Hmmm… where to stay in Montana. Well, that’s a good question since the fourth largest in the USA, roughly the size of Japan, has a truly interesting story to tell.
Well, good think you’re here. We happen to love Montana, and below, we’ll read about the state’s most interesting attractions, best accommodations, and tastiest restaurants.
Why You Should Visit Montana
Let’s start with the facts. Montana is the northeast of the so-called “Mountain States,” encompassing the gigantic Rocky Mountains. It’s the fourth-largest state in America — after Alaska, Texas, and California — but also one of the least densely populated.
Mostly an agricultural, ranching, and mining state, Montana has recently been having a blast in one key sector — tourism. Namely, as of 2019, twelve and a half million tourists are visiting this state annually.
Why is that so? Well, the number of tourists is mostly due to the national parks. Montana has no less than eight of them, and each one is worth your time.
Two of them are not only the most famous national parks in America but also in the world. We are obviously talking about Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Don’t forget the national forests too: there are seven of them, covering more than 20 million acres.
You should also know that they’re mostly located in the western parts of the state. There are a lot of mountains, rivers, lakes, and caves. Lovers of nature will simply have a blast because the wildlife, consisting of grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, wild goats, and otters, is particularly rich.
Due to its scattered population and sublime nature, Montana doesn’t have large cities or even that many. The most populous city in the state, Billings, has only 120,000 people living in it, so if you’re after an urban vacation, we suggest you look elsewhere.
Nonetheless, even the smaller cities have plenty to offer in terms of accommodations and attractions, but they should be seen mostly as bases for exploration. We recommend visiting Missoula, Billings, Bozeman, Helena (the capital), and Kalispel.
The 5 Best Parts of Montana
As we said, Montana is huge — but not in terms of population. The towns are dispersed, far from each other, and surrounded by rugged nature. Most of the places worth visiting are located either in the west or in the south of the country.
With that in mind, our choice comes down to three cities and two national parks.
- Missoula: The obvious choice if you’re visiting Montana for the first time, Missoula has a great location, and it’s the most urban city in the state.
- Glacier National Park: Probably one of the most famous national parks in America, Glacier is a story for itself due to its rugged nature, scenic drives, and gorgeous lakes.
- Billings: The biggest city in Montana — it’s quite similar in its offer to Missoula but further down south and closer to Yellowstone.
- Bozeman: Probably the best place if you’re on a budget, with a great downtown and a bunch of cheap restaurants and accommodations.
- West Yellowstone: A very small and organized city next to Yellowstone National Park with a lot of accommodation options and tasty restaurants.
The Best Areas and Hotels in Montana
As one of the fastest-growing and developing tourist destinations in America — already tending to a multitude of visitors yearly thanks to Glacier and Yellowstone —- Montana is packed with hotels.
There’s only one rule you should follow: the cities offer a lot of accommodation options, but the national parks — not so much. The best advice we could give you is to go to Montana by car or rent one if possible. You’ll be more relaxed and free if you sleep in the cities and travel to the parks.
Also, the accommodations in the parks are generally more expensive, have a limited number of rooms and beds, and are usually taken first.
The cities, for obvious reasons, are more flexible and cheaper. There’s not a huge difference between the accommodation options in the four cities on our list.
Bozeman is the cheapest, but neither Missoula, Billings, nor West Yellowstone are expensive. Their offer mostly consists of decent two-star hotels and mid-range three-star hotels. Real luxury is hard to find in Montana.
Located on the western side of the huge state of Montana and the northern part of the Rocky Mountains, Missoula is probably the first place you should visit in Montana — especially if you haven’t been to this state before.
First, it’s one of the biggest, most urban, and cultured cities in Montana. According to the most recent numbers, Missoula has the second-biggest metropolitan area in the state (Billings is number one).
It’s full of monuments, museums, and galleries — the first university in Montana was opened here too. Second, it has a great location, roughly being located in the middle between the two great National Parks, Glacier, and Yellowstone.
