Shops along Canyon Street in West Yellowstone, Montana, USA. Editorial credit: Matthew Thomas Allen /

8 Best Small Towns to Retire in Montana in 2024

Montana offers pensioners charming retirement options, from bustling cities to laidback mountain towns. The Treasure State is famous for its wide open spaces, rugged natural beauty, and laidback Western lifestyle. Retirees can enjoy a four-season destination with many fun recreational opportunities, from skiing and hiking to fishing and wildlife viewing. It has all the hallmarks of an ideal retirement destination.

The best small towns to retire in Montana deliver outstanding quality of life at a reasonable cost of living. Whether you want to settle in a heritage town in the south or a riverside community in the north, these under-the-radar locations grant scenic vistas, outdoor adventures, and tight-knit communities that embody the independent frontier spirit of Big Sky Country. Here are possible options you might want to consider in 2024.


Classic main street storefront in Dillon, Montana, USA.
Classic main street storefront in Dillon, Montana, USA. Editorial credit: Charles Knowles /

For a small town of less than 5,000 residents, Dillon delights with its diverse mix of experiences, promising retirees something to keep them entertained throughout their golden years. New residents can stop by the Dillon Visitor Center for important information about the town, including all its significant points of interest. For outdoor enthusiasts, these will include Bannack State Park, a historic ghost town with a gold rush heritage. Visitors here explore up to 60 historic structures, with access to hiking trails and deserted campgrounds. Beaverhead Golf Club offers a more relaxed way of enjoying the outdoors in a pristine course with lush natural surroundings.

Elsewhere, Tendoy Fine Art is an excellent representation of the local art scene. Connoisseurs can tour the quaint art gallery to explore a collection of pieces from Southwest Montana and take advantage of art workshops and classes to improve their technique. Finally, Dillon's median home listing value is around $469,000.


Dillon, Montana, USA, featuring storefronts and the courthouse.
Dillon, Montana, USA, featuring storefronts and the courthouse. Editorial credit: Charles Knowles /

Pensioners looking to stretch their retirement savings will not think twice about setting up in Glasgow. This tiny village in Valley County serves as a regional economic hub, and despite its rural atmosphere, it offers a bustling social scene tailored for senior living. Some of its top attractions include the Valley County Pioneer Museum, which educates visitors on the town's history and surrounding region. For quality time with family and grandkids, the Children's Museum of NE Montana presents a more family-friendly experience, featuring interactive exhibits on science, cultural diversity, the arts, and other exciting subjects.

When it comes to outdoor opportunities, the nearby Fort Peck Lake Reservoir and Recreational Area ensures endless adventures for all preferences, from fishing and boating to picnicking and nature viewing in a tranquil setting. With an average housing cost of $182,700, retiring in Glasgow provides an easy path to owning a home.

Miles City

Miles City, Montana.
Miles City, Montana. Editorial credit: Traveller70 /

Mile City's Old Western vibe and chill small-town atmosphere provide a charming combination for retirees keen on settling down in rural Montana. A vibrant local art scene encourages locals to explore excellent visual art pieces inside the WaterWorks Art Museum, which exhibits a wide range of pieces by regional and national artists.

Fun times with family, when the grandkids visit, can be spent watching an excellent movie at the Montana Theater, which boasts a rustic interior. When you crave outdoor recreation, Pirogue Island State Park provides plenty of opportunities, such as hiking, picnicking, camping, and fishing in the Yellowstone River. Housing prices are conveniently low in Miles City, with a median of only $235,000.

Red Lodge

Downtown streets of Red Lodge, Montana, USA. The small tourist town is located just outside of the Beartooth Highway.
Downtown streets of Red Lodge, Montana, USA. Editorial credit: melissamn /

This charming community in Carbon County blends a strong spirit of hospitality with a love for the open spaces, assuring retirees of an exciting way to spend their golden years. Red Lodge has no shortage of attractions, boasting a little bit of something for everyone. Among its top venues to visit is the Yellow Wildlife Sanctuary, home to several species from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Art enthusiasts can browse interesting pieces exhibited inside the Carbon County Arts Guild & Depot Gallery, with more artistic creations to explore at Beartooth Gallery.

A visit to the Carbon County Historical Society & Museum allows you to learn more about the colorful history of the town and surrounding regions. But for a unique experience in the great outdoors, getting behind the wheel for a scenic drive along the Beartooth Scenic Byway is an excellent way of appreciating the picturesque natural surroundings of the town. With so much to do in Red Lodge, it is not surprising that the median housing price is above the state average at about $632,900.


