1. Fort Benton
The birthplace of Montana has been called one of the 15 prettiest towns in America, but due to its location (northeast of Great Falls), it is sometimes overlooked. In addition to being breathtakingly beautiful, Fort Benton is a haven for history buffs.
2. Fort Peck
Fort Peck is home to Montana’s largest body of water, which holds over 50 different kinds of fish. And if fishing or walking along the beautiful shoreline doesn’t sound appealing, just visit the Fort Peck Theatre and you’ll be sold on this town.
3. Thompson Falls
If you’re ever driving from Coeur d’alene to Kalispell, make Thompson Falls a pit stop. If Minnie’s Montana Cafe doesn’t win you over, exploring the unique Old Jail Museum will. If you have time to stay awhile, don’t miss seeing Thompson Falls State Park.
Located just 15 miles from the Canadian border, the Scobey area is full of wildlife (hunters love this part of the state) and rich in state history. 35 buildings have been developed or restored to look like turn of the century buildings and homes, and the Daniels County Museum & Pioneer town is a popular spot for visitors. Its location is probably the reason Scobey doesn’t get even more tourists than it does.
This old railroad town is a charming little gem in northern Montana that often gets bypassed by people on their way to Glacier National Park. But if you stop for a big, hearty dinner, catch a sunset and stay for the sunrise, you’ll realize what a beautiful place Shelby really is.
Frenchtown is a quiet little escape from the bigger city of Missoula. Along with fishing, kayaking and canoeing at Frenchtown State park, you can play a round of golf (and enjoy a steak and a beer) at the King Ranch Golf Course.
This tiny town of about 350 people might not have a lot of flashy tourist attractions, but it does have the Carter County Museum, a great place for dinosaur lovers (Ekalaka is on the Dinosaur Trail). If you go, don’t miss the nearby Medicine Rocks State Park..it has some of the best views in the state.
Ennis gets its share of positive press. It’s known for its excellent fly fishing, and it’s littered with beautiful bronze sculptures, including the Veterans’ Memorial. But it’s the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly locals and the good old-fashioned Ennis Rodeo & 4th of July Parade that make it truly special.
This southwestern Montana town offers a look into the gold rush days. If you visit Dillion, come hungry—it has a large number of good dining options for its small size.
Butte gets a bum rap (sorry, couldn’t resist) for obvious reasons. But its Victorian architecture, historic buildings, trolley tours and attractions like the Granite Mountain Memorial Overlook and the Berkeley Pit make it a great and underrated place to visit.
11. Clyde Park
With a population of only 295, this 205 acre town is easy to miss. But if you go during Old Settlers’ Days, a two day family-friendly festival, you’ll want to stop and stay for awhile. And if you really want to get away from it all, a stay at the G Bar M Ranch will give you an authentic ranch experience.
It’s easy to pass by Phillipsburg when driving down Highway 1—it doesn’t make much of an initial impression. But the downtown area is beautifully restored, welcoming and clean. While it is a popular place with the tourists who do manage to discover it, Phillipsburg has managed to avoid the gaudy “tourist trap” look.