Our Montana Road Trip with Expedia Add-On Advantage

Thank you Expedia for sponsoring this post. Book your travel on Expedia.com to save with the Add-On Advantage!

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!

Downtown Virginia City, MT.

Downtown Virginia City, MT.

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.

BOOK A FLIGHT, CAR, OR PACKAGE AND UNLOCK UP TO 43% OFF SELECTED HOTELS!

So, if you already have a trip planned, and want to access a SUPER GREAT price on a hotel, this is a great opportunity! 

Missoula

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.

Missoula, MT
Sushi in Missoula MT
Ennis, MT

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. 

Ennis, MT

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.

Ennis, MT
Virginia City, MT

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. 

Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Big Sky, MT

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.

Big Sky Farmer's Market

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! 

Big Sky, MT Alpaca

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.

Montana Flathead Cherries
Hebgen Lake

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.

Hebgen Lake
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.

Fly Fishing in Montana
Fly Fishing in Montana

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!

Montana Road Trip

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Two Amazing Recipes for Summer Get-Togethers with Mission® Tortillas

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mission®. All opinions are entirely my own.

If summer get-togethers make you giddy with joy and excitement, then you’re not alone! I too love brainstorming recipes with friends, then planning, prepping, and preparing the food, then finally getting everyone together to enjoy the bounty. Food always brings people together, and is great shared with old friends and new ones! This summer, I am going to make it my mission to enjoy the company of others over great food as much as possible!

I love how these Mission® Super Soft Flour Tortillas really made my two recipes even better than I could have ever imagined. I have tried all sorts of tortillas, and these are the softest, tastiest ones yet. They were so versatile, and absolutely perfect for my Vegetarian Southwest-Inspired Pinwheels AND for my Grilled Steak Tacos. I always feel like the tortillas make or break a recipe, and I was so happy to find a new favorite. You can use the store locator on the Mission website to find Mission tortillas at stores near you, and find even more delicious recipes as well.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced this, but I am always let down when tortillas kind of get dried out super quickly, then kind of crack when you roll anything out of them (like the pinwheels). Well, these were perfect. They held together super well, and worked amazingly well for this 4 ingredient appetizer!

And, since I wanted to offer lots of delicious toppings for these Grilled Steak Tacos, my first thought was fresh ingredients of course!

I thought it would be so fun to offer guests some handmade pickled jalapeños as party favors. Every time we serve these to guests or bring them to someone’s house, we always get lots of compliments on them.

PICKLED JALAPENOS

(Making 1 day in advance is recommended)

I think it’s time to start sharing them with people, so I filled mini jars with a mixture of fresh ingredients like jalapeño slices, garlic cloves, and mini red onions. Now, it’s time to pickle!

I heated a solution of 1.5 cups white vinegar plus 1 cup water, and 1-2 tbsp salt until the salt has dissolved. Let it cool a bit, then carefully pour the vinegar solution over the ingredients, leaving a little bit of room at the top of the jar so it does not spill out. Place lids back on, and gift as soon as the next day.  

These turned out SO cute, and you could even tie cute ribbons around the jars for an even more festive look.

In addition to the pickled jalapeños, I offered pickled red onions (get my recipe here), plus a guacamole tomatillo sauce and a traditional red salsa too.

The lettuce even came right out of my own garden! This was my first year to try growing lettuce, and while it may be almost at the end of its season, I love treating friends to things I grew!

GRILLED STEAK TACOS

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup olive oil

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

2-3 tbsp or more taco seasoning

Juice from 1 lime

1 tsp salt

1-2 lbs flank steak or similar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Simply marinate each pound of steak in 1/3 cup olive oil, 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, 2-3 tbsp or more taco seasoning + the juice from 1 lime + 1 tsp salt for at least 1-2 hours or overnight. Simply grill for 3 or so minutes per side if your steak is thin like mine was. Slice and serve with fresh sides and warmed Mission Super Soft Flour Tortillas (they taste best warmed).

Slice up the steak and set out the toppings, the tacos are ready to eat!!!

SOUTHWEST INSPIRED VEGETARIAN PINWHEELS

I searched for vegetarian pinwheel recipes and hardly found anything! These are so great tasting, and you will never miss the meat.

Ingredients:

1 package Mission® Super Soft Flour Tortillas

Plus 1-2 bunches of cilantro

1 head of green lettuce

To create the sauce:

1 (8 oz.) box of cream cheese, softened

½ cup (or more) taco sauce or red enchilada sauce

½ - 1 cup cream cheese

¼ - ½ tsp salt, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.    Mix all sauce ingredients together, and stir until smooth. I used a hand mixer

2.    Lay one tortilla out onto your work surface, and spread 1.5 -2 tbsp sauce in an even layer on tortilla.

3.    Add a line of cilantro and a line of small pieces of lettuce towards one side of the tortilla, then roll up into an even roll.

4.    Cut in 2” sections, and display on a cute tray. I used cactus pieces from a local market.

Enjoy!

 

The bottom line - I would definitely recommend Mission Super Soft Flour Tortillas to anyone who loves superior taste and excellent ingredients!

Happy summer, friends!