Nicknamed the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” Bear Lake is a freshwater lake that stretches equally between Idaho and Utah, as well as features a gorgeous turquoise color. Finding a Bear Lake vacation rental along the shoreline is easy when there are an abundance of unforgettable properties available. Your family can enjoy waking up each morning to beautiful lakefront views, and have breakfast on the deck. Even during the winter months, this lake area offers plenty of activities. Fishing, boating, hiking, cross country skiing, and swimming are just a few of things to do with your family over a long weekend or extended holiday. Check out these top 11 things to do with your children at Bear Lake.
1. The National Oregon / California Trail Center
If the weather turns cold or rainy, take your family to the The National Oregon / California Trail Center and step back in time. Learn more about the Oregon Trail that settlers used to move from the east coast to the west in the mid-1800s. Part of the Oregon Trail winds its way through the northeast section of the county. Hear stories about life on the trail and living out of covered wagons.
Dotted around the lake are several boat ramps where you can put your own boat in the water and dock it at your vacation rental. If you don’t have a boat, several local outfitters, including Bear Lake Rentals, offer day rentals, or you can rent one for the duration of your stay. The lake stretches for more than 100 acres, so there’s plenty of coastlines to explore.
Idaho and Utah offer cold winters and plenty of snow for people who enjoy snowmobiling. In the Bear Lake Valley and surrounding areas, there are more than 350 miles of trails groomed for snowmobiles along with open spaces where you can play. Bear Lake Funtime rents snowmobiles for eight-hour increments. Some of the available rentals have to seat for multiple people, so smaller kids can ride with parents. After a day in the snow, return to your vacation rental and sip hot chocolate by the fireplace.
4. Minnetonka Cave
Drive the short distance to the Minnetonka Cave to escape the heat of the summer and take your family on an underground tour. This cave system features nine separate rooms filled with stalactites, stalagmites and banded travertine. The guided tour takes about an hour and a half, and you cover around a half mile of walking. If you’ve been caving before, make sure to wear clothes that you’ve never worn in any case prior to your visit, as this location has strict policies regarding White Nose Syndrome, a condition that affects bats.
5. Jolara Lanes Bowling Alley
Take a break from the water and visit the Jolara Lanes Bowling Alley for an evening of fun. This bowling alley offers 10 lanes, automatic scoring, and cosmic bowling for the younger crowds. After a couple of games, grab a pizza from the onsite restaurant, or pick up a quick snack from the snack bar so you can keep playing. During the summer months, this bowling alley stays open until 10 pm on Saturday nights.
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Stand along the banks of Bear Lake for an afternoon of fishing, or find a vacation rental with a dock so you can just step out the back door and head to the water. In the summer months, you’re apt to catch a trout, and some of them can weigh up to 30 pounds. When visiting in the winter, you’ll find the lake frozen enough for ice fishing. The Bonneville Cisco spawns close to the shores, and in many cases, you can get them there.
Put on your hiking boots and get the family out of the vacation rental and off the lake for a day in the woods. In the surrounding area, you’ll find numerous walking and hiking trails. The Garden City Park Walkway offers an easy-to-navigate raised wooden platform to see the local flora and fauna. The Great Western Trail runs from Canada to Arizona, and you can hike a part of it in the Bear Lake area.
8. Pickleville Playhouse and Western Cookout
During the summer months, the Pickleville Playhouse and Western Cookout welcomes locals and visitors to watch musicals twice a day. Your kids can enjoy some great western chow cooked on an open fire while watching stage actors sing and dance.
9. Centre Theater
Don’t miss out on the latest blockbuster movie while you’re on vacation with a trip to the Centre Theater. Although you might feel like you’re stepping back in time, this theater actually shows the latest movies. It also has a snack bar with all of your movie favorites. After the movie, grab dinner at one of the locally-owned restaurants in the area.
10. Horseback Riding
If you’re tired of exploring on your feet, why not schedule a horseback riding adventure. In the local area, there are a host of stables that offer trail rides. MW Quarter Horses provides lessons for your entire family, or you can just hit the trails on your own. At Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, your kids are sure to squeal with delight as they climb into a covered wagon for a ride around Bear Lake.
11. Cross-Country Skiing
During the winter months, cross-country skiing becomes one of the more popular activities. Your family can head over to Logan Canyon and Emigration Canyon to navigate the extensive trails through the woods and valleys for skiers. Another popular cross-country skiing spot is the Bear Lake Golf Course. Store your skis in your vacation rental, or contact one of the local outfitters to rent your equipment.
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