The sun is out, the days are warm, and the fauna and flora are in full swing. Here are the top 20 things to do in McCall this summer that will have you taking full advantage of this sensational season.
Treat your sweet tooth to this aptly-named McCall staple tucked amidst historical buildings. Located in the heart of downtown, this popular pit-stop boasts over 20 tried-and-true and unique flavors including Huckleberry, Espresso Explosion, Lemon Pie, Peanut Butter Cup, and Blue Bubble Gum. Ice Cream Alley is open seasonally, so if you find yourself in McCall between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, be sure to stop by. Just note that while the ice cream shop is tiny, the portions are anything but – so come with an appetite!
Take a Hike
With over 500 hiking trails in McCall ranging from easy to moderate and varying in length from one to six miles, there are plenty of opportunities to walk the walk. And the long days of summer provide the perfect time to head out on those longer adventures in Payette National Forest or the Frank Church Wilderness. Bring your camera and your best walking shoes and get ready to take in some of McCall’s most stunning sites, and spot some wildlife while you’re at it.
Cruise Around Payette Lake (on-site)
Glide through the 5,330-acre expanse of pristine glacial waters on one of Shore Lodge’s Guided Adventures aboard the Manitou Pontoon or Cutwater boats. Those seeking the same breathtaking experience on a smaller scale can reserve a spot on our one-and-a-half-hour Saturday Evening Cruises aboard the Cutwater.
Fall in Love with Gingersnaps at Stacey Cakes – (1 mile)
You may think you’ve had good gingersnaps before, but unless you’ve been to Stacey Cakes, we’re going to go ahead and say you’re settling. This quaint bakery carries a lovely assortment of sweet and savory treats, which are all made from scratch daily. And as for the gingersnaps, you’ll want to buy a bag to indulge in back at home.
Explore Charlie’s Garden (3.7 miles)
While McCall, Idaho is a bit of a hidden gem onto itself, there are even more secrets to uncover once you arrive. This lush, botanical oasis offers scenic paths with tranquil fountains and vibrant flora. And while it is a privately maintained garden, it’s luckily open to the public. Set aside an hour of your day to explore this exquisite garden next time you’re in town.
Revisit the Past
The McCall, Idaho of today is a scenic small town with breathtaking views, friendly locals and a seemingly impossible adventure-to-square mileage ratio. But this tiny little town also carries a rich and expansive history. So much so, that the Central Idaho Historical Museum encompasses four acres and eight buildings – all of which listed on the National Register of Historic Places – to tell its story, which includes subjects like fire lookouts, the McCall Mill, logging, Smokey the Bear and more.
See What’s Hatching
Popular during the spring and summer months, the McCall Fish Hatchery is open year-round with self-guided or group tours available. Their primary species produced is the summer Chinook salmon, though small fish and rainbow trout are also produced for redistribution into local waters.
Find the Coolest Spot in Town
It may be summer, but you can still find plenty of ice in McCall, Idaho. A local favorite, the Manchester Ice Rink offers tons of family fun, including the expected ice skating, along with kids and adult hockey, and the unexpected bumper cars on ice.
Jump into Adventure
One of only four Forest Service smokejumper training bases in the U.S., the McCall Smokejumper Base is also one of the largest and most active stations, with jumpers responding to fires all over the western U.S. During the summer months, visitors can encounter two air tankers, three smokejumper aircrafts and up to seventy smokejumpers on-site.
Reconnect with Idaho Nature
Named after the 150-foot ponderosa pine trees which inhabit the area, Ponderosa State Park is an absolute theme park for Idaho nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. In addition to these stately pines, visitors will encounter a diverse topography ranging from arid flats to steep cliffs, lush forest, and lakeside trails, along with wildlife sightings of geese, osprey, bald eagles, wood ducks, mallards, songbirds, deer, moose, beaver, muskrats and even bear. As for activities, guests can enjoy everything from mountain biking and boating to hiking, wildlife spotting, kayaking, and more.
Reel ’em In
Plentiful and uncrowded fishing is just one of the attractions which McCall offers. Here, novice and avid fishers can take home their very own fish tale with opportunities to catch cutthroat trout, Chinook salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, Kokanee, crappie, yellow perch and more throughout our many rivers and lakes. With Payette Lake steps away and Louie Lake just 11 miles out, the best fishing is right at your fingertips. And to help you get started, our concierge can outfit you with a fishing pole rental and a list of the best spots for your group.
Raft Through the Rapids
Whether you’re an expert rafter or new to the sport, you’ll find plenty of exhilarating rapids on which to get some world-class whitewater right here in the Whitewater State, and more locally, in McCall. Salmon River offers rapids ranging from Class I for beginners, straight through the white-knuckle Class IV experiences. Meanwhile, Payette River turns it up with a renowned, 15-mile Class V run. Another great spot for runs ranging from Classes III – V, Snake River also boasts incredible scenery as rafters wind through Hells Canyon’s impressive rapids surrounded by jagged rock walls.
Take a Swing
Summers in McCall were meant to be spent outdoors. And one of the best places to take in the season in all its glory is Whitetail Club’s award-winning golf course. As a guest of Shore Lodge, you have exclusive access to this private course, which offers 18 holes and 7,200 yards of unspoiled natural splendor. Play amongst centuries old Ponderosa Pines, trout-filled ponds, and powerful granite boulders as you attempt to master the 72-par course. Be sure to end the day at the famed Golf Grille for delicious food and drink.
Guests of Shore Lodge have immediate access to Payette Lake through our beachfront and marina. 5,330-acres of pristine glacial water at an elevation of 5,000 feet provides the backdrop for endless pursuits. Explore in our canoes or watch the day go by on our stand-up paddleboards. For those in search of larger vessels, charter our classic Chris-Craft, The Cutwater, take a lake tour on our Manitou pontoon boat or head out on your own on one of our or sailboats. Mooring is also available for private watercraft. Or simply, take in the sites and soak up the sun from a comfortable lounge chair on our beachfront.
Hit the Trails
Discover some of the best mountain biking trails the country has to offer, conveniently located just a short distance away. We’ll fit you with state-of-the-art Trek Fuel EX 6 for adults and Trek MT 240 for kids to help you get started on your adventure, and provide you with tips on the best trails around. And if you happen to end up at Brundage Mountain for your biking adventures, we recommend taking a scenic chair lift ride.
Soak it Up
Summer is a popular time for sport and adventure in McCall. And what better way to soothe the muscle aches of a life lived fully than in a natural hot spring? Luckily, McCall is a short drive from some of the country’s most incredible naturally occurring hot springs.
Experience The Cove
Those who prefer to take their adventure into luxury can schedule a treatment in one of McCall’s hottest destinations. The Cove spa at Shore Lodge features an array of luxurious treatments, as well as two private hot springs: the indoor and outdoor saline immersion pools.
Go to town
Take a leisurely ride through our spectacular little town on one of our complimentary cruiser bikes. This is the perfect way to take in the sights, meet the locals, and knock off some of the rest of the things on this list.
Go for a Gallop
What better way to channel the spirit of McCall than by taking in sweeping views of its ancient forests and soaring mountaintops on horseback? Saddle up and sightsee as you explore the wilds of Western Idaho on a guided tour that will take you through the backcountry. Keep an eye out for our natural neighbors such as elk, black bears, mountain goats, and mule deer.
If you’re more into bird’s eye views, a private helicopter tour of our lush backcountry is the way to go.