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A Guide To The Best Things To Do In McCall

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

Are you thinking of something to do that will create memories for a lifetime? Two hours just North of Boise Idaho up the scenic byway 55 highway rests McCall, surrounded by majestic pine trees and sweeping panoramas. There are tons of activities and things to do while you are exploring McCall Idaho, and the surrounding areas. This is a little slice of heaven right here on earth when you want to get away and enjoy some time at this stunning hamlet located high up in the pristine mountains of central Idaho.

Local Activities

Just inside the quaint lakeside town of McCall are a handful of things to do, see, and places to eat and our travel guide to all things McCall. Come for the day, take a full day exploring, or stay in one of our vacation rental homes or cabins to experience more of the area. Bring the kids inside of you along for great family times ice skating at the Manchester Ice Skating rink, good grub, great local beers served inside, and bumper cars for that crazy awesome fun slamming into your arch rival on ice. There are several great restaurants, microbreweries, and outdoor eating establishments dotted throughout McCall. If you are up for a great educational experience that's fun and mesmerizing for the whole family, then stopping in for a leisurely stroll at the McCall Fish Hatchery to see the chinook salmon and trout. The fish hatchery is open year-round, every day for a self-guided tour from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and guided tours are available as well if called 208-634-2690. The fish hatchery was constructed in 1979, it is the first Lower Snake River Compensation Plan hatchery built in Idaho, which is part of a federal mitigation program created to compensate for the fish loss due to the construction of the four Lower Snake River dams.

Photo Credit: manchester_ice_event_center via Instagram


McCall Idaho happens to be one of those rare destinations in North America that truly offers one of the broadest opportunities to experience what life has to offer throughout all four seasons. So, there is always something to do for everyone. Summer is brimming with exciting options on Payette Lake for those of you who love boating, water skiing, kayaking just above North Beach, or just splashing in the water for fun. There are public boat launches accessible to anyone that has their own motorboat or sailboat, with great fishing and lots of areas to explore on Payette Lake. Naturally, there are several boat rental companies in the area, Mile High Marina, Cheap Thrills, and CM Backcountry all offer various boats, Skidoos, and other water toys if you want a full day of fun on the water. Payette Lake has a large portion of it surrounded by Ponderosa State Park where you can reserve a campsite and sleep under the stars. Further South of McCall Idaho is Lake Cascade, a massive reservoir that includes several public boat launches as well as boat rentals available through Tamarack Resorts and Mountain Meadow Adventures in Donnelly Idaho. There are 2 boat rental companies in Cascade Idaho that include pontoon boats, deck boats for sunning and soaking in the heat of the day, plus ski boats, and jet skis for those of you who want more than just a casual day on the water. Intermountain Power Sport Rentals and Lake Cascade Power Sport and Marine Rentals are located in Cascade Idaho. Many of the boat rental companies offer kayak and paddleboard rentals to maximize exploring the coastline and immersing yourself in hours of fun as you gently glide across the surface of Lake Cascade and Payette Lake.

Photo Credit: Amy Goodman via Flickr CC2.0

Calling All Adrenaline Chasers

Then for true adventurers who like adding an extra level of excitement, white water rafting trips on the Payette River and Salmon River hold boundless treasures of memories for everyone that participates. If you are thinking about Payette River white water rafting adventures, several companies that offer white water excursions are in the area. There are 3 companies in McCall that offer multi-day excursions, full-day, and partial day trips, Mackay River Trips, Salmon Raft, and Canyon Rivers Company located in the heart of McCall. As you venture further south along the scenic byway of Highway 55, there are 3 Payette River rafting outfits that you can utilize to cascade through the whitewash of the Payette. Bear Valley River Company, Bear Valley Raft Company are nearly side by side in Banks Idaho, just about 45 minutes South of McCall and Cascade Raft and Kayak in Horseshoe Bend Idaho.
Naturally, Idaho has some of the best lake fishing, angling, and fly fishing in the country, with scores of streams, lakes, and ponds to wet your line. Don't forget ice fishing when both Lake Cascade and Payette Lake are frozen over.

