15 Reasons to Move to Montana

Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of city life?

Do you yearn for a place where you can breathe in the fresh mountain air and soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you?

You should strongly consider moving to Montana!

Today, we’ll go over some enthralling reasons why moving to Big Sky Country should be at the top of your list. 

From the awe-inspiring natural landscapes of attractions like Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks to its prestigious public universities and innate small-town charm, Montana delivers a diverse range of offerings.

If you’re someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, prioritizes quality of life, and seeks a strong economy with an emerging tech community, then this article is crafted precisely for your interests.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in together and discover why Montana is the place to be.

Reasons to Move to Montana

Guy Staring at Stars From His Van in Montana

From its magnificent mountain ranges and renowned national parks to its reasonable taxes and interesting cities, Montana caters to diverse interests and aspirations.

Let’s delve into the numerous compelling reasons why seriously considering a move to Montana is highly recommended.

1. Montana’s Reasonable Taxes

Woman Calculating Her Taxes in Montana

Montana offers reasonable tax rates that are truly valuable.

It is a haven for homeowners due to its relative affordability and low property taxes, providing a refreshing break from the trend of soaring taxes.

One standout feature of Montana’s tax system is the lack of a sales tax – no extra costs to worry about when you make a purchase. 

The state also has a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 1% to 6.9%. This ensures fairness by taking your income level into account and avoiding excessively high taxes.

Montana’s property taxes vary by county, but the average rate is just 0.87%, lower than the national average of 1.1% as of 2020.

This is a boon for homeowners, offering them the chance to enjoy property ownership without the burden of heavy taxes.

The Treasure State’s reasonable tax structure positions it as an appealing choice for those seeking financial relief and fairly affordable living. 

2. Montana’s Vibrant and Interesting Cities

Aerial View of Missoula Montana

Montana is home to a variety of locations, from charming rural towns to bustling cities, all offering their own unique features and attractions. 

Bozeman is a spacious and forward-thinking city that still retains a small-town essence.

Within its bounds, a multitude of stores, parks, and cultural hubs await your exploration.

Plus, let’s not overlook that Bozeman houses Montana State University, creating a perfect blend of learning and leisure for all.

Next up is Billings, the largest and most populous city in the state.

Its swift expansion and robust economy explain the increasing appeal of this captivating city.

With a wide array of industries and a host of engaging events, Billings caters to a diverse range of interests.

Missoula, “the hub of five valleys”, stands out for the University of Montana and main driving sectors like healthcare, retail, transportation, and education.

Yet, even as one of the state’s largest cities, it’s not just about business – the city also thrives as a dynamic cultural landscape, offering a lively arts scene and abundant outdoor activities.

Montana’s capital, Helena, is a city rich in history – from gold camp origins to Victorian architectural beauty.

It’s more than just government and state jobs; Helena provides top-notch education, stunning surroundings, and a wealth of recreational opportunities.

Whether you’re looking for a bustling city or a quaint town, the state’s vibrant and interesting cities are waiting to welcome you with open arms. 

3. Montana’s 4-Season Climate

Montana Fall Season

When it comes to weather, Montana offers a diverse climate that is as captivating as it is unpredictable.

From the semi-arid continental nature of the eastern plains to the persistent mountain snow in higher altitudes, the state’s climate keeps its residents on their toes.

In the eastern region of Montana, characterized by plains and hills, you’ll encounter 4 distinct seasons.

Winter temperatures can drop to an average of 28°F, while summers can see temperatures soaring to 84.5°F. 

It’s worth noting that Montana’s weather is influenced by cold winds coming down from Canada, bringing with them a crisp chill that signifies the arrival of winter.

Additionally, the state receives an average annual precipitation of about 15 inches.

However, in the western valleys, the precipitation can double due to the Pacific air movement being blocked by the towering mountains.

If you’re someone who can appreciate the beauty and excitement that comes with experiencing all 4 seasons in their full glory, Montana’s ever-changing climate will surely captivate you. 

4. Montana’s Wide-Open Lands

Montana Landscape with Mountains

If you’re looking for room to breathe and space to roam, The Treasure State has plenty to offer.