It’s also surrounded by other natural beauty:
- the Lolo National Forest and Flathead National Forest (and Lake) to the north,
- Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest to the west,
- Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness to the south,
- and Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest to the east.
Third, the weather, the flora, and the fauna are magnificent. The region around Missoula has hot and dry summers and moderately snowy and cold winters.
The ecology around the city is typical for the Rocky Mountain area and full of different animals, like the moose, grizzly bear, black bear, bald eagle, and white-tailed deer. The magnificent Clark Fork River runs through the city.
To put it shortly, these three reasons make Missoula the best place for first-timers in Montana. The city itself offers a lot of attractions to visit and interesting things to do.
We recommend visiting the Missoula Art Museum if you like art; the Montana Natural History Center to learn about nature; The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula if you like history; and if you have kids (or to enliven the child within you), we recommend the Carousel for Missoula and the water park Splash Montana.
The accommodation options are generally budget or mid-range since most of the hotels have either two or three stars. Almost all of them have outdoor pools too.
Things to Do
- Since it’s preferable to come to Montana by car, we recommend you visit the natural beauty around the city. Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National park should obviously be the first on your list. Then, there is the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, the Lolo National Forest, Flathead National Forest, and Flathead Lake.
- If you’re a museum type of person, Missoula offers a bunch of them at your disposal. History buffs will surely enjoy The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, which tells the history of the city since the late 19th century; lovers of nature will love the Montana Natural History Center when they learn everything about the flora and fauna of the region; and art aficionados are going to have a blast at the Missoula Art Museum.
- It’s a generally known fact that Montana is one of the least-densely populated states in America and that it had an important role for the early pioneers and gold prospectors. The Garnet Ghost Town — located to the east of the city — is a monument to both of those facts since it is an abandoned gold-mining city that was thriving in the 19th century. Today it is a “typical” American ghost town where you can contemplate the nature of time and frailness of human civilization.
Where to Eat
- Bob Marshall’s Biga Pizza is a place where they prepare everything from scratch. Working by traditional Italian baking methods since 2006, they offer a variety of pizzas and different Italian dishes.
- Catalyst Cafe is a classical American cafe located in the heart of Missoula. The food is fresh, locally sourced, and healthy, and the portions are quite large and rich. The place is usually visited by the students from the university, so the atmosphere inside is always lively and energizing.
- Five on Black comes quite as a surprise since you surely don’t expect to find Brazilian fast food in the western parts of Montana. The place is great for every meal of the day, the portions are large and wholesome, and the food fresh and healthy.
Missoula Budget Hotels
- Econo Lodge Missoula is a very cheap two-star hotel located between Missoula and Missoula Montana Airport. The rooms are furnished with free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, a desk, a coffee maker, a hair-dryer, and an iron.
- WoodSpring Suites Missoula is another two-star accommodation that comes at a really low price. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, a fitness center on the premises, and a private bathroom in every room.
Missoula Mid-Range Hotels
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites Missoula, an IHG Hotel is an upscale two-star hotel, part of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center on the premises, and rooms equipped with flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and sitting areas.
- Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Missoula is a decent, mid-range, three-star hotel located in close proximity to the Missoula International Airport. It has an outdoor swimming pool and bright, large, spacious rooms.
Missoula Luxury Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott Missoula Downtown is a very nice three-star hotel, part of the Marriott chain of hotels. Located in the town of Missoula, it offers an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center. The rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Missoula Edgewater is another upscale three star-hotel with a great location. Namely, the hotel is located next to the Clark Fork River. It offers an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises.
2. Glacier National Park
Located in the northwestern part of Montana lies one of the most iconic national parks in the USA. Aptly named the “Crown of the Continent” founded in 1910, it has existed for more than a century.
A huge place stretching along 1,013,322 acres and boasting around 700 lakes, Glacier deserves a guide for itself.
Luckily for you, we’ve already covered where to stay in Glacier National Park at length. If you want to read the full story, feel free to check it out. For the rest, here’s the abridged version.
