If you were starting fresh and wanted to live out west... Where would you go?

teej89

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
1,079
Location
West of the Rockies
My fiancé and I are looking to get out of Ohio, we want to move out west. However we don't want to go to a big city, we're moving from a city and want to move to a smallish town, like 50-100k (I say smallish because it's a lot smaller than here and we still need to find decent jobs). I'm a structural engineer, looking to get into the field and work for a GC as a PM to move up to a super. She has a medical background but just picked up a nannying gig and loved it so much she thinks she'll never go back to medical.

We're both mid twenties, so age of residents is something we're interested in. We mostly want to get to a smaller town because we want to make roots, get a house and in the next 2-4yrs kids will most likely be in the forecast and we want to raise them in a smaller town like we were, granted my small town was like 2000 people.

So if you had to pick a place out west, where would you go? I had grand junction and Missoula on my radar. I feel like I'm asking for people's hunting spots lol cuz of not wanting more easterners finding their goldmine of a town.
 

Tkaldahl2000

New member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
185
Location
Hardin, MT
Billings is about the right size, and I would guess that you would have plenty of opportunity there. Living in Bozeman has been referred to as "poor with a view". Wages here are lower, but so is housing. In Hardin food is quite a bit higher, but we go to Sam's in Billings quite a bit. Billings is conveniently located to the Beartooths, the Crazies, and the Snowies, and it really isn't that far to head over to Bozeman.
 

Randy11

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
5,683
Helena. It's got everything Missoula and Bozeman do except for the outrageous housing prices.
 

teej89

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
1,079
Location
West of the Rockies
I like the idea of billings, never even considered that before. Helena I think will be too small for her, she wants a small town but if we go to Montana she doesn't want it too small. But say we did Colorado and did a 20k town but lived 3hrs frok Denver she'd be fine with that.

I think it'd be a real push to get her to Montana but she said she'll consider it, we just need to visit it first.
 

Hunting Wife

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Messages
1,294
Location
Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada
If she's used to city living, the realities of living in Montana might be too much. People don't grasp just how big the state is, and if you need to travel for anything it's a long way between places. A lot of people come here with grand ideas but end up hating it because it can be very isolating if you aren't used to it. Definitely visit first, and visit in winter if you can before you commit.

I lived in Colorado before I came to Montana and I loved it there. Lots to do, easy to live in a "small" town while being close to city convenience, and the winters are shorter and much sunnier in Colorado than Montana. I prefer the small town living in Montana, but my idea of small town appears to be very different from yours! ;)

I think you might have an easier time finding what you're looking for in CO. If I had to leave Montana, I would go back there in a heartbeat.
 

GISdeveloper

New member
Joined
Aug 9, 2016
Messages
8
Location
WY
My wife and I were in a similar situation 4 years ago. I was finishing up grad school and we were applying for jobs throughout Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. I was offered a job in Cheyenne, WY and we accepted and moved out two weeks later. We are both originally from a town of 6,000 in northern Utah and wanted to stay out west.

Cheyenne has a population of around 60,000. Everyone is super friendly and we have no regrets of moving here and have no plans to leave. Going south you can be in Fort Collins in 45 minutes, DIA in 1 hour 30 minutes or Denver in 2 hours. The economy in Cheyenne is strong with a lot of opportunities in construction and the medical field.

We love the culture in Wyoming, the hunting and fishing is phenomenal and it is a great place to raise a family. We bought a house a year after moving here and have a 2 1/2 year old.

You might also look at Laramie...

Wherever you decide, good luck!
 

Southern Elk

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
2,261
Location
Montana
We are currently contemplating a move out west as well. Our situation is some what different from you, but we are looking for some of the same things. We don't want to live in town, but my wife wants to be within driving distance of a large town with shopping and restaurants.

We currently live in a rural area on a farm, but we are 30 minutes away from a metro area of 500k people. My wife wants to have those same amenities within driving distance of where we settle.

We like Bozeman and Helena, MT. We would prefer Bozeman, but as others have mentioned, the cost of living is really expensive. Helena is nice but not as big as Bozeman and not as scenic. If we can't make it work in one of those two places, we may look towards Boise, ID. I hear good things about that area as well. We might also look towards Cheyenne, WY for the reasons mentioned above. I don't won't any part of the Denver metro area. It's too big for us.
 

