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  • Writer's pictureJon Watkins

Bear Lake- The Caribbean of the Rockies

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Why is a lake that straddles Utah and Idaho called the "Caribbean of the Rockies"? The water is so clear, you can almost see to the bottom! There is a reason that people fly in to find such a hidden gem. Not to mention to try out their famous raspberry shakes! It's easy to find a shake, it's harder to figure out which place is the actual "original".

If you love to camp, there are campgrounds within half a mile of the water. If you love to glamp, the Conestoga Ranch has got you covered. There are multiple RV and camper parks as well as hotels and AirBnBs! Plus you can rent a boat for the day to explore all 7 miles of the lake. Although Jon and Jenn learned that it gets really windy for a pontoon boat in the afternoon!

Bear Lake Podcast Transcript

Jon: If this is the first time you've downloaded our podcast welcome, my name is Jon and my wife Jen is getting ready to pour the wine for the day. Oh, there she goes, she is like a pouring Foley herself. She is pouring into the microphone, a heavy glass, heavy pour.

Jen: [inaudible00:20].

Jon: Exactly, we just had the first day of school tomorrow. No big deal.

Jen: I'm so ready.

Jon: Yeah. I can tell. Thank you for listening to our show. We are a married couple who likes to travel with their kids.

Jen: Yep.

Jon: That's the whole idea of it.

Jen: Sometimes without our kids.

Jon: Mainly without our kids. Yeah.

Jen: Yeah, I mean, yeah,

Jon: They bring you down.

Jen: Well, they cost a lot more.

Jon: What we like to do is celebrate the fact that we're doing a trip without the kids. And then the whole time on the trip talk about how we miss our kids.

Jen: It is the worst.

Jon: I know.

Jen: It really is. Like, we look forward to going on a trip. We have a trip coming up, just the two of us. And I'm like, oh, it's going to be so fun. And then at the same time, I'm like, I'm going to miss them.

Jon: And we do.

Jen: And we're going to talk about them the whole time...

Jon: Constantly.

Jen: About how, like, it'd be so fun if they were there.

Jon: And we think of things we should have done as a family.

Jen: Yes.

Jon: Instead of the two of us.

Jen: But if they were there, you'd be like, oh, you know what would be so great if they weren't here...

Jon: We just are not happy ...

Jen: Nope.

Jon: No matter what. So, if this is the first episode you've listened to, I'm going to invite you to go back, listen to other episodes. If you like, what you hear, give us a review. And if you're listening through apple five stars, a couple kinds of words.

Jen: Yea only good reviews, please.

Jon: Yea please. Yeah. Someone gave us a three-star. It hurts.

Jen: Oh who?

Jon: I know. And also make sure you follow us on Instagram, which is our savings starts tomorrow. I mentioned you were pouring wine you're back to the Day Owl.

Jen: Yeah. Back to my steady Eddie.

Jon: It's really just a constant Rosé that we keep in this house.

Jen: Rose all day...

Jon: Jen likes to have...

Jen: Rose all day every day. No, sometimes I work.

Jon: She, she likes to have a couple of glasses or bottles before the podcast to make sure it's loose.

Jen: Yes!

Jon: She wants to be real....

Jen: Reaaaallll.

Jon: In fact, I was writing out today's show plan, and ‘we’re going to talk about Bear Lake, which is right on the border of Utah and Idaho. And you were like, nah, I don't want to look at it I just want to be loose and real.

Jen: Yes o.

Jon: ff script, which scares me so much.

Jen: Yeah, I know we might have to do this twice.

Jon: And if you are interested in having us or be a sponsor for us, by all means, please do reach out to us. We always love our sponsors so much as well. Bear lake is called the Caribbean of the Rockies. Is it the Caribbean or the Caribbean?

Jen: Oh, I think Caribbean,

Jon: Caribbean of the Rockies, Caribbean Rocky.

Jen: The Caribbean of the Rockies.

Jon: Is it Pir...Okay finish the sentence Pirates of the ...

Jen: Caribbean, ah dammit [Laughing /crosstalk]

Jon: Because the water there is like, it looks like you're there in the Caribbean.

