The Ultimate Family-Friendly Guide to Bear Lake

Updated: Sep 15

Bear Lake Utah / Bear Lake Idaho

Bear Lake is a natural freshwater lake on the Utah-Idaho border famous for its turquoise hues and fresh raspberry shakes. It's also unique because it's one of the few mountain lakes in Utah that isn't a man-made reservoir, so even though we're in a bad drought right now, its water levels aren't suffering like many reservoirs across the state.

Need a guide? Scroll for best things to do at Bear Lake with kids, best hotels and lodging at Bear Lake, plus the best beaches.

Lodging at Bear Lake, Utah

Bear Lake is an incredibly popular summer destination for families but not many people visit year round. Because of that, there are no hotels. But there are tons of hotel-like options including condos, cabins, and lakefront houses you can rent.

I prefer the cabin option to really get that Bear Lake vibe.

Most affordable

KOA Campground (mini cabins, RV hookups, or tent camping).

Best lakefront

Ideal Beach Resort or private vacation rental

Best cabin rental options

Bear Lake Golf Course or Fish Haven

Closest to the marina

Worldmark Harbor Village (this is a timeshare resort but occasionally you can find bookings through Expedia)

Best glamping

Conestoga Ranch

Best Beaches at Bear Lake

Much of the Bear Lake shoreline is covered in grass and wetlands or lakefront cabins. But there are several sandy beach areas that allow for a perfect day in the sun.

Bear Lake Beaches

Here are the three most popular and best beaches at Bear Lake:

3. Rendezvous Beach, Bear Lake, Utah

On the south side, named for the place where fur trappers and Native Americans would meet to trade with each other. There are campsites, pavilions, and boat rentals available.

credit: Family Destinations Guide

2. Ideal Beach, Bear Lake, Utah

This beach is in between Laketown and Garden City. This is only accessible to guests of Ideal Beach Resort or by cabin owners that pay a membership fee. But if you stay at Ideal Beach Resort or rent a place that has access, it's a nice beach with boat rentals, a large grassy area and playground, and mini golf nearby.

credit: Tripadvisor

1. North Beach, Bear Lake, Idaho

This beach is on the Idaho side. This is by far the best beach at Bear Lake! It has lots of fine powdery sand, no grassy wetlands, and very few rocks. It also boasts the most turquoise water, making it the most picturesque part of the lake.

Caribbean of the Rockies. If you've ever heard that Bear Lake is called the "Caribbean of the Rockies", this beach is why! Deep turquoise hues and soft, white sand. But it's well known to be the best beach so it can get a little crowded. We went recently during Father's Day weekend and Google Maps told us it was "as busy as it gets". We were still able to park easily right on the beach (literally on the sand), walk a few steps and stake a claim to our own little spot of sand & water for the kids to playin all day. Other than seeing canopies dot the entire shoreline, it didn't feel all that crowded.

Shallow and perfect for Kids. The other reason it's such a great beach, especially for kids, is how shallow it is. You can walk out a hundred yards and still only be in knee-deep water. This makes it not-so-great for boaters because you have to walk out really far to get to your boat, but it's perfect for people who just want to play in the sand, kayak, or paddleboard. The kids had a great time paddling around in our Body Glove inflatable paddleboard and Intex Explorer inflatable kayak! These are Amazon affiliate links and we may make a small commission if you purchase, but we only recommend products we use often and adore.

Floating Food Truck. And as a bonus, there's a floating food truck called Bear Lake Burger Boat. I had never seen anything quite like it, so being able to say you ate there is a pretty unique experience. It's $5 for an ice cream sandwich, but oh well. Still cool.