McCall is located on a thin area of land between Payette National Forest and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, with Lake Cascade to the south and Lake Payette to the north. Few places are so happily placed among the glory of nature, making it the perfect location to find a house for the weekend and kick back. If wildlife and wilderness are your things, then consider staying at one of these top McCall vacation rental locations.

1. Payette Drive, McCall

Payette Drive runs along the southwest side of Payette Lake to the east of Payette National Forest and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Get a place on the lake, optimal if you have a family boat or jet skis, and split your time between playing in the water and hiking in the mountains. Conveniently, Ya-Hoo Corrals lies just a few streets away so you can grab a few horses and explore the area on horseback.

2. Crescent, McCall

Go a little to the south and you hit Crescent, a neighborhood of McCall. Like Payette Drive, Crescent sits on the lake and borders the Payette National Forest. You can grab a rental on the lake or a few streets inland. Either way, you have quick water access via the public use areas. Even a public dock for your boat is available. Take your kids on an outing to the Alpine Mist Morgan Horse Farm, and take a few mounts through the many trails threading through Payette National Forest.

3. Southwest Payette Lake, McCall

The area just southwest of Payette Lake lies just close enough to downtown McCall to make getting a quick bite easy while still enjoying a feeling of privacy in your home away from home. The river that runs through the town is the perfect place to canoe or raft. Get a bit of education in at the Central Idaho Historical Museum, and then spend a relaxing afternoon golfing at Whitetail Club.

4. Downtown, McCall

Along the south bank of the lake sits downtown, McCall. The downtown area is just big enough to boast several eateries such as The Sushi Bar, Steamers Steak and Seafood, Fog lifter Cafe, and Bistro 45—to name a few—and small enough for that small town vibe perfect for visiting quaint shops and hidden gems. Keep your boat at the marina or stop at Legacy Park, which is located on the water and features sand beaches and grass play areas.

5. Southeast Payette Lake, McCall

Choose a vacation rental on the southwest side of the lake to enjoy privacy and access to the extensive McCall Golf Club. Enjoy a scenic drive with the family along the lake front or wind through the wooded roads inland. After a day out exploring nature and the more populous areas of town, settle in at your rental to watch the sunset over the lake.

6. Ponderosa State Park

Ponderosa State Park runs up between the two branches of the lake. A few, spread out vacation rentals gives you the most privacy, perfect for gathering together for a family reunion or reconnecting with the kids. Plus, you can drive or hike up to Porcupine Point. Bathrooms, showers, and year-round day-use access mean you can hike, camp, and ski any time of the year with modern amenities at your fingertips.

7. Valley View, McCall

Valley View is a rural neighborhood in southwestern McCall. Like Ponderosa State Park, you get a great deal of privacy here. The lake lies only minutes to the north, so you can get all your water fun in, and the downtown area lies equally close to the northeast, so that no matter where you stay, you can be close to the action.

8. East Side, McCall

East Side runs along the eastern branch of the lake. Dotted liberally with lake houses, you can fish off your own pier or keep your kayaks on hand. You’re also within walking distance of Payette National Forest. Hike to Sawtooth or Snowslide Peaks—or ski them in the winter—when you need a break from swimming and sunbathing.

9. Warren Wagon Road, McCall

Warren Wagon Road runs from the northern peak of Payette Lake down along the western side. Go tubing along the river that flows into the lake. You can even rent canoes and kayak as Backwoods Adventures, located at the mouth of the river. Explore Dead Horse Creek or boat across to Ponderosa State Park. If you want a more intimate lake experience, hike up to Brundage Reservoir or Goose Lake in the mountains of Payette National Forest. You can even take a day on the trail and stay at the campgrounds before heading back to your lake house.

10. Lake Fork

Lake Fork lies a few miles south of McCall, making it a quick trip up to Lake Payette or down to Lake Cascade. While down at Lake Cascade, spend a relaxing day at the resort, or opt for a hike in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Both Pollock Mountain and North Star Butte offering challenging hikes for older kids, or you can take a scenic drive along Smokey Boulder Road.