There are many places where you can park yourself in the park, but three of them are the most suitable and practical, mainly because they offer accommodation (which is scarce in the park).
- The area around Lake McDonald,
- The area near Saint Mary Lake,
- The Many Glacier region.
All of them have something different and distinctive to offer. Lake McDonald is the most urban and cultural part of the park. Close to the western entrance of the park, to Apgar Village, and to the West Glacier Village, this area offers the best hotels, restaurants, and infrastructure.
The lake itself is very beautiful, offering a lot of chances for boating, and the Lake McDonald Lodge is one of the best accommodation options and restaurants in the whole area.
As you travel to the east and slowly reach the middle of the park, you’ll meet the sublime Saint Mary Lake. But, before that, you’ll probably have to cross one of the park’s biggest attractions, the Logan Pass.
It’s the highest point of the unforgettable scenic road called Going-to-the-Sun Road. Finally, Many Glacier — to the north of Logan Pass — is the park’s nature at its toughest and rawest.
The area is mostly famous for being full of wildlife and incredible hiking tracks, as well as for one of the most famous and historic hotels in America, the Many Glacier Hotel.
Things to Do
- As we said, Glacier National Park is famous for its numerous lakes spread around its territory — only 131 of its 700 lakes have names. We recommend you visit the most famous: Lake McDonald, Lake Josephina, Two Medicine Lake, and Swiftcurrent Lake. There you can enjoy the vista, boat, or fish.
- Drive the length of the most famous scenic drive in America, Going-to-the-Sun Road. Its beauty is so famous that it was used for a key scene by Stanley Kubrick in his The Shining. Once you reach its highest point, the Logan Pass, you can take a pause, enjoy the vistas, look at some mountain goats, and even hike, if you’re up for that kind of activity.
- Hike and enjoy nature and the wildlife in the park. The biodiversity in this part of America is unbelievable. The best place is Many Glacier in the central-north part of the park, and Two Medicine area, in the eastern part of the park.
- Explore the rich historical and cultural life of the Glacier National Park. You can mostly do that in the more urban western part of the park. We recommend the West Glacier Village and Apgar village near Lake McDonald; the Many Glacier Hotel in the central parts; East Glacier Park Village in Two Medicine; and The Logan Pass Visitor Center and Saint Mary’s Village. The urban life of the park is mainly concentrated in these places.
Where to Eat
- Belton Chalet is located near the west Entrance of Glacier, close to Apgard and Lake McDonald. Both its food and hospitality are historical and a product of a long tradition. Namely, Belton Chalet has a 100-year-old fireplace.
- The Ptarmigan Dining Room is one of the three restaurants in Glacier Hotel, located at the heart of Glacier National Park. It’s famous for its historical setting and the great continental cuisine — we recommend the Montana micro-brewed pint.
- Park Cafe Menu, located at St. Mary’s, is another long-lasting, historical restaurant at Glacier National Park — existing since 1952. This one is particularly famous for offering the best pies in the park.
Glacier National Park Budget Hotels
- Glacier Haven Inn is a nice two-star hotel located in close proximity to the entrance of the park and is also relatively close to both Lake McDonald and Apgar. It’s a fairly decent accommodation where you’ll get all the meals of the day, and some of the rooms offer mountain views.
- Circle R Motel is another two-star, budget accommodation located on the opposite side of the Glacier National Park, in the center of the East Glacier Village. It offers free Wi-Fi in every room, as well as coffee machines and glorious mountain views.
Glacier National Park Mid-Range Hotels
- Scenic Forest Lodge is a great three-star hotel located just three kilometers from the west entrance of the Glacier National Park. It offers free parking in front of the premises and free Wi-Fi inside the lodge. You’ll also get a nice spa bath and a lush green lawn around the accommodation.
- Glacier Outdoor Center is a four-star but not that expensive accommodation near the west side of Glacier Park —- actually, it’s located just one kilometer from the entrance. It’s very warm and comfortable since you get a separate cottage equipped with a fireplace in the sitting area and satellite TV.
