When it comes to camping and kayaking, I don't like visiting the same spots over and over again all summer long. One park that's about a 90-minute drive west of Twin Falls has everything I look for in a weekend away.

If it's kayaking, hiking, and a big, open sky you're seeking for your next weekend out of the Magic Valley, Bruneau Dunes State Park is my recommendation. It boasts some of North America's tallest sand dunes, an onsite observatory, and a highly underrated body of water smack dab in the middle of the park that is a pleasure to kayak on.

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Greg
Bruneau Dunes State Park kayaking; Greg Jannetta
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Sure, this time of year it's very warm in this desert region of Idaho, but water is surprisingly not in short supply at Bruneau Dunes State Park if you book correctly. There are many sites that have water faucets, and we took one of those small, blue, plastic pools that Walmart or Target sells and a hose, and filled it up for our son inside a shade tent. There aren't too many campgrounds in southern Idaho where you can pull that off.

The shores of "the pond" as some call it, offer shallow, sandy spots to swim, float, or wade in. It's a great spot for young kids to cool off, but you'll need a large umbrella or shade tent for sure, as there aren't very many trees at all. As far as the evenings go, the sky above the park is wide open, and I've enjoyed some of the best stargazing ever at this site.

Just watch that momma bird that likes to dive bomb you when you visit the restrooms.

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