Surf the Boise River
Yep, You Can Surf Here
The Pacific is 588 miles away, but the surf is definitely up in Garden City. Esther Simplot Park, which is bordered by Garden City on one side and Boise on the other, is home to the ever-expanding Boise Whitewater Park. This dedicated area was built specifically for whitewater lovers and features a man-made wave to challenge kayakers and river surfers.
Of course, you could just put on your wetsuit and hit the river for an hour or two. But why not make a day of it?
First stop: Coffee. For a true Garden City experience, ditch the car and pull up to Push & Pour on your bike. This acclaimed shop is just a block south of the whitewater park and features craveworthy coffee and what’s rumored to be the Treasure Valley’s best avocado toast. If the weather’s warm, savor your breakfast on the canopy-covered patio.
Rent your gear.
Don’t have your riverboard or kayak? No worries. Head to Corridor Surf Shop and Necessary Goods to rent your surfboard and wetsuit. Boise Army Navy Supply is the OG of kayak rentals in Garden City with a track record of 30 years and counting. Sign up for a rental package and get other essentials, like a helmet and personal flotation device, with your package.
Hit the river.
Boise Whitewater Park was already making waves (forgive the pun), but it’s attracting even more water lovers since its expansion in summer 2019. The park now includes two mechanical waves and two waves created with engineered boulders. The waves operate on a schedule, which means that they change fairly frequently so surfers and kayakers never get bored. (You can find a schedule here.) Check the waves ahead of time with the park’s handy wave cam.
You’ll need to cool off after all that adrenaline-pumping fun! Make like a local and head to the Yardarm, a seasonal bar created entirely with recycled and upcyled objects. The place was born from a brainstorming session at Corridor, so it’s no surprise that it has become the go-to for river surfers. Check out its fine beer selection and beachy vibe from spring through fall.