Vacationers head toward Bear Lake this summer season

Pizza Co. employee brings out "Old Ephraim" for customers.
A Pizza Co. employee brings out “Old Ephraim” for customers. (Amy Staker)

Summer visitors hit Bear Lake like BYU students hit the testing center line on the last day of finals.

Tourists pour in from throughout the world, including England and Australia, according to Ann Porter, an employee at Bear’s Den in Bear Lake.

“I love all the hustle and bustle of the people,” Porter said.

Thousands come to Bear Lake, an area made up of several towns in the lake basin, during summer season. For BYU students, the lake is a place to visit once school gets out.

Annika Smith, a senior studying psychology at BYU, says she would want to go to Bear Lake to spend time with friends tubing and boating.

“It’s a nice place. It’s really beautiful,” Smith said. “The scenery and everything is amazing.”

Mckell Hunsaker owns Bear Lake’s Quick N’ Tasty. She opens in summer like many other owners at Bear Lake. (Amy Staker)

Bear Lake is the second largest lake in Utah. It is known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” because of the water’s turquoise coloring caused by limestone in the water, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

People visit the lake to swim, water ski and fish. Bear Lake holds a few species of fish that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, such as the Bear Lake whitefish and Bonneville cisco.

And still other people visit Bear Lake simply because they’ve heard of the lake’s famous raspberry shakes, which isn’t surprising since the region is well known for its raspberries.

Quick-N Tasty owner Mckell Hunsaker stood outside of her store with Worker Jordan Perry, preparing to open for the summer season.

She said many people come to her place to enjoy the shakes, fries and affordable prices.
Raspberry shakes are also sold next door at Zipz and La Beau’s.

Here are some things to do at Bear Lake during summer:

  • Attend an original comedy at Pickleville Playhouse. The playhouse also offers musical theater workshops during summer.
  • Grab a sandwich, “dawg” or famous raspberry shake from Zipz, an old 1925 building recently remodeled into a drive-thru.
  • Go through a half-mile of stalactites and stalagmite formations at Minnetonka Cave, the largest commercially-developed limestone cave in Idaho.
  • Canoe, water ski, play in the sand, fish or drive a motorboat on Bear Lake.
  • Visit the Bank of Montpelier, where Butch Cassidy’s infamous robbery took place. It is now a printing company, but the original sign still hangs over the front door.
  • Go to the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge and walk along trails to spot birds and others animals.
  • Eat a bear-inspired giant 28-inch pizza at the Bear Pizza Co.
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