Up in the northeast of the United States, Montana is a land of diverse landscapes stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains. It’s a fantastic destination for adventurers, photographers, and explorers, with a few cities dotted here and there. These are admittedly small, but come with unique cultural attractions showcasing the fascinating history of the state.

There’s no avoiding it – Montana is huge! It’s the fourth-largest state in the country and happens to be one of the least populated, so you’ll find most areas quite sparse. This adds its own challenges, however, as driving times between each destination are long. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you get it exactly right when deciding where to stay in Montana.

That’s where we come in! We’ve been to Montana and have the lowdown on the five best places to stay in Big Sky Country. Whether you’re here for epic hikes, adrenaline-fuelled skiing, or simply somewhere affordable to kick back and relax, we’ve got you covered.

So let’s jump right in!

Where to Stay in Montana

Not looking for anywhere specific? These are our top recommendations for places to stay in Montana.

Medicine Rocks State Park, Montana

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Paradise Valley | Best Airbnb in Montana

Paradise Valley Montana

Airbnb Plus properties are hand-selected for their stylish interiors, epic locations, and next-level guest service. This particular property is located just outside Bozeman in Paradise Valley. The stunning interiors combine rural charm with modern design, creating a cozy and comfortable space. There’s a wood-burning stove, large balcony, and space for six guests.

Apgar House | Best VRBO in Montana

Apgar House Montana

If you want to stay in the heart of the national park, you can’t go wrong with this stunning cabin in Montana! It’s located right by the lakeside, giving you unbeatable views across the mountains and glacier lakes. This spacious cabin maintains a rustic atmosphere and has enough room for up to eight guests. This makes it our top pick for families visiting Montana.

North Forty Resort | Best Resort in Montana

North Forty Resort Montana

Still undecided on whether to stay in a cabin or a hotel? Get the best of both worlds in this charming resort just outside Kalispell. Each cabin comes with its own kitchen and bathroom, and a large communal kitchen is also available. The resort offers various activities, so you can really make the most of your stay.

Montana Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Montana

FIRST TIME IN MONTANA
Missoula Montana
FIRST TIME IN MONTANA

Missoula

Right in the heart of Glacier County, Missoula is the perfect destination for first-time visitors to Montana. You’ll only be about a two-hour drive from the National Park, and Bozeman and Kalispell aren’t too far away either.

ON A BUDGET
Bozeman Montana
ON A BUDGET

Bozeman

n a state divided between imposing mountains and endless plains, Bozeman straddles the boundary of the two sides. This makes it a great overall destination for checking out everything the state has to offer. As the home of the largest university, it’s also great for budget travelers.

SCENIC NATIONAL PARK IN MONTANA
Glacier National Park Montana
SCENIC NATIONAL PARK IN MONTANA

Glacier National Park

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Park, the natural beauty of Glacier National Park is almost impossible to describe with words. With towering mountains, crystalline lakes and unique wildlife, it really must be seen to be believed. Straddling the border with Canada, this is America’s version of the world-famous Banff National Park.

FOR FAMILIES
Billings Montana
FOR FAMILIES

Billings

Billings is the largest city in Montana and a great spot for experiencing Great Plains culture. It’s not often that we include the largest city as our top pick for families, but at just shy of 100k people Billings still manages to maintain a laid-back atmosphere.

GREAT SKIING DESTINATION
Kalispell Montana
GREAT SKIING DESTINATION

Kalispell

Kalispell is just outside Glacier National Park, and many consider it to be part of the same region. It’s actually in the center of the Flathead Valley, a unique natural region that has been carved by melting glaciers over the past few centuries.

Montana is one of the largest states in the US and is split into two broad areas – the mountainous west and the flat east. With so much to explore, we reckon a road trip around Montana is the best way to take it all in.

Missoula lies on the Rocky Mountains side of Montana. It’s home to a large student population and is a good gateway into the national parks. All the most popular attractions are within driving distance of Missoula, making it the most convenient base for first-time visitors.

Billings sits on the Great Plains side and is the most populous city in the state. It’s the best area in Montana for families, offering the biggest array of attractions, easy walking trails, and cycling paths.

