Holiday gift guide for National Park Lovers

There are plenty of gift guides out there, but if you have a person in your life that just loves traveling to our National Parks here is some inspo for you!

1. National Park Scented Candles by Parks Project $34
Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 10.32.53 AM.png

I absolutely want my home smelling like Yellowstone! These candles are certain to bring back those amazing adventure memories to the home of anyone that has spent time in any of the National Parks. Parks Project scents include Yosemite, Zion, Big Sur, Rocky Mountain, Joshua Tree, Glacier, and of course my favorite Yellowstone. 😉

2. Yoho & Co. Pennants $75- $88

IMG_1746_

Add some National Park Decor to your home. These pennants are hand made in Canada and can also be customized to bring the colors and locations you want to life.

Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 11.26.51 AM.png

3. Pendleton 3-Pack National Park Socks Gift Box $32.50

Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 10.58.12 AM

The Pendleton National Park socks pair well with cozy fires or long scenic hikes. The true Park lover in your life will love this gift box. Choose the Acadia/ Olympic/ Yosemite box, the Glacier/ Crater/ Rainier box, or the Yellowstone/ Grand Canyon/ Rocky Mountain box.

Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 11.00.19 AM.png

4. American Eagle National Parks Apparel 

Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 11.31.26 AM

American Eagle has just launched a National Parks line with Tailgate. You can find hoodies, crew necks, and tees all repping your favorite park.

5. National Parks Annual Pass $80

Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 11.40.45 AM

This maybe the best gift of all. The National Parks Annual Pass gives you unlimited entry to any National Park. The pass is good for a year and if you are planning on three National Park trips it is absolutely worth it!

IMG_1749

 

Happy Holidays and Happy Wandering,

Morgan

 

 

Advertisements

Packing for your Fall YNP trip

Fall in Yellowstone National Park is amazing. There is so much wildlife to be seen! The Fall colors and the snow on top of the mountains. It is literally perfect ! ❤

IMG_0636.jpg

But this time of year means the weather can change in a flash and being prepared is always key.

So, what do I pack for my overnight stay at the Park?

Clothes:

Starting with shoes I will pack 3 pairs. I know this seems excessive, but I wear a comfortable, yet stylish pair of shoes. Ones that I will want to wear out to dinner in Gardiner.  😉  I pack hiking boots, obviously, and my Chacos. The Boiling River is an awesome place to stop and soak in the hot springs. Having sandals with you will come in handy for this! Also for your feet grab enough pairs of socks. I always have 2 pairs of hiking socks with me.

IMG_0583_

IMG_0579_

IMG_0581_

Pack leggings and jeans. If I am doing activities in the Park leggings are great, but again if you don’t want to wear hiking clothes all weekend having jeans will be nice.

LAYERS! I will wear a t-shirt and then have a flannel over that and pack a Patagonia fleece. Different elevations throughout the Park can be colder, but you may get warm while hiking. You will be happy when you can put on a jacket or remove a flannel. I also always pack a rain coat! Seriously, the weather in the Park is so unpredictable. I have been there in July and it has snowed!

I like to grab a beanie and a ball cap for my head. Ball caps are great for hikes, especially if you like to keep the sun off your face. The beanie is for warmth in the event you do get caught in that late Summer snow storm!  😉

IMG_0577.jpg

Cooler:

We invested in a Yeti Cooler pretty much for our Yellowstone trips. We never know how long we will be hiking or fishing so, having provisions is important. Any cooler will do the trick though.

I grab a bunch of Clif Bars before heading out. If you are hiking around you will be happy to have some of those guys. I will also pack hummus and pitas, veggies, fruit, and chips.

There have been many times where we have gotten off the trail and just hung out watching some bison while snacking. World’s best dining view! 🙂

IMG_0557.jpg

Packing multiple water bottles is a must! There are plenty of fountains around the Park, but you never know how far away you will be from one. So, having 3 or 4 with you is always a good back up.

Some of the other miscellaneous items you will want to have in the car are portable chargers, bear spray, chap stick, and a back pack.

The more prepared you are the more enjoyable Yellowstone is!

IMG_0594 (1)

Happy wandering,

Morgan 

Finally, Fall!

It was a fantastic Summer, but as Fall officially hit on Saturday evening my inner basic white girl is rejoicing!!

