Family Life, Montana, Travel

50+ Ideas for a Southeast Montana Staycation (or Field Trip)

Who says you have to leave your hometown or even home state to have a vacation?!

Southeast Montana (south of Wibaux, east of Big Timber, and SE of Lewistown) has so much to see and do, I had to start making a list. I’ve only done or been to a dozen or so of these places, but am very much looking forward to making it to as many as I can.When you decide to view your own hometown or a nearby town with the eyes of a tourist, there may be many places or secrets to discover. After reading the Explore a Small Town Challenge from The Flourishing Abode, I got quite intrigued to find out what interesting history and hidden gems are in our area. It helps that I’m still new to Montana, so viewing everywhere we go as a tourist is pretty easy! And that awesome printable motivates the kids to keep their eyes out too.

Billings and the Surrounding Area– While not necessarily a tourist city, it is the largest city in Montana, and is a center for the region’s industries (oil and stockyards). Although growth across the state has increased, Billings still attracts its share of visitors for reasons ranging from practical to entertainment. Whether your interest is history, outdoor recreation, or special events, there’s no shortage of options of things to do within the city or within a few hours drive of Billings. Many of the smaller towns in the area have their own museums for the area’s history, but don’t let small fool you. Many have excellent quality artifacts and well-researched history.

  1. Tour the historic Moss Mansion (Billings)

  2. Visit Yellowstone County Museum (Billings; You can’t miss it, it’s right by the airport!)

  3. Interested in regional history, explore the exhibits and maybe take in a talk at the Western Heritage Center (Billings)

  4. Have little ones? Let them explore and learn at Wise Wonders Children’s Museum (Billings)

  5. Enjoy the view and walking trails of the Rimrocks  (Billings)

  6. Take in a Billings Mustangs baseball game at Dehler Park (Billings)

  7. Relax at Four Dances Natural Area, then take a hike to…

  8. Sacrifice Cliff (Billings)

  9. Have a kiddo who loves animals? Check out ZooMontana (Billings)

  10. See what Yellowstone Art Museum has on exhibit (Billings)

  11. Looking for a little indoor mystery and excitement? Try the Grand Escape Room (Billings)

  12. Cool off during the summer heat at Oasis Water Park (Billings; they offer swimming lessons too!)

  13. Take a hike and explore the archaeological significance of Pictograph State Park (Billings)

  14. Have an interest in historic cemeteries? Visit Boot Hill Cemetery (Billings)

  15. Go for a swim at Lake Elmo State Park (Billings)

  16. Try your hand at fly-fishing in Yellowstone River

  17. Too cold for outdoor swimming? Enjoy the water slides at The Reef Indoor Water Park year-round (Billings)

  18. Visit the log home and farmstead of Chief Plenty Coups of the Crow tribe at Chief Plenty Coups State Park (Crow Reservation)

  19. Learn about Lewis and Clark’s journey through Montana and see the last remaining physical evidence on the expedition trail where Clark left his mark at Pompey’s Pillar

  20. Catch a glimpse of a bygone era at Bighorn County Historical Museum and Visitor Center

  21. Visiting Billings at Christmastime? The Polar Express event at Billings Depot is a holiday favorite, but don’t delay, tickets sell out fast.

  22. Does the thrill of loud, racing engines get your adrenaline pumping? Enjoy a night of heart-pumping action at the Yellowstone Drag Strip

  23. Take in the stunning views along the Beartooth Highway (depending on the time of year, this may be closed)

  24. Visit the Museum of the Beartooths (Columbus)

  25. Get some insight to the homesteaders who settled this area and the vintage equipment they used to transform the valley from “prairie to farmland” by visiting the Huntley Project Museum of Irrigated Agriculture (Huntley)

  26. See what events are coming to MetraPark; maybe take in a concert or rodeo (Billings)

  27. Stop into the historic Fishtail General Store (Fishtail) for whatever you may need on the way to…

  28. …boating, camping, or fishing at Cooney Reservoir State Park (Roberts)

  29. Stand in a place of monumental history at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Crow Agency) and…

  30. … tour the Custer Battlefield Museum (Garryowen)

  31. Boating, camping, and/or fishing at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (Fort Smith)

  32. Get a glimpse of the area’s early history at O’Fallon Historical Museum (Baker)

  33. The Range Riders Museum has various exhibits from dinosaurs to the 21st century (Miles City)

  34. Picnic at Piroque State Park and do some animal or bird-watching

  35. Take in some more history at the Rosebud Battlefield State Park (Busby)

  36. Traveling in summer? See where Shakespeare in the Parks is performing (locations vary)

  37. Powder River Historical Museum (Broadus)

  38. Observe prairie dogs at Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park (Greycliff)

  39. Take a hike at Medicine Rocks State Park (Ekalaka)

  40. The first county museum in the state with exhibits ranging from dinosaurs, to arrowheads, to early pioneer artifacts, Carter County Museum is a must stop when in the area (Ekalaka)

  41. Downtown Billings Skate Park (Billings)

  42. Prairie County Museum and Cameron Gallery (Terry)

  43. Enjoy camping, fishing, and boating along the 12-mile long reservoir at Tongue River State Park (Decker)

  44. Learn about the history of the area at Cooke City Montana Museum (Cooke City)

  45. Crazy Mountain Museum has exhibits ranging from archaeological to geological finds as well as a historical look at early settlers of the area (Big Timber)

  46. Skiing or snowboarding at Red Lodge Mountain (Red Lodge)

  47. Get an up-close view of native Montana wildlife at Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary (Red Lodge)

  48. There’s a multitude of hiking trails around Red Lodge, including Silver Run Trails, Wild Bill Lake, Lake Fork Trail, and Basin Creek Lakes Trail

  49. Carbon County Historical Society and Museum (Red Lodge)

  50. Camping and hiking at Emerald Lake, or…

  51. Mystic Lake is worth the hike to get there too!

  52. Love beer and microbrews? Then the Billings Walkable Brewery Tour is for you (obviously not good for a field trip!)

  53. Whitewater rafting with Adventure Whitewater is an experience you won’t soon forget! (Absarokee)

  54. Horseback Riding with Bitter Creek Outfitters or Paintbrush Adventures (I only have personal experience with Paintbrush Adventures in Absarokee)

  55. Unplug and get back to nature with some camping at one of the many campgrounds in Custer-Gallatin National Forest (We like Pine Grove)

  56. Zipline just minutes from downtown Billings at Outlaw Canyon Adventures (Haven’t been to this one, but it’s on the Montana Bucket List!)

  57. Enjoy an authentic cowboy experience with a chuckwagon dinner, holdup on horseback, or a covered-wagon train ride with Western Romance Company (We have not done this, but it is high on our Montana Bucket List!)

Heading to western Montana too? Your planning ideas are covered with 102 Things To Do in Western Montana & Glacier National Park

(Disclaimer- This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see Disclosure Policy.)

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