After the final school bell of the year rang in Vermont, the Bowen big kids and I were off on a trip I've been eyeing since before Kendal was born. We first heard about The Resort at Paws Up through a friend, and I'd been waiting until my kids were finally age-appropriate to really make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime experience. Throw into a little Montana-envy after binging four straight seasons of Paramount's Yellowstone and we were off to America's private national park.
Leading up to the trip, Kendal, Scarlett, Jack and I had a blast planning all of our western outfits... we even checked a bag filled with cowboy hats we picked out on Amazon together! So, needless to say we dressed the part the minute we headed to Boston Logan International Airport.
When we got onto our flight after laying over in Chicago, I was floored when Kelsey Asbille, who plays Monica Dutton on Yellowstone, got on behind us. (I shamelessly snapped a celebrity photo and sent it to my family group text, too.)
After we landed in Missoula and grabbed our bags, we were picked up by the resort in a luxury sprinter van for the short, 45-minute drive to the property. As we inched closer and closer to our 'glamping' adventure, we were awestruck by Montana's 'Big Sky' as we pulled into The Resort at Paws Up. (Truly, I've never seen clouds as beautiful and seemingly so close in my life.) The vastness is breathtaking, the mountains are snow-capped and you immediately want to grab your cowgirl hat and boots and soak it all in.
I've had so many trips where you arrive and you're kind of scrambling, trying to figure out where to eat and what activity to cross off of your list first. What was really unique about planning a trip to Paws Up is after each guest books their trip, they're put in touch with their own private concierge to work together on an itinerary that best suits their family for the entire stay.
So, when we arrived we knew exactly what we were going to do and it just made the entire experience that much more relaxing knowing that we'd be able to fit everything in that we were hoping to. First up? Lunch and a little R&R before an ATV tour of the property.
If you're interested in making the trip, I highly recommended you plan well in-advance of when you're planning on going. After missing the boat a bit when I initially went to book our stay, I kept on checking and re-checking to see if any rooms became available. (We knew we needed to squeeze the trip in after school and before all summer activities and sports started up, which I feel like many parents can relate to!)
I finally lucked out when I checked back and there was a two-bedroom accommodation available at Moonlight Camp. It is truly the most luxurious, yet at the same time authentic, 'camp' I've ever laid my eyes on. (Paws Up refers to Moonlight Camp as a 'Greetings from Montana!' postcard come to life and that about sums it up.)
The next few days were filled with activities, but there was still plenty of time for relaxing and taking in all of the beauty that was around us. Kendal's pick? Definitely horseback riding. From the 45-minute lesson on day two to the trail rides that followed each day, Kendal literally fell in love with one of the horses there and probably could've spent the entire week on horseback.
Jack's 'must-do' would probably be the Skyline Aerial Adventure. The ropes course at Paws Up was unlike anything my kids had ever seen or experienced. It's tucked away in the woods and definitely a little heart-racing at times, but the kids loved challenging themselves.
Scarlett's top recommendation would probably be the Go-Kart experience! Driving around the half-mile outdoor track with the mountains all around you in just a sight to behold. (Unsurprisingly, things got pretty competitive, too!)
My favorite part of all? Just watching my kids have the best time in nature. It was the most incredible, authentic experience I could provide them. Though we love our hikes, farm life, snowshoeing and skiing back in Vermont, this was an entirely new outdoor experience and a part of nature we simply can't access back home.
Montana's vastness will take your breath away. From horseback riding with snow-capped mountains in the distance to waking up in the woods, it was the trip of a lifetime and The Resort at Paws Up went above and beyond to ensure everyone had a memorable experience.
Sky Line Aerial Adventure Park
Go-Kart Racing (Things can get competitive... pretty quickly.)
Horseback Arena Lessons
Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides
River Adventures (Options for all ages!)
All-Inclusive Activities (Including tennis, nature hikes, archery & more.)
The food & dining experience at Paws Up is an experience in and of itself. With a former French Laundry chef leading the property's culinary direction, each bite was more delicious than the last. We kicked off each morning with a Camp Breakfast, and our dinners at Pomp Restaurant were incredible.
We opted for a camping (*glamping*) experience, but there are luxury home options available for guests, as well. Our Moonlight Camp two-bedroom tent was perfect for our stay. (Un-zipping the windows each morning to the most picturesque sunrise and view of the mountains blew us away.)
A once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Bowen big kids & I... maybe twice, when Georgia's old enough to return (and, of course, Ryan)!
OUR PACKING LIST:
We headed out to Paws Up during a shoulder season, so our packet list was all about layering. Here's a look at what we packed & what we'd recommend for future trips!