The charming resort town of McCall, Idaho is nestled on the southern end of Payette Lake, which is situated in the middle of the Payette National Forest about 100 miles north of Boise. The breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenery, lovely pristine lake, and year-round opportunities for outdoor activities make McCall a popular destination. Spring and summer attractions accessible near many McCall vacation rentals include kayaking, cycling, boating, and fishing. During the winter, you can enjoy downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Here are the top things to do in and around McCall.
1. Explore the Lake With Backwoods Adventures Kayaking
Kayaking is a great method of exploring Payette Lake and the rivers around it, and Backwoods Adventures rents kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards to help you navigate these gorgeous wilderness waters. The company has two locations. One is in a quiet wilderness area in North Beach at the northern end of Payette Lake. The other is in front of the visitor’s center to Ponderosa State Park, a lovely forested peninsula on the northeast side of McCall. As you paddle, watch for wildlife such as moose, elk, deer, bears, and minks along the shore. Overhead, you may spot bald eagles, ospreys, Canadian geese, mallards, and many other bird species.
2. Go Biking With a Rental From Gravity Sports
The forests and mountains around McCall have hundreds of miles of public trails that are perfect for mountain biking at beginning and advanced levels. For instance, Foothills Park in nearby Tamarack has 15 miles of family-friendly cycling track. For intermediate riders, the 11-mile Crestline Trail takes you past several small mountain lakes, and the 20 Mile Trail gives you an uphill and downhill run at Upper Payette Lake. Alternatively, use your bikes to get around town. Gravity Sports in McCall has mountain bikes, kids bikes, and baby trailers to meet your cycling needs. If you want company, join a group road ride leaving from the Gravity Sports shop on Pine Street in McCall.
3. See the Natural Beauty With Payette Lake Cruises
To give you a chance to relax and enjoy the splendid scenery in comfort, Payette Lake Cruises offers excursions aboard the Idaho, a 90-passenger cruise ship. The spacious interior heated cabin has a full-service bar, and up top is a sun deck with a 360-degree view. Join a public daytime or sunset cruise, or book the entire ship for a special event. The company also offers themed cruises aboard the Idaho for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and other holiday occasions.
4. Rent Boats and Jet Skis From Cheap Thrills Rentals
One of the greatest attractions in the McCall area is the clear calm surface of Payette Lake, which is perfect for water sports. Find the equipment you need for water skiing, tubing, and jet skiing at Cheap Thrills Rentals. The 19 to 23-foot ski boats have swim steps with boarding ladders, bow seating, wakeboards, and ski gear. Pontoon boats, which are great for tubing, include boarding ladders and tow tubes. All boats also have protective shade canopies and life jackets. If you’re in the mood for some speedy jet skiing, Cheap Thrills rents swift two or three seat WaveRunners equipped with life jackets and wetsuits.
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5. Enjoy a Day at McCall Golf Club
Play three separate nine-hole courses in a magnificent setting surrounded by mountain peaks and evergreen forests at the McCall Golf Club. Conveniently located on the eastern side of town just south of Ponderosa State Park, the club features easy-to-walk tree-lined fairways, a full pro shop, and equipment rentals. Golfers often glimpse wildlife near the courses. The facility also has a driving range and a full-service restaurant and bar. Professional golfers offer lessons to groups or individuals.
6. Catch Your Own Dinner With Taylor Outfitting Fishing Equipment and Lessons
The lakes and rivers around McCall are uncrowded and abound in opportunities to fish for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, steelhead, smallmouth bass, and numerous other types of fish. Taylor Outfitting in McCall provides lessons in knots, casting, flies, and techniques of fly fishing. When you’re ready, head on up into the backcountry on fishing trips with expert guides. Half-day trips to local streams and creeks are perfect family-friendly activities. Drift boat float trips often yield enormous trout. For an adventurous challenge, take a day-long hike to high mountain lakes and streams for some excellent fishing in the pristine wilderness.
7. Hit the Slopes at Brundage Mountain Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
The McCall area receives about 300 inches of annual snowfall and in winter, becomes a wonderland of exciting sports attractions. One of the best locations to go for alpine skiing and snowboarding is just north of McCall at Brundage Mountain. The snow is always deep, and skiers have numerous opportunities for diversity on the runs or on off-run routes. Close to the Kid’s Center is an easy, family-friendly beginner’s slope. Other slopes provide plenty of challenges for intermediate and expert skiers. You can rent skis and snowboards, and lessons are available for all ages.
8. Practice Your Twirls at Manchester Ice and Event Centre
The Manchester Ice and Event Centre near the shore of Payette Lake in central McCall provides a great year-round facility where enthusiasts of all ages can strap on some blades and hit the ice. This spacious ice skating rink schedules public skating every day. The facility offers private and group lessons for children and adults in standard ice skating and figure skating. Check the schedules for times when you can watch teams compete in figure skating, curling, and hockey.
9. Stretch Your Legs at Bear Basin Nordic Center
Nordic skiing, also known as cross-country skiing, is a popular attraction in the McCall area. Bear Basin Nordic Ski Center at the western edge of town offers almost 20 miles of beautiful trails through open meadows and stands of towering Ponderosa pines. The center also offers private and group lessons in classic cross-country skiing and skate skiing techniques. When you need to warm up, head for the nearby lodge at Little Ski Hill for drinks and food.
10. Hot Springs
Several mineral-rich geothermal hot springs in the McCall area have the ability to soothe tired muscles after a session of stimulating activities. Burgdorf Hot Springs, located northeast of town in the Payette National Forest, has a hot spring-fed swimming pool that maintains a temperature of 100 degrees year round, and two smaller pools with hotter temperatures. Just south of town, Gold Fork Hot Springs has six pools that spill down one into another, including a shallow pool with a sandy bottom that’s great for children. Zim’s Hot Springs, northeast of McCall in New Meadows, has an Olympic-sized pool kept at 93 degrees and a smaller and hotter soaking pool.
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