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Lifestyle Travel 5 days ago

montana recap + recommendations!

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If you follow me on instagram you’ve probably been subject to my Montana overload over the last week! I did a Whitefish travel guide blog post a few years back, but got tons of DM’s on this trip asking for my recommendations, favorite hikes etc. So today I thought I would recap our trip for you guys, in case any of you guys are planning to visit Whitefish soon!

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Getting to Whitefish, Montana

We fly into Kalispell and then it’s about a 10-15min drive to Whitefish! It’s a tiny airport so I think Whitefish is so convenient to get to. American actually now flies direct from Dallas to Kalispell!

Where to stay in Whitefish, Montana

Michael’s parents actually have a condo in Whitefish which is why we come here so often! (The photo above is the view from their condo deck). There are alot of other air bnb’s / hotels in town though where you could stay. The Firebrand looks like a great hotel and it’s right downtown which is nice! But again, I heard a lot of people talking about air bnb’s they rented so I’m sure there are a lot of options!

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Hiking in Montana

This is honestly what I was MOST excited about for this entire trip – the hiking in Montana. Where we stay in Whitefish is about a 25ish minute drive into the entrance of Glacier National Park, which is one of the most beautiful spots in the U.S. in my opinion. Michael and I did two hikes in Glacier (while his parents kept Shiloh) and then two hikes in Whitefish on this trip.

Glacier National Park

In Glacier – we did the Highline trail and then Avalanche lake (which is probably the most popular hike in glacier). Parking in Glacier right now is CRAZY. We had to leave at 530am in order to find parking and even then…we got SUPER lucky that we found a spot. So, if you are going anytime between June and September, definitely get to the park before sunrise (I’d say by 6:30).

The Highline trail was about 15 miles out and back (actually ended up being 17 because we added on the glacier lookout climb which was TOUGH). This was probably the hardest hike we have ever done but SO worth it and absolutely beautiful. The glacier lookout (you will come to this point around mile 8) was incredibly steep but the views were out of this world. If you do this hike, make sure to bring a ton of water and snacks…and a good attitude haha.

Avalanche lake is a very easy hike but with a GREAT reward at the end. I think it was about 4.5 miles, out and back. The elevation gain is only around 700 feet, so definitely more kid / family friendly! And the lake at the end will absolutely take your breath away!

After we hiked Avalanche lake, we stopped at Lake Mcdonald Lodge on the way home (Lake McDonald is a MUST when you are in glacier). We got a glass of wine and sat by the water for a while and it was beautiful!

Hiking in Whitefish

We did two hikes in Whitefish as well just for convenience sake – these were only about a 10-20min drive from the condo. I did Lion Mountain Trail by myself with Shiloh and loved it! It was an easy 2.6 mile loop with a beautiful lake view at the top! And then Michael and I did Notch Trail with Shiloh which was also beautiful! This trail is rated ‘moderate’ but I thought it was pretty easy. It was a 3.5 mile loop!

I wanted to do more hikes but unfortunately…the smoke here got REALLY bad for the last 3 days of our trip. Really poor air quality and almost no visibility of the mountains. I’m thankful we got in our hiking early in the trip!

I use the app All Trails for all of my hiking research! I started using it when we lived in Colorado and it’s been super helpful on all of our hiking vacations!

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We also rented a boat on Whitefish Lake which was SO beautiful and I highly recommend, if you are here between June and September. The water is the prettiest color bright blue with mountains in the backdrop!

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Where to eat in Whitefish, Montana

Michael’s parents are members at a golf course here with AMAZING food. So we eat alot of our meals there. Outside of the golf club though, these are some of our favorite restaurants:

  • Latitude 48 – Great for dinner –  They have a lot of amazing small plates, trendy atmosphere, and a fun + yummy + unique menu!
  • Jalisco’s – probably the only taco place in Montana worth visiting haha. Cute ambience and really yummy tacos and margaritas!
  • Farmhouse Inn + Kitchen – SUPER yummy brunch + bakery items! They get their ingredients from local farms in Whitefish and the inside of the restaurant is adorable!
  • Abruzzo’s – a must-visit for dinner if you like Italian food!
  • Loula’s – one of the best brunch spots in Montana IMO! Great comfort type food and also AMAZING homemade pies!
  • Tupelo’s – a really yummy, slightly “special occasion” type vibe for dinner. Cajun ish food but they also have a wide variety of options!

I will say…Michael and I did a date night one night at Whitefish Lake Restaurant because it came highly recommend / alot of great reviews and TBH…it was expensive and not very good haha. Everyone has different opinions on food so maybe you will love it. But, it wasn’t worth the money in our opinion!

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More Whitefish Favorites

There are a few stores I love in downtown Whitefish:

  1. The Toggery – they carry everything from Free People to Vuori to Hydroflask! I love this store in downtown Whitefish!
  2. Sage & Cedar – really cute loungewear + bath + self-care products! Think candles meets cozy pajamas in the best way possible.
  3. Wild Coffee Company – I LOVE this coffee shop. I got the best matcha latte + breakfast sandwich on a biscuit from here! There are a ton of coffee shops in Whitefish but this might be my #1 favorite
  4. Sprouts – the CUTEST children’s clothing store! You will love it if you’re a mama or need to buy baby gifts!
  5. Sweet Peaks – THE BEST ICE CREAM EVER. Dallas has tons of ice cream options but I will legit miss sweet peaks when we go back to Dallas. Get the Yeti flavor, and “going to the sun road”. My two faves!

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While we were in Whitefish…we didn’t have great cell phone service. When we went to Glacier to hike, we had NO cell phone service. I also made a comscious choice for this trip to work as LITTLE as possible – I wrote (am writing!) blog posts but pretty much did nothing else. And I gotta say, that was maybe one of my favorite parts of this entire trip. We spent little to no time looking at screens…and tons of time in nature, with family, eating yummy food, hiking, and making memories we will remember for forever.

So, whether you are doing a road trip to Colorado or Montana or maybe staying home for the next indefinite amount of time…I want to encourage you guys to intentionally put screens away for a set amount of time. It truly is so important for your mental wellbeing and the health of your relationships and family.

After taking two weeks off, I’m so excited and ready to get back to sharing fall fashion with you guys, workouts, what I’m reading and tons more! Taking time to rest and recharge has been so good for me and I encourage you guys to do the same!

If you have any other Whitefish favorites, let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

follow along @laurenkaysims

xo Lauren

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