As the 4th largest state in the country, spanning a whopping 147,040 square miles, Montana is a vast expanse waiting to be explored.

What’s remarkable is that despite its size, Montana houses a modest population of just 1,122,867 as of 2022.

This low population density earns it the 8th spot among the least populated states, with an average of only 6.86 people per square mile.

While cities like Missoula and Billings may have more inhabitants than the state’s average, the abundance of wide, open spaces throughout Montana provides ample room for all.

Here, you can immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of unspoiled nature, where neighbors are miles apart and tranquility surrounds you.

The state truly embodies the allure of wide-open lands, allowing you to escape the bustle of crowded cities and embrace a sense of freedom that only vast open spaces can provide.

5. Montana’s Lack of Traffic

Montana Cars in Billings

In Big Sky Country, the vast open landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, making it essential to have a car to navigate the wide expanse of the state.

While cities and towns in Montana do have public transportation options and other vehicles, the sparse highway traffic creates a sense of isolation on the road.

Unlike bustling cities where traffic jams are a daily occurrence, commuting in The Treasure State is pretty much a breeze. 

During the winter months, when slippery roads can pose a challenge, there is a significant decrease in drivers.

The inconvenience of winter commutes means that even fewer cars occupy the roads, enhancing the sense of tranquility and seclusion that the state’s roads offer.

To make transportation even more convenient, some places in Montana offer free public transportation services.

Missoula’s Mountain Line and Bozeman’s Streamline bus services are great examples of how Montana communities prioritize the convenience of their residents.

6. Montana’s Unique Natural Beauty

Montana Lake with Mountains

Surrounded by a diverse geography of majestic mountains, serene valleys, sprawling plains, and rolling hills, Montana boasts a splendid landscape that is unlike any other.

With excellent weather and clear skies, the already stunning scenery is elevated, turning it into a sought-after haven for nature enthusiasts.

Living in Big Sky Country means waking up to vistas that few can claim as their own.

Montana’s global appeal is indisputable, with Glacier National Park forming part of the world’s inaugural peace park and Yellowstone National Park offering treasures that span across the state’s borders.

Consistently ranked among the most beautiful places to live, the state’s abundant natural beauty is a gift for residents and visitors alike.

From the majestic Yellowstone and meandering Missouri Rivers to the enigmatic Lewis and Clark Caverns and rugged Makoshika State Park Badlands, Montana is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

And let’s not forget the majestic Beartooth Mountains, guarding the state with their regal presence.

With these exceptional natural treasures right at its doorstep, the state genuinely exhibits unparalleled natural beauty.

7. Montana’s Fairly Low Living Costs

Girl with Mother Buying Groceries

The beauty of living in The Treasure State is that it is unlikely to strain your finances.

Compared to the national average, living costs in Montana is 6% lower, making life here less stressful and more affordable.

Think about it: Lower costs mean less financial burden, allowing you to truly enjoy the pleasures of life without constantly worrying about your budget.

Additionally, the state’s utility bills are almost 10% cheaper than the national average, leaving you with more money in your pocket at the end of each month.

Transportation costs are also reasonably low in Montana, making it one of the most budget-friendly states according to CNN Money. 

But let’s not overlook the fact that the term “fairly low” in relation to living costs is connected to a competitive housing market that can still require a significant investment.

The median home price in Montana stands at $440,339, slightly higher than the national average of $410,200.

However, affordable options still exist, and with a little research and guidance from real estate agents, you should find a home that fits your financial plan.

8. Montana’s Top-Notch Public Universities and Schools

Montana State University
source: flickr.com

The state’s array of educational opportunities includes some of the nation’s finest public universities, rendering it an appealing destination for those pursuing higher education.

Montana State University (MSU) and the University of Montana are well-known institutions that offer quality education and a wide range of academic opportunities in Montana.

Whether you have kids or are considering going back to school yourself, the state’s public schools are an excellent choice.

With dedicated educators and a strong focus on student success, these institutions prepare students for a bright future.

For those looking to retire early and continue their love for learning, MSU offers a unique advantage.