Photo Credit: salmonraft via Instagram

Golfing In Mcall

For those of you who like to swing clubs, golf anyone? The City of McCall happens to have the rare honor of having a 27 hole golf course, comprising 3 9 Hole courses, gently rolling hills, and easy to walk terrain for an exceptionally fun time swinging the irons. In addition to the McCall Golf Club located on the North East side of McCall, there are three other world-class golf courses you can play. Closest to downtown McCall is the ultra-exclusive Whitetail Resort Golf Club and Shore Lodge that brings to mind what reaching the pinnacle of life is all about. Whitetail Resort Golf Club is a gated invitation-only golf course that sets a new standard for well played. Jughandle Mountain Ranch is further South West of McCall, but for an easy day trip to swing the clubs and enjoy playing golf under that shadow of Jug Mountain, this golf course is competitive and offers gentle and easy terrain for you to enjoy your day. Head to Meadow Creek Golf Course located just north of New Meadows Idaho. It's a lovely scenic drive 30 minutes West of McCall on the 33rd Parallel Marker. Meadowbrook Golf Resort is an 18-hole golf course situated at 3,868 feet, in the pine-forested Meadows Valley, West Central Idaho. Off in distance, are the alpine peaks of Granite Mountain and Brundage Mountain Ski Resort reaching a majestic 7000 feet skyward. The golf course weaves in and out of the meandering trails dotted with pine trees and across the verdant meadows offering breathtaking scenery. Facilities include – the Osprey complex with a heated swimming pool, cafe & snack bar serving B-W-S (beer, wine, spirits), BBQ facilities, tennis and pickleball courts, driving range, practice green, and practice chipping area. In the winter months, there’s groomed cross-country ski trails, snow-shoeing, and sledding. Further south of McCall is Tamarack Resorts Golf Course, saddled next to Lake Cascade in Donnelly Idaho. Yet again, the pristine mountains of Idaho offer the rare opportunity to enjoy golf while you are surrounded by some of the most majestic landscapes and scenery the world has to offer. The Osprey Meadows Golf course located inside the Tamarack Resort is designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr as a par 72 course. Further South lies the Cascade golf course that curves around Lake Cascade, and doubles as one of the prettiest views one can experience while playing a round of golf on this 18-hole course.

Photo Credit: mccallgolfclubofficial via Instagram

Take A Dip In The Hotsprings

Dotted throughout Idaho are geothermal hot springs that bring a new level of relaxation and fun together with pristine locals and unique environments. Burgdorf Hot Springs happens to be a throwback in time, built in the 1800s, this is bar far one of the most unique hot springs in Idaho, located 33 miles north of McCall, near Secesh. Rent cabins and stay overnight for the experience, since this is the only way you can currently use the hot springs at Burgdorf. This is also snowmobile accessible during the winter months and worth the effort to truly enjoy these hot springs that make it a true adventure never to forget. Zims Hot Springs is located a few miles north of New Meadows, Idaho, just about a 30-minute drive from downtown McCall. And one of our absolute favorite places to soak is Gold Fork Hot Springs with its multiple pools and cascading water hot waterfall. Wow is one word to describe the setting around here. Getting to this place isn't too difficult, but you will be driving on a dirt road most of the way to get to Gold Fork Hot Springs, and highly recommended that you have snow chains and snow tires during the winter.

Photo Credit: Pictoscribe - via Flickr CC2.0

Hit The Trails On A Mountain Bike

Mountain Biking is undoubtedly one of the big draws and attractions in and around McCall and Tamarack. Bring your own mountain bike, or rent from one of the several mountain bicycle rental companies in the area. There are hundreds of miles of trails, single track locations you can experiences, plus take advantage of Brundage Mountain Resort and Tamarack Resort where you can use the ski lifts during the summer to elevate your experience to the top of the mountain for a breathtaking ride down the mountain trails with dozens of routes for every skill level.

Photo Credit: airbornebicycles via Instagram

Skiing In Mccall

Winter is a great time and a must for a road trip to this area. Snow is key for an exhilarating time when it comes to winter activities. McCall is known for the annual Winter Carnival, where tens of thousands come for the yearly pilgrimage to see the snow sculptures and ice sculptures sporadically found throughout McCall and Brundage Mountain. Valley County is world-renowned for the stellar, dry snow, massive yearly snowfall makes this a mecca for people who love to snowmobile and go downhill skiing, and two great ski resorts. Brundage Mountain Ski Resort and Tamarack Ski Resort have everything you need for some of the country's best skiing and snowboarding the world has to offer. If your speed is a little more subdued, cross country skis and skiing is always available at Jug Mountain Ranch, River Ranch, and Ponderosa State Park, as well as places with wide-open trails. If you don't own a snowmobile, you can bet that Cheap Thrills, CM Backcountry will have just the right snowmobiling equipment that will suit your needs. Once you are here, head over to the Activity Barn, sign in at the yurt, and make your way up the awesome sled hill with your innertube for hours of fun zipping down the hill at dizzying speeds.
We have a few travel tips for you while on your adventures here, make sure you have adequate insurance for those rare events that your vacation might get cut short if someone gets hurt or you can make it up here and have to cancel your trip altogether. And if you plan on coming up during the winter months, snow tires and snow chains are highly recommended to get you out of a deep snowbank you just might have decided to kiss. Have fun. Life is short, and don't forget, it's all about the shared memories and building a legacy of fun.

Photo Credit: mccallmountainrealestate via Instagram

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