No Montana home would be complete, it seems, without hiking boots, skis and fishing poles. Residents and visitors alike can roam through the Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, ski relatively uncrowded resorts like Bridger Bowl and Big Mountain, or fly-fish in the chilly rapids of the Bitterroot or Yellowstone Rivers.
“The scenery and lifestyle here are a huge draw,” says Bill Beecher, a financial planner at Beecher Financial Planning in Great Falls, Mont.
So far, at least, that kind of popularity hasn’t led to overdevelopment. In recent years, some residents have been fiercely protective of Montana’s natural resources.
Posh ski resorts and massive developments are few and far between in the state. When a Las Vegas developer sought to trademark the phrase “The Last Best Place”—one of the state’s unofficial mottos—for his high-end Missoula ranch, residents appealed to their state representatives to stop him.
Now that slogan is permanently protected by law. In Montana, there is “a big sense of community,” says Beecher. Montana also is affordable: The median home is less than $170,000 and there is no state sales tax.