With some of the most beautiful and diverse terrain, Montana is a beautiful place to get your road trip on!! Hey there, it’s Krawdaddy Jones here with some road tripping advice!
There’s a few key cities to touch down in, plenty of history and outdoor activities to take advantage of, AND highways that will skip you over what you don’t want to see! Some places, most likely the bigger towns, you’ll want to spend a little more time in. In total, you could do this in about 13 hours non stop driving, but you’ll definitely want to stop and marvel in the beauty of this state.
WHERE TO START
Glacier International Airport is a great place to start because you’ll be able to fly in from most places, and it’s super close to our first attraction. This increases the convenience tenfold, because after a long fly day, you’ll want your adventure to be within arms reach. Glacier is also a beautiful place to start because it captures so much of what Montana beauty is! Gorgeous waterfalls, animal sightings, hiking and more!
WHAT CAR TO GET
Don’t bother going fancy on this rental! Not only will it be a waste of gas money when driving the long miles, Montanans don’t typically embrace gaudy attire or items. Stick with something large enough for storage, something comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time, and something that gets great gas mileage!
WHAT CITIES TO HIT FIRST
Depending on how long you’re road tripping for, different cities will have different appeal to you. Starting at Glacier National Park will give you a burst of gorgeous nature, adorable small towns, and that quintessential Montana experience. Then stopping by Whitefish, Montana will give you a little taste of small town luxury, with cute shops and great restaurant options, all surrounding the stunning Whitefish Lake! After Whitefish, shoot down to Flathead lake for more lake time, and quaint towns like Bigfork or Lakeside! From there, it’s a short drive to the cultural hub of Missoula! Missoula is a college town, and has a bit of a hippie vibe. This spot is great for eating, shopping, and exploring downtown. For some historical adventures, Helena and Deer Lodge are two great towns. They’re both incredibly old, and Deer Lodge even has a ghost town associated with it. From there, you can swing down to Bozeman, which is a great college town with lots of outdoor activities and breweries, or down to Big Sky. Big Sky is a resort town, so lots of skiing and lovely hotels are there. After that, head on down to Yellowstone National Park, and you’ve made your way diagonally from the top of Montana toward the bottom!
Here’s a google maps path I made to illustrate what that looks like:
WHAT TO BE AWARE OF:
Montana is a sacred place for many, many reasons. If you’re a tourist, it’s of utmost importance that you understand this and respect it. Respect the people, cultures, and especially the nature and wildlife that you may encounter. There’s plenty of instances where people violate this trust, and it’s always very offensive to Montanans. Check out my article on dummies that try to domesticate wildlife! Just mind your P’s and Q’s. And listen, if you’re a city slicker, you better get used to smiling and saying hello to strangers. Waving when you are driving, etc. etc. It’s also important to bring the right gear! Depending on the season, Montana has weather that can fry you alive, or freeze you to death. Make sure when you’re planning to account for the weather, and bring a pair of shorts or an extra sweater just in case. It can be a little unpredictable.
Alright! There’s a few tips and caveats for road tripping Montana, from a born and raised Montanan! Stay safe, be respectful, and enjoy our beautiful state!