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Summer Trip to McCall, Idaho with Kids

Notice how I titled this Summer "Trip" and not "Vacation"?! Because we all know that oftentimes a getaway with kids is NOT a vacation. At all. And that we usually need a vacation from the vacation. IYKYK.


Grandpa came to Idaho and we decided to pick him up from the airport and head directly to McCall for a little getaway. It was our first time being there in the summer with kids and we instantly fell in love with the place all over again. I know a LOT of Treasure Valley families have spent their fair share of time in the area but wanted to share some insights from our trip to help you plan your next McCall getaway.

Where to Stay:

Like I mentioned in my Sun Valley post, our go-to with kids is to find an Airbnb. This time we stayed in a newer 3 level condo about a 5 minute drive from the center of town. It worked out great for us since we had a full kitchen and multiple bedrooms to spread out in. There are a lot of options on for types of stays in the McCall area. The one. westayed at in the winter was much more of a "cabin" and this one was like staying in a nice, new hotel! (Happy to share the specifics if you want!) I've also heard that the Holiday Inn has great accommodations and a fun indoor pool.

What to Do:

Honestly, we had such perfect weather that we spent most of our time around Payette Lake playing in the sand. We wandered down to the Legacy Park beach area on our first night and were delighted to find loaner sand toys to play with. The area is nice and clean with public bathrooms, picnic tables, grassy areas and nice walking paths.

Just down the road from Legacy Park is the new Brown Park, recently completed in Spring of 2022. The park area and the play structures are SUPER cool and offer something for every one and every age. I wish we had found it sooner so that we could have spent more time here. It's really nicely done - definitely recommend!

The other area we enjoyed playing at is Rotary Park. There's a great little beach area here that seems especially shady and also has loaner toys to play with (win-win)! There's also a playground structure here that all three of my kids really liked.

Check out the full list of local parks and playgrounds here.

The other main activity that we did on this trip was bike! We took advantage of the fact that we had a third adult to help watch the kids and took turns doing some adult only rides around the lake. It was GORGEOUS but definitely long and not exactly kid-friendly. It was really neat to ride around the lake and watch all the kayakers, paddle boarders, and boaters as well as check out some rock climbers and even get a peak at some wildlife. We got to see a moose, deer and even saw a Bigfoot crossing! ;) If you can't do a bike ride, I highly recommend taking a scenic drive around instead.

We intended to go on a little hike or two since there's so many options for that but we just never got around to it! We didn't even get over to Ponderosa State Park this time! We have another trip planned for mid-July so I'll report back with more recommendations then!

Where to Eat:

McCall has a couple of great spots to buy groceries if you want to make any of your meals at "home" instead of eating out. There is an Albertsons right on the edge of the main downtown area and a Ridley's right as you enter into town from the south as well as other smaller convenience type stores and gas stations.

We enjoyed the spots we went to on our winter trip to McCall so much that we went back to most of them again on this trip. Read all about them here.

We had dinner at the Salmon River Brewery on the night we arrived. It was a LONG wait but we had fun playing cornhole on the patio and enjoying a few drinks in the sun. The patio has a fun view of the lake and is a hop skip and jump to Legacy Park (listed above). Our kids shared their pepperoni pizza and baked mac n cheese and the adults enjoyed some burgers and fish tacos.

One of my FAVORITE McCall spots is Cafe 6 THREE 4. I grabbed myself a turkey sandwich for lunch there one day and man it was GOOD. Love the vibe and wish I could have gone back for another meal. FYI It's closed on Sunday so don't wait until the end of the weekend to go eat there!

Another clear favorite place to eat is My Father's Place. It lives up to the hype with delicious burgers, fries and ice cream treats. They have a great grassy area with picnic tables and more cornhole to play while you wait (there's almost always a line!).

A new spot we tried out on this trip was Alpine Pantry located right across from Rotary Park (listed above). We all LOVED it. My kids loved their airy waffle and yummy fruit crepes while the adults enjoyed some tacos, their version of a BLT, and their eggs benedict. It's only open until 3:00pm so make sure to fit it into your schedule for breakfast or lunch. They also have a little "provisions" shop area with a lot of local goodies.

No summer trip to McCall would be complete without a stop (or two) for ice cream. We planned on getting a "mountain sized scoop" from Ice Cream Alley but the line was insane so we popped across the street to Squatch Sweets instead. Holy smokes. If you like ALL the toppings and fun combos then you'll love the options here. There's also other treats available like cotton candy, fancy chocolates and a wall of bulk candy dispensers.

It also wouldn't feel right to visit McCall and NOT get a treat from Stacey Cakes! We DEVOURED a cinnamon roll and muffin in record time.

Annnnnnd since I'm a coffee snob, I gotta mention my favorite spot to grab a cup of Joe - North Fork Coffee Roasters. It's super cool and offers really delicious coffee drinks. Grab a bag of beans or some sweet merch on your way out of town!

I know this only scratches the surface of great options for enjoying a summer trip to McCall with kids so please comment with your family's favorites and stay tuned for more after our next trip!


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