get there is almost as spectacular.
#24. Soak in Yellowstone’s Hot Springs
We already mentioned Yellowstone National Park, but there are actually a lot of attractions that are connected to the park in some way, but located outside of the park. Yellowstone Hot Springs is one of these. Relax in the mineral-rich water of the park’s hot springs in this wonderful place.
#25. Discover the World Museum of Mining
Montana was once a booming mining state. Learn more about this part of the state’s history when you immerse yourself in the world of a miner at the World Museum of Mining. This museum sits atop an actual mine yard and is packed to the gills with information.
#26. Dine on Rocky Mountain Oysters
Have you ever had Rocky Mountain oysters? Don’t worry if you don’t like oysters, as these aren’t actually oysters at all. Instead, they are the testicles of a bull, breaded and deep fried and served with various dipping sauces. Yum!
#27. Stroll the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
Step into the world of Buddhist culture and experience the serenity offered by the beautiful Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. This is the perfect place for meditation and reflection, and a step we absolutely recommend making if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of life.
#28. Gather Information at the Western Heritage Center
Looking to learn more about the American West? The Western Heritage Center is the ideal place to do just that. This lovely museum boasts 40,000 artifacts that document the stories of days gone by in the Yellowstone River Valley. The museum perfectly encapsulates the history of the Wild West and allows guests to know Montana from a well-rounded perspective.
#29. Hear the Ringing Rocks
When you hear the Ringing Rocks, you’re sure to be just as astounded as those who visited this place over 2,000 years ago. These rocks literally ring when they are tapped lightly with a tool, and it’s absolutely bizarre. This experience is well worth the short climb required to get there.
#30. Go Underground at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Caves are always fun to see and explore, and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is no different. Go on a cave tour to see the fantastic features of this beautiful cave. When you finish, be sure to check out some of the park’s hiking trails as well!
#31. Enjoy a Cinnamon Roll from Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery
Finally, we must mention the cinnamon rolls from Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery. The cinnamon roll from this bakery is not your average cinnamon roll and simply must be tasted to be believed. Don’t miss it!
As you can see, the Treasure State is a wonderful place to visit. The only problem? Finding places to stay near all of these great stops. This is why we recommend a Montana RV rental. By staying in an RV, you give yourself the freedom to hop from one place to another without even packing your bags back up. You can stay anywhere in comfort and your bed and shower are always waiting.
Why not check out our amazing selection of Montana rental RVs to find one that suits your needs? The sooner you do, the sooner you can begin your adventure!