Moving to Montana is a popular choice for many these days. With a great quality of life and endless outdoor recreation, Montana offers the type of lifestyle that so many are seeking, especially in our post-pandemic world. But, life in Montana comes with its challenges. Living in Montana means enduring 8-month winters, freezing cold temperatures, and having limited access to amenities. Here is our honest take on everything you need to know about living in Montana.
1. There are limited amenities
If you haven’t realized it yet, Montana is a very large state with plenty of wide-open spaces. Aside from the few major cities, most areas in Montana are rural to say the least. Many make the mistake of thinking that the towns in Montana will have what they need, but the reality is that settling down in Montana often means giving up some of the comforts of your previous home. Access to entertainment, public transportation and things like Uber and DoorDash can be limited, depending on where in Montana you choose to live.
2. You can’t always count on cell service
No matter where you decide to live in Montana if you ever take a road trip or head towards the mountains be prepared to lose cell service often. No matter the carrier, there are still plenty of areas of Montana that do not have cell coverage. For people from out of state, this can come as a bit of a surprise. Make sure your navigation will work without service and that you’ll have access to any maps you may need. This is also why you want to always travel with an emergency kit and any supplies you may need if your car breaks down or if you get stuck in a storm. A true Montanan is always prepared!
3. The Outdoor Recreation is Endless
The endless outdoor recreation is one of the main reasons people choose to move to Montana! Whether you love to fish, hike, camp, ski, climb, or bike, Montana is a literal playground for those who love the outdoors. And now that the pandemic has changed the way we work out, recreate and socialize, access to the outdoors has become even more important. If you move to Montana to enjoy all the outdoor activities, please be respectful and keep these tips in mind.
4. It is Not Crowded (Yet)
The year 2020 brought personal space to the forefront of our minds, and many people are seeking out places where they can find more. Montana is known for its wide-open spaces and seemingly endless landscapes. It’s also one of the largest and least populated states in the nation with just over 1 million residents in a state that is the 4th largest in the nation. But, places like Bozeman, Missoula, and Whitefish have seen huge population increases over the last decade and by Montana standards, they are starting to feel a little crowded. This leads us to our next point…
5. Finding a home can be tough
Montana’s fast-growing popularity is causing a serious pinch in the real estate market. In Bozeman, the supply of homes for sale is down 80% compared to this time last year while the demand is higher than it’s ever been. Cities like Bozeman, Whitefish, and Missoula have seen their real estate markets explode, and smaller towns like Butte, Manhattan, and Livingston are not far behind. Availability is scarce, prices are high and the markets are competitive, meaning many people relocating to Montana are having a hard time finding a place to live, whether they are looking to purchase or to rent. To see more real estate statistics for Southwest Montana, click here, or to learn more about what is happening in Bozeman’s real estate market click here.
6. The weather is no joke
Weather in Montana can be challenging, particularly if you are coming from a mild climate. Extreme temperature swings, very long winters, and blizzards in June are just a few of the weather-related challenges that come with life in Montana. If you live in Montana long enough, you will probably see it snow every month out of the year. Seasoned Montanan’s have learned to always be prepared for any type of weather by dressings in layers, always bringing a coat, and keeping some sort of survival kit in your car in case you get stranded in cold temperatures.
7. You can’t rely on public transportation
If there is one thing that is truly lacking in Montana it is public transportation. While some cities in Montana do have public transportation options, they are definitely not what you may be used to if you are coming from a larger city. Many people who are thinking of moving to Montana ask us if they will need a car, and the honest answer is, yes! Even if you do move to one of the few cities in Montana that offer public transportation, you will find that the transportation is limited. You will also have a difficult time finding ways to get out and explore, which is half the fun of living in Montana!