Whitefish, Montana.

8 Serene Towns In Montana For A Weekend Retreat

Montana, a picturesque landlocked Mountain State attracts vacationers from all over the globe with its varied topography and unrivaled natural splendor. Boasting the majestic Rockies, extensive Northern Plains, flourishing river valleys, clean trout-filled water bodies, and remarkable rock formations, the Big Sky Country is an ideal vacation destination for every nature lover. While a majority of holidayers tend to flock to the Treasure State’s urban metropolises like Billings, Bozeman, Helena, and Missoula, the countless serene small towns sprinkled all over the state provide tourists with an authentic and unforgettable Montana experience.


Historic centre of Livingston, Montana.
Historic centre of Livingston, Montana. Image credit: Nick Fox - stock.adobe.com.

Park County’s administrative center, Livingston is an erstwhile railroad and ranching town in south-central Montana between the Absaroka and Crazy Mountain ranges along the Yellowstone River. Named after Crawford Livingston Jr., the nephew of railway executive Johnston Livingston, the town’s closeness to the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park has made it ideal for adventurers.

Livingston’s walkable downtown is packed with abundant Old West structures housing retail stores, boutiques, art galleries, well-stocked bookstores, old-school saloons, farm-to-table restaurants, hotels like The Historic Murray Hotel, and museums such as Yellowstone Gateway Museum, International Fly-Fishing Federation’s Museum, and Livingston Depot Center. From Livingston, tourists can easily reach numerous fishing access sites; Bridger Bowl Ski Resort; Mayor’s Landing; Sacajawea Park; and several miles of top-quality trails including the Myers’ River View Trail and Pine Creek Trail.

Red Lodge

Downtown streets of the small tourist town of Red Lodge, Montana
Downtown streets of the small tourist town of Red Lodge, Montana. Editorial credit: melissamn / Shutterstock.com.

Surrounded by the Custer Gallatin National Forest, this pretty Carbon County town is situated along the majestic Beartooth Mountains in southern Montana. The town’s revitalized downtown forms a part of the Red Lodge Commercial Historic District, featuring many landmark properties like the Carbon County Courthouse, Carbon County Hospital & Sanitarium, and Iris Theater. Aside from this, the downtown also has an array of shops, art galleries, cafes, boutiques, eateries, museums like the Carbon County Historical Society & Museum, and reputed hotels like The Pollard Hotel and The Red Lodge Inn. Skiers and snowboarders can head straight to the adjoining Red Lodge Mountain, which offers outstanding skiing adventures amidst mind-blowing alpine landscapes.


Historic buildings in Phillipsburg, Montana.
Historic buildings in Phillipsburg, Montana. Image credit: Jasperdo via Flickr.com.

Home to 841 inhabitants as per the latest US Census, this Granite County town, dubbed after Philip Deidesheimer - an esteemed mining engineer, is situated roughly midway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks on the Pintler Veteran’s Memorial Scenic Highway. Owing to the town’s closeness to prominent wilderness areas and places where distinctive natural resources like Sapphire gemstones have been discovered, Philipsburg has, over the years, become one of the most-liked retreats for nature enthusiasts.

Spend some relaxing time at the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Granite Ghost Town State Park, shop for sapphires at the local gem shops, tour Philipsburg’s Granite County Museum & Mine Exhibit, taste candies at the Sweet Palace, and rest after a busy day at The Broadway Hotel and Kaiser House Hotel.


Main Street in Whitefish, Montana.
Main Street in Whitefish, Montana. Editorial credit: Beeldtype / Shutterstock.com.

One of the most exquisite ski towns in the United States, this Flathead County community is located at the foot of the Big Mountain along the banks of the crystal-clear Whitefish Lake on the western side of the Continental Divide. Just a short distance from Glacier National Park, Whitefish boasts a flawless blend of small-town allure and modern-day conveniences against a marvelous backdrop of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Besides a tour of the famed national park, visitors must browse the uncountable antique shops, diners like Loula’s Café, and galleries lining Central Avenue.

Also, do not forget to tour the Whitefish Mountain Resort, hike the Whitefish Trail, take part in recreation at the Whitefish Lake State Park, and stay at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. Residents and merrymakers alike should attend the town's several events such as the Huckleberry Days Arts Festival, Whitefish Winter Carnival, Whitefish Arts Festival, Whitefish Trail Legacy Run, and Under the Big Sky Music Festival.


