When visiting or investing in picturesque mountain towns in Idaho, both McCall and Sun Valley inevitably come to mind. While Sun Valley is undeniably one of the most renowned ski destinations, boasting glamor and a history of celebrity visitors, McCall has always danced to its own tune. Though comparisons are often drawn, McCall stands out and prides itself on being distinct. Here’s why McCall will never be Sun Valley – and why that’s a good thing.

Authentic Small-Town Charm and No Paparazzi

Sun Valley’s glitz and glam attract a particular crowd, making it a hot spot for the rich and famous. Since 1983, it’s been the go-to location for the Allen & Company Conference that draws in dozens of tech moguls, finance magnates and Hollywood A-listers each year, along with swarms of paparazzi. In contrast, McCall’s charm lies in its authentic small-town appeal. The town radiates genuine warmth, where locals know each other’s names and stories. This sense of community is something you feel the moment you arrive, and it’s a sentiment that remains long after you leave.

Welcoming more than 60,000 visitors, the annual Winter Carnival exemplifies these ethos. Themes like “Legends, Myths, and Superheroes!” and “There’s ‘Snow’ Place Like Home” have brought people together to embrace the magic of winter for fun and games, including snowmobile races and comedy shows. Beyond the carnival, festivals like the Festival of Trees, Mountain Hollydays, and the Seven Devil’s Playwright Conference enrich the town’s cultural tapestry.

McCall’s community-centered focus makes it a highly desired destination for visitors and Whitetail Club members. McCall is getting closer to having The Ponderosa Center, a lakefront community center that will host social events, music shows, art and education programs, and other activities all year round.

Payette Lake

McCall Municipal Airport

McCall Airport

Accessibility is essential when choosing a travel destination in Idaho. Compared to Sun Valley, whose closest airport is more than a dozen miles away, McCall’s centrally located airport, the McCall Municipal Airport, is easily reachable for visitors or residents with an aircraft. And if you prefer to travel from the comforts of your vehicle, the Boise airport is just a scenic two-hour drive, along the picturesque Payette River Scenic Byway (Highway 55).

McCall is not just about ground experiences; the skies offer equal allure. McCall Municipal Airport is a hub for those eager to explore Idaho’s backcountry airstrips. Often called the “Gateway to the Backcountry,” McCall provides unique aerial adventures, perfect for those with a penchant for scenic flying. Try a trip and learn to fly with Adventure Flying, a local flight training service, to experience McCall through a bird’s eye view. Two of our members share their passion for recreational flying in THIS blog.

Mountain Rustic or Mountain Modern Home? Take your pick.

McCall offers an entry point for those wanting a slice of Idaho’s mountain life. Whether it’s real estate or a meal at a local eatery, you will likely find that your money is well invested in McCall. This accessibility ensures a diverse demographic, fostering a rich blend of perspectives and stories.

For those looking to invest in a second home in a peaceful paradise, Whitetail Club, a private community in McCall, offers luxury on the edge of the wild. Offering various homesites starting at $435K, from dramatic ridge-top vistas to secluded meadow sites to the world-class mountain and lake view properties all surrounded by magnificent scenery.

This premier private community also promises more than just homes; it’s the epitome of natural luxury, from immersion pools, a sprawling golf course, and adventurous spa treatments to extensive groomed trails.

Custom Home
Design-Build Home

Tastes of the Pacific Northwest

The culinary scene in McCall reflects its environment – classy and rich in flavor. From the epic lakeside views of The Bar in Shore Lodge, specializing in whiskey, to local brewpubs like Salmon River Brewing and McCall Brewing, the town offers a true taste of the Pacific Northwest.

Try something new every night with the McCall Ale Trail. Between September and May 15, residents and visitors can download a virtual passport featuring more than 20 bars and restaurants around McCall. Each visit to a new location brings you closer to winning an Ale Trail koozie or engraved pint glass to commemorate your food and drink explorations.

Adventurous Pursuits

Hiking McCall
Burgdorf Hot Springs

McCall’s position amidst vast expanses of untouched wilderness sets it apart. National forests, pristine lakes, and meandering rivers surround the town. This provides breathtaking views and unparalleled access to nature, whether you’re camping in the Ponderosa State Park or exploring the rugged beauty of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

While Sun Valley is often seen predominantly as a winter destination, McCall is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts. From the shimmering waters of Payette Lake, perfect for boating and fishing, to the trails that beckon hikers in summer and snowshoers in winter, McCall provides a more varied canvas of activities. Not to forget, Brundage Mountain offers incredible skiing and snowboarding opportunities.

For those who fancy a unique experience, the Burgdorf Hot Springs provides a chance to unwind amidst nature. Or if seeking to induce a serene state of mind, visit The Cove, located at Shore Lodge. Open daily from 9am to 7pm, Whitetail Club members and resort guests can enjoy massages, facials, body wraps, and scrubs at the spa for a relaxing day.

Whitetail Club, named after the frequently sighted white-tailed deer, adds a touch of magic to the environment. Wildlife is just a step away when walking the premises or cozying up in your cottage.

Visit McCall and Whitetail Club

It’s not a matter of which town is “better” but rather which experience you seek. With its polished veneer, Sun Valley offers luxury and an unmatched reputation in the skiing world. However, McCall is a gem in its own right, with its strong sense of community, diverse recreational opportunities, and commitment to sustainable growth. So, while McCall will never be Sun Valley, that differentiation appears to be a choice rather than a coincidence.

If Whitetail Club sounds like a place you and your family can call home book your personalized and immersive discovery tour experience by calling us at 877.634.1725 or visit us at whitetailclub.com.