Jen: Or Caribbean. You know what? I did not believe this; People would tell us this.

Jon: I know.

Jen: They were like, no, the water is so beautiful. I'm like, it's a lake, calm yourself. But you know what?

Jon: It's gorgeous.

Jen: It's crystal clear. It is like the ocean.

Jon: It's like going to Turks and Caicos.

Jen: Yes!

Jon: But no, you're in the middle of the lake that is straddling Utah and Idaho. And I never thought we would be doing a podcast on Bear Lake because it's just this random lake. But we met so many people who have traveled....

Jen: Yes.

Jon: From other states to go to this specific lake.

Jen: Yes, cause it's so pretty.

Jon: Yeah. It's gorgeous. You can jet ski. You can go sailing. You can go boating. You can fish, you can swim. They have a bunch of Sandy beaches. And then the winter time there's snowmobiling and ice fishing and snow skiing, so,

Jen: And a cute little town.

Jon: I know, yeah it really is.

Jen: Yeah, it's a cute town.

Jon: So, when we got to Bear Lake, the first thing we did was we went to the north beach of Bear Lake, which is actually the Idaho side. And that's more like... to me, that was more of the beach side of the lake.

Jen: Yeah. Well, well, well cause there's north and then there's south right.

Jon: Yeah. It's like the Crips and the Bloods.

Jen: Yeah.

Jon: You got to choose your side and then they jump you in.

Jen: I feel like it was definitely more party.

Jon: North beach?

Jen: Yeah.

Jon: Yeah, people were like posting up for the day.

Jen: Cause Idaho.

Jon: Yeah, different liquor laws there in Idaho.

Jen: Yeah. I didn't think about that actually.

Jon: I mean, people got set up early.

Jen: Yep. They had their canopies their barbeques

Jon: Their music.

Jen: Yep.

Jon: They were ready to stay and play.

Jen: Yes.

Jon: And one of the coolest things I thought that was on the north beach, that's where the Bear Lake burger boat pulls up.

Jen: That was cool.

Jon: And it's just this ...think food truck, but on the water, it's a big yellow boat and they do $9 burger and chips. And the line ...

Jen: Was ridiculous.

Jon: Yeah. So, they pull, I don't know to where it's like three feet deep, maybe.

Jen: Well, you can go out really far.

Jon: Yeah, the shelf takes forever to get to. And so, you go all the way out there and the burger boat just sits out there and it smells so good.

Jen: It does smell so good.

Jon: It smells amazing the whole time.

Jen: Well, it's like the only food out there unless you brought your food.

Jon: Which we didn't.

Jen: Nope cause we don't plan.

Jon: Because we didn’t listen to a podcast like this one to know how to travel right.

Jen: Pack a picnic or plan on bringing some cash for the burger boat.

Jon: Yeah, in fact just do that.

Jen: It was fun.

Jon: Nine Dollar burger and chips you can't get a deal like that.

Jen: I know.

Jon: It's perfect. So that's the north side. And then the south side is the Utah side, which is where the Bear Lake state park.

Jen: Yeah. It was a lot shadier over there.

Jon: Rocky too.

Jen: Yeah. There was like more trees and yeah,

Jon: It just depends on kind of what you're looking for. Now Bear Lake If you ask anyone who lives in the area is known for their raspberries, which I learned a fun thing.

Jen: How do you spell Raspberry?

Jon: Did you know there is a p in the word raspberry?

Jen: I'm embarrassed to tell you how I spelt it.

Jon: You spelt it rasaberries it's raspberries.

Jen: Raspberries.

Jon: I had no clue. And they even have Raspberry days, which just happened a few weeks ago.

Jen: Oh, we missed it.

Jon: But because of the drought this year Bear Lake, which is known for the raspberries, they're out of raspberries.

Jen: Oh.

Jon: But that's just life today. I went to Buffalo; wild wings and they didn't have wings. So why? Of course, Bear Lake would be out of raspberry.

Jen: Yeah, that makes sense.

Jon: It's 2021.

