July 20, 2018
My wonderful Mother in Law grew up in the Bear Lake area and so my husband and I (and now our kids) have been going to Bear Lake every summer since before we got married. Garden City is located on the southwest shores of Bear Lake and each summer it turns into a tourist hot spot with thousands of visitors that flock to the area for the turquoise blue water and incredible scenery.
Before you plan your next trip to Garden City, check out all of the fun things there are to do in and around the Bear Lake area. (Click here for a map of the area.)
- Bear Lake is known as the "Carribean of the Rockies" because of its beautiful blue color. You can access the south end beaches from Garden City.
- You can rent motor boats, sail boats, canoes and wave runners near the lake.
- Bear Lake is known for its year round fishing, especially for the Bonneville Cisco during the winter.
Pickleville Playhouse - Tickets $15-$26
- Pickleville Playhouse has been providing family friendly plays and melodramas for 40 years.
- You can also purchase tickets for dinner next door at the Pickleville Grill.
- - If you are a golfer, Bear Lake Golf Course gets great reviews and is located just South of Bear Lake on Sweetwater Hill.
Escape at Bear Lake Escape Rooms - $10-$12 per person
- Escape at Bear Lake is relatively new in Garden City.
- Escape rooms are Bear Lake themed. (Bear Lake Monster Escape and Butch Cassidy Bank Heist)
- Rooms accommodate up to 15 people.
- Raspberry shakes are a must when in Garden City. There are a handful of drive through and walk up places to get a shake but my family is especially fond of the fries, raspberry shakes and Dole Whips at Zipz. (They didn't pay me to say this, it's just our go-to place since they opened a few years ago. Great vibe, plenty of seating and good food.)
- In late July and August, the famous Bear Lake Raspberries are in season and you can pick your own raspberries at Bear Lake Raspberry Co in Laketown or pick them up at their stand in Garden City at 60 N. Bear Lake Blvd.
- Bear Lake Raspberry Days includes craft booths, parade, rodeo (in Laketown) and fireworks. It's held the first full weekend in August. It is a busy weekend around Garden City but tons of fun.
- There are hiking, biking and ATV trails all around Garden City.
- One of my favorites is the Bear Lake Bike Trail. It is a popular 4.5-mile long trail that runs along Bear Lake Blvd. Bike and ATV rentals are available in the area.
Garden City Fishing Pond - Free
- If fishing the lake isn't your cup of tea, this cute fishing pond is located right in town. It has a paved sidewalk all of the way around the pond, a fishing dock and a small play area for kids.
- Perfect for kids, there is a 2 fish limit and if you are over 12 years old you will need a valid fishing license.
City Park Boardwalk - Free
- We recently discovered this cute little boardwalk that leads from the city park to a small beach area. The beach area is mostly packed dirt and rocks but it was the perfect place to play after dinner. You can access the boardwalk by parking at the city park.
- While we didn't have a stroller or wheelchair, it looked like it would be accessible by either.
Lodging - Cost Varies
- Motels and Hotels
- Conestoga Ranch Glamping
- Cabins/Homes For Rent - Bear Lake Lodging, Airbnb, HomeAway
*The following places are not located in Garden City but in surrounding communities in the Bear Lake Valley.
Paris Ice Cave - Free
- Located 30 miles north of Bear Lake in Paris Canyon is the Paris Ice Cave where you can find ice all year long.
- It's a "cool" cave to explore so be sure and bring a jacket.
- FYI- Paris Canyon Road is a dirt road (usually well maintained) and we often find grazing cattle roaming across the road. It will take approximately 1 hr to get from Garden City to the Ice Cave.
- Minnetonka Cave is located in St. Charles Canyon, about 45 minutes north of Garden City.
- It is 1/2 mile of stalactites, stalagmites and branded travertine in 9 separate rooms.
- It stays around 40 degrees all year long, so dress accordingly.
- It is a popular tour in the summer, so plan ahead and purchase tickets before you go.
- Located north of Bear Lake is the Bear Lake Bird Refuge. Bring a set of binoculars and you may see Sandhill Cranes, Ducks, Herons, White Pelicans and Canadian Geese.
Bear Lake West Golf Course – Fees Vary
- Located in Fish Haven, just over the border in Idaho is the Bear Lake West Golf Course. Gorgeous views of the lake on this 9 hole golf course.
- Located in Paris, Idaho, you can take a tour of this architecturally beautiful LDS Tabernacle and learn about the early settlers of the Bear Lake Valley.
- Located 30 minutes north of Garden City on US 89.
Oregon California Trail Center - Adults $12, Youth $9, Kids $5
- The National Oregon California Trail Center is located in Montpelier, Idaho approximately 40 minutes from Garden City.
- Tours teach about the pioneers who travelled through this area on the Oregon/California Trail.
I hope you enjoy exploring Garden City and surrounding Bear Lake Valley as much as we have! Please leave a comment if you have a fun suggestion for things to do near Garden City/Bear Lake.