Downtown street in Butte, Montana. Image credit davidrh via Shutterstock

6 Budget-Friendly Towns in Montana for Retirees

When it comes to retirement, there is lots to consider, and so many states to choose from. The US offers something for everybody, and depending on your needs and hobbies, it can be hard to narrow down the perfect spot. The state of Montana is for nature lovers. With miles upon miles of beautiful mountain ranges like the Rockies, national forests such as Glacier National Park, lakes and rivers including Yellowstone and Beaverhead, and seemingly endless meadows, Montana is great for those who enjoy hiking, cycling, fishing, and every outdoor activity you can think of.

Not only is it a prime area to stay active, but it also has plenty of gorgeous towns full of spectacular viewpoints, heritage buildings, and homes sure to impress. Many may consider Montana to be an expensive state to live in, and while that may be true in some cases, there are plenty of small towns that fall into anyone's budget while still offering fantastic amenities, recreational opportunities, and medical facilities.

Columbia Falls

Old Church, 4th Avenue West, Columbia Falls, Montana.
Old Church, 4th Avenue West, Columbia Falls, Montana. Image credit w_lemay, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Settled within the Flathead Valley, which is a part of the Flathead National Forest, the town of Columbia Falls is surrounded by beautiful mountains, lush forests, and winding rivers. It is also within a short distance of the great escape that is Glacier National Park. With all of these surrounding areas open to explore, you can look forward to activities such as fishing, rafting, snowmobiling, skiing, and hiking.

For those who love to hit the trails, consider the climb up Columbia Mountain, or explore the trails at the Whitefish Mountain Resort. The Flathead National Forest also houses plenty of lakes great for kayaking. The nearby rivers are perfect for fishing, rafting, and boating, and in the winter, you can cross-country ski and snowshoe along the banks. For those who love to bike, tour down the Apgar Trail, or the Gateway to Glacier Trail. For the golfers, pick up a membership at the Meadow Lake Golf Course. The town also sports several community parks, including Columbus Park for Tennis, the Don Lawrence Amphitheater for the summer concert series, and Pinewood Park, home to the Pinewood Aquatic Center.

Feel protected knowing there is an on-site fire station, police station, and urgent care clinic, as well as two nearby hospitals, Logan Health Whitefish and Logan Health Medical Center. There are also plenty of dental clinics, optometry clinics, and family health clinics. Have your shopping needs covered with the liquor store, grocery mart, home supply shop, and auto parts center, as well as stores selling botanicals, coffee, and pottery. And don't worry about making new friends, as the North Valley Seniors Center offers activities, garage sales, and daily meals, and the town has many places to socialize, such as Backslope Brewing, and the Gunsight Saloon.

Homes in the stunning town are listed for a median price of $539,000. Compared with Bozeman's median sale price of $800,000, Columbia Falls is a budget-friendly option.

Miles City

Street view of Miles City, Montana.
Downtown Miles City, Montana. Image credit Traveller70 via

With a lengthy Western History, Miles City takes you back in time, as well as provides ample opportunity for farm and ranch life.

Located next to the Yellowstone and Tongue Rivers, you can find tons of fishing areas, hiking trails, and kayak launch spots. The Yellowstone Jewel trail takes you up the bluffs to stunning views of the Yellowstone River Valley, whereas Pirogue Island is perfect for bird watching and fishing. Strawberry Hill provides plenty of backpacking trails as well. Back in town, spend your afternoons at the many parks, including Riverside Park. Here you can shop at the local farmers market, attend BBQ cookoffs, art auctions, and car shows, as well as sing along to live music. It is also home to the Natural Oasis Swimming Pool, which is fantastic for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Socializing couldn't be easier with outdoor clubs such as disc golf teams, the garden club, and the gem and mineral club. You can also attend weekly events at the library, or meet up with neighbors at hot spots like the Bison Bar or the Blue Moon Casino. There is also a Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which offers you the opportunity to help out the community in your spare time.

When it comes to your health, know that there are options for dentistry, pharmacy needs, mental health concerns, and on-site vet clinics for your furry friends. There are also salons and massage parlors for when it comes to caring for your other needs.

Shopping here is a breeze with furniture stores, farm equipment and hardware stores, laundry marts, pet shops, butcher shops, and thrift stores. There are also livestock sales for those interested in buying land and beginning their new homesteading life.

Homes in Miles City are listed for an affordable median price of $272,400.


Cassic main street storefront in Dillon, Montana, US.
Cassic main street storefront in Dillon, Montana. Image credit Charles Knowles via

The town of Dillon is surrounded by forests steeped with history, whether it be the Lewis and Clark Trail or ghost towns. Here you can explore the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, which is Montana's biggest and offers dozens of trails and outdoor activities. The Clark Canyon Reservoir is located on the Lewis and Clark Trail and is great for fishing, kayaking, and boating.

Want to experience history? Explore Bannack State Park, which is home to the Bannack Ghost Town.

The Beaverhead River is great for fly fishing for trout. In the winter, locals love to ski at the Maverick Mountain Ski Area, or you can snowmobile to your heart's content. The town of Dillon has 9 recreational parks perfect for picnics and long walks, as well as 20 miles of trails surrounding it. There is also the Beaverhead Country Club for those who love a game of golf.

