Things to Do Around Bear Lake

A Comprehensive Guide to Place and Activities Around Bear Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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Bear Lake is a popular destination for visitors from Utah and Idaho, known for its brilliant turquoise waters and spectacular scenery. The area around Bear Lake is a recreation playground, with dozens of fun activities both in and out of the water.

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    Boating and water sports are the most popular activities on Bear Lake's deep, clear, turquoise blue waters. You can bring your own boat or jet ski, or rent one at the lake.

    Use the Bear Lake Visitors Bureau's Interactive Map to find all the boat ramps and docks at Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho. For boat rentals, a Google search reveals about a dozen options.

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    Bear Lake's most popular beaches are Rendezvous Beach and Ideal Beach in Utah, as well as North Beach and East Beach in Idaho. Water levels and water temperatures vary at these beaches, so it's good to check ahead of time to make sure conditions are right for a fun day at the beach.

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    There are plenty of places to stay near Bear Lake, for any size group. With a little searching you can find hotels, motels, inns, condos, cabins and campgrounds. One of the largest developments for hotel, motel and condo rentals is Ideal Beach Resort. The Bear Lake area is dotted with campgrounds and RV parks, including public campgrounds at Bear Lake State Park Utah, Bear Lake State Park Idaho, St. Charles Canyon, and Montpelier Ranger District.

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    Most food places around Bear Lake are grocery stores, convenience stores, delis, or burger stands, but two full-service restaurants I would recommend are Cafea Sabor (Mexican) and Cooper's at Bear Lake West.

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    The Bear Lake area's signature dessert is the Bear Lake raspberry shake. You can get a thick shake made with local raspberries (in season) and local ice cream almost anywhere in the area that sells food, but some of the favorite places to get them are LeBeau's, Quick-N-Tasty, and Hometown Drive Inn, all in Garden City.

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    If you feel like getting out of the water and exploring the gorgeous natural scenery around Bear Lake, you can take one of the area's scenic byways, including the Oregon Trail Bear Lake Scenic Byway, the Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway, the Bear River Heritage Area or Bloomington Lake.

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    Minnetonka Cave, about 15 miles away from Garden City up St. Charles Canyon, makes a great change of pace or rainy day activity during your trip to Bear Lake. It's a 9-room cave filled with fanciful rock formations, that you can explore on a half-mile guided hike. Admission to the cave is $8 for adults, $6 for children 6-15, and free for children 5 and younger as of October 2016. Bring a jacket; the cave is a cool 40 degrees year round.

    Directions: Take U.S. 89 north from Garden City, Utah, or south from Montpelier, Idaho, to St. Charles. Drive 11 miles west from St. Charles along Forest Road 412. The road is paved to its end at Minnetonka Cave.

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    Bryce, the knowledgeable and entertaining owner of Cisco's boat rental and docking facility, knows as much as anyone about Bear Lake's history, geology, wildlife and folklore. Bryce will take your party of up to six people on a personalized tour of the lake, on a 24-foot pontoon boat.

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    The Bear Lake town of Garden City holds its Raspberry Days festival the first weekend of August, to celebrate the peak of the raspberry harvest. Raspberry Days events include a Little Miss Berry pageant, craft fair, parade, rodeo, 5K run, pancake breakfast, dances, and fireworks on the beach.

    Visit Garden City's Website

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    The Pickleville Playhouse in Garden City, in business since 1977, performs hilarious melodramas and lighthearted Broadway favorites. It's a fun date night or family outing after a day on the lake. The onsite restaurant, Bandito's Western Grill, serves western favorites like steak and grilled chicken.

    2049 S. Bear Lake Blvd.
    Garden City, UT 84028
    (435) 946-2918

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    For trail riding around beautiful Bear Lake, you can bring your own horses to explore trails in the Cache and Caribou National Forests, or take a guided ride with one of several outfitters in the area.

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    Birds and wildlife are abundant in the Bear Lake area, but one of the best areas for birdwatching is the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, about 10 miles from Montpelier, Idaho. The refuge is home to sandhill cranes, herons, snowy egret, white pelicans and a variety of ducks and geese. Walking trails take you to view the birds and other wildlife found at the refuge.

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    Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities around Bear Lake, which is surrounded by national forests. It's even possible to road bike all the way around the lake, a distance of about 50 miles. Bicycle rentals are available at the Bear Lake KOA.

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    In winter the Bear Lake area becomes a snowmobiler's paradise, with hundreds of miles of trails. Use your own equipment or rent equipment from one of several outfitters in the area.

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    The Bear Lake area boasts three beautiful golf courses - Montpelier City Golf Course, Bear Lake Golf Course, and Bear Lake West Golf Course. All three are nine hole courses.

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    Beaver Mountain, about 15 miles from Bear Lake, offers affordable snow skiing with six lifts. Adult day passes are only $45 as of October 2016.

    40000 East Highway 89, Garden City, UT 84023
    (435) 946-3610

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    Bear Lake is known for trophy-size cutthroat trout and lake trout. In winter, the Bonneville Cisco, which live only in Bear Lake, can be caught with nets through holes in the ice.