Thanks to its turquoise waters and vibrant surroundings, beautiful Bear Lake has captivated the hearts of travelers seeking the perfect summer getaway. Just two hours north of Salt Lake City, this natural freshwater lake is a vacation haven for people from all over the world. It boasts unspoiled natural surroundings and a wide range of recreational activities for both families on vacation and extreme water sports enthusiasts. You’ll discover scenic hiking trails throughout Logan Canyon, thrilling water sports on the lake, and plenty of fun activities in the cute little lake-side town of Garden City. Not to mention the pristine golf courses, premium campgrounds, and top-notch fishing spots! Read on to discover the best Bear Lake activities summer has to offer. 

1. Relaxing Beach Activities

The soft golden sands of Bear Lake beaches offer a comfortable spot to soak up the warm sunshine and unwind amidst the breathtaking scenery. You’ll find plenty of beaches around the lake where you can sunbathe and picnic the day away. Kids will love building sandcastles and many of the beaches have courts that are perfect for a rousing game of beach volleyball. Want to reserve a beach-side pavilion for your next family getaway or special event? Head to the southernmost point of Bear Lake to rendezvous beach where you can reserve a day-use beach area, complete with Barbeques and plenty of shade from the summer sun.

Taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Bear Lake is one of our favorite ways to relax on a hot summer day. The gentle waves and tranquil shoreline make for some of the best swimming spots in the state. Visitors will find a number of swimming-only spots, but the most popular is probably North Beach. This two-mile-long stretch of beach has a natural, gentle slope into the water and is a great spot for swimmers of all ages. We also recommend Cisco Beach on the east shore because it offers scuba diving and lots of marine life to discover among the rocks! You can find more information about our Bear Lake beach rentals here.

2. Water Sports and Recreation

A wakeboarder in action, caught mid-air against a scenic backdrop of distant mountains and a calm lake.

Both Bear Lake visitors with kids and extreme water sports enthusiasts will love the exciting array of water adventures available. Indulge in the freedom of sailing across vast waters, satisfy your need for speed on a motorboat expedition, or relax the day away on a pontoon boat. From water skiing to wakeboarding to flying across the water in an innertube, Bear Lake offers unforgettable water experiences for adrenaline seekers of every age. You’ll also find rentals throughout Bear Lake Valley for a more leisurely exploration of the lake including paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and more. In fact, if you’re seeking a more serene experience at Bear Lake, canoeing or other non-motorized boat rental offers a leisurely experience as you explore the lake’s hidden coves and serene inlets. Whatever type of recreation you enjoy the most, water sports are a great way to make Bear Lake memories that last.

3. Fishing Excursions

Fishing enthusiasts flock to the Bear Lake area for its wide array of native species, including the prized lake trout and Bear Lake whitefish. Whether you cast a line from the shore or venture out onto the waters on a boat, the lake boasts some of the best fishing in Logan Canyon. Check out local guided fishing tours and charters that enhance the experience thanks to their insider knowledge and skilled fishing techniques. These guided excursions take visitors to the best fishing spots in the deep lake waters, offering a rewarding adventure for both novice and experienced anglers. Of course, there are plenty of picturesque fishing spots along the shore of Bear Lake and in Garden City Pond, as well. Whether you’re a fly fishing expert or just looking to do some spin fishing with the kids, designated shoreline fishing spots provide ample opportunity for the ultimate catch.

4. Hiking and Nature Exploration

Two hikers stand on a mountain trail at sunset. They are silhouetted against the bright sun, which peeks through the trees and casts a warm glow around their figures. Both are equipped with backpacks and trekking poles, and appear to be engaged in conversation.

Spend the day leisurely strolling through the forest or grab your hiking boots and explore the rugged backcountry on a high-elevation hike up the mountains. If you want to experience the Bear Lake wilderness, summer is a great time to explore the area’s multitude of hiking trails.  From the kid-friendly boardwalk near Garden City Park to the high-elevation hike toward Steam Mill Lake, you’ll find hiking trails for every skill level and age. 

For a short, scenic trail that’s pet-friendly and great for kids, check out the Limber Pine Trail. This popular nature trail features meadows of wildflowers and lots of opportunities to see local flora and fauna. You can also visit the famous Minnetonka caves and explore the nearby North Fork Trail into Saint Charles Canyon. Here, you can learn about the history of the caves as well as the people who once crossed this very land on the Oregon Trail!