With Lifelong Education Status, retirees can take classes at their leisure, expanding their knowledge and staying intellectually stimulated.

Some top-rated public schools in Montana include:

  • Elementary Education – Great Falls Elementary School, Cold Springs Elementary, Missoula and Bozeman Elementary
  • High School Education – Gardiner High School and Fort Benton High School
  • Higher Education – Salish Kootenai, Miles Community College, Rocky Mountain College, Dawson Community College, and Montana State University

Whether you’re a student or a lifelong learner, the state’s top-notch public universities and schools ensure that quality education is within reach.

9. Montana’s Countless Opportunities for Outdoor Adventures

Glacier National Park in Montana

Montana is a place of endless exploration and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.

The diverse nature of this state offers a wide range of options for both active and peaceful rest, making it a beautiful destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers.

Some key attractions in Montana are its stunning national parks, including the renowned Glacier National Park and a portion of Yellowstone National Park.

These natural wonders showcase the state’s remarkable natural beauty and provide a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

But it’s not just about the parks.

Montana is blessed with a wealth of diverse flora and fauna, pristine lakes, and winding rivers, offering endless possibilities for water recreation.

From the thrill of mountain biking through beautiful landscapes to the calmness of fishing in crystal-clear streams, there’s never a shortage of things to do.

In Montana, you can elevate the following outdoor recreation opportunities to their fullest potential, all set against the backdrop of the most exquisite natural scenery:

  • Horseback riding
  • Golfing
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Hunting
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Rock climbing

The outdoor lifestyle also extends to exploring weird and interesting locations, like the historic Garnet Ghost Town or Bannack State Park.

If you yearn for breathtaking adventures and want to be surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of nature, there’s no better place than Big Sky Country.

10. Montana’s “Healthy State” Status

Healthy Married Couple in Montana

Montana stands tall as a beacon of health and happiness.

With its vast open spaces and breathtaking landscapes, the state offers an abundance of opportunities for outdoor physical activity.

But it’s not just about that.

It’s the invigorating mountain air as you hike through its majestic peaks and the serenity of nature’s wonders surrounding you.

This healthy lifestyle is deeply ingrained in Montanans.

Montana boasts the 6th lowest adult obesity rate and the 9th lowest youth obesity rate nationwide according to the State of Obesity.

The state also stands strong in areas that extend beyond physical health.

It ranks 22nd for healthcare quality according to United States News.

This nicely complements its respectable living quality, with Montana securing the 13th spot in the same ranking.

Thus, it’s evident how The Treasure State prioritizes holistic health, a sentiment supported by its impressive 10th rank for total well-being according to CNBC.

11. Montana’s Emerging Tech Scene

Montana Tech Industry

While Big Sky Country’s reputation for thriving agriculture and extractive industries holds true, there is an exciting evolution happening in its business scene.

Montana is becoming a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting businesses from coastal areas and nurturing home-grown ventures.

One of the driving forces behind this transformation is the state’s favorable business tax climate, which entices companies to set up shop in The Treasure State.

But it’s the thriving high-tech sector that truly catches your attention.

Montana’s high-tech sector is growing at an astonishing rate, expanding 9 times faster than the statewide economy.

In fact, the industry generated a staggering $1.7 billion in revenue in 2017.

Not only are these companies experiencing an impressive 18% overall growth, but they also offer higher-than-average pay, making them an attractive destination for job seekers.

What’s fascinating about Montana’s high-tech sector is its diversity.

The state offers a broad spectrum of job opportunities, spanning photonics, optics, FinTech, and software development.

Firms like Zoot Enterprises, SoFi, and Figure have thrived here, generating employment and propelling the economy.

Furthermore, Montana’s high-tech enterprises enjoy an edge in employee retention over their Silicon Valley counterparts.

So, while we may often associate The Treasure State with its stunning natural wonders and outdoor adventures, it’s important to recognize its emergence as a tech powerhouse. 

12. Montana’s One-Of-A-Kind Food and Beer Scene

Elk Roast in Montana

Montana’s one-of-a-kind food and beer scene is a true culinary adventure.