Aerial view of Hamilton, Montana.
Aerial view of Hamilton, Montana.

Hamilton, christened after J.W. Hamilton, occupies the heart of the incredibly beautiful Bitterroot Valley in southwest Montana’s Ravalli County. The town is a haven for outdoor recreation, offering abundant wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities. Furthermore, Hamilton’s Main Street is filled with specialty shops, breweries, restaurants, and the homey Moraine Bed & Breakfast.

The town is also renowned for the palatial Daly Mansion, the Ravalli County Museum at the former Ravalli County Courthouse, and the yearly Bitterroot Performing Arts Series hosted at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center by the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council. The pristine Bitterroot River flowing through the town provides an excellent setting for trout fishing activities.

West Yellowstone

Downtown West Yellowstone, Montana
Downtown West Yellowstone, Montana. Editorial credit: Pecold / Shutterstock.com.

West Yellowstone, is a quaint Gallatin County town close to the western entrance of Yellowstone National Park. A portion of the Bozeman, MT Micropolitan Statistical Area, West Yellowstone is a four-season recreation mecca and an idyllic starting point for tours to the popular national park and adjoining wilderness areas. Wild animal watching is a year-round activity here, with the town’s various gift shops, restaurants, and hotels like Gray Wolf Inn & Suites, and Days Inn by Wyndham West Yellowstone catering to thousands of tourists who visit the national park annually.

Visitors can observe wolves and grizzly bears at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, engage in horseback rides at the Diamond P Ranch, participate in ziplining at Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park and whitewater rafting at the Gallatin River, and gain knowledge about the national park’s history at the Museum of the Yellowstone. The Rendezvous Ski Trails on the town’s edge provide skiers with 21.7 miles of cross-country ski trails during the cold season.


A welcoming signboard at the entry point of the preserve park in Anaconda, Montana.
A welcoming signboard at the entry point of the preserve park in Anaconda, Montana. Editorial credit: Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com.

Anaconda, an alpine community and administrative center of Deer Lodge County, is located at the foothills of the Anaconda Range in southwest Montana, about 23 miles northwest of Butte. Established in 1883 as ‘Copperopolis’ by Marcus Daly, the town was rechristened ‘Anaconda’ after a notable mining smelter. Visitors must tour the Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park, which houses the tallest surviving masonry structure in the world - the Anaconda Smelter Shack, constructed as a part of the Washoe Smelter of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company.

Vacationers must peruse the different exhibits displayed at the Old City Hall Copper Village Museum & Art Center, watch a performance at the Washoe Theater, recce the cross-country ski trails of Mount Haggin, play a round of golf at the Old Works Golf Course, camp in Lost Creek State Park or along the Georgetown Lake, speed down the slopes at the Discovery Ski Area, and rest for the night at Marcus Daly Motel or the Hickory House Inn.


Downtown Lewiston, Montana.
Downtown Lewiston, Montana. Image credit: R. Sieben via Wikimedia Commons.

The seat of government of Fergus County, Lewistown, is situated right at the state’s geographic center along the spring-fed Big Spring Creek, to the southeast of Great Falls and northwest of Billings. Originally called Reed’s Fort after Major A.S. Reed, the settlement was renamed in honor of Major William H. Lewis and slowly developed into a major distribution hub for the Judith Basin. Apart from learning more about the area’s past at the Central Montana Historical Museum, history buffs can take a guided tour to witness the meticulously maintained architecture at the five historic districts of Lewistown.

Being a perfect base for those who wish to participate in the ample outdoor recreation offered here, adventurists who visit this family-friendly community must rest after a hectic day at any one of the town’s well-known hotels like The Calvert Hotel, Super 8 by Wyndham Lewistown, and Judith Mountain Lodge. Annually, Lewistown hosts numerous celebrations such as the Montana Winter Fair, Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering & Western Music Rendezvous, Metis Celebration during Labor Day weekend, Fourth of July festivities, Chokecherry Festival, and Pioneer Power Days.

From charming mountain towns like Whitefish and Anaconda to the quaint West Yellowstone - “gateway to Yellowstone National Park,” the numerous small towns in the 4th largest and 8th least-populous state of the nation present unique insights into the hidden secrets of The Treasure State. If you want to relax amidst peaceful surroundings, gaze at lofty mountains instead of towering high-rises, and engage in world-class outdoor recreations, look no further than these adorable Montana towns for your weekend trips.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 8 Serene Towns In Montana For A Weekend Retreat

More in Places