We just got back from visiting Montana a few days ago, and it was such a relaxing and peaceful trip! We planned to visit Montana last year…and then 2020 happened…and well, you know the rest – everything got canceled! Waiting was worth it though…my husband kept saving his Sky Miles throughout the year, and we ended up only paying $11 per airfare ticket round trip!
Wednesday: We flew into Salt Lake City, Utah, for our connecting flight to Kallispel, Montana. (If you don’t know this about me already, I am not a big fan of flying!) So trust me when I say, I searched high and low for a direct flight with no luck. There are no direct flights from Atlanta to the tiny little airport in Kalispell! When I say tiny, I mean tiny! It was so small that it was cute! Haha And the turbulent, mountain air as we descended only made my anxiety worse! Even my husband, who rarely has a problem flying, got a little nauseous.
We originally planned to fly in on a Thursday, but we decided to leave a day early. We already had reservations for an Airbnb for the Thursday – Monday of our trip, so we booked a hotel stay at Country Inn & Suites for our first night in town. The Hotel is conveniently located next to the airport in Kalispell. My husband and I agreed that it was the nicest Country Inn & Suites we’d ever stayed, and it was very affordable compared to other hotels! Our room had a beautiful view of the mountains, a clean indoor pool, and a full complementary breakfast.
Upon arriving, we visited downtown Kalispell, where our first stop was the Boot Barn. The boys asked for cowboy boots as their souvenir, and after doing a little research, we found out that boots in Montana are considerably cheaper than back home!
Little did we know that Montana is “Coffee Country,” as one local described it. There are probably 50 coffee shops within the vicinity of where we stayed – no joke! It was pure heaven on earth for a coffee lover like myself! Haha After we got the boys some boots, Micah took me to get my first (City Brew Coffee) of many coffee’s while in MT – and some macaroons, too, of course.
We also visited the little town of Whitefish, a few miles outside of Kalispell. If you could envision a quaint, cozy, little town on a Hallmark movie, this would be it! It’s the cutest little town that I have ever seen! The buildings were colorful and the view of the mountains in the background was beautiful!
For dinner, we ate at The Buffalo Cafe – a local restaurant in downtown Whitefish. (If we travel out of town, we prefer eating at places that we do not have back home!) We tried the Elk Enchiladas and the Bison Meatloaf. The boys said their steaks were the best they’ve ever tasted and asked to come back every night. For dessert, we got some ice cream from the local ice cream shop – Sweet Peaks.
Thursday: After checking out of the hotel, we made a stop for coffee and pastries at Montana Coffee Traders & Fleur Bake Shop. We then went to visit Glacier National Park. This is something very affordable and enjoyable to do. For a seven day pass, it is only $35 per carload! Due to the snow that was still there, we could only visit 10 miles into the park. From what we were able to see, the views were amazing! I can only imagine what the whole park must have looked like! Lake McDonald was my absolute favorite spot – the water was so clear and the colored rocks was a sight to behold – I’ve never seen anything quite like it! (On the picture of just the rocks, there is water actually covering them – you just can’t tell it because of how clear the water is!)
After leaving the park we stopped for lunch at another restaurant that a local recommended called Backslope Brewing. The food was good, but we personally liked the other restaurants we tried better!
We stayed in the most adorable Airbnb treehouse – Montana Treehouse Retreat – just outside of Whitefish in a little town called Columbia Falls. The treehouse had such a cozy, modern, and rustic atmosphere! Besides its obvious charm, it has a full kitchen, spacious living area, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, 2 couches that makes into beds, and a wonderful outdoor living space! If you’re ever in the Montana area, I highly recommend!
(Side note: We loved staying in the treehouse for the atmosphere and experience, and we do not regret staying there one bit! However, we’ve said that if we ever go back, we would just stay at the hotel because of how nice and affordable it is!)
Before the day was over, I tried yet another coffee shop – Copper Mountain Coffee. Their coffee has been my favorite so far!
Friday: I tried out another coffee shop – Montana Expresso – which was less than a mile from the treehouse. It’s safe to say it is another one of my favorite coffee shops – their coffee was delicious! Micah, the thoughtful person that he is, got me a coffee there every morning for the rest of our stay!
Enough about coffee! Friday was a rest day for us. We mainly hung out at the treehouse and just relaxed which was so nice. We rarely have downtime when we’re at home with everyone’s busy schedules, so it was great to be able to do nothing, except make some s’mores and play Montana-Opoly! For dinner, we did venture out to try Mudman Burgers.
On Saturday, we went back to The Buffalo Cafe in Whitefish to have breakfast for lunch. So good!!
We had booked an excursion with Glacier Raft Company ahead of time where we would float down the river. Ordinarily, this would have been so much fun…and it was…for a brief period! Haha However, it was raining that day and super cold. Nevertheless, we geared up into the wet suites provided and braced ourselves. We joined the rest of the tour group and road the bus down to the river. Once we were there, the guide needed some assistance pushing the raft out into the water, so the four of us got selected to get out of the boat, get down into the water, and help push the raft out into the water. I think that’s what did it for me. Once my feet are cold, it’s hard to get the rest of my body warm! Haha We made it about halfway down the river before we, along with some others, decided that we would end the raft early. We were all ready to warm up! On the drive back, we stopped at Cowgirl Coffee to get some hot coffee and hot chocolate for the boys. After we got back to the room and warmed up, none of us felt like getting dressed and ready to go out to a restaurant, so we went through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A and stayed in for the rest of the evening!
Sunday: We tuned into Facebook live to listen to my brother preach at our church back home. Later that day, we went to Swan Mountain Outfitters to go horseback riding through the mountains. It was still really cold that day, but thankfully the rain held off during the 2 hour period while we rode horses. Our tour guides were so nice and very informative about the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, photography was not permitted during the excursion.
We stopped at The Huckleberry Patch on the way back. (Side note: Montana is famous for their Huckleberries!) We got a slice of Huckleberry pie and some vanilla ice cream. It was delicious! Huckleberries tastes a little bit like blackberries and blueberries mixed together. We liked the pie so much that we got some to go! Coffee Shop Stop of the Day: Wild Coffee Company
At the time we booked the trip, we didn’t realize that we would be traveling on Mother’s Day weekend, so my guys treated me to a local Italian restaurant in downtown Whitefish for dinner – Abruzzo Italian Kitchen. (Italian is my favorite!) Micah is a daredevil to try new dishes. Sometimes he regrets it, but the Wild Boar Ragu was delicious, like Montana meets Italian.
Monday: We flew home. It was a great trip, and we will always have fond memories of majestic Montana!
Side note: We decided to book our trip in the early part of May because it’s still considered “off season.” I’m so glad we did! We’ve been told that it can be overwhelmingly crowded in the peak season (late May-September) and that you have to buy a parking pass – in order to get a parking space at some places! It wasn’t crowded at all when we went. Granted some excursions and tours were not available because we went in the off season, and Glacier National Park was only open for 10 miles into the park due to the snow. With that being said, there was still plenty to do and we missed all the peak season crowds. It was great! Also, hotel rates, etc are cheaper in the off season, so it was a win-win! (We did not pay the prices for accommodations that are now listed just a couple of weeks later!)