With its abundant wildlife and farms, it’s no wonder that this state offers some of the best and most unique foods in the United States.

From trout and elk to huckleberries and Flathead cherries, Montana showcases a wide array of locally sourced products.

The flavors are rich and the dishes are bursting with freshness. And let’s not forget about the bison, pastured beef, and lamb – they add a distinctive taste to any meal.

But it’s not just the meats that make Montana’s food scene special. Fresh vegetables and fruits are also abundant, adding vibrant colors and flavors to every plate.

And when it comes to beer, the state knows how to deliver. With 53 licensed breweries, it’s clear that brewing is a popular craft in Big Sky Country.

The Montana Brewers Association (MBA) estimates that the breweries contribute over $60 million to Montana’s economy each year.

This thriving craft beer industry is especially evident in Billings.

Here, notable spots like Montana Brewing Company, Canyon Creek Brewing, and Thirsty Street Brewing Company at the Taproom offer a taste of Montana’s vibrant brew culture.

Whether you’re craving international cuisine or a fusion of flavors, The Treasure State’s food and beer scene will not disappoint.

13. Montana’s High Quality of Life

Happy Married Couple in Montana

What’s truly wonderful about Montana’s towns and cities is their ability to provide a balanced blend of urban and rural living.

Here, you can seamlessly transition from the busy urban life, dressed in your work attire, to moments of serenity where you can inhale the crisp mountain air.

Enhanced by tight-knit communities and abundant recreational activities such as skiing, places in The Treasure State typically offer the ideal life you desire.

Plus, rarely does a state boast popular destinations at nearly every turn, providing a diverse blend of experiences. 

But what truly drives the quality of life in Montana is its sense of community.

From warm smiles at the farmers market to dedicated volunteers preserving natural beauty, community involvement upholds the state’s renowned quality of living.

To contribute to this vibrant community, we encourage you to shop locally and support local farmers, artists, musicians, and makers.

Volunteer your time and talents to help improve the lives of those around you. Practice patience while driving and be kind to fellow residents above all.

Montana’s high quality of life is not something to be taken for granted. 

It is something to be embraced to ensure that even as the state grows, we can maintain the essence of what makes it so special.

14. Montana’s Small-Town Charm

Small Town in Montana

Montana’s towns and cities have an inviting and cozy feel that radiates a genuine small-town charm.

It’s incredible how Whitefish and Deer Lodge provide a refreshing escape from urban chaos, fostering a laid-back and tight-knit environment.

In these rural towns, the slower pace of life allows for deeper connections with friendly neighbors – a far cry from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Even in Montana’s larger cities like Billings or bustling ones like Bozeman, a sense of community thrives.

However, don’t be mistaken – these cities exude lively vigor despite their small-town allure.

Efficient and modern city infrastructure ensures convenience without sacrificing community.

Friendly faces still await amid a blend of shops, restaurants, and cultural activities.

Against breathtaking mountain backdrops, recreational activities like hiking and mountain biking foster new connections – with the possibility of evolving into lifelong bonds.

15. Montana’s Unique Culture and Traditions

Native American Hut in Montana

Montana’s unique culture and traditions make it a truly captivating destination.

Rich in Native American heritage, this state is a powerful guardian of the National American Heritage.

The American Indian communities contribute to Montana’s customs, stories, and art, weaving their vibrant cultural tapestry into the fabric of the state.

But the state’s allure extends far beyond its historical roots.

Big Sky Country has become a haven for creative minds, inspiring artists, photographers, and filmmakers to produce their most awe-inspiring works within its borders.

The breathtaking landscapes and the boundless skies serve as an infinite source of inspiration.

Montana’s agricultural essence is also celebrated with gusto.

Various fairs and festivities dedicated to crops showcase the hard work and dedication of farmers, while the vibrant rodeo scene embodies the spirit of the Wild West.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the timeless traditions that define Montana.

And let’s not forget the diverse recreational interests of Montanans.

Hunting, fishing, and winter sports are not just hobbies here; they are a way of life.

