The next stop on the big road trip was Bear Lake, Utah. Bear Lake is a mountain lake with incredibly blue (almost turquoise) water, located on the Utah/Idaho border. Mr. TypeTwoFun had been to Bear Lake as a kid, and he was anxious to see it again. It would break up our trip to Yellowstone, so we decided to give it a shot.
We chose a spot in the Big Creek loop of the campground. We were excited to camp with full hookups for the first time ever. We’d had electric before, but never water hookups or sewer. When we arrived, the campground was empty. There were maybe 2-3 other campers near us. The spot we picked out turned out to be less shaded than we expected, and the staff was nice enough to let us switch spots. Since there was basically no one else around, we picked a more shaded spot near the bathrooms.
We are getting quite good at setting up camp, and it only took us a few minutes to set everything up to our liking. The Big Creek loop is right on the lake, and we could see the blue water from our front door. While having the water nearby was nice, it also meant LOTS of mosquitoes. We went through a couple of cans of bug spray while we were there, and we still got eaten alive. But our new spot was shaded nicely by the big trees throughout the campground. There was also lush grass in the common areas, which was pretty, but it meant that (loud) sprinklers came on every night. We could have done without that.
There were picnic tables, fire rings, and grills at each site — and of course, FULL HOOKUPS! This ended up being a blessing and a curse. We realized that we really enjoyed the convenience of having an unlimited water supply, but the campground was much less secluded and rustic than some of the other places we’d stayed. We were, in fact, only 5 minutes from the town of Garden City. It was nice to pop in and have dinner one night, but we really didn’t feel like we were camping at all. There were also bathrooms with flushing toilets and free, warm showers at the campground. We took full advantage of those, but they weren’t the cleanest bathrooms we’d been in. I don’t know if it was because it was the slow season, but the bathrooms weren’t cleaned once in the three days we were there.
Being close to Garden City was great when we were hungry and didn’t feel like cooking. Garden City is famous for their raspberry shakes, so that was on the list of things to do. We hit up the local Quick N’ Tasty for shakes, and they had every flavor imaginable. Besides raspberry, we also sampled several other flavors. They were all yummy, but raspberry was definitely the best. In fact, we met another family on their way to Yellowstone who had stopped in Bear Lake just for the raspberry shakes. The father said he’d been dreaming about those shakes since his childhood. 🙂
One thing I really wasn’t happy about was that the campground had no laundry facilities. In fact, there wasn’t a laundromat within 50 miles of Bear Lake. You’d think that with all the great amenities the campground had, there would be someplace to do a load of laundry. After several days on the road, we really needed some clean clothes, so I just washed them in the pop up sink and hung them out to dry. I’m not sure if that was allowed at the campground, but we didn’t see any rangers during our stay, so I figured we wouldn’t get yelled at.
There was plenty to do and see around Bear Lake. We drove up to Minnetonka Cave (about an hour away) one day for a tour. It was a nice little cave and fairly inexpensive. The drive was picturesque, and the kids enjoyed the tour.
If you are into water sports, the marina isn’t far, and you could rent boats and kayaks. We wanted to rent stand up paddleboards, but it was so windy while we were there. The water was also pretty cold. If you are visiting later in the summer, I’ll bet it would be a perfect place to boat.
Things we loved:
- Full hookups! It was nice to have all the water we needed and a quick way to dispose of gray water.
- Raspberry Shakes! Yum!
- Easy access to the lake from our campsite.
- Free, warm showers.
Things we learned:
- Clean laundry is pretty important. If we are staying somewhere without laundry facilities, we need to find a better way to wash our clothes.
- We still didn’t get the hang of the Gizmos… gonna have to keep trying.
- We LOVE our camper. It kept us warm at night, and with the windows unzipped, we were cool during the day. We were even able to nap comfortably.
We enjoyed our time at Bear Lake, and if you are camping there, I would definitely recommend the Big Creek loop. The other loops were not nearly as nice, as they seemed more like parking spaces with covered picnic tables. If you decide to visit Bear Lake, I’d recommend staying a little later in June. And don’t leave without trying a raspberry shake… or two. 🙂
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