We just got back home from an amazing adventure out west in Montana! We have a soft spot in our hearts for Montana and cannot seem to stay away! Travel fuels our creativity, inspires our work, and helps us bond in ways words cannot describe!
We love driving around the mountains and small towns of Montana, and renting a car from the new Expedia Advantage Add-On program is an excellent choice for a fun road trip like this, through southwestern Montana!
When you book a flight, you can get awesome deals on add-ons like car rentals and hotels. Keep reading to learn more about their awesome deals AND see lots of photos from our recent vacation out west!
Montana is a magical place. "Keep Montana Majestic" is a fitting slogan I thought of as we were leaving this time, because it's such a gorgeous and majestic place that has only 1 million residents - one . We spent a lot of time in southwestern Montana this past month, visiting the areas around Yellowstone including Big Sky, Bozeman, Hebgen Lake, and Ennis, MT. We also spent time in the Missoula area for an awesome rafting trip on the Clark Fork River Gorge. Keep reading to learn more about some of our favorite places in Montana and get insights on these awesome travel deals.
So, if you already have a trip planned, and want to access a SUPER GREAT price on a hotel, this is a great opportunity!
I checked on car rental prices around Missoula, which also unlocked deals on hotels! There were some awesome cars available, and all of the hotels in the screenshot below (with a yellow stripe above their name) offer additional discounts to those who use Expedia Add-On Advantage! I just love saving on travel, so I can use that part of the travel budget for something more fun. Like a rafting trip, which you will see below. We had SO much fun!!
Below, we spent one particularly fun Sunday on the water with a river guide. As a team, we worked together to get the inflatable raft through rapids. We had no clue how much fun we would have, since we generally never plan trips with any sort of guide or service - we love just driving and exploring places that way.
See the car rental deals I found, below, plus more suggestions of awesome places in and around Missoula to visit.
If you ever have the chance to visit downtown Missoula, you will love it! I would even suggest 2-3 days to fully experience a couple of days of shopping plus being able to eat and drink at the MANY bars and restaurants is so much fun. The city is walking friendly but a little spread out, and luckily parking is super easy here in the summer, so feel free to use that rental car to get around town.
We have been so fortunate to visit Ennis, MT several times in the past couple of years. We love the gorgeous mountain vistas in the Madison Valley and I absolutely love how free you feel when you're in such a beautiful place. It's a very small town, but the Madison River runs right through town, as well as being one way people get to Yellowstone, the town's rather small population gets over a million visitors. It's very popular to fly fish in this area, and we love finding a place to let the dogs swim too.
When you're in Ennis, you must check out the Gravel Bar (aka G Bar - see beers in the image below), which has lots of local MT beers and spirits, and their food is really pretty good. They are also opening a brewery next year, which should be really neat. Across the street from G Bar is Willie's Distillery. Deemo's Meats is a place to stop and grab groceries (they specialize in amazing meats and cheeses), and make sure to grab some of their frozen brats near the register - the green onion ones are AMAZING)! Perfect for roasting over a campfire too.
Below, I thought this was so funny. Your typical Monday, with a Side By Side just leisurely driving through town! Some of our other favorite places to visit in Ennis include Plain Jane's (clothing, shoes, and the best Montana gifts ever), Nacho Mama, and Shedhorn, which sells outdoor gear, really nice quality women's shoes and clothing and also hunting and camping gear.
A historic gold mining town situated high above the Madison Valley. This is always a fun place to stop and shop or stroll through the wooden boardwalks that used to be hustling and bustling.
Sure, since Big Sky, Montana sits at around 7200 feet in elevation, it's a great place to ski, snowboard, and snow mobile But, it's an amazingly vibrant and fun place to be in the summer as well. We spent several different days in Big Sky, and saw local music at their free Thursday Night Concert Series, drank a few local Montana beers at their bars, and visited the Big Sky Farmer's Market. The shopping in this area is really wonderful, if you like that sort of thing! There are also amazing restaurants in almost every style of food, so you can please everyone with something delicious!
These Thursday Night concerts are packed - especially this one weekend when the rodeo was also in town. If the line for the beer vendor is too long for your liking, just run into the Hungry Moose grocery store and grab something to drink - you can have open containers in the unincorporated town of Big Sky during these events. Grizzly Outfitters also has the most impressive selection of the latest women's clothing from the best outdoors brands. Yay! During the summer, people also love to mountain bike here, as well as fish the surrounding rivers. The Gallatin River runs through and all around town and is surrounded by huge pine trees.
The Big Sy Farmer's Market was really impressive. While around 90% of the vendors had art, I felt that the quality of most everything was nearly art gallery quality jewelry and decor, made with antlers, beads, and other local materials. This flower vendor was also incredible - I wanted to bring home a huge, rainbow colored array of Montana grown flowers, but that was a bit unrealistic :) There was live music which was also super great, and then you could walk to grab some food in a nearby restaurant or food vendor after walking around. This Montana Alpaca at the Farmer's Market was rather cute too!
Montana Flathead Cherries are in season during the summer, so grab up as many of these as you can if you are in Montana! They're SO sweet and delicious and I would love to bake a cherry pie from them. Huckleberries are also in season, but way, way harder to find than these cherries.
Hebgen Lake was formed in 1959 when an earthquake occurred, causing part of the mountainside to fall into the water, creating a rather amazing lake that is unlike any other place we have ever been. Our friend has a boat slipped on this lake, so we drove out and spent time over several different days in the sunshine! The water is absolutely gorgeous and great for tubing and water skiing too.
This lake is situated along the drive from Ennis to Big Sky. You can also drive through Bozeman instead, but this drive avoids the traffic altogether and it absolutely stunning! You even drive partially through the western part of Yellowstone. making this one of the most scenic cruises you can do in this part of southwestern Montana.
There are so many rivers in Montana, and we loved fishing various places to pull over and get in the water. Below, the Ruby River.
We loved driving around Montana this summer, and if you want any more travel advice, please leave questions or comments in the section below!
I hope you enjoyed this recap of our recent vacation to Montana! Have you ever been to any of these towns pr places in Montana? Comment below to let me know!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.