Jen: But they have raspberry days, but they're also just known for their raspberry shakes.

Jon: Well, yeah. I mean, that's like a theme.

Jen: That's their thing.

Jon: As you drive into Bear Lake, every billboard you see is a different restaurant saying that they have the best raspberry shake. It's like when you go to New York and everyone claims to be the first pizza place, it's the same thing with Bear Lake. I do think, I did some research. There is a place called LaBeau's I think that's the original shake place.

Jen: Really?

Jon: They have two locations right next to each other.

Jen: Did we go to one of them?

Jon: We did not go to LaBeau's.

Jen: Okay.

Jon: No that was.

Jen: [inaudible06:58] was so good.

Jon: We instead we like flashy things. We're all about showbiz and zips.

Jen: Oh, that's where we went Zips.

Jon: Zips looked cool.

Jen: It did look cool. I thought it was delicious.

Jon: It was great yeah so...

Jen: We had like two different raspberry shakes when we were there. I gotta be honest with you, they both taste the same.

Jon: They all taste the same. It doesn't matter where you go. It's all just raspberries with some vanilla ice cream.

Jen: People in Bear Lake are going to start hating on us, that’s our three-star reviewers. [laughter/crosstalk07:24].

Jon: They're all the same it's fine. They're all good. Zips is cool. Also like they have like skis as chairs.

Jen: Oh yeah. They have cool... like a cool place.

Jon: Yeah. There's no adults working at least when we were there. I swear, it was like children of the corn. There was not one person over the age of 23.

Jen: Oh. I was going to say even younger,

Jon: 21, 19...

Jen: 19 ...

Jon: They were all like real... I'm saying from...

Jen: It was like 15- to 19-year-olds that were running that town.

Jon: Checking us into where we stayed, the restaurants, the boat that we rented. I'm pretty sure the police officer was on a tricycle. Like everywhere, they were so young... where are the adults?

Jen: I know.

Jon: Well, cause it's like a little vacation down.

Jen: I want to be like, where are your parents?

Jon: Yeah. I know they all live in some camp down the road. And then they work in all these shops during the day.

Jen: We also did eat at a place called Cafe Sabor, which is like the Mexican restaurant in town. I don't know if I'm going to Bear Lake, I'm not looking for Mexican food.

Jen: I know, but I was just so burned on like burgers.

Jon: And we did a lot of burgers that trip. So, we stayed at the Conestoga ranch, which between us, our kids have never truly camped.

Jen: Nope.

Jon: They don't understand what camping actually is. We've only gone glamping.

Jen: They think that this is camping.

Jon: Yeah, when we checked in at the Conestoga ranch, we then got into a golf cart, which drove up to our covered wagon.

Jen: Yes.

Jon: And they carry the bags.

Jen: Yes.

Jon: So, embarrassing.

Jen: This is the second time we've stayed in a covered wagon.

Jon: Yeah, and they have like a fire pit that they light for you. So, this is our kids, what they think camping.

Jen: Well, it's the only camping I'll ever do.

Jon: So, when they finally have a friend, who's like, hey, do you want to go camping?

Jen: Oh, they're going to be solely disappointed.

Jon: And they're looking around for the golf cart to drive them to their tent. They're in for a world of disappointment because that's not how it goes. Now at the Conestoga ranch, you get to choose between wagons or tents. Like teepees. I really felt the tents looked cool.

Jen: I wish we would have stayed in a tent.

Jon: We chose the wagon because it was cheaper. There's bunk beds in the wagon and like a hardwood floor. And it's kind of off the ground.

Jen: And it has a king-sized bed in the back.

Jon: Yeah. It's good size and there's like electricity in it.

Jen: Yeah. Like we were able to charge our phones. There was a light in there.

Jon: Yeah. But it shakes a lot because it's like on the wheels, it traps in the heat a little more than I think a tent did, I don't know.

Jen: It was so stinking hot in there.

Jon: We stuck our head into a tent that wasn't being used and it just looked nicer.

Jen: It did.

