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.)
There are 4 main Beaches at Bear Lake:
- Rendezvous Beach ($15 per vehicle, $20 on peak days) includes flush toilets, showers, grassy areas, and beach
- Garden City Park Boardwalk (Free) includes flush toilets. This beach is smaller and rockier.
- North Beach ($14 per vehicle non-Idaho vehicle) includes vault toilets and lots of sandy beach – Reservations now required as of 2022. Go here to make your reservation.
- East Beach ($14 per vehicle non-Idaho vehicle) includes vault toilets, some grassy areas and sandy beach
Bear Lake State Park – $15 per vehicle (more fee info)
- 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 $26-$30
- 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.
Bear Lake Golf Course – rates vary
- – If you are a golfer, Bear Lake Golf Course gets great reviews and is located just South of Bear Lake on Sweetwater Hill.
BridgerLand Adventure Park – prices start at $5
- This adventure park was added last Summer 2019. It is located off the side of the street as you drive down the mountain towards the Lake in Garden City.
- Includes tubing, Climbing wall, ropes course, giant swing, zipline. Disc Golf and Playground are free.
Credit: Renegade Raceway Facebook
Renegade Raceway – Starts at $9.25 per ride
- Go-Kart in Garden City. You will notice this race track as you drive down Logan Canyon Road.
World Famous Raspberries and Raspberry Shakes – costs vary
- 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.
Cycling, Hiking, ATV Trails – Free
- 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 – Adults $12, Youth $9, Under 5 Free OR all immediate family is just $48
- 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.
Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge -Free
- 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 traveled 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.
Diana Lee saysOctober 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm
This place is serene and just breathtaking. I was on vacation there only 3 days ago and I have nothing but praises for that lovable place. The people there are very sweet and hospitable. Our hotel was also beautiful and a skip and a hop from Bear Lake. I was able to take a stroll down there at night and see the stars. One can easily sit and gaze at the stars while you pray… I actually saw a beautiful, bright shooting star.
Fall is also a great time to visit. Warm embraces to everyone.?
Joani saysOctober 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm
So glad you had a good time.
Marie saysJuly 30, 2017 at 8:47 pm
Loved this post! The Bear Lake valley is a beautiful place to vacation in the summer. Since I grew up there, I may be a little partial and prejudiced, but you did an excellent job of pointing out some of the places to see and things to do!
Joani saysJuly 31, 2017 at 5:34 am
Thanks so much Marie. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.