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Parents hear it from their kids all the time, EVEN in a fun-filled place like McCall.
When beach time and your favorite go-to activities start to feel routine, why not try one of these easy kid-friendly outings for a colorful change of pace?
A stroll through the McCall Farmer’s market can be a feast for the eyes, nose and of course, your taste buds! Grab a little red wagon to tote the tots and explore the many locally-grown and crafted offerings in this open air market. Open 10 am – 2 pm every Wednesday and Saturday from mid-June until mid-October, the farmers market offers fresh local produce, flowers and locally produced meats and poultry. The friendly vendors will be happy to talk to your kids and share stories about where and how they grow and raise the food items.
Pro Tip: have your children ‘ask first’ before touching the vendor’s wares. Many have samples to offer but prefer that little ones looks without touching to keep the fresh food clean.
Location: Pine Street, McCall
The McCall Fish Hatchery raises about a million young chinook salmon annually, which are released into the South Fork of the Salmon River east of Cascade. The fish from the hatchery migrate to the Pacific Ocean and return as adults weighing about 15 pounds and up. You can see the young fish being raised in the hatchery’s raceways, which are located inside and outside enabling visitors to see the young fish during any weather. From May through September, the hatchery also houses catchable rainbow trout that are stocked in McCall-area waters for anglers. Don’t miss the giant Kodiak brown bear rug in the hatchery’s visitors area.
Pro Tip: The hatchery is open for visitors year round. Catch a self-guided tours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily from May through November. During early spring and winter, you’ll want to call (208) 634-2690 to schedule a tour.
Location: 300 Mather Road, McCall
A family trip to Ponderosa Park is on many visitors’ must-do list, but the park’s Junior Ranger program can bring this special place to life for young people in brand new ways. Offered every Saturday morning from June 18 – September 3, the sessions explore a different outdoor subject each week. Your child will learn about local wildlife, the outdoor environment and can even enjoy a Free Fishing Day June 18. Check the Ponderosa State Park website for a full schedule.
Pro Tip: Children under 6 years of age must be accompanied by an adult, but older kids may enjoy some supervised exploring without mom and dad. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, wear closed toe shoes and bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent and a snack!
Location: 1920 N. Davis Avenue, McCall
Tucked along the shores of Payette Lake, a playground awaits! Rotary Park is often a stop for road-trippers, but it makes a perfect trip for anyone looking for a quick dip in the lake and a unique playground for the little ones. Climb on the jungle gym, zip down the slides or climb on Sharlie, McCall’s favorite lake monster. But don’t be scared…Sharlie doesn’t bite and welcomes kids with a big smile!
Pro tip: Pack snacks to enjoy on the sandy beach or grab a few treats from Ruby’s Kitchen across the street!
Location: 300 W Lake Street, McCall
There is no end to the options when it comes to great hiking around the greater McCall area, but this hike is a top pick for families because of its easy access and long list of fun ‘distractions’. The hike is labeled as moderate in some hiking books, but many families find it suitable for all but the smallest kids. The hike to the lake is about two miles long with an elevation gain of about 700 feet. The trail climbs slowly until just before the lake where you follow a few steep switchbacks among the rocks. This quick scramble adds to the fun; the stunning alpine lake reveals its beautiful self at the top. Once there, your family can enjoy inspiring views as well as fishing, swimming or poking around in search of small waterfalls, wildflowers, huckleberries and forest critters of all shapes and sizes.
Pro tips: bring a picnic lunch and a couple of fishing poles. Boulder Lake is open to fishing year-round, limit is six fish per angler. Fishing rules are available where fishing licenses are sold and on-line through Idaho Fish & Game. Local fishing license vendors include Tackle Tom’s in Cascade, The Stinker Station in Donnelly, Ridley’s Market in McCall and Brown’s Mountain Market in New Meadows.
Location: Turn east on Elo Road about three miles sound of downtown McCall. Take Elo to Boulder Lake Road. Park your car below Boulder Meadows Reservoir; the trail goes along the north side of Boulder Meadows Reservoir