Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Turquoise Lake

Bear Lake is a natural fresh-water lake on the Utah-Idaho boarder.  It is the second largest fresh-water lake in Utah, and is 48 miles around (if you were to ride a bicycle around the lake – which I’ve done twice!).  But one of the characteristics that stands out most about this lake is the deep blue color.  It is gorgeous… like water from the Bahamas.

 

Lake Access

There are a couple great lake access points.  One is Garden City Park (on the UT side).  There is a nice park here with a boardwalk that goes to a small-ish beach access point.  The park is nice for the kids with a playground, pavilions, good parking and bathrooms.  Beautiful scenery.

The second place would be North Beach (on the Idaho side) which I believe you pay a small fee to park.  The beach is more sandy and spread out, so there is more room there to find a spot away from the crowd, and the water is shallow and fun to play in.

Bear Lake West Golf Club

Just North of the Utah / Idaho boarder on the West side of the lake is Bear Lake West, a golf club community.  Our family has a cabin in this area, so we’ve always enjoyed the amenities of the community, but guests are welcome also to take advantage of the golf course, pool, hot tub, restaurant and of course the amazing view of Bear Lake.

 

Minnetonka Cave

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Minnetonka Cave is open for tours.  It is about an hour drive from Garden City.  Bring cash / check because they do not accept cards.  But the cave is worth a trip to walk through with a tour guide.  It has over 1000 stairs, but the trail inside is paved in most places and has hand rails… so as long as you can do stairs it is safe and fun for the entire family.

See more from our Minnetonka Cave trip

Get a Famous Raspberry Milk Shake

Garden City has some serious skills for raspberry milkshakes.  There are three main places you can pick up a milkshake when you visit Bear Lake.

  • LaBeau’s: 69 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028
  • Quick N Tasty: 28 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028
  • Home Town Drive In: 105 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028

Cafe Sabor

21 E 75 N, Garden City, UT 84028 .  Fantastic Mexican food.  We love Cafe Sabor.

Minnetonka Cave, ID

Minnetonka Cave, ID

Minnetonka Cave opens around Memorial Day through Labor Day and about a 50 minute drive from Garden City, UT (Bear Lake) makes for a great addition to a say at Bear Lake.  Bring cash or check to visit the cave, $8 for adults and $6 for kids 6-15 years old.  It is a 90 minute tour through the chambers on a trail of stone and steel stairs with guard rails.   The cave is 40 degrees year round, so bring a jacket.  You will see underground streams, all kinds of formations, bats, and in the bottom of the cave they will turn off the lights for you to experience total darkness for a minute.  We arrived in early June and found snow on the mountain which gave the kids a thrill.

Amelia Island, FL

Amelia Island, FL

Amelia Island is a beautiful part of the Sea Islands chain off the Florida Atlantic coast.  Between the cute, historic downtown Fernandina, Fernandina Beach, and Fort Clinch (historic military fort), it makes for a great family trip.

Fernandina Beach

Towards the end of April the Sea Turtles hatch.  We didn’t see any, but they caution beach goers to watch out for the turtles.  There is easy beach access at the point on the map.  Nice little beach town.

Downtown Fernandina Beach

There is a really cute, historic downtown in Fernandina filled with restaurants, boutiques, cafes and overlook on the water.

Restaurant Recommendations:

Fort Clinch State Park

On the North point of Amelia Island, Fort Clinch ists along the Amelia River and was used in the 19th century as a military base.  The kids loved exploring the fort and imagining being a soldier 100 years ago.  The road to Fort Clinch from the park’s entrance is a beautiful drive through a canopy of old live oaks with spanish moss.  If we visited again, we’d probably bring our bikes to bike through the road.  There is a parking fee to enter the state park, and an extra $2 per person to tour the fort.

Bear Creek Trail

Bear Creek Trail

Bear Creek Trail Camping

Just North-West of Ellijay, Bear Creek Trail is a popular loop in the North Georgia mountains for mountain bikers, campers, and fishermen.   I took Liam with some friends on a boys’ camping trip and it was a perfect place for our group.  The dirt road up to the campsite is a bit bumpy, and goes right through the stream before you get to the main parking area, so be sure to drive an SUV or truck (I wouldn’t recommend driving a low-profile vehicle).

The camp sites are not bays like you would normally expect in a campground.  It is a wide-open area in the forest where you can select your own place and pitch a tent, so even though it was busy, we were so spread out that we felt like the only ones there.

The stream ran right by our campsite and has some great trout fishing.  I think most were catching trout on worms, but one fisherman caught them on a spoon.

The Biggest Tree in Georgia

A short drive further up the road brings you to a trail where you can find the biggest tree in Georgia (dubbed this by its circumference).  It is a nice hike on a well groomed trail about a mile in.  The trail is very popular with mountain bikers, so you will likely have to move out of the way a few times to let bikers pass.

 

Disney Cruise – Bahamas

Disney Cruise – Bahamas

Do this at least once in your life!

This is a win!  Something everyone needs to do at least once in their lifetime.  We had so much fun on our Disney cruise.  This has been our fourth cruise, and by far the best!  A few things about cruising with Disney:

  • There are fireworks at sea (during the Pirate party at night)
  • Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island where you can spend a day in the sun and sand
  • Don’t skip the shows!  They are incredible!
  • Disney has an app called the Personal Navigator listing all info you need (show times, activities schedule, dinner menus, etc)
  • Bring your pirate costumes for the pirate party (where everyone dresses up)
  • People decorate their cabin doors with disney magnets which you can make before you embark to personalize your cabin.

Junkanoo Beach, Nassau Bahamas

There are a lot of excursions and adventures you can add to your vacation when you port in Nassau, but give our kids some sand and water and they are happy… plus it is easier on the vacation budget.  We found a nice public beach in walking distance from the port that gave us a nice stroll through the city blocks and a great time on land.  You can find Junkanoo Beach with a 10-15 min walk.

Castaway Cay – Disney’s Private Island

Disney leases its own island from the government of the Bahamas for its cruise vacationers.  When your cruise docks here, you are the only ones on the island.  You have access to a beautiful cove, beaches, trails for walking / biking, kids splash pad, a play place built in the water, and much more.  Along with dance parties with the characters, you have a complimentary barbecue provided by the ships crew, and plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas to make yourself comfortable in the sand.  A few things to know:

  • Most people park in the sand when they get to the beach… but there is a lot of beach.  If you walk further in you will find less people crowding your space.
  • There is a nice kids splash pad located about mid-way through the castaway campus
  • Most people sleep in upon the ships arrival… so you can beat the crowds to the island by getting up early.
  • You can rent snorkle gear.  But if you bring your own, they will let you use a snorkle life-vest complimentary.