Glacier National Park Luxury Hotels
- The Ridge At Glacier – Luxury Cabins is a four-star hotel located just outside of Coram and very close to the western entrance of Glacier Park, Apgar, and Lake McDonald. It offers a lot to its potential visitors, such as a nice fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, separate bedrooms, a washing machine, a TV, and a great patio.
- Many Glacier Hotel is without a doubt one of the most famous and cult hotels in America, located in the utmost heart of Glacier National Park. With a great view of the mountains and the lake, it offers 20t fabulous rooms (some of them even as cheap as budget options) and no less than three restaurants on the premises.
Staying in the biggest city in Montana is always a great choice. Billings, located in the southern central part of the state, is not only Montana’s largest town in terms of population (with approximately 120,000 people) but also one of the fastest-growing and developing places in the USA.
On top of that — like every city in this part of America — it is surrounded by beautiful nature. Billings is definitely one of Montana’s richest cities in terms of national and historical heritage.
The Yellowstone Art Museum should be the first place on your list. It holds a marvelous collection of almost 3,000 items, representing the artistic heritage of the Rocky Mountains.
The similarly named Yellowstone County Museum, on the other hand, has a more anthropological aim. It strives to preserve the diverse and interesting natural and cultural history of the wider area.
For a more balanced and less specialized picture of the area, visit the Western Heritage Center. Located in an interesting-looking building, it has a lot of interactive exhibits and brings a nice balance between permanent and transitory artifacts.
The Moss Mansion is a house from another era and serves to preserve the habits, opinions, and looks of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Lovers of nature won’t be disappointed either since Billings offers a rare jewel in this part of America.
Make sure you visit ZooMontana with its 100 animals and 51 species. You’ll find grizzly bears, wolves, otters, eagles and lynxes — all of which are part of the natural Montana fauna.
For a more direct approach to nature, leave the city and explore its surroundings, like the rock formation called Pompeys Pillar, Pictograph Cave, or Chief Plenty Coups.
Billings is great in terms of accommodation, offering various two-, three-, or four-star hotels. Basically, there’s something for everybody: cheap motels for budget travelers, upscale hotels for those who prefer luxury, or decent mid-range options for everybody else.
Things to Do
- Billings is a major cultural hub in Montana, with a lot of museums and cultural institutions. The Yellowstone Art Museum is the prominent art museum in the whole area and is all about the artistic heritage of the Rocky Mountains. Yellowstone County Museum, on the other hand, founded in 1953, has a mission of collecting, preserving, and sharing the heritage — natural and cultural — of Montana’s Yellowstone River Basin.
- ZooMontana deserves a paragraph for itself since it is the only zoological institution within 700 kilometers. It started as a non-profit organization in the 1980s, but since 1995, it’s been a full-blown zoological garden. There are about 100 animals and 51 species.
- The nature around Billings is simply lovely, and it’s definitely worth leaving the city for. The unusual rock formation called Pompey’s Pillar can be reached in around 35 minutes by car; the Pictograph Cave is even closer, at only 13 kilometers away. Chief Plenty Coups is around 40 minutes by car. Through them, you see the beauty of Montana with your own eyes and not only through the glass of the museum.
Where to Eat
- The Burger Dive is a classic American restaurant that was selected as a 2022 Travellers’ Choice. Obviously it’s a burger place where burgers are served in various ways and with different toppings. It also offers gluten free options.
- Bistro Enzo is an Italian and Mediterranean restaurant that also serves vegan and vegetarian options. It offers pasta made from scratch, fresh seafood, different kinds of oven-baked pizzas, killer desserts, and even some hand-cut stakes.
- Montana Brewing Company is another 2022 Travellers’ Choice. It’s probably the most famous restaurant in Billings, doubling as an American pub and bar. It offers beer and a wide variety of snacks and finger food, like nachos, supplemented with innumerable dips.
Billings Budget Hotels
- Motel 6-Billings, MT – North is a very cheap two-star hotel located just 15 minutes away from Billings Logan International Airport. The rooms are decorated colorfully and furnished with wooden materials.