Montana truly is a place where the past and the present coexist harmoniously, creating a captivating tapestry that is as unique as it is inviting.

Montana’s Downsides: Why You May Not Want to Move There

Montana Horse in Winter

So far, you’ve been introduced to the positive aspects of The Treasure State. But what about its less favorable ones?

Let’s take a look.

  1. Harsh Winters – Montana’s northwest location means freezing temperatures, with winter lows at -50°F. Survival gear is a must for the frigid cold, and dressing appropriately is essential against biting winds.
  2. Tourist Influx – Montana’s breathtaking landscapes and famous ski resorts attract many tourists, potentially stressing local communities and disturbing its cherished tranquility as the “last truly wild state”.
  3. Wildlife Challenges – Montana’s vast wilderness supports diverse wildlife, including 100+ mammal species. Urban areas lack wildlife, but the state’s 30,000 farms lead to frequent predator encounters for residents.
  4. Housing Shortage – Housing costs present a challenge in Montana’s smaller cities and towns, frequently resulting in newcomers having to commute due to the limited affordable homes available. 
  5. Limited Amenities – Montana’s urban centers mirror rural living, with limited amenities and minimal entertainment options. Generally, even larger cities resemble village life more than bustling urban areas.
  6. Self-Sufficiency Required – Montana’s rural homes need distant city trips, and changing weather can disrupt resources. Preparedness is vital, with every home requiring survival supplies for self-sufficiency.

While Montana isn’t perfect, these aspects may deter some from moving to the state.

Yet, for those valuing Montana’s sparse population, breathtaking landscapes, and distinct charm, making it home is truly appealing.

Moving to Montana Final Thoughts

Montana Road in the Side of a Mountain

When contemplating a new place to settle, Montana often emerges as a strong contender.

Its stunning natural beauty, abundant outdoor recreation, and vibrant cities make it an alluring destination.

However, as with any significant decision, there are factors to consider before embarking on a move to the state.

Its infamous cold winters, housing shortages in certain areas, and potential wildlife encounters pose various challenges.

As is the case everywhere, moving to Big Sky Country involves trade-offs.

It’s essential to weigh the benefits of relocating to this attractive locale against its potential drawbacks.

While Montana generally holds great promise for relocation, only you can decide if it truly is the perfect fit for you and your family.

Moving to Montana FAQs

1. Is It Expensive to Live in Montana?

With an average home price of $440,339, higher than the national U.S. average of $410,200, it may seem that way.

Before you worry, let me highlight factors countering this cost:

Montana’s 6% below-national-average cost of living saves on daily expenses, nearly 10% cheaper utility bills offer added relief, and the cherry on top is Montana’s lack of sales tax.

2. Is Montana a Good State to Move To?

For those who appreciate the outdoors, seek a serene lifestyle, and can tackle Montana’s cold winters and wildlife encounters, Montana might be an ideal state for relocation.

3. What Do I Need to Know About Montana Before Moving There?

Before moving to Montana, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Its harsh winters can be unforgiving.
  • Amenities in the state’s rural areas may be limited compared to its urban centers.
  • Living in the state often requires a self-sufficient mindset.
  • Wildlife encounters are more common in Montana.

4. Is Moving to Montana Worth It?

If you’re seeking a lifestyle centered around outdoor fun in some of the finest natural landscapes, moving to Montana might just be worth it. 

However, it’s important to note that the state’s tough winters and demands for self-sufficiency can be challenging.

But if you’re willing to embrace these aspects, the rewards of Montana living can make it a worthwhile choice.

5. What Is the Best City to Live in Montana?

Whitefish and Bozeman emerge as strong contenders for Montana’s best city with their low violent crime rates of 1.7 and 3.3, respectively, against the 4.7 national average.

Bozeman, with its progressive vibe and tight-knit neighborhoods, offers a perfect blend of history and urban liveliness.

On the other hand, Whitefish boasts a unique year-round charm, with its winter appeal, small-town coziness, and abundance of outdoor activities.

Unveil Montana’s hidden wonders through these insightful articles:

Photo of author

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 PocketMontana.com 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.

Leave a Comment