Bear Lake

Bear Lake: 5 Things to Do When You Visit

Here are 5 things that are a must when you visit Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho. There is a little something for everyone.

Have you been lucky enough to visit Bear Lake in Utah and Idaho? It truly is one amazing place. Maybe it’s because I grew up going to Bear Lake every other summer. Maybe it’s because I have some wonderful memories tide to that place. Or maybe, just maybe it’s because it’s one amazing place!

It has been quite a few years since I have been there. About a month ago we had a family reunion there. My parents, my sisters and their families, and my little family were all there. 10 adults, 3 teenagers, 11 kids. It was one packed house.

Literally, we had a packed house, a huge house. We rented a house in Garden City. It was a cute lakeside town. The main road goes down the middle of the town. One side is the Bear Lake with houses. The other side is a mountain/hill with more houses.

There are way more than 5 things to do at Bear Lake. These were some of my favorites. And they are good for a wide range of ages.

Minnetonka Cave

When I was a little girl I had been to Minnetonka Caves. I didn’t remember too much about it. I was happy to return. We had to wait about 45 minutes for our tour time. You cannot make tour arrangements until you are there.

I hear there can be some long lines and wait times. We went on a Sunday afternoon. I would suggest going during the week or on Sunday. Saturdays can be long waits. So try planning accordingly.

You get to go on a tour with a tour guide. Our tour guide was funny and kind. The guide takes about 90 minutes. There are about 440 stairs to go up and down. Some of them are steep and long. But you take breaks to look at things and hear about the cave.

It is also a consistent 40 degrees. So bring a jacket. Because of all of the stairs you cannot bring a stroller into the caves. If you have young kiddos you will need to plan on carrying them or bringing some sort of carrier. But don’t let that stop you from going. It’s worth it!

If you make it to Bear Lake then you need to find your way to Minnetonka Cave. It is a great activity to learn about the cave and get out of the sun.

Bike Trail

In Garden City, Utah there is a bike trail that parallels the main road. It’s pretty flat and paved. This makes is nice for kids to ride their own bikes.

Our 3 year old started out riding her bike. I was the lucky one who stayed with her. I was going so slowly that I barley had to pedal and I also feel over a few times. After about 15 minutes she wanted to turn around and go back.

Music to my ears!

I walked and pushed my bike while she biked, mostly back. Once she was safely with my dad and cousins I took off. I got to go on a fun 30-40 minute bike ride, alone. That was my good karma after staying with my cute 3 year old.

Bear Lake

The bike path was a blast! I was grateful that we went through the hassle of bringing our bikes. If you don’t have bikes or cannot bring yours you are in luck. There are a few places right on the bike trail where you can rent individual bikes or group bikes for up to 6 people.

You can take it slow and enjoy the ride and scenery. Or you can take is a bit faster and get a good workout. The path starts around the North end of Garden City and goes to about Ideal Beach Condos. If you get hungry along the way you can stop at many of the shake shops to get a bit to eat.


We decided to drive about 30 minutes to get to the North Shore. The North Beach is better and a lot less rocks. The sand is a little coarse but the kids didn’t mind at all and still have a ton of fun playing in the sand.

We didn’t bring up or rent a boating boat. That is a huge part of Bear Lake. If you have access to a boat and have the time to spend a few days on the beach, that is the way to go. Water skiing, tubing, boat rides are all loves of mine. It has sadly been way too many years though.

This time around we had a canoe and a kayak. They were both fun to go out and ride around. The water was still pretty chilly at this time. And the weather was also cold with some wind. Only a few brave souls got all the way in the water.

Bear Lake

The rest went in the boats, played on the beach with sand toys, or rested in the shade of the canopy we brought. Don’t forget to bring hats, sunblock, life jackets, things to play with, and of course food. Haha!

The cost was either $5 or $6 for the day. They have picnic tables and bathrooms. Nothing fancy but it does the trick.

You for sure need to plan at least one beach day when you travel to Bear Lake.

Raspberry Shakes

Another thing that is a must is letting your taste buds have a hay day with raspberry shakes. Of course there are many other flavors, but why when you can have fresh raspberry shakes? Depending on the time of year they are fresh…

Bear Lake

There are so many places to get shakes around Bear Lake. We did a taste test with 3 places close by in Garden City. Our favorite was Zipz. Their raspberry shakes had the most flavor. It was a bit of heaven! 🙂

I personally didn’t try any of the food but I heard good things about the restaurants there. Maybe next time…


What would a family reunion be without plenty of fun back at the house? We love to play games in our family, so of course there were tons of games played. The kids had a great time playing slap jack. They would cheer each other on.

My mom had planned a few crafts to do with the kids. Which they really loved doing. And of course the kids watched a few movies.

The neighborhood we stayed in had a community pool and hot tub. What made it a blast was the little water guns I brought. Two of my sisters and most of the kids were in the pool armed with their own water gun. We laughed and squirted each other for a long time.

It sure was fun to be able to spend 5 days with my family making memories, eating yummy food, playing games, swimming, and spending time together. Being in Bear Lake and letting my kids experience it for the first time put a huge smile on my face.

Bear Lake

A major plus was I was the only one to get hurt. We blame it on the lame can opener at the house. It was old and bad! My can of beans was almost open, just to parts across from each other that were still attached.

I tried to push the lid down and bam! I sliced my finger on the lid edge. As I tried to be calm because there were little kids around I quickly put my finger under water. I also calmly told my mom.

She came over and took over. I looked away because I am a baby. After one look at it she asked Eddy to come over. It was her tone of voice. It was worse then I thought. But Eddy said I didn’t need to go to insta care. Thank goodness.

My mom was putting a lot of pressure on my finger to try to get the bleeding to slow down. And because I am a baby I started to feel weird.

I mentioned it so my mom had me sit down. The next thing I know my mom is shoving my head down between my legs.

She doesn’t just leave it there, she continues to push on my head while I’m trying to put it back up. Haha!!! I almost had to yell that I was okay for her to let my head up.

She totally went into mom mood and her nursing background kicked into full gear. 🙂 Love you mom! Thanks for taking such great care of me and my finger.

It has healed up nicely. I almost cut a chunk of my skin off, so gross!! The area is tender and is raised a little bit from the rest of my skin. It could take a bit of time before the tenderness and numbness of that area to heal.

At least I don’t have to have a big black glove secured with Gorilla tape to shower or be able to get my hand wet. LOL!

Have you had the chance to visit Bear Lake? I hope you have or at least you put it on your list of places to visit.

What are some fun things you like to do when you get together with your family?

Xoxo, Steph

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  1. Oh the memories! It was so fun. Too bad your finger was sliced. The last time I had gone (18 years ago) was when I broke my leg there.

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