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10 Best Things to Do in Idaho

Suny Errot

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Idaho is popular for its potatoes, precious stones, and extraordinary nature spots. But do you ever wonder if that is all? Check out this list for the 10 best things to do in Idaho:

1. Go on a Romantic Walk at Idaho Botanical Garden

Idaho Botanical Garden
Source: Idaho Botanical Garden

Being close to nature is known to improve one’s state of mind and health. Imagine if you’re in a place as bewitching as the Idaho Botanical Garden. Wouldn’t you want to stay and just keep all your worries, stress, and anxiety at bay? Stroll around the 15-acre oasis and you’ll find a variety of beautiful gardens and plant collections in vibrant splashes of color. Nothing can get more romantic than this!

Some of the most loved spots are:

  • English Garden – with more than 1,300 perennials
  • Rose Garden – features a collection of antique and more modern roses
  • Herb Garden – showcases plants rich in legend and lore as well as aroma
  • Western Waterwise Garden – with drought-tolerant plants
  • Children’s Adventure Garden – space dedicated for children to play and immerse themselves in nature

2. Take the Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail

One of the best things to do in Idaho is to try the “Crown Jewel” of rail-to-trail adventures. The Route of the Hiawatha is a 15-mile long trail with 10 train tunnels and 7 high trestle bridges. If you think this trail might be too intense for you, it’s not. The best part is it’s all downhill! You can take the shuttle buses to get you and your bike back to the top. Many families visit this bike trail to relax, take in the scenic views, and just relax the day away. One word sums this up best: WOW!

3. Go Skiing at Sun Valley Resort

Sun Valley Resort Skiing
Source: Sun Valley Resort 

Sun Valley Resort is recognized as one of the greatest ski resorts in the United States. The place has an unrivaled winter sports history, for sure (this is where American ski vacation was born). But it is also a charmer on and off the slopes. Sun Valley offers superb lodging, dining, and snowsports lessons for all ages. A lot of celebrities, VIPs, and famous skiers have been to this place, all looking to have fun.

Tips for the skiers: beginners usually favor Dollar Mountain, while those looking for a bigger challenge go to Bald Mountain.

4. Camp at Sawtooth National Recreation Area

Source: Sawtooth National Recreation Area | Flickr/darthjenni 

If you’re looking for a lovely area to camp, you might as well head straight to Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Most hikers and campers recommend this, anyway!

Pack your tents now because lovely views of alpine lakes and the sunrise and sunset await you and your friends! Check out these famous campgrounds:

  • Redfish Cabin – be surrounded by lush trees above the shore of Redfish Lake
  • Stanley Lake Inlet Campground – situated near the Stanley Lake 
  • Sockeye Campground – with a surrounding mountain scenery
  • North Fork Campground view of a forest of aspen just near the river banks
  • Sheep Trail Campground – with a view of beautiful wildflowers in the summer 

5. Visit the Niagara of the West or the ‘Shoshone Falls’

Shoshone Falls Idaho
Source: Shoshone Falls | Pixels/Alex Nikitsin 

When we put TLC’s song lyrics “don’t go chasing waterfalls” in this context, you’d be shaking your head furiously. Shoshone Falls is too majestic to ignore and too breathtaking not to visit. Located in Southern Idaho, this waterfall is 65m high (14m higher than Niagara Falls) and flows over a rim which is about 300m wide. Since Shoshone Falls have seasonal flows, it is best to see the place during Spring, when the snowpack begins to melt.

6. Be Adventurous and Try White Water Rafting

Idaho is home to the nation’s top rafting destinations. So if you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, try white water rafting for an unforgettable experience! There are a variety of Idaho rafting trips, and it all boils down to your availability. White water rafting adventures can take anywhere from a whole day to seventeen days due to the remoteness of the rivers.

The top three family-friendly trips you can try:

  • Moyie River – a hidden gem giving you a stellar scenery of the Cedar forests
  • Clearwater River – a relaxing float through the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
  • Selway River – a free-flowing trip with only a few mild rapids

7. Surf the Bruneau Sand Dunes

The common activities when visiting the Bruneau Dunes are camping, fishing, and checking the observatory. But forget “common.” Don’t you think sliding down and surfing the dunes sounds more exciting? Most people enjoy the sit-down version of sliding down using a sled because it’s quicker. It looks relatively easy but believe us, it’s a lot harder than it looks!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Wax the sandboard after every run to maintain speed.
  • You’ll go down in a sandy splash. Make sure to reserve your energy to climb back up again.
  • Visit during Spring or Fall. The sand can be dangerously hot in the summer and the harsh winds of winter may be too unbearable.

8. Soak in the Natural Hot Spring

Idaho Hot Spring
Source: Hot Spring | Lava Hot Springs 

Embrace ultimate relaxation as you soak in Idaho’s hot springs.

Choose from a variety of sites that puts you in front of the mountain peaks or under the stars with modern facilities.

  • Lava Hot Springs – Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
  • Zims Hot Springs – New Meadows, Idaho
  • Burgdorf Hot Springs – McCall, Idaho
  • Roystone Hot Springs – Sweet, Idaho
  • Kirkham Hot Springs – Lowman, Idaho

9. Stay at the Dog Bark Park Inn

Dog Bark Park Inn
Source: Dog Bark Park Inn

Surprise, surprise! You can find the world’s biggest beagle in North Central Idaho. It’s not the soft and sweet kind you’re expecting, but it is intriguing as it is unique. The Dog Bark Park Inn is a beagle-shaped hotel colloquially known as “Sweet Willy” by the residents. It is a two-bedroom bed & breakfast which features dog carvings and decorative furnishings by artists Dennis & Frances. There is only one room, so you should secure your reservation before visiting the town. Not to worry because your kids can also sleep and play in the loft, found in the dog’s head.

10. Take Lots of Photos at the Freak Alley Gallery

Freak Alley Gallery
Source: Freak Alley | North End 

A truly Instagrammable place you should check out when in Idaho is the Freak Alley Gallery located in an alley in downtown Boise. Colby Akers was given the chance to paint the side of the Moon’s Cafe before having his work recognized by neighboring businesses. He was soon invited to paint and spread his work until his art covered the back of the building. Today, the site has become an ever-evolving gallery of murals, graffiti and street art promoting local artists.

The next time you’re going on a trip, make sure you consider this beautiful state!

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