There is never a shortage of fun things to do in McCall. If you get bored here, you’re just not trying! Besides the unlimited number of recreational activities offered in the area there are plenty of events to keep you entertained as well.
When McCall is covered in snow and everyone is skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling the McCall Chamber of Commerce puts on an extravagant gala event known as the Winter Carnival. For most of the past 75 years Winter Carnival begins when three dozen businesses unveil intricate snow sculptures on opening weekend. On days between contests there is a lot of goofy carnival fun. Everyone sports carnival beads and the atmosphere is warm and congenial. Snowshoe golf, a teen dance, snowman-building and a kids variety show keep locals busy, while out-of-towners enjoy a Mardi Gras parade, theater at the Alpine Playhouse and a torchlight parade on skis, hairy and sexy legs contest, wine-tasting, beer garden, art and souvenir shopping and you can even try your own hand at ice sculpturing. The 100 year-old Hotel McCall, at the center of the activity, has hosted carnival guests from as far away as Australia.
There are several places to listen to live music in McCall in the evenings. During the summer local restaurants will have outdoor music as well. Try sitting out back at the Salmon River Brewery, McCall Brewing Company or Broken Horn Brewing Company to enjoy fresh local microbrews or play Bocce Ball in the Hotell McCall courtyard next to Bistro 45.
In the warm summer months McCall puts on a magnificent Independence Day fireworks display and everyone jumps in their boat or throws a blanket on shore to view the spectacle. Lounging on one of Payette Lake’s sandy beaches or taking a cruise around the lake is also popular entertainment. So is soaking in one of the natural non- sulfurous (sweet-smelling) hot springs in the area. There are two excellent public hot springs within a 30 mile radius of McCall; Burgdorf hot spring which is approximately 30 miles north on Warren Wagon Rd and Goldfork Hot Spring about 6 miles east of Donnelly. Both offer plenty of sightseeing possibilities along the way and if you look very closely you may see wild herds of deer, flocks of geese and even a moose or two. Leave the bears alone, though. They’re grumpy.
There are plenty of outstanding restaurants in McCall and several have alfresco dining where you can take in the views and watch the people. All you have to do is look around for plenty of diversions to keep you amused in McCall.
Morels are among the most highly prized of all the Wild Harvest Mushrooms. The reason is plain. Their taste is superb! Their great value may also be found in their elusiveness. While they often grow in profusion they may be very difficult to see – especially for the inexperienced.
Morels grow in and around the McCall area and they usually emerge in the early spring. If you attempt to harvest Morel mushrooms, or any wild mushrooms, do so with a quality guide and preferably an experienced mushroom hunter companion. Tamarack Resort has mushroom forays with renowned expert Dr. Orson K. Miller Jr. and Mrs. Miller has spent over 30 years compiling mushroom recipes to delight any connoisseur’s palette.