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Plan your northern staycation at the region’s ‘Caribbean of the Rockies’

After last year, everyone deserves a vacation. But while not everyone can afford to jet-set off to a faraway, exotic destination, that doesn’t mean you can’t have plenty of fun close to home.

It’s incredibly fortunate to have easy access to Bear Lake Valley, with the beautiful lake known as “the Caribbean of the Rockies” because of its pristine, turquoise-blue water.

With miles of sandy beaches, trails for hiking and biking, places to explore, and great food to eat, Bear Lake is a recreational paradise.

Here are a few things you might want to include on the itinerary when you plan your staycation up north.

Bust out the golf clubs

Bear Lake has not one but three different golf courses to choose from. The courses in Garden City, Utah, Fish Haven, Idaho and Montepelier, Idaho offer spectacular views of the lake and reasonable green fees.

“This golf course is on the same level as Pebble Beach as far as condition and beauty. All fairways, second cut, greens and the course in general. What a hidden gem,” said one TripAdvisor reviewer about the Garden City course.

If you prefer something a little more challenging, there’s the municipal course in Montpelier, Idaho.

“Well kept course. Greens are in great shape. And has some challenging holes,” wrote one reviewer on Google.

Visit the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Pile in the car or take a hike through the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, where 161 species of birds make their summer home. If you’re lucky, you may even spot an adorable great horned owlet.

Spring, summer, and fall are all good times to take advantage of prime wildlife sightings. But if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of young Canada goose goslings, you’ll want to plan your visit for May or June.

For the optimal experience, the refuge recommends packing your binoculars, camera, insect repellant, bird identification books, water and a lunch. You can walk or hike, but staying in your car is the best way to avoid scaring the animals.

(Pro tip: Visit during the morning or early evening. This is when the wildlife is the most active.)

Play in the water

You can’t visit the “Caribbean of the Rockies” without enjoying some part of the 160 square miles of turquoise-blue water. Bear Lake is known for its excellent boating and water skiing, along with plenty of other water sports. Go sailing, swim off the shore, or just spend a day at the beach—you won’t regret it!

The lake is large enough, you’ll feel like you’ve got it all to yourself. But for a brisk adventure off the beaten path, you can make the trek to enjoy the chilly water at Bloomington Lake.

Of course, if lake water isn’t your thing, there are several swimming pools to dip into instead.

Sink your teeth into something delicious

What’s a vacation without good food? Luckily, Bear Lake Valley has plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.

TripAdvisor compiled a list of the 10 best restaurants. You’ll have to decide for yourself which one truly offers “the best shakes,” but don’t leave the valley without trying a famous raspberry shake!

Enjoy live theater

For more than 40 years, people have been flocking to Pickleville Playhouse to enjoy a unique, family-friendly musical theater experience. As a bonus, the theater also offers a wild west dining experience for those who like to include dinner with a show.

Even if your family isn’t big on live theater, you might be surprised at how much you like the Pickleville performances.

One previously skeptical Google reviewer said, “This is the kind of place where you and your family can come and enjoy a funny, laugh-filled production that will leave you excited for the next time you’re in town and looking for something fun to do.”

The 2021 summer season includes “Peter Pan” and an all-new hilarious melodrama called “Becoming a Bona Fide Bad Guy.” For tickets and pricing, visit the Pickleville Playhouse website.

Plan your staycation today

And if all those options don’t float your boat, Bear Lake Valley also offers great hiking, biking, camping, fishing, as well as oodles of beautiful scenery. Now that you’ve got a decent list of to-dos for your trip, it’s time to start planning that dream staycation.

Check out the Bear Lake Valley event schedule to see what other activities are happening this summer, and book your lodging today! (You’ll want to act quickly because places fill up fast.)

For more information, visit bearlake.org.