Glacier National Park is a must-visit in Montana, and one of the best national parks in the USA. This UNESCO World Heritage Site straddles the border with Canada and is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It’s also great for adventure travelers with plenty of hikes, mountain biking trails, and other outdoorsy activities to keep you occupied.

Kalispell is a fantastic alternative for those that prefer to stay in an urban hub. You’ll have quick access to Glacier, as well as the rest of the Flathead Valley. In winter, you’ll find epic ski slopes nearby.

Finally, Bozeman is an epic destination between the boundary of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Home to Montana State University, it’s a great choice for budget-conscious travelers. It’s also close to Yellowstone National Park.

Still undecided? It’s not an easy decision! We’ve got some more information about each destination below, plus our top accommodation and activity picks to help you plan your itinerary.

Montana’s Top 5 Places to Stay in

1. Missoula – Where to Stay in Montana for your First Time

Missoula Montana
Montana’s scenery is hard to beat.

Right in the heart of Glacier County, Missoula is the perfect destination for first-time visitors to Montana. You’ll only be about a two-hour drive from the National Park, and Bozeman and Kalispell aren’t too far away either. Missoula is the second-largest city in the state, offering a huge variety of attractions.

Whilst Bozeman is home to the largest university in Montana, Missoula has the most cosmopolitan student body. This makes it a unique destination culturally. You’ll find a great selection of restaurants across the city, as well as regular events.

The Bungalow at Blackfoot Basecamp | Best Airbnb in Missoula

The Bungalow at Blackfoot Basecamp Montana

Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness is a huge region of natural beauty to the north of Missoula. Blackfoot Basecamp is the name of a resort right in the heart of the area. This stylish bungalow gives you immediate access to the hikes and adventure trails of the area – but it’s also only a ten-minute drive from central Missoula! It really is the best of both worlds.

Comfort Inn University | Best Hotel in Missoula

Comfort Inn University Montana

The Comfort Inn is known for its affordable, yet comfortable, accommodation all over the world! Their Missoula hotel is located in the university district, meaning you’re also pretty close to some great budget-friendly bars and restaurants. It comes with a free gym, free high-speed internet, and – most importantly – a free hot breakfast every morning. Rooms are pretty basic, but roomy and cozy nonetheless.

Mountain Views | Pet Friendly Flat in Missoula

Mountain Views Montana

Want to bring the family dog? There are a few great pet-friendly accommodations in Montana, including this cabin in East Missoula. The Clark Fork River is right on the doorstep and is a perfect spot for daily dog walks. This one-bedroom apartment is slightly on the small side, but it’s a good budget option for couples and solo travelers heading to the area.

Things to See and Do in Missoula:

Missoula Montana 2
Missoula is the perfect spot for adventure-lovers!
  1. Learn how one local lives a Zero Waste lifestyle in one of the least eco-friendly places in the world in this unique experience.
  2. Unleash your creativity in this highly rated pottery experience – it’s actually outside of Missoula, but only by about 30 minutes if you have a car.
  3. Mount Sentinel is the easiest natural attraction to visit from Missoula, offering a variety of hikes to suit most abilities.
  4. The Roxy Theatre is a community-owned cinema right in the heart of town. They also host regular events, so check local listings.
Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

2. Bozeman – Where to Stay in Montana on a Budget

Bozeman Montana
Get the best of both worlds!

In a state divided between imposing mountains and endless plains, Bozeman straddles the boundary of the two sides. This makes it a great overall destination for checking out everything the state has to offer. As the home of the largest university, it’s also great for anyone traveling on a budget. You’ll find some great budget-friendly bars and restaurants across the town.

Best of all, it’s only a short drive away from Yellowstone National Park! This is notoriously one of the most expensive national parks in the country, but Bozeman lets you visit Yellowstone on a budget. Perfect for those looking for an inexpensive adventure. 

Paradise Valley | Best Chalet in Bozeman

Paradise Valley Montana 2

This gorgeous Airbnb Plus property is located just outside Bozeman in Paradise Valley. The peaceful location gives you unspoiled views towards the mountains, with the city just a 10-minute drive away. We love the outdoor deck with a swing chair where you can watch the sunset behind the mountains. There’s also a private hot tub to keep you warm in the evenings.