- The Vegas Hotel is another very cheap two-star hotel. It offers free Wi-Fi in every room, TVs with HBO channels, air-conditioning, and sitting areas. There is also a restaurant and a bar on the premises, as well as a nice breakfast every morning.
Billings Mid-Range Hotels
- Ledgestone Hotel Billings is a very nice three-star hotel that comes at a relatively low price. There’s free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning in every room, a TV and a desk too. The hotel also offers its fitness center to the guests and has facilities for disabled people.
- Kelly Inn Billings is another three-star hotel that has much to offer. It has an indoor swimming pool and a fitness center, as well as rooms with free Wi-Fi, cable TVs, and refrigerators. It also offers free breakfast every morning and laundry facilities to every guest.
Billings Luxury Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott Billings is the first of the three four-star hotels in Billings. It offers free Wi-Fi throughout the premises, an indoor pool, a hot tub, and studio-type spacious rooms.
- Northern Hotel is the second four-star hotel in Billings. It has a great location, just ten minutes from the Yellowstone Art Museum and adjacent to the Western Heritage Center. It offers two restaurants, a fitness center, and a bar on the premises, while also providing airport shuttles.
Welcome to Bozeman, the fourth-biggest city in Montana, located in the southwestern part of the country. Like Missoula and Billings, it gets a constant influx of tourists from all around America and the world because it strikes a great balance between nature and culture.
It’s located fairly close to Yellowstone National Park —- only two hours by car — but it also has all the perks of a small, well-ordered city. Its main features are the beautiful historic downtown, the numerous shops, and the high number of museums.
Interestingly enough, Bozeman’s Downtown was selected as the 2022 Travelers Choice: it even has its own website. It’s a perfect place for casual strolling while enjoying the fresh and sharp Montana air.
Bozeman is also a convenient location for shopping and offers a bunch of upscale restaurants for fine dining. After you finish strolling the streets of downtown, it’s time you start hitting the museums.
First, there’s the Museum of the Rockies (another 2022 Travelers’ Choice), which is considered one of the prime history museums in the USA. Here you’ll see a lot of perfectly preserved dinosaur skeletons and fossils — a sight you’ll never forget.
Second, on the other side of the spectrum, we recommend the American Computer & Robotics Museum (yet another 2022 Travelers’ Choice). This museum — obviously — is all about the present and the future.
Finally, there’s the Gallatin History Museum which eloquently tells the story of the Bozeman area. Now that we’ve sketched the cultural part of the city, let’s turn to nature.
We’ll leave Yellowstone for the next section, but we have to emphasize that the National Park is a convenient option.
At this instance, we recommend you visit the three locations:
- Bridger Bowl — a scenic mountain range;
- Palisade Falls for hiking;
- Montana Grizzly Encounter, akin to a zoo for rescued bears.
One final note: Bozeman is the cheapest area on our list in terms of accommodation. It’s definitely the best choice for budget travelers who are looking for a cheap hotel or motel.
Things to Do
- Take a stroll downtown and explore every nook and corner of this small but precious Montana city. The center is packed with historical buildings, shops, and restaurants, and simply walking and breathing the clear and fresh mountain air is definitely the first thing you should do. You can do some shopping too, and when you get tired, just sit in one of the many restaurants that stretch along the streets of Bozeman’s downtown.
- After you’ve strolled downtown, it’s time for something more concrete, like hitting the museums. The first on your list should definitely be the Museum of the Rockies with its gigantic collection, which includes the marvelous skeletons and fossils of dinosaurs. Second, and completely opposite, is the American Computer & Robotics Museum, which is more than worth your time. Finally, overshadowed by the first two but very interesting in its essence is the Gallatin History Museum.
- If you have a car or don’t mind traveling for a couple of hours by bus, you should definitely visit the legendary Yellowstone National Park. We are going to talk a bit more about it in the next heading, but you already know that the trip is definitely worth your time. By car, the trip is a piece of cake, but don’t worry: even if you don’t have one, there are plenty of organized trips from the city to the park.