Wherever you go, expect to encounter a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and a multitude of bird species. For a truly rewarding experience, we recommend visiting the Bear Lake Visitors Center, where you can sign up for a nature walk led by a park ranger or local naturalist. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the local ecosystem and history as you explore the mountain wilderness. Discover a full list of hiking trails in and around Bear Lake here.

5. ATV and Off-Road Adventures

Calling all adrenaline-seekers! There are hundreds of miles of trails easily accessible from Bear Lake that offer unparalleled off-road adventures. Visitors will find a multitude of ATV and off-road excursions that immerse the rider in the rugged beauty of upper Logan Canyon and beyond. Navigate the winding paths along Garden City Trail – ending at the Bear Lake Overlook and its breathtaking panoramic views. Or simply go exploring over rocky terrain and the hidden gems that await in the Utah wilderness. Off-road enthusiasts will also find guided tours for every skill level – complete with expert guidance and inside knowledge about the best trails in the area. Plus, many of the designated off-roading trails begin in Garden City, making it easier than ever to rent the high-powered vehicle you want before embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.

6. Golfing at Bear Lake Golf Course

A tranquil golf course at dusk with a group of golfers standing on a green that is surrounded by water.

Golf enthusiasts from all over the country visit Bear Lake to play the picturesque golf courses – enjoying a tranquil atmosphere and stunning views every step of the way. The Bear Lake area has a few luxury courses to choose from, including the Bear Lake West Golf Course near Garden City and the Sweetwater and Bear Lake golf courses further south. Golfers enjoy well-manicured fairways and lush greenery on all the local courses, but the Bear Lake West golf course provides a truly unparalleled experience with beautiful views of the water and challenging greens. After a satisfying round of golf, players can unwind at the clubhouse, where they can relax with a refreshing beverage and relive the highlights of their game with fellow enthusiasts. Whether you want to perfect your swing or simply enjoy a leisurely day on the course, golfing at Bear Lake Golf Courses offers a memorable experience you won’t want to miss.

7. Exploring Garden City and Nearby Attractions

Garden City is a delightful blend of small-town charm and natural wonders. Nearby attractions like the Minnetonka Cave and Bear Lake National Park are wonderful ways for visitors to explore the wilderness while also learning about Bear Lake’s history. Downtown Garden City offers a glimpse into the area’s past as well as historic buildings and plenty of local antique shops. Meander down the street, where you’ll discover enough mom-and-pop shops and restaurants to keep you busy all day. Sample local cuisine at a fancy restaurant or grab a bite at the local market or downtown cafe.

We also recommend visiting one of the restaurants along Bear Lake Blvd that serves the famous raspberry shake. Bear Lake is known for its incredible raspberries and is even more famous for its raspberry shakes. In fact, if you’re visiting Bear Lake in early August, be sure to check out the Raspberry Festival. This incredible event celebrates the raspberry harvest and is a must-see among locals and visitors alike.

8. Camping and Outdoor Adventures

A group of four friends enjoying a camping trip in a forested area at night. They are sitting around a roaring campfire, roasting marshmallows on sticks.

There’s nothing better than camping under the stars at Bear Lake State Park. Simply pitch a tent under the starry skies and settle in for a night of togetherness and tranquility. Local camping spots are dotted along the shores of Bear Lake and offer everything you need for a memorable camping adventure. Cook dinner or roast marshmallows on the campfire as you spend time stargazing and storytelling with friends and family. During the day, campers are just moments from all their favorite water activities on Bear Lake, plus all the outdoor birdwatching and geocaching you could want. It’s the perfect way to explore the incredible nature while feeling part of the area’s wonderful community (even if only for a few days). 

Visitors will also find plenty of RV parks and secluded camping spots further up the mountain and throughout Bear Lake State Park. Check out the Bear Lake marina-side KOA for a fun camping experience that includes mini golf, a giant trampoline, and other activities the whole family will love. 

Plan Your Trip to Bear Lake

Whether you’re camping with friends, fishing with the kids, or taking a secluded hike with the one you love, Bear Lake is the ultimate getaway for every kind of vacationer. If you’re planning a summer vacation in Bear Lake, we recommend starting early. Pick your favorite activities, then begin researching things like boat rentals, golf tee times, and accommodations to really get a jump on your planning.

Looking for the perfect place to stay? You can’t go wrong with Bear Lake Premier Cabins. We offer everything from log cabins with private beach access to homes near the golf course and much more. Guests enjoy fantastic amenities like private sport courts, hot tubs, and quick access to the best beaches Bear Lake has to offer. Plan a memorable summer getaway to Bear Lake today and get ready to experience its natural beauty and recreation like never before.