Visit To Eagle Island State Park

Eagle Island State Park. Canoe. Click to enlarge.

Eagle Island State Park In Idaho Offers A Variety Of Outdoor Activities 

Eagle Island State Park. Canoe. Click to enlarge.By Kimberly Bates

Looking for a fun “day-cation” for the whole family?  A visit to Eagle Island State Park in Eagle, Idaho will satisfy every interest!

Located about eight miles from downtown Boise, nestled on the outskirts of Eagle, this 545-acre state park is an oasis tucked away between farmlands and two arms of the Boise River. If you are looking for recreation, relaxation, or sport, Eagle Island has a lot to offer.

At a fee of only $5 per vehicle, it is an economical way to spend a day out in the fresh air. The park also offers an annual pass of $40, adding $15 for each additional vehicle. Compare that price to one day at the local water-park, and you will be sold!

The sandy beach is a perfect respite for hot summer days. The swimming area is cordoned off with floating yellow buoys for swimmers, in three separate side-by-side areas, so that most of the swimming area is shallow enough for younger swimmers. There are no lifeguards on duty, but it’s easy to keep an eye on the little ones while relaxing on the beach.

Those who are more adventurous may want to skirt the buoys and swim to the small, wooded island that is visible from shore. The

If the kids are happy. Everyone is happy.
If the kids are happy, everyone is happy.

heavily wooded “island” looks like an inviting wilderness to explore! One half expects to see Huck Finn paddling around the bend on a raft made of logs!

Though Huck Finn might not be out on the water for a paddle, non-motorized boating is permissible, and canoes, kayaks, and paddle-boards meander around the perimeter of the buoys, as well as blow up rafts and tubes of all sizes. There is air available near the snack bar for 50 cents if you have toys you would like to set sail.

Starting Labor Day every year, you can also enjoy the excitement of the waterslide located at the park. The waterslide operates from 12pm-8pm, Thursday through Sunday. You can buy tickets for $1 a ride, $7 for 10 rides, or $12 for an all day pass.

I was pleased to find out the park allows you to buy the 10 ride pass and split it between two children, so they each get five rides a piece (or any way you would like to divide them). You do not have to use all of your rides at once, but may come back throughout the day, and can even save rides purchased for another day, or for that matter, the next season! The slide is fast and refreshing, and is a great diversion when the little ones (or big ones) are ready for some fast-paced fun!

Children shoot down this slide at a rapid rate of fun.
Children shoot down this slide at a rapid rate of fun.

No worries about clean bathrooms. There’s plenty. And the grassy picnic areas that border the beach are peppered with large shade trees, picnic tables, and barbecues. The children bounce back and forth from sand, to water, and to the play equipment located in the middle of the picnic area. Parents will find the day trip will constantly keep their active little ones engaged with outdoor play and fresh air instead of watching a television, or playing video games!

There are shelters available for rent for large parties or events, but there is plenty of room for last minute shindigs. I even noticed there were those who brought tents, and set them up in the grass as a home base for the day! It is nice to have the option to seek shade on the cool grass when you are ready for a break from the sand and sun.

For those who are fishing enthusiasts, the shoreline outside of the swimming area is the prime place to kick back and reel in some fish. It has a small sloping bank, overhung with tree branches, and there are conveniently located picnic tables nearby.

As you kick back on the banks, waiting for a nibble on your line, enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Idaho, as you gaze through the leaves of the trees at the azure skies dotted with fluffy clouds, watching regal hawks circling above, and the occasional bi-plane soaring over your head.

Eagle Island swimming beaches compliment the fishing and boating.
Eagle Island swimming beaches compliment the fishing and boating.

Children bring small nets and catch minnows that zip through the shallow water. My kids spent hours collecting fish in buckets, or snorkeling so they could watch the underwater activity teeming beneath the surface.

If sitting idle, or water sports are not your cup of tea, you may want to explore the park’s five miles of trails available for hiking, horses, or walking your dog. Try your hand at the horseshoe pits, or the nine-hole disc-golf course, open May through September.

You can pack a cooler full of drinks and food, but if you get hungry or need a sweet treat, you can visit the snack bar and enjoy hotdogs, nachos, candy or a made-to-order snow cone.

Eagle Island State Park is a wonderful destination that can be enjoyed by everybody. You can spend the day physically active, or enjoy some downtime while the kids play. Driving out of the park after a full day, musing about the fun and activity that my family shared, I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw my five-year-old son already zonked out before we had even passed through the exit of the park–another great day at Eagle Island!

**For maps and general information visit: www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov

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