If you are planning a trip to the Bear Lake area, Garden City, Utah is one of the best areas to stay. This charming small town with fewer than 600 year-round residents offers a surprising variety of activities.
Garden City is a popular summer resort destination due to it being on the shore of Bear Lake. The lake is nicknamed the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to the vivid turquoise blue water lake. It’s located in Rich County near Logan Canyon and close to the Idaho border. In many ways, Garden City is the ideal home base while you explore the area.
Whether you enjoy walking around, dining, shopping or the beach, you will find something you love during your Garden City getaway. We urge you to arrange to spend at least a couple of days at a luxury cabin rental so you don’t miss out on the unique experience Garden City offers. We hope this travel guide helps you make the most of your visit.
Please keep in mind that some of the businesses mentioned may have changed their services, closed, or added new products, so when in doubt, check the website or call the businesses.
Pristine Lakeside Beaches Perfect for Watersports
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Garden City’s biggest draws are the magnificent Bear Lake and its pristine beaches. If you are looking for a beautiful beach, you can’t go wrong with Garden City Park . A charming boardwalk leads you to the beach, where you may enjoy spectacular views of the turquoise lake and surrounding mountains. The beaches are sandy and a nice place to relax, walk, access the water, and maybe even attempt to build sand sculptures.
Boating enthusiasts will enjoy the Bear Lake State Park Marina, which is at the north end of Garden City and the city is near the expansive Bear Lake State Park . The marina is open year-round and a great destination for people who enjoy water activities, including water skiing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, and sailing.
If you want to get out on the water and don’t have your own boat, then you may want to rent a boat at:
They also enjoy UTV and ATV rentals for winter fun. Bear Lake Water Adventures also provides paddle boarding lessons in addition to rentals if you always wanted to try.
The lake also offers trails for hiking and biking in Garden City and Bear Lake Valley. The sights are gorgeous, and that turquoise lake looks great in photographs. Bear Lake State Park is a great place to join a trail. Don’t forget to bring your camera or make sure your phone is fully charged. You may not be able to resist taking lots of pictures.
Golfing and Other Outdoor Recreational Activities
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If you are a keen golfer, you are probably always looking for a place to enjoy a round. Garden City’s own Bear Lake Golf Course on Clubhouse Drive is your spot. This 9-hole regulation course was designed by William H. Neff, ASGCA, and opened in 1971. The beautifully manicured course and charming surroundings make for a day to remember.
If you prefer mini-golf or even disc golf, Garden City’s Bridgerton Adventure Park is the place to go, if you don’t have your own discs, they can provide a set. In addition, the adventure park offers a range of other outdoor activities for the whole family. Options include rope courses, zip line, climbing, ax throwing, swinging, tubing, and a kid’s train and playground.
Bear Lake is a great spot for fishing . Casual fishers enjoy visiting the Garden City Pond and Heritage Park where they can fish for cutthroat and rainbow trout. There is a 2 fish per day bag & possession limit.
This park is also a great place to play pickleball if you want to book a game. In addition, hikers and bikers enjoy multi-use bike trails and hiking trail access. If you are traveling with kids, stop by the park’s playground. Walking or jogging around the park is always a great way to enjoy fresh air and exercise.
If you happen to be in Garden City during a “shoulder season” like fall, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the delightful colors or autumn as leaf-peepers enjoy strolling around the town, Bear Lake, and the local parks.
Photo Credit: escapeatbearlake via Instagram
Escape at Bear Lake is the local Garden City escape room and a great diversion on a rainy day or if you are taking a few hours off from the beach. It’s described as “sixty minutes to escape from a themed, interactive environment. Ideal for family, friends, students, colleagues, gamers, and thrill seekers!” If you enjoy games and challenges, an escape room offers a lively diversion.
If all this adventure is exhausting you, indulge in a little self-care at The Spa at Water’s Edge . Book a massage, pedicure, facial, or a variety of aesthetic medispa treatments.
When people think of shopping they don’t usually imagine going to a small town to do it. Still, Garden City’s Bear Lake Boulevard has dozens of unique retail shops selling candy, outdoor recreation equipment, souvenirs, clothing, and unique gift items. Garden City’s downtown offers free parking, making it easy to walk to the shops and get a bite to eat at one of the restaurants.
Nightlife and Dining
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If you want a fun night out, the Pickleville Playhouse is worth a night. This theater is described as “Utah’s most unique family theater experience.” The shows are engaging, lively, often hilarious, and family-friendly.
If you want to dance, be sure to attend a Bear Lake Dance Place event if possible. They are famous for weekend summer dances in Garden City including one at the annual raspberry festival.
For a small town, Bear Lakes has more than its share of restaurants serving delicious food and seasonal raspberry shakes. A few options include:
- Firehouse Pizzeria at 50 South Bear Lake Boulevard
- Hometown Drive-In at 105 North Bear Lake Blvd
- The Burger Barn at 28 Bear Lake Blvd
- Bear Trapper Restaurant at 216 South Bear Lake Blvd
- Cafe Sabor at 82 N. Bear Lake Blvd.
Garden City is home to festivals and events that honor the community and unique landscape. Two of the most notable festivals are the “Bear Lake Raspberry Days” in the summer and “Bear Lake Monster Winterfest” in the winter.
Raspberry Shakes and Bear Lake Raspberry Days festival
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Each August, Garden City is home to the “ Bear Lake Raspberry Days festival ” in Heritage Park. The region is renowned for producing spectacular raspberries. The climate and soil are just ideal for the fruit because of the warm summer days along with cool, crisp evenings. Raspberries grown here are sweeter than the typical raspberry.
For three days festival goers celebrate raspberries with live music, an arts and crafts fair, and fun activities drawing people from surrounding areas as well as tourists.
The love for raspberries extends beyond the festival. In fact, many guests feel their Summer stay isn’t complete unless they enjoy a delicious raspberry shake in Garden City.
The most popular restaurants selling delicious shakes are:
- La Beau’s Drive Inn on 69 N. Bear Lake Blvd
- Quick N Tasty on 28 N. Bear Lake Blvd
Winter Fun in Garden City
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During the winter, Garden City transforms into a winter wonderland attracting guests who enjoy snowmobiling , cross-country skiing, snowboarding, or just playing in the snow. Garden City is even the home to the local winter festival, the “ Bear Lake Monster Winterfest ” each January. Festival highlights include an annual Monster Cisco Disco, Monster Polar Plunge, Monster Chili Cook-off, Monster Outdoor Expo, Monster Cisco Tournament, and a raffle. If you enjoy a little icy fun, you have come to the right place.
Enjoy Your Time in Garden City
We hope you enjoy your time in Garden City. If you love the great outdoors and vivid turquoise-blue water you just might want to make it an annual getaway. So many feel charmed by the wholesome community vibe, laid-back environment, breathtaking views, and ample recreational opportunities.