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Best Areas to Stay Around McCall, ID

The Best Rental Cabins, Homes, Lakefront Estates and Romantic Getaways in McCall, Donnelly, Cascade & New Meadows

The secret is out. Idaho is one of the country’s least developed and most naturally beautiful states. McCall, Idaho, is no different. This western Idaho destination is known for nature, winter sports, serene landscapes, hiking, biking, boating, and more. Anything you like to do outdoors— you can do in McCall, Idaho. But before you start browsing McCall vacation rentals, first-time visitors should decide which neighborhood around McCall is right for your stay.

This McCall guide will help you know for sure that you’ve landed at the right destination. All that’s left for you to do is check-in.


Downtown McCall for Diversity of Activities

Highlights: Excellent food options, lake views, Central Idaho Historical Museum, McCall Fish Hatchery, Smokejumper Base Tours, centrally located, has the McCall activity barn, Bear Basin Trail, and McCall Golf Club.

Downtown McCall is the best neighborhood for those looking to experience a diversity of attractions in the McCall area. This is because it’s centrally located for all the neighborhoods and activities found in this guide.

If you’re aiming for convenience, Downtown McCall is the spot for you. This is where you’ll find the bulk of the restaurants, walkable streets, shops, and the local Central Idaho Historical Museum for all you history buffs out there.

The Bear Basin Trailhead is just a short drive away from downtown, the region’s best golf course is here, and the local smokejumper base offers tours of the facilities and teaches you all about the interesting but dangerous profession.

During the wintertime, you have to pay a visit to the Manchester Ice Rink or the McCall Activity Barn. It’s the go-to sledding and tubing hill in the area and fun for the whole family.


Little Payette Lake for Quiet Getaways

Highlights: Quiet Kayaking, Hiking, Ice Fishing, Fishing, Ice Skating,

Who needs an indoor pool when you have an outdoor one? Little Payette Lake is the least developed of the lakes in the region. This means you can tuck yourself into a quiet, remote cabin and relish the outdoors as it’s meant to be experienced. Here, you’ll find stellar lake views, interact with the local wildlife, and SUP without the resort-goers clogging up the shores.

During the frigid winter months, the small lake freezes over so you can cross on foot and even ice fish and ice skate atop it. You won’t find nearly as many of the shore lodges as on the greater Payette Lake.


Payette Lake for Stunning Scenery and Water Sports

Photo Credit: BlisfulBreeze

Highlights: Ponderosa State Park, swimming, fishing, watersports, McCall Lake Cruise, Ice Fishing, North Beach, Narrows Overlook

Payette Lake is the perfect area for a romantic, outdoorsy getaway. This region is also one of the most popular for summertime visits. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you can also embark on a sunset cruise of Payette Lake with McCall Lake Cruises. The lake’s Northern half is where you’ll find the Narrows overlook and the more remote North Beach.

South Payette Lake is much more accessible and pet-friendly than the lake’s northern half. There are also a lot more vacation rentals to choose from as you are closer to downtown McCall.

The gem of this region (aside from the placid lake, of course) is Ponderosa State Park. Here, you can see wildlife up close, hit the hiking trails, try your legs at mountain biking, fishing, play some volleyball, or in the wintertime — cross country ski, ice fish, and snowshoe to your heart’s content.


Donnelly for Families

Highlights: Gold Fork Hot Springs, Well-Maintained Roads Year-Round, Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides, Wild Elk Sightings, Lake Cascade, Snowmobiling

While Donnelly is a year-round family-friendly destination just a 20-minute drive south of McCall, Idaho, it’s especially fun in the wintertime. While other rural cities sit covered in snow, the roads of Donnelly are remarkably well-maintained, making this town perfect for those a little nervous about navigating the heavy snowfall of McCall winters.

You can soak in the steaming natural springs of Gold Fork, fish in the deep blue waters of the Northern edges of Cascade Lake (or try one of the numerous hiking trails along the lakeside), and spot roaming herds of wild elk that frequent the forests here.

In the wintertime, must-do activities in the area for the whole family include a horse-drawn sleigh ride to feed the wild elk with Hap and Florence Points and renting a snowmobile to traverse the snowy landscape from Mountain Meadow Adventure Rentals.

All this, and you’re only a short drive away from McCall, Cascade, and Payette Lake!


Tamarack for Adventurous Adults

Photo Credit: Leonard Bowman

Highlights: White Water Rafting, Tamarack Ski Resort, Tamarack Bike Park, Tamarack Zipline Canopy Tour, Poison Creek State Park

While you can easily visit Tamarack with your whole family, you might enjoy this outdoor destination more if all your guests are 12+. Or, at the very least, itching for some adrenaline-inducing outdoor activities.

From May to September, you can white water raft the roaring Payette River with Tamarack Lodge. You can also try your hand at downhill mountain biking at the region’s top-rated bike park and feed your adrenaline craving on the Tamarack Zipline Canopy Tour.

Add to that hundreds of miles of backcountry trails brimming with Idaho beauty, and you’ve got yourself the best adult destination within reach of McCall, Idaho.

While Tamarack Ski Resort is much smaller than the nearby Brundage Mountain, it is also less visited and, therefore, less crowded. It can be a great mountain for adults just starting out.


Cascade For Nature Lovers

Photo Credit: Jennifer Whitener

Highlights: Fishing, Hiking, Swimming, Biking, Lake Cascade State Park

Technically speaking, almost all these neighborhoods are perfect for lovers of nature. But Cascade offers the most Summer, Spring, and Fall attractions for outdoor enthusiasts.

Here, you can relish the beauty of Cascade Lake, try your hand at fishing in a lake teeming with rainbow trout and Koho salmon, and hit the mountain biking trails south of the lake. There are also loads of hiking options fringing the reservoir for all skills and energy levels.


New Meadows and Brundage Mountain for Winter Sports

Photo Credit: CSNafzger

Highlights: Brundage Mountain Ski Resort, Resort town, best hotels, snowshoeing

McCall has some of the highest snowfall rates in all of Idaho, making this area the perfect place for a powder day. Brundage Mountain is the most popular ski resort in the McCall surrounding area and offers abundant outdoor activities in the winter months. New Meadows is the closest “city” to the mountain resort. This gives you more lodging options than the overpriced ski resorts.

If you’re visiting as a family or a couple hoping to hit the slopes— center your lodging search here.

This area can also be an excellent quiet getaway if you are visiting in the summer months or the off-season for the ski resort. Perfect for quiet mountain hikes.


Find Your Perfect Neighborhood Around McCall, Idaho

DoneRight’s vacation rentals are perfectly positioned near golf courses, city center entertainment, and stunning untouched Idaho landscapes around the McCall area. You can choose a rental property in your favorite neighborhood based on the amenities you want to prioritize.

Hot tubs? We’ve got them. Pet-friendly and equipped with free Wi-Fi and your own private dock? We’ve got that too. Choose from our waterfront properties, event spaces, and small cabins ideal for romantic getaways on your next visit to McCall, Idaho!

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