Treasure State Hostel | Best Hostel in Bozeman

Treasure State Hostel Montana

This isn’t just the only hostel in Bozeman, it’s the only hostel in the entire state! For backpackers, this is the best way to visit the area without breaking the bank (especially if you’re planning to stay near Yellowstone). The main nightlife district is within walking distance – perfect for heading out with your new traveling buddies.

The LARK | Best Hotel in Bozeman

The LARK Montana

Budget traveling in the USA doesn’t mean you can’t travel in style, and this hotel perfectly combines affordable comfort with modern design. It’s located right in the city center, only a short walk from the university. The main shopping and dining street runs right by the hotel, giving you immediate access to the best attractions in the city.

Things to See and Do in Bozeman:

Bozeman Montana 2
  1. Feel like John Wayne by embarking on a horse ride through the Great Plains.
  2. There are some great art and culture attractions available across the city including Altitude Gallery, Emerson Center for Arts and Culture, and the Museum of the Rockies.
  3. The Scoop, the Haufbrau, and the Molly Brown form the ‘Barmuda triangle’ – three super affordable bars popular with local students.

3. Glacier National Park – Scenic National Park in Montana

Glacier National Park Montana
This should be on every adventurer’s bucket list

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Park, the natural beauty of Glacier National Park is almost impossible to describe with words. With towering mountains, crystalline lakes and unique wildlife, it really must be seen to be believed. Straddling the border with Canada, this is America’s version of the world-famous Banff National Park.

You can stay in Glacier National Park itself for some epic camping, especially during the summer. In the winter months it’s advised to stay in one of the gateway towns like West Glacier or Essex. This is also a great choice for those who prefer to stay in a hotel.

Luxury Sky Dome | Best Glamping in Glacier National Park

Luxury Sky Dome Montana

This is a great camping option for those that aren’t quite ready to rough it out! Housed within a sky-dome, you’ll be able to fall asleep under the stars whilst enjoying a warm place to relax in. The dome comes with modern furnishings – including a walk-in rainfall shower.

Apgar House | Best Cabin in Glacier National Park

Apgar House Montana 2

Rather stay in a cabin? There are a few of those dotted around Glacier National Park too, including this super spacious retreat next to Lake McDonald. The town of Apgar offers boat rentals, peaceful hikes, and organized cycling trails. This makes it a fantastic choice for adventure travelers in the area.

Under Canvas Glacier | Best Campsite in Glacier National Park

Under Canvas Glacier Montana

Camping is the best way to stay inside Glacier National Park, but it can be intimidating for newbies. Thankfully there are a few luxury camping options around, so you won’t have to give up on your home comforts. This luxury campsite offers cabins, yurts, and tipis to suit all group sizes. The communal vibe also means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialize with other guests.

Things to See and Do in Glacier National Park:

Glacier National Park Montana 2
Visitors must explore this famous stretch of road!
  1. Drive along the Sun Highway, home to the most spectacular viewpoints in the entire national park.
  2. Take a boat tour of the glacier lakes. We recommend Lake MacDonald in particular, but Many Glacier and Rising Sun also offer incredible experiences.
  3. Kick back and relax in the many bars in Babb, a town just outside the national park with a local heart.
  4. Glacier National Park is home to some of the best hikes in the USA. Cracker Lake is the coolest one in particular, but it’s pretty intense!
The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

4. Billings – Best Area in Montana for Families

Billings Montana
You’ll never run out of things to do here!

Billings is the largest city in Montana and a great spot for experiencing Great Plains culture. It may be the largest city in the state, but still manages to maintain a laid-back atmosphere. 

In Billings, you will find a whole host of family-friendly attractions – from horse rides and adventure parks to interactive art museums. It’s also home to a number of events – so make sure to check the local calendar before you book.

Alkali Creek | Best Home in Billings

Alkali Creek Montana

Breathtaking views, rustic interiors, and epic hiking trails nearby – what doesn’t this property have? Sleeping up to 12 people across four bedrooms, this is our top pick for larger families heading to Billings. The property is surrounded by huge windows, giving you stunning 360-degree views around the area. Alkali Creek is on the doorstep – an excellent spot for fishing, hiking, and cycling.