- Bozeman is no different than the other cities on our list: it is surrounded by natural beauties of unparalleled interest. There are plenty of things to visit, but we recommend the following (in no particular order): go hiking or snowboarding on Bridger Bowl; hiking and nature-enjoying in Palisade Falls; animal-looking at Montana Grizzly Encounter; and just having a marvelous time at the Gallatin River and the Gallatin Canyon.
Where to Eat
- Jam! is a classic American restaurant and cafe that was selected as the 2022 Travelers’ Choice. Its menu is rich and varied, consisting of the usual breakfast options such as eggs Benedict and desserts such as pancakes.
- I-Ho’s Korean Grill is a great Asian and Korean restaurant and grill located on the western side of Highway 191, where most of the restaurants in Bozeman are located.
- Dave’s Sushi-Off Main is a restaurant that serves a combination of Japanese and Asian cuisines, mainly concentrating on different types of sushi. It was selected as the Travelers’ Choice for 2022.
Bozeman Budget Hotels
- Motel 6-Bozeman, MT is a two-star hotel with a swimming pool located on the northern side of Bozeman, fairly close to the Glen Lake Rotary Park. There’s cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and free air conditioning in every room.
- Baymont by Wyndham Bozeman is another cheap but great two-star accommodation located in the northern part of the city. There’s an indoor swimming pool in the hotel and a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and facilities for disabled people.
Bozeman Mid-Range Hotels
- Hampton Inn Bozeman is a great, medium-priced three-star hotel located close to the downtown of Bozeman. It has a lot to offer — an indoor pool, gym, and a jacuzzi.
- MountainView Lodge and Suite is another great three-star hotel located to the north of Bozeman’s downtown. Again, it too offers an indoor swimming pool, as well as an on-site fitness center, rooms furnished with wooden furniture, free Wi-Fi, and air conditioning.
Bozeman Luxury Hotels
- RSVP Hotel is a relatively cheap four-star hotel with all the amenities of an upscale place. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a fitness center on the premises of the hotels, and rooms with plasma TV.
- Gallatin River Lodge is a four-star accommodation located to the northwest of Bozeman, in the midst of beautiful natural surroundings. A great place for relaxing, far from the din of the city, it has a restaurant and a bar on the premises.
5. West Yellowstone
Located on the top of the triangle that borders Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming lies the small but lovely town called West Yellowstone, population: 1200.
As the name suggests, its biggest strength lies in its proximity to Yellowstone National Park — surely one of the most famous national parks in the world. As in the case of Glacier, we already covered Yellowstone, both in terms of where to stay and the best time to visit.
If you want to get a wider and more profound picture of the park, feel free to check them out. The western entrance to Yellowstone Park is literally on the east end of the city.
That means that the obvious reason for staying in this city is the chance to go hiking at the park and exploring its beautiful views, flora, and fauna. The true attractions, however, are the renowned Old Faithful, the Steamboat Geyser, and the Old Reliable.
For those who want to find out even more about the park, we recommend you visit the Museum of the Yellowstone located in West Yellowstone.
It works seasonally, from May to October, and tells a story about traveling to the park by exhibiting both a temporary and a permanent collection. But the city, regardless of being small, has other things to offer too, aside from the park.
First, there’s the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and learn a lot of new things about the wildlife in the area; then visit Hebgen and the Earthquake Lake nearby; and finally —if you’re looking for some culture — the Playmill Theatre, which is all about family entertainment.
West Yellowstone is genuinely a great place to stay and to eat. There are many two- and three-star accommodation options in this city, and most of them are quite affordable.
Some of them are part of famous chains of hotels, and others are just perfectly furnished lodges and houses. The restaurant situation is even better since there are more than 10 Travellers’ Choice places, each offering something different and distinctive.
Things to Do
- The first and obvious thing you should do if you’re staying at West Yellowstone is to visit Yellowstone National Park. The western entrance to the park is basically connected to the east part of the city. At Yellowstone, you can either spend your day walking and hiking, you can explore the rich and various flora and fauna, and see the biggest attraction in the park — the famous geysers.
