We LOVED Montana. We spent five days in Montana and could have stayed the whole two plus weeks with no problem.
Our first stop was Miles City, Montana. This small town was the absolute best place to relax and rest. We were worn out from traveling (again) and decided we needed a few low-key days out of the confines of the car. So we parked our camper at the Miles City KOA and wandered the town by foot.
This campground was perfect walking distance to their main street full of restaurants, bars, casinos, and interesting little shops. They also had an awesome park nearby, a beautiful public-access lake (when we went, they asked if we were from out of town and then let us in for free!) and a pretty legit baseball field where we got to watch high school traveling teams. I didn’t know what to expect when I booked our stop in Miles City; we were overwhelmed with how awesome and quaint the place was and it ended up being the best introduction to Montana.
(Side note: the weather was unseasonably cool while we were there and at night it got chilly with our windows open. The following week it was going to warm back up, but even their “warmer” weather is pretty awesome for July.)
After a few restful days in Miles City, we headed to Hardin, Montana to set up camp at the Hardin KOA. This KOA location probably has the best views on just how big the Montana sky is. This Indiana girl couldn’t even fathom how big a sky can feel until we hit Montana. One night a nice little storm rolled in and you could literally see it coming from miles away. It was the most surreal experience. Also, being in a camper during a very windy, hectic storm was kinda scary for a little bit. We lost power at one point but it came back on within the hour.
From our Hardin KOA home, we had easy access to the small town of Hardin which had plenty of things to do plus a Taco Johns so we got to try out their famous Potato Oles that were AMAZING. Hey, Taco Johns, when you coming to Indiana? I mean, seriously.
We also were within driving distance of Yellowtail Dam where we spent an afternoon exploring and having a picnic (if fishing is your thing, this is the place to visit). Going from the campground to the dam is an interesting experience as you go through the Crow Indian reservation. Most of Hardin is technically on a Indian reservation which was a neat experience. (This would also be a convenient spot to stay if you wanted to visit Bighorn Canyon which we wanted to, but ran out of time.)
Hardin was also a good spot to be for trips into Billings, Montana. We spent one day at Zoo Montana in Billings as well as shopping at Scheels (also a place that needs to come to Indiana), saw a movie (The Secret Life of Pets), and visited Candy Town, an overwhelming candy store with every single sugar-related item you can dream up. I reallllllly love candy so this was a good stop for my sugar addiction. All these places were conveniently located right next to each other so if you need a day away from the national parks and forests, this shopping area would be a good place to be.
Next stop: Wyoming
Dave Terry says
Love your blog. StAyed at that KOA in Hardin years ago. Blessings and safe travels.
Thanks, Dave! Isn’t the Hardin KOA awesome? 🙂
Kels P says
I love reading about your travels. Being a fellow dog lover myself, where does Blue stay when you guys go on adventures outside of the campsite that aren’t pet friendly (i.e.: movies, Scheels, etc)? We’d love to travel with our dog but I don’t know what we’d do with her during those activities.
That’s a really good question. When we were staying at a place for a few days, he just stayed in the camper because it was hooked up to a site and had air conditioning. If we were in transit from one place to the next, we’d either stop somewhere he could go, get takeout and eat in the camper so he didn’t have to be left in the car. It did make a couple stops while we were traveling non-existent because it was just too hot to leave him in the car or camper and there was no where safe for him to stay. On the last day in Nebraska it was really hot and we spent a few hours at an outlet mall after we left our campsite. For a few hours before we left, we pumped the camper full of air and then put him in there while we shopped. It stays cool for about 4-5 hours before it gets warmer and unsafe so we just planned around it. Traveling with a dog does make some things a little more difficult, but it was still worth it. If we were in a tent though, I’m not sure how we would have done it though. I guess just stick to pet-friendly activities. 🙂