Pros and Cons of Living in Montana

Hey there, fellow adventurer!

So, you’ve got this nagging urge to pack your bags and head to Big Sky Country, huh?

But before you dive headfirst into your Montana dreams, let’s take a moment to weigh the pros and cons of living in this wild and untamed state.

We’ll talk about the good stuff like the glorious Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

We’ll also tackle some of the bad stuff – challenging weather events, difficult winters, and rural roads that can make day-to-day life in Montana a little bit tricky.

If you’re an adventurous soul who craves the outdoors, doesn’t mind a challenging winter, and seeks a genuine connection with nature and the community, then this might just be the place for you. 

Are you ready to dive deeper into the pros and cons of living in Montana? Prepare for an eye-opening adventure that will have you questioning what it truly means to call this place home!

Montana Living Pros

A Bison Grazing in a Field With Mountains in Montana.

Living in Montana offers the chance to experience some of the most breathtaking national parks in the country, like Glacier and Yellowstone, and endless opportunities for adrenaline-pumping adventures.

But what other great things does this majestic state have in store? Let’s find out!

Montana’s Wide-Open Spaces

Cows grazing in a field with Montana mountains in the background

As the 4th largest state in the US, Montana boasts a sprawling land area of 147,040 square miles, allowing for vast stretches of wide-open prairies and miles between neighbors.

With a population density of just 6.86 people per square mile, you can truly find solace in the serenity of Montana’s big sky country.

Living in this state means embracing the appeal of wide-open spaces.

It means waking up to stunning views of rolling hills and endless skies and spending your days exploring the great outdoors.

Whether you’re stargazing at night or catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights, Montana offers unparalleled opportunities to connect with nature.

Aside from its breathtaking beauty, the state’s wide-open spaces also hold a wealth of resources.

From operational farms and ranches to bountiful wheatfields, the agricultural industry is thriving here.

Living in Montana means being a part of this vibrant industry, where daily life is centered around the land and its seasons.

There’s something truly special about living in a state where the pace of life is slower and the appeal of wide-open spaces beckons.

If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and embrace the tranquility of rural living, Montana is the perfect place to call home.

Montana’s National Parks

A road leading to a lake in Montana with mountains in the background.

Living in Big Country Sky means being surrounded by natural wonders, and two of the most acclaimed national parks in the country are right at your doorstep.

Montana’s Glacier National Park is part of the world’s international peace park and boasts the must-see Going-to-the-Sun Road, which connects the park’s east and west sides through its very heart.

With 25 active glaciers as of 2023, this park offers a breathtaking experience amidst glacier-carved peaks and stunning hiking trails.

In Montana’s southeastern corner lies a portion of Yellowstone National Park, with the rest of the park residing in Wyoming.

Accessible through its year-round open north entrance in Gardiner, Montana, this park allows you to witness diverse wildlife, including Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolves, Black Bears, bison, and moose.

It also lets you marvel at the power and beauty of the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River.

Living in Montana means having the opportunity to explore and appreciate these incredible natural wonders.

From the awe-inspiring glaciers in Glacier National Park to the iconic animals and stunning waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park, there is always something new and breathtaking to discover.

Montana’s Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation

A Person Skiing Down a Snowy Slope With Trees in Montana

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Montana boasts an abundance of breathtaking landscapes and plenty of opportunities to satisfy the adventurous soul.

Whether you’re into backpacking through remote areas, boating on crystal-clear lakes, or camping under the stars, this state has it all.

With its vast network of trails, cycling enthusiasts can pedal through scenic routes, while hiking and mountain biking enthusiasts can explore the rugged beauty of the mountains.

For those seeking tranquility, fishing in Montana’s pristine lakes and rivers is a true delight.

The state is also a winter wonderland, offering a plethora of opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts.

With nearly 15 ski resorts scattered across Montana, including the world-renowned Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, you’re guaranteed to find slopes to meet your skill level.

Whether you prefer skiing or snowboarding, the region’s snowy landscapes are a playground for winter sports.

Engaging in outdoor activities not only provides physical exercise but also boosts mental well-being.

The serene beauty of Montana’s natural wonders provides a perfect backdrop for meditation and photography, allowing you to disconnect from the fast-paced world and reconnect with nature.