- The natural beauties around West Yellowstone are not exclusive to the national park. To the northwest of the city, you’ll find two beautiful lakes. Closer to the city is Hebgen Lake, full of wildlife and offering great opportunities for fishing; further to the west is Earthquake Lake, which has ominous importance — it’s the site where the biggest earthquake in the history of Montana happened.
- The city is full of great and tasty restaurants, both traditional and modern, local and international. As a matter of fact, there are more than 10 Travelers Choice selections in West Yellowstone. We recommend the Italian restaurants Pete’s Rocky Mountain Pizza Company, Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon, and Gusher Pizza and Sandwich, as well as the American BBQ places like Bar N Ranch Restaurant, Beartooth Barbecue, and Firehole BBQ CO.
- If you want to broaden your knowledge about the wildlife that exists in Yellowstone National Park and the area that surrounds it, visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Here you’ll see bears, wolves, and otters, among other things. The center has a rich and varied program full of interactive activities, lessons, museums, expositions, etc. It’s conveniently located next to the west entrance of the park, at the eastern end of West Yellowstone.
Where to Eat
- Firehole BBQ CO. is a 2022 Travellers’ Choice and probably both the best barbecue and the best overall restaurant in West Yellowstone. The ribs, the brisket, the burger — all of them are great.
- Ernie’s Bakery and Deli is another 2022 Travellers’ Choice, which is classified as a French, American, and European restaurant. It’s probably the best place in town to get breakfast or to prepare your meals before you go on a full day of walking in Yellowstone.
- Running Bear Pancake House is the third Travellers’ Choice on our list (there are five or six more in West Yellowstone!), which is basically a classic American Diner.
West Yellowstone Budget Hotels
- Brandin’ Iron Inn is a two-star hotel located just two blocks from the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Aside from the proximity, it offers traditionally furnished rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi, cable TV, a refrigerator, and a sitting area.
- Terra Nova Cabins is a two star hotel located to the north of West Yellowstone, right on the shores of Hebgen Lake. The cabins are a convenient choice for those who love the outdoors since some of them have nice views, but all of them have picnic tables.
West Yellowstone Mid-Range Hotels
- Kelly Inn West Yellowstone is a great three-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool and a hot tub. It offers all the regular services and amenities, like an airport shuttle, spa and wellness center, coffee/tea machine in every room, and even facilities for disabled guests.
- Best Western Desert Inn is another beautiful three-star hotel with indoor pool facilities. It’s part of the Best Western chain of hotels which guarantees professionalism and guaranteed quality. It also offers free Wi-Fi and private parking.
West Yellowstone Luxury Hotels
- Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone is probably the most expensive accommodation in West Yellowstone. It has three stars and it is located just one kilometer from the entrance of the park.
- Holiday Inn West Yellowstone, an IHG Hotel, is a three-star hotel and is part of the world-famous Holiday Inn chain of hotels. Located in the center of the city, it offers an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar on the premises of the hotel.
So, Where Should You Stay in Montana?
Now that we’ve reached the end of the road, let’s do a quick recap and once more check what Montana has in store for us.
Missoula is the obvious choice since it’s the most urbane and cultured city in Montana. It also has a great location too, being conveniently located between Glacier Park and Yellowstone Park.
Glacier National Park is a story in itself. Famous for its scenic roads, wildlife, lakes, hiking trails, and mountain tops, it’s the perfect place for lovers of nature and the outdoors.
Billings is the biggest city in Montana, with an offer quite similar (in a good way) to Missoula. It’s located further down south and to the center of the state, closer to Yellowstone National Park.
Bozeman has a great downtown, a lot of attractions both in terms of culture and nature and is definitely the cheapest place on our list. Great for budget travelers.
West Yellowstone is a popular destination due to its proximity to Yellowstone Park. A small, well-organized city, it’s surrounded by natural beauty from all sides.