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Good Times and Tan Lines

Hit the water in and around Boise.

There are so many reasons to love summer. Sunshine. Waterparks. Boating. Summer in Boise is no exception. The warmer months are some of the best times to explore Boise’s many water activities. Here are some ways to beat the Boise heat. 

Whitewater Park 

Not far from downtown, Boise Whitewater Park spans 1⁄4 of a mile on the Boise River. It’s perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing—yes, that’s right, you can surf here in Boise. The park is located between 34th and 36th streets and is open between March and October. It has one of the world’s first adjustable waves, which a man-made wave shaper adjusts based on water levels. If you’d rather watch the surfers and kayakers, there are cafes, restaurants, and open-air bars nearby.

Note: Use caution when the river is low (below 700 cfs) because the boulders that are part of the wave feature become exposed. Surfers also should be cautious when the water is high and fast, and only experts should attempt to ride when the river is running too strongly. Get updates about water conditions on the park’s Facebook page.

Quinn’s Pond

If you’re in the mood to kayak, paddleboard, canoe or lounge on a beach, head to Quinn’s Pond along the Boise River and Greenbelt right next to Esther Simplot Park. This 22-acre water area has fishing docks, picnic shelters, canoe landings and even fitness classes. No problem if you don’t bring your own gear—you can rent kayaks, rafts, canoes and paddleboards onsite from Idaho River Sports.

Whitewater Rafting

Lucky for you, Boise is near some of the world’s best whitewater rafting along the Payette River. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you can choose from half-day or full-day outings from whitewater adventure companies like Cascade Raft. Trips include both rapids and relaxing river time along the sand plus a riverside lunch partway through your excursion. Most rafts hold up to seven people and one guide. 


Boise has a river, ponds and reservoirs that are great for anglers of all skill levels. You’ll find Idaho’s native trout in most bodies of water along with other species. If you’re fishing with kids, try Parkcenter Pond. Wherever you fish, anyone 14 or older must have a fishing license. You can get them online through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, at a Fish and Game field office, at Walmart, outdoor sports retailers and local angling shops. If you need gear, a few Boise angler shops rent rods, reels, boats, waders, boots and float tubes. 

Lucky Peak State Park

Just 20 minutes outside of Boise you can enjoy jet skis, boating, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing on miles of refreshing reservoir water. Lucky Peak has three distinct areas:
– Discovery Park: This roadside area is popular for reunions and picnics.
– Sandy Point: Located at the base of Lucky Peak Dam, visitors come here for sandy beaches, swimming, and cool water.
– Spring Shores: Here you’ll find lake access with boat ramps, marina parking, onsite rentals at Spring Shores Marina, and even a convenience store.

In addition to water activities, Lucky Peak also has plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking and letting yourself get lost in wild terrain. Since this is a state park, you will need to have a state pass or can buy a day pass when entering the park.

Roaring Springs

The Northwest’s largest water park has more than 20 attractions including a wave pool, float river, a large water playground for kids and multiple family raft rides. Tripadvisor ranked Roaring Springs as the nation’s 8th-best waterpark. The park just underwent a major expansion, making it one of the largest parks in the country.

Roaring Springs is located five miles west of Boise off I-84 at exit 44 in Meridian. For a break from the sun, check out Wahooz Family Fun Zone and Pinz Bowling Center, which are connected to the water park.

Boise River Floating

Floating the Boise River is a local tradition. This easy, six-mile trip starts at Barber Park and ends at Ann Morrison Park. The entire float lasts two to three hours, and the season generally goes from late June to late August. Exact dates depend on water flow and are announced in early summer each year. You can rent rafts and tubes at Barber Park. Learn more about how to float the Boise River here.