James Riley

Banned
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
If she's used to city living, the realities of living in Montana might be too much. People don't grasp just how big the state is, and if you need to travel for anything it's a long way between places. A lot of people come here with grand ideas but end up hating it because it can be very isolating if you aren't used to it. Definitely visit first, and visit in winter if you can before you commit.

I lived in Colorado before I came to Montana and I loved it there. Lots to do, easy to live in a "small" town while being close to city convenience, and the winters are shorter and much sunnier in Colorado than Montana. I prefer the small town living in Montana, but my idea of small town appears to be very different from yours! ;)

I think you might have an easier time finding what you're looking for in CO. If I had to leave Montana, I would go back there in a heartbeat.

Reminds me:

"But also on this time, to the south side of those very same imposing mountains, there was no silence and there was no peace. There was an even greater imposition. Here was wind; horrible, dry and icy wind. The south-bound Sandy, Little Sandy and Dry Sandy did not, in this time, pretend to water, much less trees. These mountain drains were not much wet, even in spring; and in this winter time, with no stillness here, most warmth or moisture had been ripped instead by violent hoards of lethal wind, cubic miles of charging, relentless imposition, forcing all things to care, as it flew west to east, across a buff and bent, but anchored grass. Here is the American Steppe, south and west of South Pass; a buffalo tundra in a land of deadly, horizontal snow in leagues of flight.

This is the time and place where twisters come to unwind.

Down here, everything and everyone (those who know, know there is no difference), can hear the wind; it falls on all ears where there is no forest, imposing itself and making sure everything cares. It makes a sound. The suicide wives of Kansas-dugout-shelter-sod never made it this far west for a reason; this was the “any worse” their ignorant, driven, flat-land husbands thought it couldn’t get.

Here, the lucky flake is a high plains drifter; not in the sense of roaming care-free but, rather, in the sense of a snow drift, or a bank, as often found in gentler climes. Here the rare and lucky flake cares to deposit itself, with meager kin, on the lea side of something, anything, maybe a dead and frozen beef; deadstock. But more often, the “something” is a snow fence of creosote lumber from the mountains, nailed up in summertime, into giant linear A-frames along the roads and rails where that flake might cling for spring. Should it survive, then, in a time, its interest shall be paid to cattle, sheep, and the boots who depend upon them. Livestock know it is indeed always greener on the lea side of these strange fences in this backward land; fences designed to let their charges though or over, and easy for a cow to walk around. These fences can’t even frustrate the wind. Nothing does, and when the fences of forest wood will fall because of it, no one hears, because of that wind.

All the other flakes, airborne, as most are, certainly won’t mount to the sky like the down of a thistle in some Christmas tale. Instead, their course would be calculated with ballistic madness on the way to Nebraska, and eastward, to the plows and pretenders and ignorant husbands beyond. In this country, drifters would drift up, not on, if only they could find a “something” to hide behind.

All this blowing strips the heat out of everything. So the wood, from the mountains, will stop only some small bit of this snow on this steppe; and cold propane from deep in the ground, can put the heat back into only some small bit of bones on the surface.

You’d think it would be colder to the north of these mountains, but things are backward here. And, as the boots know, backward can be hard.

If anyone or thing wants any other one or thing to care, it must impose itself. Any failure to impose will render a forgotten deer, a path, a pine needle, a rock, infinity absent from itself. Any failure to impose will render peace.

And down here we have war; war in a time when we, dear reader, are lucky to be on a time. "
 

Schaaf

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2014
Messages
1,991
Location
Fort Peck, MT
Helena. It's got everything Missoula and Bozeman do except for the outrageous housing prices.
Yep, this. Figure in the next few years my family will be headed to Helena. Just need to pay some things off and get accustomed to taking a pay cut.
 

Irish52084

New member
Joined
Aug 2, 2016
Messages
39
My wife and I are in a similar situation, but we are a bit more limited due to my job and my wife's health. If you consider Idaho, Coeur d'alene is beautiful and close to Spokane which is a largish city. It has lots of big lakes and plenty of mountains. We also really like Idaho Falls, but we need to visit Idaho falls in the winter to see if my wife can deal with the increased nerve pain of cold winters.

