Glendive may not be a shining metropolis, but this little town has a lot to offer. Aside from the absolutely breathtaking Makoshika State Park, you can explore the controversial (and if nothing else, entertaining) Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, then do a little gambling at Madhatters.
“Where the hell is Roscoe?” is the slogan at the delicious Grizzly Bar steakhouse, Roscoe’s crown jewel. There’s admittedly not much to this tiny town of 15 people (as of 2010). But the Grizzly Bar and the Lazy EL Ranch provide all the entertainment you need.
3. Thompson Falls
Thompson Falls is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Thompson Falls State Park is a beautiful sight, and hiking Cabin Lake Trail is always a good time. But even if you’re not up for an outdoor adventure, you can always check out the Old Jail Museum or catch a show at the Rex Theatre.
Not everyone would consider Lewistown a dull place… it is the home of the well-loved Charlie Russell Chew Choo, of course. But there’s a lot more to this central Montana city than just its awesome dinner train. You can explore the nearby Judith Basin, check out the beautiful historic buildings in the downtown area, catch an event at the Lewistown Art Center, or brush up on your history at the Central Montana Historical Museum.
5. Fort Benton
The only people who think Fort Benton is boring are the people who have never been there. If you’re a history buff, you’ll never be bored here—it’s called the Birthplace of Montana for a reason. Between Old Fort Benton, the museums and Fort Benton Bridge, there’s plenty to see, not to mention some great dining options like the Union Grille Restaurant and the historic Grand Union Hotel.
Chinook is a very quiet, peaceful place, but it’s not boring. In addition to its museums, beautiful golf course, and the historic Bear Paw Battlefield, it’s home to the annual Sugarbeet Festival, a weekend of fun held every September.
7. Cooke City
Cooke City is one of the entrance points to Yellowstone National Park, but it doesn’t seem quite as tourism-focused as West Yellowstone or Gardiner. And while you won’t find a lot of crowd drawing attractions here, the fact that it’s connected to the most scenic drive in America (Beartooth Pass) doesn’t hurt. If nothing else, an evening spent at Miners Saloon is always a good time.
Alzada is such a miniscule part of Montana, tucked away in the southeast corner and home to just 30 people… so how can it not be boring? Because that’s where you’ll find the Stoneville Saloon, one of the most interesting bars in the state. The Stoneville Saloon offers “cheap drinks and lousy food” in an unpretentious (and very interesting) setting. It’s a favorite stop of Dakota Territory Riders, and there’s never a dull moment inside its walls.
This town might be best known for its hot springs (which are wonderful), but there’s much more to Boulder. The Chamber of Commerce hosts several annual events like the Music and Art Festival and the Boulder Car Show, breaking up any small town monotony. Stop by the Heritage Center to learn more about the local history.
Hamilton often gets overshadowed by Missoula (an hour north) and the always charming Stevensville (20 miles north), but it’s a beautiful city with a lot to do. You can check out the prestigious Daly Mansion, charter a boat or go on a fishing trip, go golfing, shop, or enjoy a meal at one of the excellent restaurants. Hamilton Players is a small local theater company that produces some great shows.
The places on this list might not have a vibrant nightlife or the amenities of a big city, but they’re definitely underrated. Here are some other
under-the-radar Montana cities worth a visit.