The opportunities for outdoor recreation are as vast as the skies that stretch above the state.

So grab your backpack, fishing rod, or snowboard and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature that Montana has to offer. The experiences and memories you’ll create will last a lifetime.

Montana’s Family-Oriented Communities

An aerial view of a city with snow on the ground, showcasing the winter charm and challenges of living in Montana.

One of the many perks of calling Montana home is the strong sense of community and family-oriented nature that permeates its towns and cities.

In Montana, neighbors become more than just the people who live next door – they become an extended family and a support system.

The friendly residents of Montana embrace the values of kindness, generosity, and neighborly love.

It’s not uncommon to see neighbors lending a helping hand, whether it’s shoveling each other’s driveways during the long winters or coming together to support each other during difficult times.

This tight-knit community creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes Montana feel like a true home.

One Montana city that stands out for its family-friendly environment is Bozeman.

As a fast-growing city, Bozeman offers a range of amenities and services that cater to families.

Its schools, like the renowned Montana State University, are known for their quality education.

Plus, their neighborhoods are safe and welcoming, and their parks provide ample space for children to play and explore.

Families can also enjoy attractions such as the Snowfall Recreation Area, the Museum of the Rockies, and the Drinking Horse Mountain Trailhead.

In Montana, country living intertwines with a sense of community, creating an environment where families can thrive and grow.

Montana’s Tasty Morsels

A close up of red berries on a tree in Montana.

If you’re a food lover like me, then Montana is the place to be.

This state is teeming with tasty morsels that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

One thing that sets Montana apart is its unique offerings of huckleberries and chokecherries, which are not commonly found in other states.

These little bursts of flavor add a touch of sweetness to any dish, whether it’s a scrumptious pie or a refreshing cocktail.

But the culinary delights don’t stop there.

If you’re in the mood for some hearty fare, try sinking your teeth into a juicy bison burger.

Montana is also known for its Rocky Mountain oysters, a true delicacy for the adventurous eater.

And with the state being one of the top producers of beef in the United States, you can expect top-notch quality when it comes to steak and other beef dishes.

And let’s not forget about the drinks!

Montana, particularly the city of Billings, is home to some fantastic breweries.

You can quench your thirst with a refreshing pint at the Montana Brewing Company, Canyon Creek Brewing, or Thirsty Street Brewing Company at the Taproom.

With a wide variety of craft beers to choose from, you’re sure to find a brew that suits your taste.

So whether you’re a foodie looking to indulge in unique flavors or a beer enthusiast seeking a local brew, Montana has it all. 

Montana’s Reasonable Cost of Living

A woman's hand holding a cell phone and a toy car on a wooden table, illustrating the pros and cons of living in Montana.

Living in Montana offers a reasonable cost of living, with expenses averaging about 6% lower than the national average.

This means that compared to other, more expensive regions, the overall financial pressure is significantly reduced, allowing for a more relaxed lifestyle.

Affordability is a key characteristic of Montana, with housing costs that won’t break the bank.

Whether you choose to live in one of the biggest cities or opt for a more rural setting, you’ll find a range of housing options at an affordable price.

Additionally, utility bills in Montana run nearly 10% below nationwide costs, meaning you can keep your home comfortably heated without worrying about outrageous bills.

Transportation costs in the state are also surprisingly reasonable.

According to CNN Money, Montana is ranked among the lowest in terms of transportation expenses.

This means that whether you need to fill up your tank or rely on public transportation, you won’t find yourself burdened with exorbitant costs.

That said, we maintain the term “reasonable” because these qualities are offset by the state’s expensive and competitive housing market. 

As of April 2023, the average cost of a house in Montana stands at $440,339, surpassing the national average cost of a US home, which is $410,200.

Nevertheless, you can still enjoy a more reasonably affordable lifestyle without sacrificing quality or comfort by choosing to live in the state. 

Montana Living Cons

A magnifying glass examining the pros and cons of living in Montana.

Now we come to Montana’s not-so-good qualities.

From the state’s limited job opportunities outside major cities and its extreme environment, it’s essential to consider these factors when deciding if Montana is the right place for you.

