Lake side house rentals in Bear Lake

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Popular amenities for Bear Lake vacation rentals

Your guide to Bear Lake

All About Bear Lake

On the border of Utah and Idaho, around 2.5 hours north of Salt Lake City, you’ll find Bear Lake, a freshwater lake with 50 miles of shoreline and dozens of inviting sandy beaches. Bear Lake is often referred to as the Caribbean of the Rockies for its sparkling blue waters, which are caused by its rich source of calcium carbonate particles that reflect a blue hue on the surface. Rendezvous Beach, just outside of Garden City, Utah, is a sandy beach that’s popular for water skiing and boating. North Beach State Park on the Idaho side is a Bear Lake favorite, with a two-mile stretch of sand featuring clear waters that are ideal for swimming. For a quieter experience, head to the more secluded East Beach on the Idaho side.

Garden City is the main town on the lake and a great base from which to explore the region. You’ll find cafes and restaurants here, from family grills to pizza places, as well as shops for groceries and souvenirs. Garden City also has a sandy beach and is home to the region’s biggest summer event, the Raspberry Days Festival.

The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Bear Lake

Summer is a great time to stay in Bear Lake rentals, as you can expect plenty of warm and sunny days for the beach. The nights can be cooler, so it’s a good idea to pack a jacket alongside your sun protection. In August, the popular Raspberry Days festival takes place in Garden City over three days to celebrate the raspberry harvest. This festival features a craft fair, parade, and fireworks on the beach.

If you’re here in the fall, you’ll find vibrant colors, cooler temperatures, and fewer crowds. September and October are the best months for birdwatching on the lake, as many species prepare to head south for the winter. Spring is also a quieter time with fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, which is ideal for hiking and biking. In winter, Bear Lake experiences cold and snowy conditions, and the lake can freeze over. The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest in January is always popular, with chili cook-offs and the polar plunge into the lake’s icy waters.

Top things to do in Bear Lake

Limber Pine Trail

There are many hikes you can enjoy around the Bear Lake area. The 1.5-mile Limber Pine Trail is an easy loop stroll through pine forests, with views of the lake along the way. You’ll also come across the huge limber pine tree (actually five trees intertwined), more than 560 years old, which gives the trail its name. For something more challenging, take on the nine-mile Sink Hollow Trail through sagebrush meadows and aspens to the lovely Horse Lake. You’ll also enjoy amazing views of Steam Mill along the way.

Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Bear Lake is home to an abundance of birdlife, and one of the best spots for birding is at Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the Idaho side of the lake. The refuge encompasses nearly 2,000 acres of marshes, grasslands, and open waters where you can spot a variety of species, from sandhill cranes and herons to pelicans, ducks, and geese. Several walking trails and viewing areas here offer great vantage points.

Minnetonka Cave

Head to St. Charles Canyon on the Idaho side of the lake and explore the spectacular Minnetonka Cave. Inside, you’ll find around a half-mile of stalactites and stalagmites spread throughout nine cave rooms, with three impressive stalagmites that are more than 10 feet high. You will also come across a stalactite that’s been named the Bride, because of its lacy appearance that resembles a wedding dress. The cave is very cold all year round, so make sure you bring a warm layer.

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