Ditch those four walls for a tent in the great outdoors and get ready to unplug and unwind. There really is no downside to camping. Health benefits abound: you soak up more Vitamin D from the sunshine, increase endorphins and burn lots of calories. Campfire food just tastes better…s’mores anyone?? Your wallet will thank you: once you have the gear, packing up the family for a weekend camping trip is a cheap vacation. Create lasting memories: trust us, even if the kids are put out over having to put the phones away, the experiences you have camping will result in some great memories. Oh, and camping is fun!

With Memorial Day Weekend marking the official start of the summer camping season in McCall, we wanted to share some suggestions on where to go.

Camping with Convenience:

Ponderosa State Park

Ponderosa State ParkLocated on the shores of Payette Lake, Ponderosa State Park offers standard and serviced campsites as well as cabins for small or large groups. Feel like you are in the heart of the forest while still being just a short walk or bike ride from the shops and restaurants in downtown McCall. Ponderosa offers canoe, kayak and SUP rentals (through Backwoods Adventures), a boat launch, sandy white beaches, hiking and biking trails and even ice cream for the kids at the Visitor’s Center. LEARN MORE

McCall RV Resort and Campground

McCall RV ResortFor those looking for luxury RV camping along the Payette River, the McCall RV Resort is the place for you. Each site offers water/sewer hookups, electric, cable and wifi. As a guest, take advantage of the beautiful Northfork Lodge complete with indoor swimming pool, spa, steam room, fitness facility and large patio. Borrow lawn games or head to the onsite playground to keep the kids entertained. Don’t have an RV? No problem! You can also rent a log cabin. LEARN MORE

McCall Campground and RV Park

McCall CampgroundJust two minutes from downtown McCall, the McCall Campground is known for its hometown hospitality and charm. Renovated in 2015, this campground offers 29 RV sites with water and electric hookups, 40 RV pull-through sites and 33 tent sites with additional room for parking. Bathrooms, showers and a laundry room onsite. Get to know your neighbors on the volleyball court or roasting marshmallows at the community fire ring. LEARN MORE

National Forest Campgrounds:

Upper Payette Lake Campground

Upper Payette LakeCamp on the shores of Upper Payette Lake, 17 miles north of McCall. Stroll along the interpretative trail within the campground or along the paved paths by the lakeshore. Several hiking trails also leave from the campground including the Deep Creek Trail which connects the campground to Granite Lake (4.7 miles). A boat launch is located next to the campground (no-wake lake). Sites are can be reserved for $10 per night (single unit) or $15 per night (double unit). LEARN MORE

Grouse Campground

Grouse CampgroundMake Grouse Campground your home base for exploring the lakes and trails in the Goose Lake Road area. The campground is located on Goose Lake with 22 sites (nine are available for reservation). Bring your small motor boat or float tube and take advantage of the prime fishing or pack the SUPs and canoe and paddle the shoreline. Potable water and vault restrooms. Sites are $10 per night (single unit) or $15 per night (double unit). LEARN MORE

Rainbow Point Campground

Rainbow PointRainbow Point is a beautiful campground on Lake Cascade and just a short drive or bike ride to Tamarack Resort. Boat, hike, fish and swim right from your site! Don’t have your own equipment? Pop down to the Tamarack Waterfront where you can rent ski boats, SUPs, kayaks and sailboats or partake in the Saturday Surf Sessions and learn how to wake-surf. Rainbow Point is host to 12 campsites priced at $15 per night. LEARN MORE

Picnic Point Campground

Picnic PointMake the most of your stay at Warm Lake with a campsite at Picnic Point, situated on a bluff overlooking the lake. Fish for cutthroat, rainbow, lake and bull trout in Warm Lake. This is a great location for off-road riders. Telephone Ridge Trail (#112) offers 20 miles of ATV/UTV trails and starts at Shoreline Campground next door. And don’t forget about the North Shore Lodge at Warm Lake where you can grab a bite to eat or stock up on supplies. Eight sites, $15 per night. LEARN MORE

French Creek Campground

French CreekLake Cascade offers excellent opportunities for boating, water skiing, canoeing, windsurfing and sailing and you can be right on the water with a stay at French Creek. Located on the southwestern side of the lake, this campground is also ideal for anglers looking to catch a rainbow trout, coho salmon or smallmouth bass for dinner. Easy access to hiking and biking trails. French Creek Campground offers 21 campsites at $15 per night. LEARN MORE

Roughing It:

Some of us just need to get rustic! For those looking to camp in non-developed sites (no restrooms, no potable water, no fire rings, no picnic tables), the McCall area has plenty to offer. If you are headed out into the woods for a weekend of off-the-grid camping, keep in mind these camping etiquette tips:

  1. Leave No Trace: If everyone does their part, we can keep our forests clean!
  2. Drown Your Fire: Take a cue from Smokey the Bear and make sure that your fire is completely out before leaving your site. Never leave a fire unattended! Before you embark on your camp-out, be sure to check for any fire restrictions that may be in place.
  3. Contain Your Food: Wildlife is great to look at from a distance, but the last thing you want is baby bear rifling through your snack bin. Keep food in coolers or containers and consider putting them in the car when you are away from camp or overnight.
  4. Control Your Dog: When you are in the backcountry, dogs generally get to be off leash, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be under your control at all times. If hiking, please be aware of other trail users, especially those with pack animals. In the presence of pack (or wild) animals, grab your dogs leash/collar and prevent barking.
  5. Respect The Need For Space: When you want to get away from it all, the last thing you need is for another group to set up camp right next to you. General etiquette suggests that if another group is in the area, put as much distance as possible between you and the surrounding campsites.

 

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