Montana’s Extreme Environment

A snowy road amidst trees in Montana.

Living in Montana comes with its fair share of challenges due to the state’s extreme environment.

The unpredictable weather can have a significant impact on daily life, especially during the long and cold winters.

Montana has seen temperatures drop as low as -70°F (-56.67°C), although this extreme temperature hasn’t been recorded since 1954.

However, it is still normal for winters to be harsh and chilly.

On the other end of the spectrum, the state experiences intense heat during the summer months.

Montana’s temperatures have reached as high as 117°F (47.222°C), combined with dry plains and vegetation, making the risk of drought and forest fires a harsh reality.

These challenging weather events require residents to be prepared and aware of their surroundings.

Montana’s Lack of Professional Sports Teams

Three men playing soccer with a ball in Montana

One drawback that sports enthusiasts might find disappointing is the absence of professional sports teams in the Treasure State.

As of 2023, Montana still doesn’t have any major professional sports teams to call its own.

You won’t find any NFL, NBA, or MLB action here. So, if you crave the excitement of cheering for popular professional sports teams, you might have to look elsewhere.

The absence of professional sports teams in Montana can be attributed to a few factors.

First, the state’s geography and climate present logistical challenges.

With vast distances to cover between towns and cities, it can be difficult for teams and fans alike to travel for games.

Additionally, Montana’s unpredictable weather, with harsh winters and extreme temperatures, can make it challenging to maintain stadiums and arenas.

Furthermore, the limited economic market plays a role in the lack of professional sports teams.

Montana’s relatively low population means a smaller fan base and fewer potential consumers for sports franchises.

However, despite the absence of major professional sports, the state’s communities keep the spirit of sports alive through minor league and college sports teams.

Montana sports teams, such as the Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats, provide entertainment and a sense of pride for their respective communities.

While you won’t find big-name professional sports action, you can still enjoy the camaraderie and excitement of sporting events in Montana.

Montana’s Increasing Number of Violent Crimes

A man in handcuffs in Montana

While the state is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and wide-open spaces, there is one aspect that is always going to be bad news: the increasing number of violent crimes.

According to the US Census Bureau, Montana has seen a concerning upward trend in its violent crime rate since 2018.

In 2019 alone, there were 4,328 reported violent crimes, compared to 3,974 the previous year.

Unfortunately, certain areas in the state have higher crime rates and should be avoided.

Some notable Montana places with higher crime rates include Polson, Ronan, Wolf Point, Cut Bank, and Havre.

These areas have seen an increase in both violent and property crimes, which can have a significant impact on the residents and their feelings of safety.

It’s worth noting that higher crime rates in these areas are also linked to higher unemployment rates.

Residents and visitors alike must stay informed about the crime statistics and take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their properties.

Montana’s Limited Economic Opportunities

A man's hand holding an empty brown wallet in Montana.

One of the main struggles in Montana is the low income levels due to the lack of well-paying jobs.

Job diversity is also quite limited, especially outside of urban centers.

The state’s economy is largely centered around agriculture and mining, which means that industries like banking, financial services, business management, and consulting are few and far between.

Another factor contributing to the limited economic opportunities is the absence of big corporations in the state.

This can make it difficult for individuals to find stable employment and career growth.

Despite these challenges, Montana continues to attract residents who are willing to embrace the cowboy lifestyle and seek opportunities in outdoor adventure and the agriculture industry.

However, it is important for individuals considering living in Montana to be aware of the potential financial constraints and plan accordingly.

Montana’s Abundance of Tourists in Areas Surrounding Popular Attractions

A man standing on top of a Montana mountain with a backpack.

Living in Montana, it’s hard to escape the impact of the state’s thriving tourism industry.

On one hand, it brings undeniable benefits to the local economy, providing opportunities for businesses to thrive and residents to find employment.

However, Montana’s influx of tourists also presents its fair share of challenges, particularly in areas surrounding popular attractions like Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and Big Sky Resort.

The constant stream of visitors can put a strain on the local infrastructure, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Traffic congestion becomes a daily struggle, making everyday life more troublesome for residents.

Navigating through crowded roads and finding parking spaces can be a real challenge, transforming a quick trip to the grocery store into an arduous task.

