We all know Bozeman has a ton to offer in the summer, but sometimes you just want to get out of town! Here are the best road trips to take from Bozeman.
Yellowstone National Park
This one is the most obvious choice and what brings so many visitors to Bozeman in the first place. We can’t blame them, we’re super lucky to live so close to a national park like Yellowstone. Odds are if you live here, you go there plenty with out of town visitors. However, it never disappoints and it’s a big area so there are lots of places to explore. Sometimes it's fun to go without the pressure of having company with you.
This a good day trip from Bozeman. With the Yellowstone River flowing near it and the beautiful Paradise Valley in the background, Livingston has a lot to love. While it gets plenty of tourists, it still has a small-town feel. There are great restaurants (Gil’s is our favorite!), cute boutiques, plenty of art galleries and the Sacajawea Park for the kids to play. They have events throughout the summer like weekly farmer’s markets and monthly art walks that don’t see the huge crowds like we get over here. Whatever you do during your trip to Livingston, do not miss getting a milkshake from Mark’s In & Out. Click here for more ways to spend the day in Livingston.
Head to the Mountains
This is the best road trip of all in our opinion! Whether you're camping, hiking or backpacking getting out of town to the mountains is time well spent. Wondering where to go? Click here for some suggestions!
Lewis and Clark Caverns
If you grew up in Bozeman, odds are you went on at least one field trip to Lewis & Clark Caverns! This state park is quite the geologic wonder with hiking trails, camping and of course one of the largest limestone caverns in the northwest. Guided tours happen all summer from May 1 to September 30. There are different options for the tours, so you can find something that fits your ability. This whole state park is a very cool place to explore less than an hour away from Bozeman.
It used to be Big Sky was just a destination in the winter. Things sure have changed! Over the last couple of years, Big Sky has become a place to play during the summer as well. It has always been home to fantastic hiking, camping, kayaking, and everything outdoors but now they have more to do in the actual town. The restaurants and stores stay open all year, with more development happening every day. There are several events throughout the summer that bring in tourists and locals alike. The weekly Music in the Mountains is so much fun and a great alternative to Music on Main. They also have several music festivals throughout the summer including Moonlight Music Fest, the Big Sky Classical Music Festival and Under the Big Sky Fest. One of the big draws is the annual Big Sky PBR, which is three nights of professional bull riding and always a popular event.
Area Water Parks
Sadly, Bozeman doesn’t have the best options for water activities. We have Bogert Pool and some ponds and lakes, but if you’re looking for water slides you have to get out of town. The closest one is in Butte at the Ridge Waters Water Park. They haven’t been open long and we’re excited about this one because Butte is so close. They have a lazy river, water slides, play structures, a nice deck area and more. A little further away, in Missoula is Splash Montana. They have a fantastic lazy river, water slides and a fun area for the younger swimmers, plus great concessions. You could make a whole weekend getaway in Missoula. As one of the bigger cities in Montana they have a big variety of restaurants, events, music, and a fun vibe.
There are tons of fun small towns in Montana near Bozeman to explore and Phillipsburg is one of them. They have a quaint downtown with a huge candy shop for the kids and an awesome brewery for the adults! The drive from Bozeman is a little over 2 hours, but it is the beautiful Pintler Scenic Route so you won’t even mind the distance. During the summer they have a few music events that are worth checking out.
This 68-mile byway is not to be missed! It winds through southwest Montana and leads you to the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. There are many options when taking this drive. You can go from Cooke City or Red Lodge, both fun Montana towns to explore. There are also plenty of places to camp near the Beartooth Highway. Because this one gets traveled heavily during tourist season it takes a little more planning but totally worth it. If you decide to avoid the crowds and go in the shoulder season, keep an eye on the weather. Closures are common through June and late in the season thanks to the random snowstorms we get around here.
This ghost town is full of so much Montana history and not what you would expect. Virginia City is a well-preserved Old West Victorian gold mining town and only an hour and a half drive from Bozeman. There’s a train ride and candy shop for the kids, awesome live theater in the summer and so much to see here. The Virginia City Players have shows for the whole family while the Brewery Follies is live adult comedy that is not to be missed! Just down the road is Nevada City another ghost town.