Travel · United States

Planning a Montana Adventure

As those of you  who follow us on Facebook  or Instagram already know, we’re setting off on our next adventure, a trip to Montana, in just 3 weeks! This year when we started the vacation planning process, Tori decided that we should go somewhere outdoorsy. After a bit of research, we narrowed it down to  Arizona & the Grand Canyon or Montana/Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, & Glacier National Park. With some input from some work friends about weather in each location at the end of August/beginning of September along with checking out some pictures of each location, we finally landed on Montana!!

Planning an Adventure in Montana

Once the location was finalized, it was time to get to work figuring out flights, hotels, and rental cars. I decided that this was going to be a “points vacation” in order to keep costs down. We cashed in 50,000 of my United miles and $24 for our plane tickets. Although we definitely can’t beat the price, we had to settle with 2 layover each way in order to use the least number of miles on the days we planned to travel. As far as hotels go, we’ll be dipping into my Hilton points for all but 2 nights of our 10 night trip. The only nights that aren’t covered we’ll be staying in Yellowstone where unfortunately there are no Hiltons. Last but not least, you guessed it, we’ll be using Hertz points for rental cars for half of the time we are there. At the end of the day, we’ll be spending about $500 a person for flights, car rental, & hotels with a big portion of that cost being driven by paying for the Loss Damage Waiver for the rental cars which we wouldn’t normally buy but given how close we’ll be to wildlife, we figured the extra money was worth not having to worry.

After all the logistics were finalized it was time to start the fun part, planning each days activities & restaurants. Luckily my co-worker gave me a list of his favorite restaurants & bars in every major city in Montana so between that and hitting places that have made an appearance in MSN.com travel articles, we should be pretty set on that front. We’re still working out the rest of our itinerary but below you’ll see what we’ve decided on so far.

Billings, MT to Yellowstone National Park (Day 1) 

We’ll only be spending a few hours in Billings to load up on supplies we didn’t to bring with us like drinks, snacks, sun screen, and bear & bug spray and get lunch before we hit the road. As long as the weather cooperates, we’ll be taking the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone National Park with lots of stops for photos along the way. Once we enter the park, our plan is to check out the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone before checking into our hotel for the next two days, Canyon Lodge Cabins.

Yellowstone National Park (Days 2 & 3) 

We’ve already signed up for two guided activities in Yellowstone, the Picture Perfect Photo Safari and Old West Dinner Cookout with Horse Ride. Since we’ll have already seen the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone our first day, our hope is that we’ll also be able to fit in Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, Fountain Paint Pot Nature Trial , Boiling River, and a few other springs & geysers along the way.

Yellowstone National Park to Missoula, MT (Days 3 & 4) 

After a long day of sight-seeing on day 3, we’ll be saying bye to Yellowstone and heading north to Bozeman, MT for the night. After a (hopefully) delicious dinner and good night’s sleep, we’ll be back on the road bright and early heading for the Lewis & Clark Caverns for a tour of one of the largest limestone caverns in the Northwest. Once the tour is over, its time to head to Missoula, where we’ll be switching rental cars and having a relaxing afternoon exploring the local shops, bars, & breweries.

Missoula, MT to Kalispell, MT (Day 5)

After 4 days of non-stop sightseeing, we’ll be taking it easy this morning and sleeping in and enjoying a good breakfast before hitting the road to our next destination, Kalispell, MT. We’re purposefully keeping plans to a minimum so we can rest up for the 2nd half of our trip, but we may spend the afternoon or evening checking out Flathead Lake either by kayak or boat.

Kalispell, Whitefish, Glacier National Park, & Flathead Lake (Days 6, 7, 8, & 9)

While we’re still working on figuring out exactly what we’ll be doing which day, the following are all on our to do list:

  • Take a Red Bus Tour of Going the Sun Road in Glacier National Park
  • Spend some time kayaking or paddle boarding
  • Take a boat cruise or two in Glacier National Park
  • Make the drive up to Polebridge  to visit one of the Coolest Small Towns you’ve Never Heard of and try the mercantile’s famous huckleberry bear claws
  • Visit a few wineries, distilleries, & breweries
  • Eat some delicious meals
  • Do lots of Hiking
  • Take some awesome pictures hopefully including beautiful sunrises, sunsets, mountains, lakes, and finger’s crossed the Milky Way and/or Aurora Borealis

Kallispell, MT to Missoula, MT (Day 10)

We hope to make the most of our last day in Montana by starting out the day with a short hike before packing up and heading back to Missoula to grab one last lunch and catch our flight home.

 

We still have lots more to finalize and we’d love any suggestions you have about the best things to see, do, or eat! Stay up to date on all of our trip prep and adventures by keeping an eye out for posts with the #SoireeTakesaHike hashtag on the blog, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

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