Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial kick-off to summer and many Montanans are making plans to enjoy the three-day weekend. Some will be heading out camping or fishing, others may be hitting some of the popular spots like Yellowstone Park, Chico Hot Springs, Sage Lodge, or Flathead Lake.

Those places are great, but if you've been scratching your head for some fresh ideas, check out these suggestions... then tank up your car, grab a giant bag of road trip snacks, and hit the highway!

Google Maps

Stay at the beautifully restored - allegedly haunted - Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks.

Built in 1910, the historic hotel fell into disrepair and was boarded up in 2001. In 2009, the Folkvord family (of Wheat Montana fame) purchased the hotel and spent a small fortune returning it to its former grandeur. Three Forks is a good launching point for exploring some other places on this list, like...

Google Maps

Stumble back in time at Virginia City and Nevada City.

Growing up in the Bozeman area, I would visit these historic mining towns much more often than I do now that I live in Billings. We're planning on taking the kids this summer to the popular attraction. Make sure to catch a performance at the oldest, still-operating opera house west of the Mississippi.

Credit: Spa Hot Springs Hotel

Relax and unwind in White Sulphur Springs.

Chico is fun, but it can get a little crowded and rowdy at times, especially on a holiday weekend. If you're looking for a more laid-back soaking experience, consider heading to White Sulphur Springs. The sleepy village is located near thousands of acres of public land for hiking, biking, and exploring. Home of the Red Ants Pants Festival, the town offers a growing arts scene too.

Credit: Baily McCrummen - Townsquare Media

Head to Havre, where you can find a city under the streets.

You might not consider Havre a tourist destination, but the charming farming community of about 10,000 is a bustling little place with a lot of interesting history, including a town under the city streets. After the tour, grab a camping spot at Fresno Reservoir, a 7,000+ acre body of water known for perch, walleye and northern pike. Hit up the Shanty Bar to enjoy a cold beverage with the locals.

Michael Foth - Townsquare Media

Spend a weekend in Livingston, instead of just whizzing by on the interstate.

Earlier this spring we spent an afternoon wandering around the very walkable downtown area. It had been years since I spent any time in Livingston and I kind of forgot about all the cool shops, restaurants, and bars to explore. You could easily kill a weekend in the windy little town. It's also a great "base camp" if you want to head off to Yellowstone or White Sulphur Springs.

Credit: GarnetGhostTown.org

 Visit Garnet ghost town.

Named one of the coolest ghost towns by Travel + Leisure, Garnet is a fascinating ghost town located in the shadow of Mount Baldy, east of Missoula.  Garnet is open year-round from 9:30 to 4:30 with wheeled access from May 1 - Dec 15.

Credit: Catch Carri, screengrab via Youtube

Eat ice cream, look for gemstones and see the sights in Phillipsburg.

Halfway between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park is the mountain town of Phillipsburg. Once a mining community, the biggest industry in the charming community is now tourism. Many people come to search for sapphires. Bags of soil/rocks can be purchased in town, with most bags containing at least a small handful of gems. The drive from Anaconda to Phillipsburg is gorgeous, passing by stunning Georgetown Lake on the way.

Get our free mobile app

One thing is for sure, you've got lots of great options to explore Big Sky Country on your next long weekend. Remember, you can take us anywhere you go with our free Mobile App. Get it with the link above.

10 Waterfalls within 3 Hours of Billings

Downtown Billings Stay-cation