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6 Small Towns in Montana With Big Charm

by Staff

Montana is one of the best states to visit for those in search of wide open spaces, exploding with unspoiled natural scenery, including Yellowstone National ParkGlacier National Park, and Flathead Lake, as well as plenty of opportunities to view wildlife, such as wolverinesmountain lionsbighorn sheepelk, and more. There is plenty of room for hiking, over 3,000 pristine lakes, and a unique Wild West history ready for exploration. The small towns of Montana offer up more than the excitement of the great outdoors, featuring friendly communities, annual events, and good old Western hospitality.


The Teton River near Choteau, Montana.

Choteau is one of the most unique towns in Montana. Situated just 20 minutes from the Rocky Mountains, it earned the nickname “Front Porch of the Rockies.” Visitors may learn all about fish migration at Montana’s Fish Wildlife, visit Roxy Theatre and view an iconic movie, or camp out overnight in Lewis and Clark National Forest. In-town attractions include the Old Trail Museum, the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, and the scenic Soroptimist Walking Path. Visitors may also try their hand at being a paleontologist for the day at the museum at the Dinosaur Center or enjoy a scenic golf trip at the Choteau Country Club.


Sliver moon at dusk with a view of a wooden dock at the shoreline of Flathead Lake, near Polson, Montana
Sliver moon at dusk with a view of a wooden dock at the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Polson, Montana

Polson is one of the coziest small towns in Montana, home to the glistening Flathead Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the western United States. Visitors enjoy activities such as fishing, swimming, and kayaking, not to mention viewing the surrounding mountain vistas of the Mission Mountains. The town boasts annual events and festivals in its downtown core, such as the Cherry Festival, the Polson Parade of Lights, and a weekly Farmers Market. History lovers may enjoy a trip to the Polson-Flathead Historical Museum or even wander around to find the Lambert Trading Post, which was the first building in Polson, built in the 1870s.

Big Sky

Welcome to Big Sky Mountain Village Signage. Editorial credit: Zorro Stock Images /
Welcome to Big Sky Mountain Village Signage. Editorial credit: Zorro Stock Images /

Big Sky is one of the best towns in Montana to chill out in. It is near the national park gateway of West Yellowstone and the exciting city of Bozeman, ideal for those looking to merge city life with outdoor adventure. Big Sky Resort is the perfect spot for a day spent adventuring, with ski hills in the winter and mountain biking and hiking trails open through the rest of the year. For those with an especially adventurous spirit, be sure to visit Gallatin River for whitewater rafting. The Gallatin River Gallery offers visitors the opportunity to check out local art, while Big Sky Mountain Goat Tours takes visitors on a guided escapade through Yellowstone National Park with a geologist and outdoor enthusiast.

Fort Benton

Old bridge with fall colors in Fort Benton, Montana.
Old bridge with fall colors in Fort Benton, Montana.

Fort Benton is home to one of Montana’s best historic districts, situated on the banks of the Missouri River, which once played the significant role of a trading post. Some of the best spots to delve into the town’s history include the State of Montana’s Lewis & Clark Memorial, the old steamboat levee, the ruins of Historic Fort Benton, and the walkable first bridge to span the Missouri River. Visitors who choose to wander along the shore of the Missouri River are sure to be delighted, especially if they happen to catch a majestic bald eagle flying by. There are also several annual events, including the Fort Benton Annual Summer Celebration.


River in Hamilton, Montana.
River in Hamilton, Montana.

Hamilton is one of the top-rated small towns in Montana, in close proximity to the Sapphire Mountains and the Skalkaho Highway Scenic Byway, ideal for a mountain adventure, such as skiing, hiking, and hunting. The Bitterroot River runs through the town, with opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and boating. For history buffs, visit the Ravalli County Museum, located in the Ravalli County Courthouse, built in the year 1900 and listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. 


The entry point of the Preserve Park. Editorial credit: Cheri Alguire /
The entry point of the Preserve Park. Editorial credit: Cheri Alguire /

Anaconda is one of the best Montana towns for a weekend getaway, located within the beautiful Deer Lodge National Forest. It is also near Lost Creek State Park and Smoke Stack State Park, home to an old Anaconda Copper Company smelter stack. Hiking, biking, ziplining, rock climbing, and camping are all popular activities within the forest, while visitors in town may check out the Copper Village Museum and Art Center, a Historical Bus Tour, or the Washoe Theater. Annual events include the Festival of the Winter Moon, Puzzles, Pints & Pommosas, and the December Dessert & Beer Flight Feature at the Bighorn Bottle Shop and Wine Bar.

Enjoy a Trip to Montana!

Montana is the ideal destination for an unforgettable destination in the great outdoors, home to several small towns overflowing with charm. Each town boasts its own benefits, ranging from proximity to national parks to beautiful fall colors and shimmering lakes. Where the rushing river of Hamilton pulls them in, or the mountain village of Big Sky is most appealing, no matter where they end up, travelers are sure to discover something new with a trip to the charming small towns of Montana.

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