Best Places To Retire In Montana For 2020


We analyzed over 29 places in Montana to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to retire in Montana.

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So you've just hung up your office attire for the last time and you're looking for a spot to spend your golden years in Big Sky Country. You're in the right place, because we've compiled a list of the best places to retire in Montana.

It turns out that the state that raised Gary Cooper has some seriously great spots for folks who watched his movies as kids. In terms of natural beauty, it's hard to top Montana. Between Yellowstone in the south and Glacier National Park in the north, there isn't a corner of Montana that isn't rife with epic landscapes and majestic wildlife. You could honestly hunt and fish in Montana for decades without seeing all there is to see. And if you get bored of that, there are plenty of golf courses where you can finally work on perfecting your swing.

In terms of location, there's no geographic cheat-sheet when it comes to retiring in Montana, because the places on this list are fairly well-distributed throughout the state. If you want to be near a big city like Billings or Missoula, then Columbus or Stevensville will be your best respective options. If you don't want to drive to get to a beautiful spot, then Libby, located smack dab in the middle of Kootenai National Forest is where you'll want to be. Whether you're retiring in Montana to get away from it all or still want access to big-city amenities without the high price tag, we've got you covered.

Get ready to order up a nice fresh elk burger and some huckleberry bear claws, because we're heading to the best places to retire in Montana.

Why did Deer Lodge take the top spot? And where are Billings and Missoula?

No matter what your priorities are for retirement, one of the cities listed above is sure to have what you're looking for. It's worth noting that these cities are also among the safest and most accommodating to families in the state.

How did we determine the best places to retire in Montana? First we weeded out the super-small communities of less than 2,000, which left us with 26 cities to rank. We then looked at data from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights to figure out which spots were safe, affordable, sunny, relatively older, and fun. Which place had it all going on when it comes to retirement? According to the data, Deer Lodge is the best place to retire in Montana for 2020.

Surprised a city you'd love to retire in didn't make our list? For a look at all our rankings, check out the complete list below.

For more Montana state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Montana For 2020

Deer Lodge, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,976
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $619
Distance to Closest Airport: 73 miles
More on Deer Lodge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Review Of Deer Lodge by HomeSnacks User

Wonderful pictures! Yep this is my home and my roots! From Deer Lodge! Thank you for sharing!

Stevensville, MT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,163
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $690
Distance to Closest Airport: 28 miles
More on Stevensville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Libby, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,663
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $610
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
More on Libby: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Review Of Libby by HomeSnacks User

The crime in Libby is no different from many towns and cities across this nation. M**h, Alcohol are the major problems, some of this is driven by lack of employment opportunities. I live in Libby, and I absolutely love it here. Yes it has been given a bad name due to the superfund cleanup of asbestos, but most of the people I know have never had asbestos related cancer or any other issues from the mine that was once here. The people here were, and still are, hard working and loving people. That's much more than can be said of places like Missoula, Bozeman, and other big cities in Montana. Libby is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. The schools are good and you don't have to worry about the kids being shot or kidnapped like you do in other areas. HomeSnacks can only give you raw data, you have to live in a place before you can TRULY rate it!

I love the Kootenai River, the Kootenai River Falls, and the Cabinet Mountains. If you like hiking into some of the most beautiful scenery in this country, Libby has it all! I ride the trails on my horse and it's just short of being in heaven, if you can imagine what that'll be like! It's so easy to get on the river and fish with no one around to crowd you, it's absolutely bliss!

Glendive, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,232
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $792
Distance to Closest Airport: 89 miles
More on Glendive: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glasgow, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,348
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $479
Distance to Closest Airport: 137 miles
More on Glasgow: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbia Falls, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,225
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Rent: $730
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
More on Columbia Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbia Falls is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 4,710 at the 2010 census

Review Of Columbia Falls by HomeSnacks User

The people in this town are so nice and generous. There's a strong sense of community here. People really look out for one another and always offer help when needed.

The people here are the nicest I have ever come across.

Wolf Point, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,799
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Median Rent: $575
Distance to Closest Airport: 92 miles
More on Wolf Point: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lewistown, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,895
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $757
Distance to Closest Airport: 116 miles
More on Lewistown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lewistown is a city in and the county seat of Fergus County, Montana, United States. The population was 5,901 at the 2010 census. Lewistown is located in central Montana, the geographic center of the state, southeast of Great Falls. First planned in 1882, it was the site of an 1880s gold rush.

Hamilton, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,628
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Rent: $756
Distance to Closest Airport: 45 miles
More on Hamilton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbus, MT

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,324
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Rent: $600
Distance to Closest Airport: 162 miles
More on Columbus: Real Estate | Data | Photos

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Treasure State for 2020

To create our list of the best places in Montana to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Treasure State -- 362 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 2,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 26 places from across the state.

For these 26, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 26, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Deer Lodge, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers. You can download the data here.

Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In Montana Yet...

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Montana goes to Deer Lodge.

If you're not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Billings
  2. Bozeman
  3. Belgrade

For more Montana reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Montana?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Deer Lodge 2,976 $619
2 Stevensville 2,163 $690
3 Libby 2,663 $610
4 Glendive 5,232 $792
5 Glasgow 3,348 $479
6 Columbia Falls 5,225 $730
7 Wolf Point 2,799 $575
8 Lewistown 5,895 $757
9 Hamilton 4,628 $756
10 Columbus 2,324 $600

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.