Beaver Bay, Farragut State Park
Written by Jennifer Haler
Recently we wanted to take the kids out swimming somewhere fun and new. Several friends recommended Beaver Bay in Farragut State Park. So, we packed up the car with all the things you need to take with you when traveling with kids and headed off.
We enjoyed the short ride from CDA to Athol, paid our $5 parking fee and followed the signs to Beaver Bay. I have to say that the more we do these trips the more I think it is worthwhile to sign up for a parks pass when you pay for your registration. It’s only $10 for a year instead of $40 for a year or paying $5 each time you go.
Anyways, Farragut is absolutely beautiful and Beaver Bay was no exception. Before we could go swimming we had to find parking. I will say that the parking lot is quite close to the actual swimming area. However, the parking lot is small. Not small as in, few parking spots. Small as in, every spot is sized for a compact sedan with barely enough room to back your car out of the spot without hitting the row of parked cars behind you. This was odd since we all know that compact in North Idaho means you are driving one of the mid-size SUV’s and therefore compact spaces should be sized accordingly.
But once we managed to park our regular sized SUV into the space designed for kids’ power wheel jeeps (maybe that is a slight exaggeration on the sizing) we were off.
We unpacked all our gear from the back end and started trekking towards the water. Passing by a bathroom area I did the usual, “Does anyone need to go before we get all the way down to the water?” Because anyone with kids knows, it never fails to happen. And of course someone had to go so this gave me a good chance to scope out the public restrooms.
The restrooms were very clean and quite large. There were stalls for the toilets, a shower area, sinks and a changing area. We were quite pleased as there have been times I have shouted at my kids “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!” and decided we would find somewhere else to pee. But these restrooms definitely did not fall into that category.
Finally we were able to head down to the water. There is a small, easy to manage slope from the restrooms down to the water. This is nice because it hides the parking area from view. As you walk down you find yourself looking at splendid mountains, smelling pine trees, hearing birds and squirrels and watching the sun reflect off the water in the small, secluded cove.
Beaver Bay is a small inlet of water blocked off from the rest of Pend Oreille. For anyone with kids this is a big score. There are no fast jet skis or boats coming close to the shoreline. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike jet skis and boats. What I dislike is when they are being operated by people skimming them along the shorelines at breakneck speeds making everyone else in the area frantically wave and shout so no swimmers are run over.
This little inlet has beach area around the majority of it so there are plenty of places to find a spot. Now nature is very close so you are right up in the trees with ants and bees being a possibility. However, bugs don’t bug us so we settled in.
The water was fairly shallow through most of it. There were areas I could not touch bottom so there is a need to still watch the kids carefully but it is definitely much safer than other areas. We did not experience any large currents either. It made for some nice swimming. One of my kiddos and I swam from one side to the other and back again. After that we were both pretty cold (Pend Oreille is not known for being warm) and stepped out of the water for a bit. That being said, as the water is shallower and we had been having some 90°+ days the temperature wasn’t that terrible. Once we got used to it and kept moving we were ok.
Something I found extremely enjoyable in this area was the amount of parents playing with their kids in the waters and around. It is a place made for family outings. There was nothing but fun and laughter around. While warming back up we watched kids paddling mini rafts, playing King of the Hill on SUP’s, families splashing and throwing balls at each other and pure enjoyment on many faces. This was overall a very fun day that everyone enjoyed. Beaver Bay is definitely a place worth visiting with the young ones.
By the way, I did manage to get my car out of the spot without hitting anyone else’s. It just took a bit of reverse, turn, forward, turn, reverse, turn, forward, turn. You get the picture.
Here is a quick outline of our experience.
I love spending time with my family doing all the wonderful activities in the Inland Northwest.