The Best Montana Girls Weekends & Trips Written By a Montana Local
Ranches and cowboys may be the things romance novels are made of, but let’s face it…cowgirls are where it’s at! And if you and your best girls want to embrace your inner cowgirl, Montana is the perfect place to do so.
Whether it’s for a bachelorette party or you just need some girlfriend time after missing them this past year, here are the best places to go for a girls weekend in Montana in 2021.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area
Our little sister had her Bachelorette party on a pontoon in Bighorn Canyon (followed by drinks back in Billings later that night) so this has to be at the top of our list for best girls getaways in Montana!
Bighorn Canyon is one of the hidden gems of Montana. Located in southeast Montana just under two hours from Billings, Bighorn Canyon is characterized by its incredible reddish-hued cliffs and calm water, created by the Yellowtail Dam.
Pontoons are available to rent from the Ok-A-Beh Marina.
Where to Stay: Unless you and your friends are into camping, the options are limited since Bighorn Canyon is surrounded by the Crow Reservation. Instead, make this a day trip and stay in Billings. Which brings us to our next place to go in Montana for a girls getaway…
Billings: Montana’s Fun Largest City
Billings is often overlooked for Bozeman or Missoula or Whitefish when it comes to weekend getaways. We’re here to tell you that Billings is an undersung gem! If you and your girlfriends like finding accommodations that are friendlier on the budget, enjoy beer tasting, and love outdoor adventures close to city life then Billings is a great option.
Plus, it has an easy airport to fly into. The Billings Logan International Airport is located right on the outskirts of town.
Where to Stay: The Northern is our top pick. It has a sumptuous lounge with adjacent bar, modern rooms with just the right amount of western flair, and a great gift shop.
Flight Tip for a Girls Trip to Montana: Bozeman and Billings are the two main airports for Montana, with Bozeman being the busiest. They’re both small airports, but connect with major airports all around the United States. However, because they’re small, flying into Montana tends to be expensive. Consider a layover in Minneapolis, Seattle, or San Francisco if looking for a cheaper flight.
Bozeman: Mountains and Celebrities
Alright, that leads us to Bozeman, Billings’ glam cousin to the west. Bozeman is where you’ll find cowboy boots alongside thousand-dollar designer handbags.
But don’t let the recent influx of celebrities and rich west coasters make you think Bozeman isn’t still a beloved part of Montana. In fact, the dichotomy of trendy bars, gourmet restaurants, and high-end boutiques alongside world-class skiing, epic hiking, and up-and-coming breweries make this an excellent choice for a girls trip.
Do a hike in Hyalite Canyon Recreation Area, located just 15 miles south of Bozeman, grab lunch back in town at the Farmer’s Daughter Cafe, and then do some shopping along Main Street before heading back to your hotel and getting read for a fun night in downtown Bozeman.
Where to Stay: For a girls weekend in Bozeman, we recommend The Lark, which is a trendy motel right on Main Street. It doesn’t have an onsite spa, but it’s just a few block from the Loft, a high-end day spa that will have you all feeling totally pampered.
Read More: Best Things to Do in Bozeman
Big Sky and Beyond: Gallatin and Paradise Valley Resorts and Ranches
If you’d rather ditch the crowds and stay farther out in the country, there are many incredible resorts an easy drive from Bozeman Airport.
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky is a major ski resort in Montana and has a number of hotels and condo rentals available year-round. In winter, you’ll find world-class skiing, while in the summer months the resort transforms into a hiking and mountain biking mecca.
You can find out more about Big Sky’s many types of accommodations here.
Read More: Best Ski Resorts in Montana
Rainbow Ranch Lodge
Located about an hour from Bozeman, this is an excellent resort for a girls trip if you want to get away from it all and just relax without leaving the property much.
The rooms are gorgeously appointed with log accents and other rustic touches. The bathrooms are modern and some have separate bedrooms making it convenient for sharing a room, but still having enough space. The surrounding countryside is gorgeous with the Gallatin river running alongside it. For some fun memories, book a fly fishing session through the resort.
But you’ll likely want to spend most of your time at the huge outdoor infinity edge hot tub that is right by a large outdoor fireplace. Grab a drink and lounge in the bubbles to catch up with your best friends. There is also a bar and restaurant onsite.
To the east of Bozeman and Gallatin Valley is the famed Paradise Valley, a part of Montana beloved for its wide, open spaces framed by breathtaking mountains in the not so far off distance. A great place to soak it all in is at the luxurious Sage Lodge.
This gorgeous lodge is surrounded by nature and has both guest rooms and ranch houses, perfect for a girls getaway. Around the property you can go horseback riding, fly fishing, hiking. Or stay close to the lodge and soak in the hot tubs or get a massage at the full-service spa. There’s also an upscale lounge and restaurant.
Girls Getaway on a Montana Dude (Dudette?) Ranch
A great choice for a Montana dude ranch vacation with your girls is Bar W located in the countryside of Whitefish. It even has an annual girls-only week called Cowgirl Up if you want to meet some other aspiring cowgirls.