Doubletree by Hilton Billings | Cozy Hotel in Billings

Doubletree by Hilton Billings Montana

Doubletree is known for its family-friendly comfort, offering rooms to suit families of all sizes. A complimentary breakfast is offered every morning – so you can fuel up for an adventure-filled day head.

Park City | Country Ranchette in Billings

Park City Montana

Get back to basics in this ranch home just outside Billings. Our favorite feature is the private hot tub, which makes the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of exploring. It’s located in Park City – a smaller town about 15 minutes from Billings that has a more local vibe. This is a great option for smaller families thanks to the excellent rates.

Things to See and Do in Billings:

Billings Montana 2
  1. The whole family will love Pappy’s Adventures, a local tour company that specializes in cowboy-related experiences.
  2. Speaking about cowboys, the Great Plains are the best part of the country for horse riding. Check out local listings for more information on where to look.
  3. Yellowstone Art Museum is full of contemporary art from Montana and the rest of the Rocky Mountains.
  4. Take a trip to Pictograph Cave State Park and learn about some of the best-preserved cave drawings in the world.

5. Kalispell – Best Skiing Destination in Montana

Kalispell Montana
This place is transformed in the winter.

Kalispell is just outside Glacier National Park. It’s actually in the center of the Flathead Valley, a unique natural region that has been carved by melting glaciers over the past few centuries.

Kalispell transforms into a major snow-sports hub in the winter. Whitefish Mountain Resort is nearby, offering some of the best slopes in the state.

Flathead Lake | Lakeside Barn in Kalispell

Flathead Lake Montana

Flathead Lake is just outside Kalispell, and the town of Somers is located right on the waterfront. This property is housed within a modern barn conversion, combining rustic charm with contemporary luxury. There are some fantastic trails close by, so make sure to pack your hiking boots!

Evolve Vacation | Best Apartment in Kalispell

Evolve Vacation Montana

This is our favorite accommodation for those that want to stay closer to the city center. The apartment has been recently renovated with plenty of open spaces, luxury finishes and modern appliances. The river is only a short walk from the apartment, and offers some stunning views.

North Forty Resort | Friendly Resort in Kalispell

North Forty Resort Montana

North Forty Resort is located on the road to Whitefish Mountain Resort. If you’re visiting for skiing, this is our top pick out of all the accommodation in Montana. You’ll also have quick access to Glacier National Park and the city of Kalispell. Golfing and horse riding are popular activities in the area – perfect for families heading on an adventure vacation.

Things to See and Do in Kalispell:

Kalispell Montana 2
  1. Whitefish Mountain Resort is a world-class skiing hub just north of the town.
  2. Conrad Mansion Museum is a fascinating historic artifact with regular tours throughout the year.
  3. You have to grab a cup of joe at Montana Coffee Company.

When I think Merengue, I think melt-in-the-mouth, delicious, sugary treats. However, in the Dominican Republic, Merengue is actually a type of local lively, joyful music and dance.If you order a merengue at a restaurant, you may be surprised at what you receive!

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Montana

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Montana and where to stay.

What To Pack For Montana

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Montana

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Montana

Montana is one of the best destinations in the United States. Home to beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites, quirky cultural hubs, and some of the most photogenic spots in the country, it makes for a fantastic destination. Known as Big Sky Country for its endless blue skies, this is a must-visit for anyone interested in the great outdoors.

If we had to pick one place that stands out for us it would be Missoula! It maintains a youthful atmosphere thanks to the student population, and is full of vibrant cultural attractions. Missoula is pretty close to Glacier National Park, Kalispell and Bozeman, so you can easily take a few day trips whilst you’re there.

That being said, the best place for you really depends on what you want to get out of your trip. Glacier National Park, Kalispell, and Bozeman are all fantastic options for adventure-oriented travelers. On the other hand, Billings offers a fascinating insight into Great Plains culture and is a great destination for chilling out.

We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming adventures in the USA.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Montana and USA?

Made it this far?
You get 15% OFF to book a place to stay!
Offer valid exclusively for Broke Backpackers 😉