Jon: So, if we could afford it next time, I think I would do the tents, but it was fine. It was one of the hardest things was there were these cats that were fighting every night outside of our wagon and so you would hear like, like all night as we tried to sleep and then you had a, you know, as you do, when you camp, you have to walk to the bathroom.

Jen: Yeah. I did not like that.

Jon: I was always afraid I was going to get in the middle of some kind of cat brawl as I walked over there. So yeah.

Jen: There's also like bugs in our tent,

Jon: There was in our wagon.

Jen: In our wagon. And I did not bring enough sleep aids.

Jon: You tried, I mean, you brought a few bottles of wine, but that was not enough of a sleep aid for you.

Jen: No. Oh my God. I slept horrible.

Jon: They had like a small general store.

Jen: People think like, oh, you sleep so well when you camp.

Jon: You never do[inaudible10:52].

Jen: it's so hot. And then there was bugs. Like, ugh, why do people do that?

Jon: They have a great restaurant at the Conestoga ranch called the Campfire Grill.

Jen: It was so good.

Jon: And it's like, high-end like cool, the wine. I don't know, the menu I think was written in San script. It was just like a really nice.

Jen: No, we had like a really nice dinner there. Actually. I think we ate there twice, two really nice dinners there.

Jon: We could only do so many raspberry shakes at Zips.

Jen: I know.

Jon: We had to do something else.

Jen: You know back to the resort though, when we stayed there, it's open bathrooms though. And we've stayed at another place like this and other camping place like this and you actually got your own bathroom. This place, it was shared bathroom.

Jon: Like a normal campsite.

Jen: And it was... but they were don't get me wrong. Very nice bathrooms like fresh towels. There was like amenities.

Jon: No, no complain to me about the...

Jen: But I had to share it with other people.

Jon: That was the big problem that you had.

Jen: Well, now you're making me sound like a jerk.

Jon: Well, we were camping.

Jen: We were glamping anyways.

Jon: There’s also though which we realized once we were there, they have some really nice hotels at Bear Lake that are on the lake and they have a private beach out in front.

Jen: That would be really cool.

Jon: Conestoga ranch was a little further away from the lake we had to drive every day.

Jen: Yeah. But we did take bikes. They have little bikes. We took bikes.

Jon: We biked into town every day.

Jen: Yep, we biked into town and got some breakfast.

Jon: And then one day what we decided to do was rent a pontoon boat.

Jen: Yes. I love me like some time on the water.

Jon: It's the best. Here's the thing. They really don't make sure you, you know how to drive a boat.

Jen: Oh no. Again, well, it was like a 12-year-old that handed you the keys. And it was like, here you go.

Jon: The only thing they said was stay out of the middle of the lake because it’s a big lake, they're like stay towards the edge, you'll be fine. And I was like, all right, Skippy, off you go, don't you have Cub Scouts to get to. And so, we get in this pontoon and we go out and it was a, it was a great day. We brought some beverages and some snacks and had a picnic.

Jen: We got sandwiches and stuff from a local little deli.

Jon: And we just floated along Bear Lake and the kids jumped in and swam and then towards the end, I decided to, you know, as the captain that I am...

Jen: Take us around the lake.

Jon: I wanted to give you guys a tour in our pontoon and Skippy was right. You should not take a pontoon in the middle of Bear Lake.

Jen: Nope.

Jon: Especially in the afternoon when it gets windy...

Jen: And it gets windy.

Jon: Next thing you know, there's like swells.

Jen: Big swells.

Jon: Taking over the side of the pontoon boat, like crashing into us, knocking things to the side.

Jon: It was like being in the hurricane on the cruise ship. And now the kids are freaking out.

Jen: Yes. Because the water is like,

Jon: Yea we're taking on water at this point

Jen: We're taking on water; I think it washed away like a pair of Ella's like flip-flops.

Jon: Oh, they were gone.

Jen: It was, traumatic and then you're riding it.

Jon: Yeah, riding the waves, trying to get back just to like shore.

Jen: You're like Captain Dan in the middle of the...

Jon: Captain Dan, I was up there yelling at the clouds.

Jen: Yes, oh my God.