Another great Montana dude ranch pick for a girls getaway anytime of year in Montana is the Ranch at Rock Creek near Philipsburg, about 90 minutes from Missoula. The Ranch at Rock Creek is a luxurious dude ranch that has incredible rustic-chic cabins, onsite bars and restaurants, and a full-service spa. Spend the morning hiking or horseback riding, followed by an afternoon of massages and pedicures. Sounds like an excellent girls weekend to us!
Read More: Best Dude Ranches in Montana
Flathead Lake / Bigfork: Relaxation by Montana’s Biggest Lake
Alright, we’re moving north away from Bozeman now to the beautiful Flathead Lake and the lovely little town on its northeast edge: Bigfork, which is one of our favorite towns in all of Montana and one that is perfect for a girl trip.
Bigfork is located right by the shores of Flathead Lake, a gorgeous body of water that is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi in the lower 48 states. Bigfork is in walking distance to the lake, including beautiful Wayfarers State Park.
While we love the lakeside ambiance of Bigfork, it’s the adorable downtown area that puts this Montana gem on our girls weekend list.
Bigfork is small enough to be easily walkable, but manages to fit in a lot of fun places to drink and eat in the town. Plus, the historic Bigfork Summer Playhouse makes for a fun night out to see a show followed by drinks.
Where to Stay: Bridge Street Cottages is a great place to stay in Bigfork. The luxuriously appointed cottages are right by the soothing sounds of the Swan River, shortly before it connects with Flathead Lake. From your cottage, you’re a short walk to the eateries and shops in downtown Bigfork.
Bigfork is also a short drive to the small city of Kalispell, where you’ll find a historic main street brimming with more bars and restaurants. From Bigfork, you can also easily do a day trip to Glacier National Park since Bigfork is just 40 miles from the West Glacier entrance to the park.
Whitefish: Trendy and Cute Mountain Town
Whitefish is another of our favorite places in Montana that also just happens to be perfect for a girls trip in any season.
Whitefish is located in Glacier Country about 45 minutes north of Bigfork and just 30 or so minutes from West Glacier.
Whitefish has a vibrant and artsy Main Street with farm to table restaurants and lively bars.
In summer, definitely spend some time at City Beach on the shores of beautiful Whitefish Lake. It’s just a couple miles from downtown, but feels a world away. Or stay at the lovely Lodge at Whitefish Lake resort for easy access to the lake.
In the winter, you can stay downtown, but don’t miss heading up the mountain for a day or two of skiing and snowboarding if you and your girlfriends love hitting the slopes.
Even in the non-ski season, you’ll want to head up to Whitefish Resort and take the chairlift or gondola up the mountain for one of the best views in Montana.
Plus, you don’t even need to fly to Whitefish if you’re close to an Amtrak station! The Amtrak Empire Builder train goes right to Whitefish and stops at the Whitefish Depot, which is steps from the hotels and restaurants of downtown Whitefish.
Where to Stay: We already mentioned the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, but if you want to stay right in downtown, we recommend its sister property, the luxe Firebrand Hotel, which has a shuttle service to the Lodge at Whitefish Lake where you can still enjoy the lakefront amenities. But then in the evening, you’re right by all the bars and restaurants of downtown Whitefish. Onsite, the hotel has a rooftop patio and hot tub, smoothie and coffee bar, and a spa.
Missoula Girls Getaway: Hip and Outdoorsy
There’s one more destination we can’t forget that you should consider for a girls trip in Montana and that is Missoula. Since two-thirds of the Travel Montana Now team went to college there, we can attest that it’s a dynamic and fun University town while also being so much more!
Hike to the top of the M on the University of Montana campus for an epic view of the city, then head back for a coffee or beer depending on the hour. Missoula has a number of cute and hip cafes and breweries.
Cookie Tip: Gina’s husband declared the cookie at Drum Coffee “the best coffee shop cookie he has ever had” so you may want check that out, too. (The coffee was also good!)
The Carousel for Missoula by Caras Park is also a must-do activity, followed by a stroll along the Clark Fork River.
Also in walking distance from the Carousel and the river is Tamarack Brewing Company, a great place for a local pint and some good grub.
Where to Stay: We love the Missoula C’mon Inn. Though a C’mon Inn might not sound like the most exciting place for a girls trip, this one is perfectly designed for Montana with log beams making up part of the architecture and hot tubs scatter throughout the central common area. Ask for a room on the bottom floor and you can quickly exit your room and be in a hot tub. There is also a large pool in a beautiful high-ceilinged room a quick walk from the hot tubs.
This is where Gina usually stays when driving through western Montana during one of her many jaunts between Seattle and Billings.
The C’mon Inn is located outside of downtown, so if you want to stay closer to the downtown vibe of Missoula, we recommend the Missoula DoubleTree Edgewater hotel. It has upscale accommodations, award-winning dining with a raw oyster bar, and — best of all — a relaxing deck lounge overlooking the Clark Fork River. The hotel is relaxing and nature-adjacent while also being in walking distance to downtown Missoula.
Read More: Top 10 Things to Do in Missoula
Which girls getaway in Montana sounds like the best fit for you and your best girlfriends?