Pick Your Park: An Interactive Guide to GC’s Best Spots
Garden City has plenty of lush, green spots — a fact that might not be surprising given the city’s verdant name. But what really sets Garden City’s parks apart is access to water, and lots of it: Visitors can pick their speed, from the lazy eddies of Heron Park to the famous wave at Boise Whitewater Park. Garden City’s parks aren’t just places for picnics and pick-up basketball (though they’re great for that, too). They’re some of the best ways to access the Boise River, the crown jewel of the Treasure Valley.
Best for Thrill Seekers:
Boise Whitewater Park
You can raft the Boise River, float it, swim in it — or, if you’re up for a real adventure, tackle it head on at Boise Whitewater Park. This unusual river park features a man-made wave that rises and falls with the water levels in the river, making it an ever-changing challenge for kayakers, river surfers, and stand-up paddleboarders who want to test their technical skills.
Best for Anglers:
Trout, bluegill, bass: If you want to catch it, Riverside Park has it! This lovely spot is a favorite of both anglers and wildlife lovers — you’re sure to see waterfowl and maybe even a deer or two. You don’t need to be experienced to cast a line here, which makes it a great place for kids who are just learning to love the sport.
Best for Kids:
It’s big. It’s full of fun. And for years, it’s been the best playdate location in Garden City. Parents will love Riverfront Park for its easy access to restrooms and a shady picnic pavilion, and kids will go wild for the full playground and basketball court.
Best for Picnics:
River Pointe Park
Quiet, lovely, and within walking distance to some of Garden City’s most beloved spots, River Pointe Park is a fantastic al fresco lunch location. Dine in the shade before strolling along the Greenbelt, visiting the nearby Pollinator Garden, or picking up a book at the Garden City Library.
Best for Swimmers:
Esther Simplot Park
Nearly half of this 55-acre park is devoted to ponds for swimming and fishing. If you prefer an all-natural swimming session among wildlife, waterfowl, and fewer crowds then you’ll find at the average public pool, this is your spot. Pro tip: Reserve one of the two shelters on Friendship Island for your lunch break.
Best for a Quiet Break:
Mystic Cove Park
Located just off the Greenbelt on 48th Street, Mystic Cove is a wonderful pit stop during a cycling or strolling session. You’ll find benches for resting and playground equipment to help the kiddos blow off some steam.
Best for River Lovers:
This half-acre park offers direct access to the river, making it a perfect destination for owners of water-loving dogs, kids who want to cool off during the summer months, or nature lovers who want to take a break on its bankside seating area. There’s plenty of parking and restrooms nearby, as well.
Best for Nature Lovers:
Westmoreland boasts 5.6 acres of open space and clear access to the Boise River, which makes it a favorite put in/pull out point for kayakers — not to mention anglers who love to fish for trout and steelhead. In fact, you can make a full day of your time there thanks to plenty of picnic tables and room to roam. True nature lovers appreciate the part of this large park that’s off limits to foot traffic: A reserve for the wildlife that thrive along the river.