1. Stay away from the wildlife.

National parks are not petting zoos. Give the wildlife space just like they tell you to at the entrance station. Bison, elk, and bears kill people every year and, as much as evolution should have its way, we don’t want you to become a statistic. Also, please don’t feed the wildlife. If you feed them you’re slowly killing them because they get too accustomed to human food and not their normal diets.

2. New cowboy boots and a cowboy hat are not going to make you fit in.

This will actually make you stick out even more as a tourist. If you own boots and a cowboy hat and actually work in them please wear them. Otherwise, just dress appropriately for the changing weather conditions that we have.

3. Don’t stop in the middle of the road.

If you are lost, checking your phone or trying to take a picture pull off the road. We know it isn’t acceptable to stop in the middle of the road where you are from and it definitely isn’t here. Towns are spread out and we have high-speed limits so it turns into a mess when a car is stopped in the middle of the road taking a photo of a deer.

4. There are probably guns sitting in gun racks in plain view.

This is becoming less of a common sight, but you’ll probably see it in smaller towns and definitely during the fall hunting season. But don’t worry, these guns never have and never will kill a human. You should only worry if you suddenly turn into a deer or elk.

5. Know that there is more to the state than Glacier and Yellowstone.

We have over 50 state parks. They are all worth checking out and so are the millions of acres of national forest and BLM land to camp and recreate on. Don’t be afraid to fully unplug and enjoy not being in cell service. Glacier and Yellowstone can be as crowded as any city in the country so take a turn down a Forest Service road and enjoy the state the way it should be enjoyed — The Bob Marshall Wilderness is one of the best spots to check out wildlife without the crowds.

6. The state’s largest airport only has 8 gates.

It will likely take you a few flights to get here and the overhead bin will probably be too small to hold your giant rolling carry-on suitcase. But don’t forget to enjoy the views on your flight in. Enjoy that fact that there won’t be 500 people in line at check-in or security. In fact, the TSA line might not even open until a few minutes before the plane is supposed to take off. All that being said, the folks that check you in are probably the exact people that work your flight when it arrives so if you show up late there won’t be someone to check you in.

7. Simply, don’t be an asshole.

While Montana doesn’t have the hospitality reputation that the South does, the nicest people in the country live here. If it doesn’t seem that way then you are probably being an asshole. You’re on vacation so be happy! Smile and be nice to everyone in Montana and we’ll put Southern hospitality to shame.

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