A Summer Vacation To Big Sky, MT

fishing the Gallatin

Beginners Luck. Fishing the Gallatin on the first day!

fishing the madison river

Fishing the Madison

stacey's steakhouse

Stacey’s Steak House

Waiting on Old Faithful!

old faithful yellowstone national park
yellowstone national park grand prismatic overlook

Exploring Yellowstone National Park. Grand Prismatic Overlook.

summer at big sky

Big Sky Ski Resort in the summer time!

gallatin river

Gallatin River views

map brewing

MAP Brewing

sunrise over the yellowstone river

Sunrise over the Yellowstone River

fishing the yellowstone river

Fishing the Yellowstone River

Exploring Livingston

sunset over the gallatin canyon

Goodnight Big Sky! We’ll be back!

Our first post pandemic vacation!! The last vacation we went on together was our honeymoon to Paris in 2019. The last flight I was on was in February of 2020. WOW! What has changed since then?!

We spent a few days in Big Sky, Montana visiting friends who basically moved out there during the pandemic. They bought a house right on the Gallatin River that they’ve been renovating, and we were lucky enough to be some of their first guests. It is absolutely beautiful and we had the BEST time. It was fun to get away, relax, and enjoy some new scenery.

Graham stayed home with his grandparents and they had a great time as well. It was our first time leaving him for an extended period. We are so lucky to have them take such great care of him and allow us the freedom to travel still. We are looking forward to his first big trip in the near future and hope he will be a big traveler, but it’s also great to go just the two of us!

We flew into Bozeman and spent some time walking around, eating lunch, and exploring the town. It’s a cute little downtown with shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill, and also got our first taste of the beers from MAP brewing. We had wanted to go to MAP to eat and do a tasting but they were closed. Sean liked the IPA and I LOVED the Mexican Party Lager. So much so that I pretty much ordered it everywhere for the rest of the trip and I’ve tried to find it since being home with no luck.

After our afternoon in Bozeman we headed for Big Sky. It is about a 45 minute drive. We went straight to Riverhouse BBQ, which was just down the road from our friends house for a few drinks. This is a cool spot with an outdoor stage, and when the weather is cooler there are outdoor firepits. We didn’t try the food, but it was a fun place to hangout. After this we headed home, Sean tried fly fishing for the first time walking across the street and wading in the Gallatin. Beginner luck was on his side, he caught a fish on his first try. We grilled out dinner together and called in a day.

The next day we were up bright and early for our first guided fly fishing trip. We fished the Madison River with guides from this company. We met up with the guides super early due to something called Hoot Owl Restrictions, we had to be off the water by 2 pm, so in order to get a full day in we had to leave by 6 am. We split up and the girls went in one boat and the guys in the other. If I’m being honest we kind of hated our guide. The guys had a guide that was having all the fun and we had a guide that was all kinds of serious and taking his job way too seriously. But overall we still had a great day, we caught a few fish enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the lunch that was included was surprisingly good as well!

We finished up the day right near the town of Ennis, so we spent the rest of the day exploring the area. We had snacks and drinks at the Gravel Bar. We did some shopping at Trout Stalkers and a few other local shops. We did a whiskey tasting at Willie’s Distillery. It was a cute little town.

On the drive back we stopped at Stacey’s Steakhouse for a traditional Montana steak dinner. This place has all the old school vibes, and was popular with the locals and the tourist alike. It was a fun stop for sure! Our guides recommended Land of Magic Steakhouse and Sir Scott’s Oasis for similar traditional Montana vibes. Maybe we will have the chance to try them out on another trip.

The next day we were able to sleep in and we decided to drive to Yellowstone and spend the day. It was just over an hour from Big Sky into the park. We went to see Old Faithful and had a picnic while we waited. We hiked up to the overlook to see the Grand Prismatic. We drove around the park and saw a few elk. We went in to West Yellowstone for ice cream. A fun day exploring the park.

We stopped in Big Sky to check out the little village on our way back in to town. There are a few cute shops, a brewery, and a few restaurants. On the mountain at the ski resort there are a few more restaurants and shops. We had a drink on the mountain and watched the mountain bikers using the ski runs. It was pretty quiet on the mountain, I can only imagine in the winter it’s a lot more crowded. We got home and watched the sun go down over the mountains and grilled out again before another early morning of fishing.

Our second day of fishing we went on the Yellowstone River. We had the same guides again except this time the girls went with the fun guide and the guys went with Mr. Serious. We had another early day, we watched the sunrise over the mountains as we were loading up the boats to head out. In my opinion the views from the Yellowstone were better than the Madison. We had another long day of fishing, but I enjoyed this day so much more! I convinced the guide to go in swimming with us, and basically abandoned the fishing in favor of sightseeing. So much more fun! If I’m being honest, I did not need to be up at 4 am to go fishing, I could have spent a couple hours doing it and been just as happy but it was a great experience either way.

We went in to Livingston to explore the town after our day of fishing the Yellowstone. I wish I had taken more pictures of the town, it looks like it is from a movie set for a western movie. There were a few cute shops and a really nice art gallery that we went in. We had cocktails at the Mint Bar and the Stockman Bar, before dinner at Campione. The food at Campione was absolutely amazing! It has major big city vibes in this old western town. SO GOOD!!

Our last day we had breakfast at Cafe 191 in Big Sky. It was a standard breakfast spot, but still very good. We packed up and headed back to Bozeman to the airport after breakfast. We had such a great time on our trip. Montana is honestly like nowhere else I have ever been. It is so beautiful. I am looking forward to going back soon, maybe in the winter to ski at Big Sky. We also would love to go back and do a glamping trip with one of the companies that delivers RV’s to the airport when Graham is a little older. It seems like such a fun way to explore with him!