Idaho is a hidden gem that is worth exploring for any travel enthusiast. There are plenty of things to do in Idaho that will keep you entertained and enthralled. If you are a nature lover, then you must visit Sawtooth National Forest it is one of the best things to do in Idaho, which is renowned for its stunning scenery and hiking trails. And if you are interested in history and culture, then you can’t miss visiting the Old Idaho Penitentiary, which was in operation for over 100 years.
Another must-visit attraction is Shoshone Falls, also known as the Niagara of the West, where you can witness the incredible beauty of the waterfall. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument, a unique landscape of volcanic features that is unlike any other place on Earth.
Overall, Idaho has plenty to offer visitors, with something for everyone. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, historical sites, or family-friendly attractions, Idaho won’t disappoint.
1. Discover Sandpoint’s Hidden Charm
Sandpoint, Idaho is a small town with a big character. Nestled in the mountains, it offers a variety of year-round outdoor activities. Additionally, Schweitzer Mountain, the state’s largest ski resort, is just a short drive away. It is one of the best things to do in Idaho.
Sandpoint is also a hub for national businesses. Despite the town’s economic significance, it still maintains its small-town charm. In fact, Sandpoint was named the Most Beautiful Small Town in 2011. Whether you are looking to explore the outdoors or simply relax, Sandpoint has something for everyone.
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2. Best Things to Do in Idaho: Explore the Hidden Yellowstone Gems
While the majority of Yellowstone National Park lies in Wyoming, there are still hidden gems worth exploring in the east of Idaho. Unlike the popular routes, this area is significantly quieter and offers easy access to the backcountry trails that crisscross the region.
Visitors can explore the Bechler River, which cascades over stunning waterfalls and through deep canyons. The region is also home to a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, and elk. It is one of the best things to do in Idaho.
For those seeking adventure, the Bechler area offers some of the best fly-fishings in the region. With numerous streams and rivers, anglers can cast a line and catch rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout.
Don’t overlook the hidden gems of Yellowstone in Idaho. The Bechler Ranger Station area is a perfect destination for those seeking a quieter, more secluded experience.
3. Relax at Lava Hot Springs
Looking for a unique and relaxing vacation spot? This charming resort town is located near Pocatello, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is one of the best things to do in Idaho.
One of the top attractions in Lava Hot Springs is the five natural hot springs pools, with water temperatures constantly ranging from 102° to 112°. But that’s not all! You can also cool off by floating down the Pontneuf River on inner tubes, which are fed by the hot springs and flows at a rate of 250 million gallons per day.
In addition to its natural wonders, Lava Hot Springs also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing. If you are looking for a unique and refreshing getaway, Lava Hot Springs is the perfect destination.
4. Exploring Craters of the Moon National Monument
If you are looking for a unique adventure in Idaho, look no further than the Craters of the Moon National Monument. This awe-inspiring site is a vast expanse of ancient lava flows and cinder cones that will transport you to another world.
The monument covers over 750,000 acres, featuring hiking trails, scenic drives, and educational exhibits that cater to visitors of all ages. You can take a guided tour or explore on your own to discover the park’s volcanic formations and incredible geological features. It is one of the best things to do in Idaho.
Some of the highlights include the Inferno Cone, a cinder cone that offers stunning panoramic views, and the Caves Trail, which takes you through a series of lava tubes. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor center to learn more about the area’s history and unique ecosystem.
5. Explore Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
If you are a nature enthusiast or simply seeking adventure, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is a must-visit destination in Idaho. This magnificent area, which straddles the Idaho-Oregon border, boasts stunning scenery and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. It is one of the best things to do in Idaho.
Hells Canyon is an impressive river gorge, stretching almost 8,000 feet deep and offering breathtaking views that are unparalleled anywhere else in North America. The area features countless hiking trails that wind through the rugged terrain, providing visitors with the perfect opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the canyon up close.
6. Discovering Shoshone Falls
If you are looking for a breathtaking natural wonder in Idaho, Shoshone Falls is a must-visit destination. Located in Twin Falls, these falls are often called the “Niagara of the West” for their impressive height of 212 feet, surpassing even Niagara Falls by 45 feet.
Today, the area is a popular recreational spot, featuring a city park with picnic areas, hiking trails, swimming, and play areas. To fully appreciate the beauty of Shoshone Falls, head to the park’s viewing platform. From there, you can see the water cascading over the cliffs and creating a mist that shimmers in the sunlight. For an even closer view, take the hiking trail that leads down to the base of the falls.
Overall, visiting Shoshone Falls is one of the best things to do in Idaho for nature lovers and anyone seeking an awe-inspiring experience.
7. Exploring the Minidoka National Historic Site
If you are looking for a historical site that offers a unique perspective on Idaho’s past, the Minidoka National Historic Site is a must-visit. Located in the southern part of the state in the Magic Valley, this site commemorates the internment of Japanese immigrants during World War II.
The Minidoka National Historic Site features several exhibits and displays that showcase the lives of those who were forced to live here. Visitors can explore the barracks, mess hall, and other buildings that were once part of the internment camp. It is one of the best things to do in Idaho.
In addition to its historical significance, the Minidoka National Historic Site is also a beautiful place to visit. The surrounding landscape is stunning, with rolling hills and sweeping views of the valley.
If you are interested in learning more about Idaho’s past and the role it played in one of the darkest periods in American history, a visit to the Minidoka National Historic Site is a must. It’s an experience that’s both educational and moving and one that you won’t soon forget.
8. Best Things to Do in Idaho: Exploring Sun Valley
This resort town is a favorite of many celebrities who own homes in the area, and it’s easy to see why. Located in central Idaho, Sun Valley is surrounded by stunning mountain vistas that offer a wide range of recreational activities.
In the winter, Sun Valley is a paradise for skiers, snowboarders, and ice skaters. The resort features over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and boasts one of the largest snowmaking systems in the country. In the summer, the area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities such as golfing, horseback riding, hiking, and fly fishing.
Beyond its outdoor offerings, Sun Valley also has a vibrant arts scene, with galleries, concerts, and theater performances throughout the year. And if you are looking for relaxation, the town’s many spas and wellness centers offer the perfect respite. Overall, visiting Sun Valley is one of the best things to do in Idaho for anyone seeking a luxurious and unforgettable vacation experience.
9. Exploring the Old Idaho State Penitentiary
Looking for a unique and fascinating way to explore Idaho’s history? This former prison offers visitors a chance to learn about Idaho’s prison system and the history of incarceration in the state.
During your visit, you will take a historical tour of the prison and learn about what life was like for inmates who were incarcerated here. The prison operated for over 100 years before finally being shut down due to a fire caused by riots.
Despite its dark past, the Old Idaho State Penitentiary is an important part of Idaho’s history and offers a fascinating glimpse into the state’s past. Whether you are a history buff or just looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon, a visit to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary is a must.
10. Explore Boise, the State’s Vibrant Capital
Boise, the capital of Idaho, is a vibrant city located in southwest Idaho. The city’s downtown area boasts a pedestrian-friendly 8th Street, where you can explore the historic Basque Block and learn about Boise’s rich Basque heritage. For those who love architecture and culture, the city’s North End is a must-visit destination. With its tree-lined streets and historic homes, this neighborhood was named one of America’s 10 Great Neighborhoods by the American Planning Association in 2008.
If you are a jazz enthusiast, make sure to visit Boise during the annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival. Boise is also home to several museums and galleries, including the Boise Art Museum and Idaho Historical Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of Boise’s nearby natural wonders, such as the Boise River and the Boise Foothills.
With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Boise is a great destination for travelers looking for a vibrant and authentic Idaho experience.