IMG_1230

PC: Starbucks

As the PSL’s begin to flow I wanted to take the time to go over some of my favorite Fall things and ways that everyone can get out and enjoy the season in this gorgeous state!

First the essential wardrobe needs for the season…flannels, chunky knit sweaters, and ankle boots.

Since the weather is completely unpredictable this time of year layering is essential. My favorite flannels that I have been rocking are actually from Target!

IMG_1225.jpg

PC: Target

I’m a fan of buffalo plaid and over sized. This allows for that trendy around the waist look that we have seen so much lately.

My favorite sweater that I have been wearing is from Sora & Co.  Go check out their website because they have so many adorable pieces that will be certain to satisfy your chunky knit needs.

IMG_1226

PC: Sora & Co.

And I’m headed back to Target for my favorite ankle boots. These combat style boots are the most comfortable and are great with just about anything. I’ve worn them with jeans, leggings, and skirts.

 IMG_1227

PC: Target

Besides the cute outfits, there are so many great things to do during the season.

First go catch the Grizzlies or the Bobcats play a home game. Missoula and Bozeman are such awesome towns that have even better fans. The University of Montana’s homecoming is Oct. 6th and Montana State’s is Oct. 13th. These would be great games to attend no matter who you are cheering for. (Go Griz!)

IMG_1041_

Check out one of the many Fall festivals or Oktoberfest. With the great brewery scene throughout the state there are so many different seasonal brews to try! Plus these events are usually partnered with live music and great food vendors.

unnamed

Finally, you knew it was coming… go to Yellowstone! The park in the fall is a happening place for wildlife activity. Particularly for Elk as they begin to rut. The park also takes on stunning colors and the majority of the tourists are gone!

IMG_1228_Facetune_24-09-2018-12-27-06

So, grab your flannel and boots and get outside to enjoy the season!

Before you know it we will be dusting off the skis 😉

#keepwandering

A day in Paradise (Valley)

If you have ever been to the Paradise Valley you will immediately understand how it got its name.

The stunning Absaroka Mountains sprawl from Livingston to the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

IMG_0755

Highway 89, which will take you right to the park is traveled heavily by tourists in the Summer who have landed at the Bozeman Airport and are embarking on a trip to Yellowstone. But what they may not know is that journey on Highway 89

has so many unique and fun spots to spend the day and get a true taste of Montana.

I have written about Chico Hot Springs before, but seriously STOP THERE! The outdoor hot springs pool is the perfect way to relax, enjoy a beverage, and soak in the mountain air.

You can stay the night at Chico or just stop for a soak after a day of activities at the park. They have towels, locker rooms, and three places to eat. So, you could make a day out of it.

The dining at Chico is great, but if you are looking to get a real sense of small town Montana, drive the 2 miles from Chico to Emigrant where Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ and the Old Saloon bring the outdoor venue to a whole new level.

32873709_1680807098655104_7470945759983042560_o

Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ was just a smoker and a tent when they first opened. Now you can sit outside on a unique patio and listen to a local band while enjoying some of the best BBQ in the state.

Get the ‘Don’t Mine the Yellowstone’ sandwich for two reasons. One it’s dang good! And two because $1 from every sandwich sold goes to the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition***.

*** There is a group that wants to mine for gold near Emigrant just outside Yellowstone. The effects of the mine could completely alter the area including the stunning views. To learn more go to http://dontmineyellowstone.com/ ***

In the same parking lot as Follow Yer’ Nose is the Old Saloon. You can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner here! Go for the food, but stay for the live music.

IMG_0762

The Old Saloon has an old school outdoor stage and this summer have pulled some pretty good musical acts including Turnpike Troubadours (sorry, this concert is sold out)!

There’s plenty of room for dancing and enjoying a cold one. It’s the perfect place for tourists and locals to meet!

Paradise Valley truly is paradise, just ask John Mayer.

paradiw valley.jpg

So, on your way to Yellowstone, stop meet the locals and take in the beauty of paradise.