Small cascades on the Kootenai river by the Kootenai Falls near Libby, Montana.
Small cascades on the Kootenai River by the Kootenai Falls near Libby, Montana.

A shared love for the great outdoors results in a strong sense of community among the friendly residents of Troy. Retirees with an affinity for beautiful outdoor scenery will automatically fall for the town, which is surrounded by scenic mountains with the Kootenai River passing through it. This leaves a rich mix of recreational opportunities to indulge in, ranging from fly fishing with Kootenai River Outfitters to camping at the Kootenai River Campground. Furthermore, you can find more activities to relax at Timber Beast Disc Golf Course, which is delightful with a forested environment and serene atmosphere.

Art is a big part of the Troy community, and enthusiasts constantly converge at Real Art Works gallery to examine art pieces by different local artists. Meanwhile, fans of the Silver Screen can enjoy family-friendly flicks screened by Lincoln Theater, one of the many indoor entertainment pursuits available in town. When it comes to real estate, the average value of a home in Troy is about $607,000.

West Yellowstone

City streets of West Yellowstone, Montana, on a beautiful summer day.
City streets of West Yellowstone, Montana, on a beautiful summer day. Editorial credit: GagliardiPhotography /

West Yellowstone is the ultimate getaway to the popular Yellowstone National Park, being the closest town to the Lower Loop of the national gem. Despite housing a small community of about 1,300, it receives plenty of tourist traffic, resulting in an upbeat downtown atmosphere. Ardent outdoorsmen are in for a mix of pleasant surprises, with multiple local outfitters, including Yellowstone Vacation Tours, organizing remarkable trips into Yellowstone National Park.

When not immersing in the great outdoors, retirees can catch exciting stage performances at the Playmill Theater, featuring acts like dancing, musicals, plays, and more. Also, the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a must-visit if you fancy close encounters with some of Yellowstone's most celebrated wildlife residents. Given its proximity to the national park and the frequency of tourists, West Yellowstone has a lightly pricey median home price of about $780,000.


Fallon County Library in Baker, Montana.
Fallon County Library in Baker, Montana. By J.B. Chandler, CC BY-SA 3.0,

This tiny boom town traces its beginnings to the early 20th century, initiated by the passing of the Milwaukee Railroad through Montana. Baker's rich heritage can be uncovered at the O'Fallon Historical Museum, which documents the town's culture, history, and people through a vast collection of artifacts. Retirees will find lovely golfing opportunities at Lakeview Country Club, where they will have a chance to meet and socialize with peers in a family-friendly environment. Meanwhile, Baker Lake is a regional hub for outdoor enthusiasts who gravitate towards water-based recreation.

The quiet town center features a mix of bars and taverns that act as a quaint meeting location to unwind after a long day. Baker Club is one of the top local spots, known for serving a delicious selection of meals to go with refreshing cocktails. Baker is also among the cheapest places to retire in Montana, offering a median housing value of only $165,500.


A dinosaur statue next to City Hall in Glendive, Montana.
A dinosaur statue next to City Hall in Glendive, Montana. Editorial credit: Logan Bush /

Glendive strikes a fantastic balance between indoor and outdoor attractions, ensuring retirees are always entertained no matter where they choose to be. This small town came up during the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway and hosts several exciting museums worth exploring. The Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum is an excellent example, intriguing guests with full-size exhibits of dinosaurs and other fossils. An enjoyable ecological experience awaits at the Makoshika State Park, which offers evidence of prehistoric life with fossil exhibits of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops.

Meanwhile, several green nature spots, such as Lloyd Square Park, provide an alternative way of spending time outdoors. Besides its serene environment, the park houses facilities like tennis courts, a swimming pool, picnic shelters, and public art installations. Pensioners will also appreciate that the average cost of houses is $231,300.

Discover Your Dream Retirement in Montana's Hidden Gems

With their affordable housing value, many outdoor activities, rich cultural attractions, and thriving yet laid-back communities, these small towns check all the boxes for those wanting to fulfill the dream of retiring in Big Sky Country. While larger cities have conveniences, these locations represent the authentic charm of Montana while providing a reasonable cost of living. For retirees seeking unparalleled natural beauty, freedom, and relaxation, settling down in one of these underrated towns makes for a desirable way to retire in Montana.

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