OFB 50 States Project: Montana

OFB 50 States Project: Montana

In The OFB 50 States Project, you the readers spill the beans about your state: the good, the bad, and the delicious. And thus provide “forever place” seekers (like yours truly) a useful resource in their search. We’d love to hear about your state! To be a part of this project, click here to fill out the form!

The Facts

Low State Taxes Ranking:  13Low Cost of Living Ranking:  31

State Economy Ranking:  18

Average Temperatures (Helena):

  • Winter:  33°
  • Spring:  57°
  • Summer:  85°
  • Fall:  58°

The Nickname

The Treasure State

The Short of It

The state of Montana is brought to you by the following awesome OFB readers:
1) Arielle S.  //  2) Catherine L.

What food best represents Montana?

  • Health food!  There are people there who take the granola lifestyle very seriously! 1
  • Steak 2

What song best represents Montana?

  • Wide Open Spaces?  (I don’t actually know that song, or have any particular affinity for the artist, but the title says it all!) 1
  • America the Beautiful 2

How does MT refer to a carbonated beverage drink?

  • Soda or pop 1
  • Cold one 2

If you could take a friend to one place in MT, where would it be?

  • Glacier National Park 1, 2

Glacier National ParkGlacier National Park (photo by Dave Sizer)

The Long of It

Biggest misconception about MT?

  • That there’s no one there. When I left for college in OK, I joked that we were really excited about getting roads because our horses were getting tired, and people nodded sympathetically! Joking, people! We have running water and indoor toilets, too! 1
  • We are all ranchers and cowboys and the whole state is mountainous. It snows all the time (though we do see snow every month of the year). 2

Best aspect about living in MT?

  • It’s clean. The air is crisp and clear and in the summer it gets very warm, but not hot. I’m from the northwest part of the state, from a big valley about an hour from Canada, and the scenery is beautiful. Most days look like postcards. Everywhere you look you see mountains and trees (and wildlife!) that I haven’t seen since I moved away. 1
  • Easy access to beautiful places, awesome fishing and hunting and outdoor activities. You can drive 30 minutes and be in the middle of nowhere with no one around. 2

Worst aspect about living in MT?

  • Well, it is kind of cold. For a long time. But come on, that’s why we have heaters! My perfect scenario would be to have a summer and holiday home in Kalispell, MT and live the rest of the year in Oklahoma or Texas. 1
  • If you drive for four hours, you are still In Montana and flying can be expensive from our tiny airports. 2

Summarize your feelings about Montana in five words.

  • You would absolutely love it. 1
  • We are tougher out here. 2

Our Freaking Take

Every time I think of Montana on a map, I always think of it as a giant buffalo. The shape sorta looks like one, right? Regardless, having spent a number of years in college in the Mountain West, I’ve grown to love big sky country. So much so that I feel claustrophobic now if I can’t see miles ahead everywhere I turn. I think the biggest pro and con of the state can be summed up by this answer: “You can drive 30 minutes and be in the middle of nowhere with no one around.” Part of me absolutely loves that idea. Isolation. Self-sufficiency (at least more than most places). Nature. And yet, those very same reasons also scare the crap out of me. I feel like I’d need to give the whole isolation thing a few dry runs before committing to a forever move to the state. To date, I don’t know if there’s any state we’ve covered that would alter our lifestyle and way of life as much as Montana. And there’s something cool to be said for a state that can claim that.

How did these answers line up with your perception of Montana? Have your thoughts on the state changed after reading this? Could you see it fitting your forever-place bill? 

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  • Reply anonymous June 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    LOVE Montana, such nice people.

    • Reply Johnny June 22, 2013 at 10:57 am

      I think I’ve only ever met one Montanan (?), and they were pretty nice. So I guess I agree with you.

  • Reply Laurie @thefrugalfarmer June 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Funny about the buffalo. :-). I’ve been to MT twice, once as a kid and once as an adult, and it is absolutely breaktakingly beautiful. It’s one of our top vacation destinations for the kids once the debt is gone. Glacier, Yellowstone, all simply gorgeous. I would highly recommend you check it out with Baby Girl when she gets old enough to enjoy it. Awesome state!

    • Reply Johnny June 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      I had to pick my jaw off the floor after browsing through pictures of Glacier National Park to include one in this post. I’m always amazed that there are places that beautiful in the US of A. Don’t get me wrong, we have an awesome country, but much more focus is given to the urban and commercial of this country. Montana seems like a nice place to get away and enjoy some of nature’s beauty at its finest.

  • Reply Jennifer @ Budgeting in Baby June 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Montana seems like a beautiful place, however, I could never live in a place with so much solitude. If you drive for 30 minutes in Kansas you at least hit a small town.

    • Reply Johnny June 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      I hear you. But I think that’s what makes it so interesting to me. To be clear, I think it would totally freak me out. But I’d be willing to give it a shot later in life.

  • Reply Chris June 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I want to go. I want to hike all over Montana. Just quit my job and hike for a living. I’ll do it you can’t talk me out of it.

    • Reply Johnny June 26, 2013 at 9:47 am

      You hear that? That’s the silence from me not being able to talk you out of it. Start packing your hiking bags, it’s survivorman time.

  • Reply Chantelle December 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I have lived in Montana all my life, with a few months in North Carolina. I love it here, the only other place I can think that would be like it would be Alaska. The people in Montana are kind, and almost always have a smile and a wave. Communities tend to be close, and are always pulling together to help one another, examples…. hospital or travel costs for those who need it, a home burns down, a death and costs to help cover it, not to mention the food and time people are willing to put in if needed. A friend had a c-section and she had people bring pre-made meals to her home to help her and her husband. They even had a young gal from the neighbor hood to help clean up the house. The out doors are breath taking and can be seen all over, not to mention the wildlife and of course the natural parks that are in the state-BEAUTIFUL! There are so many different people types that live here to, ranchers, farmers, painters, musicians, nature lovers and city people as well. You can choose to live in a city or in a small town. Some people live anywhere from a few minutes away from a town or city to hours away. The choice is there to be made on whether or not you want to be around others, and I love that. If Montana becomes your new home I am sure you will be welcomed with open arms and most likely a house warming gift of some sort. Sometimes your neighbors will be quite too, enjoying the solitude and privacy of their home. Good luck on your search to find your permanent place.

    • Reply Johnny December 24, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Awesome. Those are some awesome insights. I think I’d likely need to be self-employed to make MT work right now, but the more I hear about it, the more serious I get about considering it.

      Thanks for your comment, Chantelle!

  • Reply MTNative January 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Chantelle must live in a different MT than I do. People who like to live in Montana do so because they are highly independent (to the point they think they don’t need any one else and this leads to bad attitudes about “outsiders”) and not very social. Diversity is not something we really have either. If you want to be different…good luck. We also have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation (I think only WY beats us on that). MADD gives us an F on our stance for drinking and driving. It is a beautiful state, but we have problems that our good ole boy club won’t allow us to address. Oh, and women’s rights here…not so much.

    • Reply Johnny January 15, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Well, it is a big state, right? 🙂 While I’m sure we’d all rather focus on the state’s beauty, it is always good to hear the other side of the coin. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your home state.

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