IMG_0761

 

#keepwandering

Big Sky shoulder season

shoul·der sea·son
noun
a travel period between peak and off-peak seasons.
Before moving to Montana I did not know what shoulder season was. So, I figured I would give you the definition.
Now, shoulder season is exactly what the area where I live is experiencing. The Bozeman/Big Sky area is a very popular summer tourist destination. Both places are located very close to Yellowstone National Park. I know that Bozeman sees about 5.2 million visitors in the summer months.
Things don’t really pick up until June. Sometimes not being surrounded by tourists is nice, and that is why I decided to do an overnight in Big Sky this weekend.
IMG_0304
Big Sky Resort closes basically for the month of May to prepare for the summer. So, a lot of the restaurants and shops in the Town Center and Meadow Village aren’t open.
Don’t let that discourage you! There is something spectacular about having Big Sky to yourself!
Since, the resort is closed during this time I just used Air Bnb to find a place to stay.
(Even in the off-season Bg Sky is still pricey, so just be aware.)
One of the restaurants that does stay open is Ousel & Spur. This is Italian cuisine. They have excellent pizza! We usually get a pizza and a salad and have never been disappointed!
IMG_0318.jpg
Another place that is open is Lotus Pad. If you like Thai food this place is a must! Here we usually get Green Curry and Drunken noodles. I have never heard anyone complain about their meal at Lotus Pad, so I would definitely check it out if you get the chance.
During peak season it is almost impossible to get into Lotus Pad, so another great reason to go now!
Be sure to stop in and get a brew at Beehive Basin. This brewery has more of a local feel to it, and I am a fan of the Green Bridge IPA.
IMG_0310
There is also plenty of hiking around Big Sky. You will need to be aware that there is still a lot of snow covering the trails this time of year, but just talk to the locals and they will point you in the right direction. I recommend Ousel Falls if your looking for an easy hike. The views are great, so perfect photo-op.
IMG_0313.jpg
Also in the area is Lava Lake which is very popular as well as Storm Castle Peak.
When the Gallatin River isn’t raging and blown out like it is now there is primo fishing in the area. With the crazy snow pack we had this year, fishing is unfortunately not an option.
IMG_0305
However, another great activity in the area is mountain biking. If you don’t have a bike don’t worry head to Grizzly Outfitters. They rent them out!
If being outdoors isn’t your thing some of the shops remain open now, including my favorite Montana Supply. Plus these stores have a lot of stuff marked down to 50% off. Who doesn’t love a good sale ?!
IMG_0316
I absolutely love Big Sky, and it is a place you can enjoy year round… even during shoulder season.
*Note shoulder season will end in Big Sky on June 8th

Weekend Getaway to Yellowstone

IMG_0414

I am lucky enough to only live an hour away from one of the country’s best national parks. There are days when I just drive down to Yellowstone for a day trip.
But, a weekend getaway can be necessary and there is no better place than our first National Park.

You can’t beat going to Yellowstone. You can check out the wildlife, plan a day hike, or walk around the hot springs. No matter what you do the park will not disappoint.

Now depending on the time of year you plan your trip the entire park may not be open, but don’t let that stop you!

In the winter months there are still plenty of fun activities you can do like, cross country skiing! Not to mention you essentially have the park to yourself!

The time of year also depends what entrance to the park is open to vehicles. The good thing to know is the North Entrance or the entrance in Gardiner is open year round.

IMG_0418.JPG

 

Which leads to the fabulous little hotel that is a great place to stay to ensure you have enough time in the park.

The Park Hotel Yellowstone, is little apartments that range from family sized rooms to your standard two Queen Beds. The rooms are decorated with rustic Yellowstone decor to make your stay feel special.

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 12.47.22 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 12.45.38 PM.png
The rooms are priced right! Our room was only $89 a night!

(Prices will go up in the summer during tourists season.)

Gardiner also has a great new restaurant called the Wonderland Cafe & Lodge. They have everything from coffee and pastries to packed lunches for your trip into the park and an awesome dinner menu!

29792626_436934420077493_4252482625754051750_n
On the weekends the Wonderland has also started a brunch!
I highly recommend getting a bison burger while you’re there 😋

This can be a fairly inexpensive trip if you plan ahead. Pack lunches for days in the park and shop around for the best hotel deal! I like to remind my fellow Montanans that people pay thousands of dollars to visit our backyard! So, take advantage of it! ❤

IMG_0367.JPG

Pendleton Yellowstone National Park boots

 

#Keepwandering

 

{park fees, hotel prices, and local restaurant menus all linked in article}