There is a small town outside of the small town of McCall, Idaho. (Which is how almost every location in Idaho is described!) In fact, when we drove into Cascade we saw the population sign showed 1,002. And although it’s really just a pitstop on the way to McCall it has a great little attraction called Kelly’s White Water Park.
There is a stretch along the Payette River where they’ve built some manmade rapids along with a beautiful river front park. Kayakers and surfers are able to use this stretch of the river free of charge to perfect their craft.
Last year, my brother took my three older kids to experience this park with his family. They came back with rave reviews but had a hard time getting over how cold the water was. (This is mountain water!) When my brother suggested we go again this year, Hunter and Bennett were an automatic yes and Hallie was a maybe because the sting of the cold water from the year before hadn’t quite worn off. It’s not a short drive from my parents house so I was reluctant to drive two hours both ways. In fact I contemplated backing out of my commitment to go more than a couple times. But we went and after spending more than four hours there – I had no complaints about the drive. It was a beautiful setting and the kids loved every minute.
As out of towners, we were able to rent SUP and boogie boards – but my brother brought several of his own boards and didn’t have to pay to use the facility. We also rented wet suits for the sizes they had available which ended up being just Hallie and Hunter. (Hallie said the suit was a game changer and made the surfing far more enjoyable. The rest of the kids just shivered.)
Our kids love surfing behind a boat, but this was a little harder – not quite as predictable as a boat wake. Hunter was the only one in the family who was able to make it to his feet – but the others didn’t seem to mind surfing the wave while on their stomach.
We really had the best afternoon on the river – I was so grateful I said yes to an adventure I wasn’t really needing to go on. Sometimes those are the very best adventures indeed.