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Things to do at Bear Lake

Bear Lake...The Carribean of the Rockies.

Bear Lake…The Carribean of the Rockies.

This isn’t your usual Bear Lake post. Most people want to go to Bear Lake just for the beach, and we do that, too. But there is so much more to do in this area.

 

Let’s start with the lake itself, though. Bear Lake is sometimes called the Caribbean of the Rockies. This is because of the beautiful aqua color of the water. Though it’s hard to capture in photos, it does look a little bit like Aruba. The other great thing about the lake is that the beach is very shallowly sloped. This means that the water doesn’t get deep fast. In fact, we walked out nearly 100 yards and still didn’t get the water up much past our belly-buttons. This makes it awesome for kids. It also means that the water is much warmer than it would be if it were deeper. So the beach at Bear Lake is incredible.

The water is so shallow! It makes it fun for the kids to be able to play in the water.

The water is so shallow! It makes it fun for the kids to be able to play in the water.

There are a few public beaches at Bear Lake, and they are not equal. Rendezvous Beach on the Utah side (south end) is a great place for boating and playing, but there is more mud than some people like.

North Beach State Park

North Beach in Idaho has much more sugary sand, and feels much more like a California Beach. The problem with this beach is that there are thousands (literally) of people that go there on a hot summer day. Either way, a trip to Bear Lake requires a lot of beach time.

This is North Beach on a cold, windy Thursday. On Saturday there wasn't one space between the cars. You can drive right to the edge of the water and they have picnic tables you can try to claim if you're there in time.

This is North Beach on a cold, windy Thursday.

Garden City Park & Beach

Garden City has a public beach that does not require a fee, and you can find access to it by going to Garden City Park. It’s a little bit of a walk down to the beach, but it’s nice and FREE.

Garden City Beach

Garden City Beach

But honestly, Dad doesn’t like the beach much. Three hours on the beach and he is set for the year. So this post will focus on other things to do on a visit to Bear Lake. Click on any of the links below to read a full review of things to do at Bear Lake:

 

Paris Ice Cave:

Located about 15 miles north of Garden City, Paris, Idaho has several attractions that are worth your time (see below). Paris Ice Cave is a 10 mile drive on a dirt road, but it is our favorite site in the area. There are pillars of ice in a dark cave even in mid-July!

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Paris Tabernacle:

If you’re not up for the drive out to the Ice Cave, at least drive up to Paris and see the LDS Tabernacle. Built in the 1880s, it is still a working church building today. Across the street is a small historical museum, too.

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Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge:

This beautiful refuge features birds and other animals and even a few hiking trails.

Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge has some fun hiking trails and beautiful scenery.

Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge has some fun hiking trails and beautiful scenery.

Limber Pine Trail:

If hiking is your thing, you can head up to the summit of Logan Canyon a few miles west of Garden City and hike to a 600 year old limber pine tree. The hike is an easy 1.3 miles and very beautiful.

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Bloomington Lake:

A beautiful alpine lake at the top of the mountain features a sweet rope swing and cool water. Best of all, you get to hike through the forest to get there.

Bloomington Lake is beautiful, but busy. There is also an arch up in the rock walls up there.

Bloomington Lake is beautiful, but busy. There is also an arch (natural bridge?) up in the rock walls up there.

LaBeau’s Restaurant:

Famous for it’s fresh raspberry shakes, this restaurant always has a line out front. You can get burgers and fries right in downtown Garden City at this local favorite.

Mmmm...raspberry shakes.

Mmmm…raspberry shakes.

Minnetonka Cave:

This large cave features guided tours given by the forest service. There are 9 different rooms in the cave, which ventures deep into the mountain where it is a cool 40 degrees and very beautiful.

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Bike Barn

The Bike Barn offers lots of different bike rentals for you to explore more of Garden City, including these fun surreys that can fit a family.

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Garden City Pond

Not far off the main Bear Lake Blvd, is a small pond for fishing. Garden City Pond has a walking trail around it, and a tiny playground. This is a great spot to escape the crowds.

Garden City Pond 9

4 Comments

  • We discovered a huge cabin rental by a company called Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals that sleeps 30+. 9 bedrooms with a theater and full game room. We loved it. Thought I would add it to your list renting a huge home with a group makes for one of the best vacations to Bear Lake. If you want to see this home its on their site http://www.ubvrs.com

    • Thanks! There are lots of great opportunities like this. We actually stayed in the Lighthouse (easily seen in North Garden City), which houses 60! Our neighborhood rented it out and we all stayed together!

      ~UAF

    • We stayed at a rental home with extended family on the northeast corner of the lake. It had a private beach and room for 20. It was called the Three Bears Cottage.