Get to know your neighbors and support local at the farmers market, or by attending places like the Beaverhead Brewing Company. The Dillon Public Library is also perfect for clubs, activities, and socializing. In the summer, look forward to major events like the Labor Day Weekend Rodeo, where you can watch wild horse racing, barrel racing, and bull riding. There is also Dillon Territorial Rodeo Days in July, which not only hosts a rodeo but concerts and cook-offs as well.

Median home prices in Dillon hover around $529,000.


Horse drawn wagons at the World Museum Of Mining, Butte, Montana.
Horse drawn wagons at the World Museum Of Mining, Butte, Montana.

An old mining town, the area of Butte was once known for its vast copper, silver, and gold mining. It also is home to a major historic district, AKA the Historic Uptown District. The streets here are lined with heritage buildings, statues, and decades of history.

Other parts of the town cater more to daily needs, including hardware stores, auto parts stores, thrift shops, pet stores, floral boutiques, book stores, and a Safeway for groceries. There are also salons, skincare specialists, and spas. As for medical needs, there is a sleep clinic, urgent care center, pharmacy, and a vet clinic for your beloved animals. There is also a sports bar, tavern, and the Butte Brewing Company for a late-night beverage.

When it comes to staying active, you have dozens of choices. You can swim at the Ridge Waters Community Pool, play the driving range or take part in disc golf at the Copper Mountain Sports Complex, or play rounds at either the Highland View Golf Course, Butte Country Club, or Fairmont Golf Course. The town is also surrounded by miles of nature. Hike the Continental Divide Scenic Trail, or ride your bike through Thompson Park. The Big Butte Trail System offers stunning views of town, and the Georgetown Lake and Beaverhead River are great for fishing. In the winter, ski at either the Discovery Ski Area or Maverick Mountain. There is also SnoFlinga, a winter sports festival held in January.

Median home prices in Butte are budget-friendly, around $327,500.


A dinosaur statue next to City Hall in Glendive, Montana.
A dinosaur statue next to City Hall in Glendive, Montana. Image credit Logan Bush via

The town of Glendive was once a railroad staple in Montana. Now, it's mostly known for its farming and ranch lands, making it a perfect place to settle down if you are hoping to begin a homestead, raise livestock, or simply enjoy your own acreage.

Glendive also has a rich history when it comes to dinosaurs, with the nearby trails and parks being full of fossils. A prime place to search for these treasures is Makoshika State Park, which has its own badlands, as well as the Cap Rock Nature Trail, which is great for biking and hiking. In town, you can also check out the Glendive Dinosaur Museum, and witness years of paleontology. If dinosaurs aren't your thing but you still love being outside, enjoy fishing on the Yellowstone River. There is also the Cottonwood Country Club for a relaxing game of golf, or the outdoor pool in the summer, perfect for soaking on a hot day.

Worried about finding your new group of friends? The town has a seniors center offering pool tables, card games, daily meals, bingo, and movie nights. There is also the farmers market, where you can support small businesses, or even start your own! There is also the Bloom Coffeehouse, where you can sit back with a book, or chat with fellow espresso lovers. In July, attend the Dawson County Fair. In September, the Mako Chella Music Festival comes to town. In October, enjoy Harvest Fest, as well as BBQ in the Badlands.

Finally, when it comes to the necessities of life, get your grocery shopping done at a local supermarket, and put your health first with the Glendive Medical Center, the general hospitals and urgent care center.

The median home price in Glendive is an affordable $237,000.

Deer Lodge

Barn and horse at the Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site Ranch, Deer Lodge, Montana.
Barn and horse at the Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site Ranch, Deer Lodge, Montana. Image credit melissamn via Shutterstock

Surrounded by rolling meadows and mountain ranges, the quaint town of Deer Lodge has an interesting history. From its past in mining to the old prison museum, there is plenty to learn during your time here. Spend your days building up your knowledge at a museum such as the Montana Auto Museum or the Frontier Montana Museum, which gives you a look into the state's Western heritage. For fans of antique vehicles, admire lines of beautiful cars during Territorial Days, an annual festival; watch the parade and pick up something delicious at a food truck.

In the summer, shop local at the farmers market, or join a softball team. There is also the Deer Lodge Golf Course, as well as Victory Lanes, the town's bowling alley. Both are perfect for meeting new friends or joining a league. For those who enjoy getting out in nature, the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest offers endless hiking and biking trails, or you can spend your days fishing on either the Madison River or the Blackfoot River. In the winter, the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail provides a great way to explore despite the snow.

When it comes to the necessities, there is a 24/7 medical center, doctor's offices, and pharmacies. Shopping can be done at either Safeway or one of the local markets, as well as stores offering goods such as quilting supplies, sporting wear, and deli foods. Love dining out? For late nights out, there is the Broken Arrow Casino and Steakhouse and the Elk Ridge Brewing Company.

The median home price to enjoy the beauty of Deer Lodge is $299,000.

It truly is possible to combine budget-friendly living with state-of-the-art recreational and livelihood opportunities, and Montana proves that.

Home to hundreds of small businesses, including adorable boutiques and restaurants, and plenty of outdoor activities like snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, and backpacking, Montana might just be the perfect place to retire. Spend your days enjoying what nature has provided and feel right at home, whether that be on your new ranch, acreage, farm, or quaint house on a quiet town street.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 6 Budget-Friendly Towns in Montana for Retirees

More in Places