Jon: And it took .... pontoon boats also do not go fast.

Jen: No.

Jon: So, it doesn't matter how fast you want to get out of the storm. You're not going to go any faster than two miles an hour.

Jen: Yea.

Jon: I mean, we're going against the current. So, by the time we got back, the kids are just traumatized.

Jen: Yep.

Jon: They don't ever want to go on a pontoon boat again.

Jen: No.

Jon: But it was cool though, on the docks, they had fish food.

Jen: Yeah.

Jon: And there's a bunch of cutthroat fish in there and you could actually just throw in some food or like Ella did all the food at one and the amount of fish.

Jen: It was crazy.

Jon: It was like a cool aquarium experience.

Jen: You could like actually reached down and like touch them.

Jon: Yeah.

Jen: It was ...

Jon: I threatened to throw them in to...

Jen: Oh, that was also traumatizing.

Jon: So, all the way around, we made a lot of great memories I would say with Bear Lake. So, I don't know, would you go back?

Jen: Oh, I cannot wait to go back actually.

Jon: So, it’s something you would do again?

Jen: Yes. I'd love to stay in a hotel. I'd love to stay closer to the water.

Jon: There's also an RV, I should mention an RV campsite over by Bear Lake state park.

Jen: Okay.

Jon: It's on the south side where you can bring your RV or your camper up and you can just post up there. Airbnb, I know we've had friends, who've done it where there's all these like nice houses on the lake and you can actually just rent one of those. In fact, my buddy was just at Bear Lake and he said, he found a person who owns a boat and he actually comes with the boat.

Jen: Oh.

Jon: So, you don't have to have me driving it. You can actually have this guy who...

Jen: Like an experienced captain?

Jon: Yeah, like a riverboat captain himself and he just feels like it's better for him to do it. So, no one destroys his boat.

Jen: Smart.

Jon: And I guess he even brings some beverages along for you and drives the boat all day. And then you get to sit there and not stress about everything.

Jen: No, that’s smart.

Jon: So, I would do it that way.

Jen: I mean ...because you can rent all sorts of stuff up there.

Jon: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jen: And then you can rent jet skis. You can rent regular ski boats and you can rent pontoons.

Jon: Then there was these like trampolines, like these water trampoline that they will tow out an anchor for you and you can rent them for two hours and then your kids would just swim out and like jump on these big blobs.

Jen: That looked fun.

Jon: I know next time I think we would do that over the pontoon.

Jen: Yeah, the water is cold.

Jon: It is.

Jen: It's a little cold. A little chilly.

Jon: Yeah. It's not the temperature of the Caribbean.

Jen: No.

Jon: It's just the look.

Jen: Of the, oh my gosh, It's so weird. I will say when we were in the middle and anchor, not anchor, I don't know.

Jon: We were just floating around; I never dropped the anchor.

Jen: Yeah.

Jon: I don't even know if there was an anchor on that thing.

Jen: when we like were sort of, it was, it's crazy to be in a lake and be able to see your toes when you're in the water.

Jon: Oh yeah, or the fishes swimming below you.

Jen: Yes.

Jon: That'll freak you out.

Jen: Yes.

Jon: Yeah.

Jen: So crazy.

Jon: So, Bear Lake, if you've never been fly into either Boise or you could fly into Salt Lake City, I would assume those would be the two closest places to do. So, you can drive out from Salt Lake it's two hours away. I think it was two and a half from Boise or three hours.

Jen: Ok yeah.

Jon: You can also ...then also a lot of people came from Wyoming to go there as well. So, there you go. That is our latest episode. I did want to say thanks to those in France who are listening to us.

Jen: Oh, I know, that's so cool.

Jon: We are now an international podcast. We are charted here in the United States and then we started charting in Canada and then just last week we started showing up on in France.

Jen: Oui.

Jon: So yeah, if anyone wants to offer us their place so we can come out and hang out there and have a few baguettes. We would absolutely love that again, review and then we're going to post photos of our Bear Lake trip this week. So you can always check it out on Instagram and our Instagram handle is our savings starts tomorrow

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