We both liked Missoula and Bozeman. It's hard to argue against Montana or Colorado for having a bit of everything.
 

AH_14

New member
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
105
Location
Belgrade, MT
Missoula and Bozeman yes absolutely! Both have big colleges that make them feel a lot bigger than they are.
Helena and even Great Falls I'd consider if you were able to find a good job......Heck, I think about moving to Great Falls a lot and I'm born and raised Southwest Montana.....Buy a home in Great Falls for half the price of Bozeman, just need to find a couple great jobs.....Hunting and Fishing would be great out of Great Falls.
Flathead Valley is so nice too and feels a lot bigger than a small Montana town.
Billings I'd vote Yes too------

I'd always vote Montana, 11 weeks of hunting, so much opportunity, best rivers in the west, and we've got plenty of great lakes and reservoirs to keep you busy for forever--- but my goodness I'm as biased as they get...
 

onpoint

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2011
Messages
2,389
Location
Gallatin Valley, MT
nope.

Boztropolis, Montanifornia.

High demand for nannies.
Probably tons of jobs for engineers given the explosive growth.
A plethora of Microbreweries full of twentysomethings.
high demand for children as there are so many soccer teams that there is a shortage of players.
About 50000 currently, will be about 100000 in a year.

I think you have a winner.

:)
 

Joe Hulburt

Active member
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
Messages
1,123
Location
Oregon Coast
A smallish town is 50-100k? I live near the closest "town" around and I doubt we are at 600 in the winter. Starting to seem too big for me! LOL

Good luck in your search! I get the need for an economy to support you but personally would do anything I could to avoid a the big city.
 

ccc23454

Active member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
874
Location
Wyoming
Were doing same thing next summer already getting ready and we're going to wyoming. Not as big as you want but leaning towards sheridan around 20k, billings only couple hours away. The other spot is just south of laramie or cheyenne with denver being couple hours away. Reason for those simple ; VA hospitals(veteran), good school for wife and daughter (wife is teacher) no income taxes and resident of wyoming hunting tags... just got to find a job, but will easily save more than $5k in state taxes/fees first year I live there compared to what I am paying now. Good luck with your decision.

C
 

LopeHunter

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
2,410
Location
MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
I am a few years from retirement and will be living in Phoenix. I don't mind 3 months of 100F and hotter in order to have mild winters and springs. My wife grew up in SoCal so enjoys the desert. Phoenix has major sports, a major college, lots of doctors and the traffic is not too bad near our home.

If I was to have another home then I would find a place an hour of so from Denver. I like being close to an airport that can get me a lot of places nonstop. I am older so want more than a medical clinic nearby since old guys need a specialist now and then.

If I was closer to 20 than 60 then I would consider Cheyenne, WY, and Bozeman, MT, since the hunting and fishing opportunities for a resident are better than anywhere I have lived. I think both of those cities have economically out-performed nearby cities in their state.

I had 18 mailing addresses in the first 20 years after I graduated high school. Was a fantastic thrill ride but am glad I have put roots down the past couple of decades and we got the AZ home a few years ago so we would know the neighbors long before we retire. Something to think about as you are packing up things for a move.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
16,918
Location
Indiana
Remember a "small" city in OH is a big city out west... I'd also suggest you look at Boise and Twin Falls IDaho. Both will have the amenities she's used to with the ability to live in a smaller community
 

SFC B

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
2,641
Location
Colorado Springs
I'm gonna chime in on the Colorado side of it. You might look at Woodland Park. +-9000ft elevation, tons of public land, gold medal fishing, very reasonable housing, decent schools and all of the amenities. Plus your are only about 35-45 minutes from the Springs (where I live). You can find a place in and around town or get out to the boonies depending on your wants. Believe me when I say the Springs has all the big city stuff you would want with the hassle of being near Denver. Bonus is that if you want to ski on the I70 resorts you go the back way over Hoosier Pass through Breck and miss the I70 nightmare :)
 

RUT JUNKEY

Active member
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
1,288
Location
Indiana
Tough decisions for sure! I personally like the feel of Laramie, but also enjoyed Colorado too. Good luck.
 
Top