Entertainmenttraveling in winterwhat to do in montana February 17, 2021

Bozeman a Desirable Destination Despite the Pandemic

Outdoor recreation in Montana. Snowmobile passing bison south of Obsidian Cliff at Yellowstone National Park (Jim Peaco, March 1997)

Bozeman continued to be a desirable destination despite the pandemic. While some major cities were shutting down, Bozeman presented a much different picture.

  • Yellowstone National Park saw record numbers of visitors in September and October 2020. Total visitation in 2020 was only down by 5%, and that included the park being completely shutdown for the month of April.
  • Traffic at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) dipped 43.5% in 2020. Nationally, it went down 60.7%.
  • Our airport is the busiest in Montana and it’s getting even busier. In the last year, BZN added new direct flights to Boston, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Nashville, Charlotte, San Diego, Austin and Oakland. And an eighth airline, Sun Country, was recently added with service to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Industry experts are expecting a pent-up demand for travel this summer. Some new travel trends that have emerged as a result of Covid will continue to highlight Bozeman as a desirable destination.

People Want Rural Areas

  • Bozeman is close to idyllic, rural towns like Ennis, Virginia City, Dillon and West Yellowstone. “In 2020, search data already showed that nearly 90% of overall searches were for trips to rural areas. Cabin rentals are expected to be especially popular, accounting for 33% of total accommodation searches in 2020, a drastic +143% increase from 2019.” (Source: HometoGo)

People Want Outdoor Recreation

  • Hiking, fishing, biking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling are now the vacation must-dos. Bozeman sits right in the center of two entrances to Yellowstone National Park. The north entrance via Gardiner is just 77 miles away and the west entrance through West Yellowstone is 90 miles away.
  • Locally, we have beautiful Hyalite Canyon, Sypes Canyon, Bear Canyon and plenty of in-town trails courtesy of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

People Want Quiet Winter Getaways

  • According to the HometoGo survey, 43% have winter trips already planned for 2021; ski vacations made up 24% of those.
  • Big Sky ski resort is about 45 miles from Bozeman.
  • The local ski hill, Bridger Bowl, is just 16 miles from town.

People Want More Last-Minute Trips

  • Ease of travel and flexibility are key for travelers right now.
  • Bozeman is easy to get to via plane or car. Many direct flights from major cities like San Diego, Phoenix and Seattle takes less than three hours.
  • Montana’s population is small compared to its size, which means plenty of open spaces. Our current Covid regulations are relatively relaxed compared to most major cities.

If you’re scoping out Bozeman, check out some of my previous posts about what to expect in Bozeman real estate in 2021; the revitalization of midtown Bozeman; and the mid- and short-term rental market here. Feel free to contact me at liz@windermere.com if you have any questions about Bozeman and its surrounding areas.