Visit McCall, Idaho when you’re craving an unforgettable family vacation. This gorgeous year-round resort town on the western edge of Valley County lets you easily enjoy summer and winter activities. You can make sandcastles with the kids on the beaches of Payette Lake, as well as bike, rollerblade, go on a run, or take a leisurely stroll along paved paths that weave along the banks of the Snake River. In the winter, bundle up, grab your equipment, and ski down silken hills of powdery snow. Towering peaks, fresh pine-scented air, deep canyons, and breathtaking views of lakes, wildflowers, and local critters make McCall a picturesque getaway. Book a stay at a McCall vacation rental today. Check out the most scenic and fun family-friendly things to do in McCall.

1. McCall Fish Hatchery

Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus (=salmo) tshawytscha)
Source: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

Gather the kids and take a self-guided tour through this working fish hatchery where more than one million Chinook salmon are raised annually, then released into the Salmon River. They migrate to the Pacific Ocean and return as adults, making for some great fishing in the area’s streams, lakes, and rivers. And don’t let the giant Kodiak bear in the visitor’s center scare you or the kids — he’s now just an area rug.

2. McCall Farmer’s Market

Carrots
Source: Flickr/Sharat Ganapati

Grab a basket for the each of the kids and let them go shopping. The friendly local vendors not only share samples of their fresh goodies, but they love to tell the kids about how and where the food is grown. No need for you to carry the tots. Just plop them in one of the cute little red wagons at the market to transport them, keeping your hands free to examine the wares.

3. Ponderosa State Park

Osprey Point; Ponderosa State Park, McCall
Source: Flickr/Linda Paul

Every kid wants to be someone special, and at this state park, Saturday is their day. Kids love being Junior Rangers, and the park’s program introduces them to the local wildlife and the outdoor environment. Encompassing over 1,000 acres of the peninsula on Payette Lake, there are a ton of winter sports to enjoy including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. However, if warm weather makes you yearn to boat, camp, lay on the beach, or picnic, there are two city parks perched right on the lake’s edge.

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4. Charlie’s Garden

Aloe polyphylla Schönland ex Pillans
Source: Flickr/brewbooks

When the kids need to cool their jets and get away from summer crowds for some relaxing solitude, a picnic at Charlie’s Garden is a wonderful way to decompress amid nature’s beautiful bounty. This garden retreat is high-altitude gardening at its best, and the kids are encouraged to wander through the exquisite gardenscapes, chase a butterfly, or just sit on a bench and dream.

5. Boulder Lake

Blue Lake
Source: Pixabay/Pinpals

Boulder Lake is a top pick for family entertainment with easy access and fun things to do along the way. The kids can search for the small waterfalls, ooh-and-ah at the delicate, colorful wildflowers growing along the way, pick some huckleberries, and try to identify the forest critters they encounter. This two-mile climb ends in a quick scramble to the top, and the little ones may need a foot-up, but the stunning views of the alpine lake and surrounding peaks are well worth it.

6. Activity Barn

Time Elapsed Slide
Source: Flickr/keith.bellvay

Everyone from tots to grandparents have fun at the Activity Barn at Brundage Mountain Resort. This must-do winter activity carries tubers to the top of the hill on a magic carpet, leaving them with plenty of energy for the plunge down. When it’s time for a break, head over to the warming tent for hot cocoa and a sandwich.

7. Manchester Ice and Event Center

Ice Skates
Source: Flickr/Benson Kua

Treat the kids to a figure skating, hockey, or curling lesson, or just let them glide around in bliss at Manchester Ice and Event Center. You can join them or just relax, sip a latte, and take in the beauty of the surrounding mountain scenery and beautiful grounds.

8. PLAYLive McCall

Neon Light Face
Source: Flickr/Surian Soosay

Kids can’t seem to get enough of video games, so you might surprise them with a party at PLAYLive. This fun activity center has the latest in games from every genre, and there’s always a tournament to join. If you’re not into the games, grab a bag of popcorn and enjoy a movie while the kids compete with their peers.

9. Whitewater Rafting

The 425-mile Salmon River
Source: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management

Get away from it all for one day or a week on a whitewater rafting trip on the Snake River. The longer excursions stop on the riverside to establish camp, so everyone can fish, swim, and hike until it’s time to raft away to the next destination.

10. Central Idaho Historical Museum

The Fire Wardens House
Source: Facebook/Central Idaho Historical Museum

Step back in time when you enter the Central Idaho Historical Museum, a 1937 American rustic-style cabin that housed the area’s fire warden. You can picnic near the Forester’s Walk and explore Sloan Lookout where rangers kept their eyes peeled for fires. Browse the former bunkhouse for souvenirs, and explore the history of the area at the Pump House Used Books store. Kids find the machine shop fascinating with its 19-foot fly wheel that powered the local mill until 1940.

11. McCall Lake Cruises

Moose Creek - Near Driggs, Idaho
Source: Flickr/TravelingOtter

All aboard the IDAHO, a 62-foot, two-decker vessel that takes you on a leisurely adventure on pristine Payette Lake. An informative and friendly crew keep the kids enchanted and entertained with tales and legends about the Payette Lake region.

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