Furthermore, the sheer number of tourists can take away from the tranquility and peace that drew residents to these areas in the first place.

However, it’s important to acknowledge the positive impact of tourism on Montana’s economy.

Visitors contribute significantly to local businesses, creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

The revenue generated from tourism plays a vital role in supporting community services and infrastructure development.

Finding a balance between attracting tourists and preserving the quality of life for residents is crucial in ensuring that Montana continues to thrive as a beautiful and welcoming destination.

Montana’s Remote Lifestyle

A woman is practicing yoga on a mat by a serene Montana lake.

Montana’s vast geography and rugged terrain make it a haven for those seeking solitude and a slower pace of life.

However, this remote living is not for everyone.

In many of the state’s remote regions, the lack of connectivity to public infrastructure can pose challenges.

Limited access to material goods and services can impact the overall living experience.

While some may find this simplicity and self-reliance appealing, others may struggle with the lack of conveniences and amenities commonly found in more urban areas.

The remote lifestyle is deeply ingrained in Montana’s culture, attracting a certain type of person who enjoys the ruggedness and independence that come with it.

People in rural areas embrace a nature-centric way of living, cherishing the wide-open spaces and pristine natural beauty.

Farming and spending time outdoors are not just hobbies, but a way of life that brings joy and fulfillment.

While the remote character of Montana may deter those who prefer the hustle and bustle of city life, it is precisely this aspect that adds to its charm. 

Montana Living Final Thoughts

A green hill with mountains in the background and pros cons of living in Montana.

Living in Montana offers a unique lifestyle that may not be for everyone.

With a more rural-centric way of life, economic opportunities outside of agriculture and extractive industries can be limited.

However, there is a certain tranquility and peacefulness that comes with living in this beautiful state.

For those who crave a slower pace and a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Montana provides the perfect sanctuary.

Living in Montana has its pros and cons, and it will ultimately depend on the individual.

But for those who appreciate the beauty of a wild and untamed environment, combined with a modern and relaxing lifestyle, Montana is the perfect place. 

Montana Living FAQs

1. Is Montana a Nice State to Live In?

Yes, Montana is a nice state to live in.

The living experience in Montana is enriched by its stunning natural beauty, from the rugged Rocky Mountains to the serene Flathead Lake.

Plus, its lower living costs compared to big cities make it an attractive option for those seeking a slower pace of life.

2. Why Would Someone Move to Montana?

Montana’s natural beauty, with its wide-open spaces and stunning mountain ranges, is a major draw for those seeking a more rural-centric lifestyle.

With a low population density of 6.86 people per square mile, Montana offers a peaceful and relaxed environment.

Additionally, Montana’s rich natural resources, including precious metals, can provide economic opportunities for those looking to start a new chapter in this picturesque state.

3. What Are People in Montana Like?

People in Montana are known for their strong sense of community and their love for the great outdoors.

They embrace a rural lifestyle and take pride in their farming and agricultural traditions.

Outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and hiking are not just hobbies but a way of life for many Montanans, who value the wildlife and natural beauty that surrounds them. 

4. What Is the Downside of Living in Montana?

Some of Montana’s living challenges include extreme weather conditions, particularly during the winter months, which can be tough to endure.

Additionally, the lack of robust public transportation systems makes it difficult to get around, and the housing market can be expensive and competitive.

Furthermore, Montana tends to be slower in adopting new trends and technologies compared to larger urban areas. 

5. Is Montana a Cold Place to Live?

Yes, Montana is a cold place to live.

With extreme winter temperatures and sub-zero temperatures, residents have to cope with snowstorms and challenges during the winter months.

The cold weather can be a downside for those who are not accustomed to such weather conditions.

If you’re eager to discover more about Montana, feel welcome to explore these fascinating reads:

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Written by:

Ashley Smith
Hello there! I'm Ashley Smith, born on a chilly winter's day, Montana has been my playground since childhood. The first snowfall of the year always brings back memories of building snowmen and winter hikes. Co-founding was my way of sharing the magic of Montana's seasons with the world. While Chris dives deep into the landscapes, I'm obsessed with Montana's rich culture, from the local festivals to the tales passed down generations.

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