Montana is having a moment. (Well, even more so than usual, anyway). Travelers are craving the wide-open skies, friendly people, and that cowboy spirit. And you’re one of those lucky few who get to experience the beauty of Montana, first hand!
Now, you certainly don’t go to Montana to shop. But you still deserve a few Montana souvenirs to remind you of your trip, or to bring back to your (very lucky) friends and family. Sure, you could go the whole postcard or t-shirt route, but you can also find many uniquely Montana gifts.
1. Huckleberry foodstuffs
I told ya—this is the place for huckleberries! You’ll be able to sample things like huckleberry cobbler or huckleberry ice cream wherever you are in the state, but those things (unfortunately) don’t travel so well.
Luckily, just about anything you can eat has a huckleberry version sold in Montana. With various huckleberry candies to jam to syrup to baking mixes, you’ll be able to indulge all of your huckleberry desires.
2. Huckleberry skin care products
Yes, huckleberries are delicious, but they also smell great and are packed with vitamins. So of course, Montana is known for huckleberry skin care products!
Look for handmade huckleberry soaps, lotions, lip balms to bring the good stuff back home with you.
3. Flathead cherries
For a few brief and glorious weeks every summer, the shores of Flathead Lake in Montana are teeming with Flathead cherries. Cherries don’t really grow anywhere else in the state, and certainly not as deliciously as they do by Flathead!
If it’s impractical to bring home a bunch of fresh cherries, keep an eye out for jams, jellies, candy, and even wine made with the famous Flathead cherries.
4. Local tea
The Montana Tea & Spice Trading Company, located in Missoula (but sells all over the state!) makes some great tea, with uniquely Montana names, to remind you of your time in the Treasure State.
Try out the “Evening in Missoula,” “Montana Gold,” or “Night on Glacier Bay” for a delicious cuppa that will transport you right back.
Of course, there’s also a “Mountain Huckleberry” variety, because this is Montana, after all!
Montana is known for its clay-heavy soil, which may not sound like a good thing unless you’re into ceramics! And lucky for us non-artistic folk, we can still reap the benefits of a clay-heavy state.
Local pottery studios abound in Montana, and you can find beautiful handmade stoneware in every gift shop. To support local artisans right at the source, visit Mountain Arts Pottery (also an adorable coffee shop, the Coffee Pot), Fire Hole Pottery, or Moccasin Mountain Art.
6. C.M. Russell prints
Charles Marion Russell, also known as C.M. Russell is perhaps one of the most famous painters of the West. He spent most of his life in Montana, capturing the spirit of the West in his paintings, gaining him the nickname “the Cowboy Poet.”
His originals are quite a pretty penny nowadays, but you can easily find affordable prints of his works.
7. Alpine Touch
I bet you didn’t know that Montana has its own “special spice!” You can find Alpine Touch Seasoning, “Montana’s Special Spice,” at grocery stores across the state, in several varieties.
Started in Great Falls, Alpine Touch has been a Montana institution for generations, and the recipe for the All-Purpose blend is still a closely guarded secret! Alpine Touch tastes great on steaks and salad, pasta potatoes, in soups and in stews.
8. Mineral soak
One thing you must do in Montana? Soak in a hot spring! Maybe that looks like a trek to find one in the wild, or maybe you’d prefer one that includes a water slide (or at least some basic amenities).
Either way, one thing is for sure: you can’t take this magic water back home with you. That means you’ll just have to settle for a mineral soak or Epsom salts from Montana. Dump them in your tub and you’ll almost feel like once again soaking under that big Montana sky.
9. Wildlife photos
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried your hand at wildlife photography, but it’s not easy! You may be able to get a few blurred pictures of those bison or get a tiny deer in the distance, but if you really want some photos of wildlife, look towards the pros.
The national parks in Montana are hot spots for photography, and often have several photography books dedicated to the park. If you’d prefer prints or large artwork, you can find those too!
And hey, you can still SAY you saw a fox/eagle/bison/elk/bear when you show off the photo, even if you didn’t see that EXACT one, you still have bragging rights (I promise).
10. Native American arts & crafts
Montana has a long Native history that is still very much alive and well! Around 6% of Montana’s population identifies as Native, with most living on one of the seven reservations.
Every tribe within Montana has its own cultural traditions and artwork. You can find jewelry or paintings, handicrafts, and other ancient forms of art. Just do me a favor and buy right from the artist, okay?
Montana has a lot of options for locally made, small-batch candles. You can find scents inspired by Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, huckleberry candles (of course), and candle fragrances inspired by the fresh mountain air, local trees, and native flowers.
Need more ideas? Try Ponderosa Pine from Montana Farmhouse Candles, Yellowstone Wildflower from Mountain Moon Wax Co, Montana Sunrise from Montana Jam & Candles, or Huckleberry Creek from Montana Candleworks.
12. Cowboy gear
“My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana, my spurs are of silver, my pony is gray…” Or so goes the song. Even if you can’t make your home in Montana (and who could blame you for wanting to?), you can dress like it!
Or at least you can dress like your home is on the range, at least.
You can find cowboy gear, like boots, hats, and belts, at gift shops. For truly authentic cowboy wear, visit a ranch supply store, like Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply.