Gum in Your Hair

A blog for parents under the big sky.

Editors Voice

Family Adventuring : 

photo Inspire Photo Art

 

During the first few weeks of school I have already managed to send my apologies for not being able to make the Parent Open House on Wednesday night, only to have a teacher inform me it actually already happened on Tuesday night. I tried to excuse my eighth grader from the sixth grade classroom because I clearly can’t accept that she’s in her last year of middle school (or I don’t know the difference between my eighth grader and sixth grader, which is more likely) and I completely spaced the kids’ first tumbling practice for cheer. I think I need a break! Or a better method of scheduling.

Despite the demands of multiple jobs and three kids with rigorous sports schedules, taking a real vacation is a luxury I just don’t have – but clearly one I desperately need. So when I need to pull it all back together, the best way for me to do it is with a staycation.

Living in Montana, we sometimes take for granted our surroundings…like mountain ranges, wildlife, rivers, national parks, hot springs and more. It’s so great to occasionally be a tourist in our own state. And if done properly, you can do it for a lot cheaper than the average tourist.

Check for local deals, off-season discounts, etc. Big Sky Resort and Chico Hot Springs offer packages and promotions for locals – as do countless other destinations. The Rainbow Ranch Lodge is offering 50% off rooms this fall! It’s as simple as calling and asking what they’ve got to offer. Common sense dictates that these deals are usually available during bumper seasons, so timing your staycation is fairly essential if you’re looking for a deal.

If the discount isn’t your priority, then booking a long holiday weekend at Big Sky Resort, Discovery Ski Area, Red Lodge or any of our other Montana ski resorts is a great way to spend a few days – and it comes with the added bonus of not having to fly and the freedom to bring whatever you want with you.

If your kids travel for sports, why not add an extra day or two to the tournament weekend and enjoy Missoula, Billings or wherever their travel takes you? Billings and Missoula have great malls with stores we don’t have in Bozeman and Helena, such as American Eagle and Champs at Rimrock Mall and Athleta and H&M at Southgate Mall. Visit museums, historical landmarks and monuments, art galleries – be a total touron!

Create a Montana bucket list with your family. For example: soak in every single hot spring in the state. Or ski every ski area. Or hike X miles next summer.

Like the New Yorker who’s never been to the Statue of Liberty, don’t be the Montanan who’s never toured the Butte mines or seen the Lewis and Clark Caverns … or worse, explored every square inch of Yellowstone Park. U.S. News ranked Yellowstone National Park the third best place to visit in the United States, behind the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, respectively. So VISIT! Book a room in West Yellowstone this winter, explore the park and then take advantage of the Kids ‘N’ Snow weekend programs offered in West. There's dog sledding, cross country skiing, ice skating, snow safety programs and so much more – all extremely appealing to your kids. Heck, double down and add a night in Big Sky to your long weekend – who knew it would be this fun vacationing in your own backyard!

And if you do decide to leave the Last Best Place, please, for the love of God…go somewhere warm and sunny!