Top 7 Places to Visit in Idaho – Introduction to Idaho’s Hidden Gems
Idaho is often overlooked as a travel destination, but this hidden gem in the heart of the Rocky Mountains has so much to offer. From vibrant cities to picturesque lakeside towns, and from majestic mountains to unique lunar landscapes, Idaho is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. In this article, we will uncover the top 7 places to visit in Idaho, showcasing the state’s diverse beauty and captivating attractions.
Boise – The Vibrant Capital City
Nestled along the banks of the Boise River, the vibrant capital city of Boise is a must-visit destination in Idaho. With its lively downtown, thriving arts scene, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, Boise offers something for everyone. Take a stroll through the charming streets of the historic district, browse the local boutiques and art galleries, or enjoy a picnic in one of the city’s many parks. For nature enthusiasts, the Boise Greenbelt provides miles of scenic trails for biking, walking, or jogging. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Idaho State Capitol Building, a stunning architectural masterpiece that offers guided tours highlighting the state’s rich history.
Sun Valley – A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Nestled in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountains, Sun Valley is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Renowned for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, Sun Valley attracts winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe. But there’s more to Sun Valley than just winter sports. During the summer months, the area transforms into a haven for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and golfing. Take a scenic chairlift ride to the top of Bald Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views, or explore the picturesque Sun Valley Village with its charming shops, restaurants, and galleries. Whether you visit during the winter or summer, Sun Valley is sure to captivate your adventurous spirit.
Coeur d’Alene – A Picturesque Lakeside Town
Nestled on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, the town of Coeur d’Alene is a picturesque destination that will leave you in awe. With its crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain backdrop, Lake Coeur d’Alene is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the lake’s pristine beauty, or take a leisurely cruise on one of the lake’s many boat tours. Back on land, stroll along the Coeur d’Alene City Beach, which offers sandy shores and breathtaking sunsets. The downtown area is also worth exploring, with its charming shops, art galleries, and vibrant dining scene. Coeur d’Alene truly embodies the essence of Idaho’s natural beauty.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area – Majestic Mountains and Pristine Lakes
For those seeking awe-inspiring natural beauty, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is a must-visit destination. This breathtaking wilderness area is home to jagged peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and countless hiking trails. Lace up your boots and embark on an adventure through this majestic landscape, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views at every turn. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Redfish Lake, a stunning glacier-carved lake that offers a variety of recreational activities, including camping, fishing, and boating. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is a true gem for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Shoshone Falls – The “Niagara of the West”
Often referred to as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is a natural wonder that will leave you in awe. Located on the Snake River, just east of Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States. With its thundering cascades and scenic surroundings, the falls are a sight to behold. Visit during the spring when the snowmelt swells the river, creating a dramatic display of water and mist. There are several viewpoints and picnic areas that offer stunning vistas of the falls, making it the perfect spot for a family outing or a romantic picnic.
Craters of the Moon National Monument – A Unique Lunar Landscape
Step foot into a different world at the Craters of the Moon National Monument. This unique destination is a surreal landscape of lava fields, cinder cones, and volcanic caves, reminiscent of the moon’s surface. Explore the vast expanse of rugged terrain, marvel at the ancient lava flows, and venture into the depths of a lava tube cave. The monument offers several hiking trails of varying difficulty, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in this otherworldly environment. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight for the cave exploration, as the underground passages can be dark and mysterious. The Craters of the Moon National Monument is a must-see destination for those seeking a truly unique and otherworldly experience.
Idaho City – A Historic Gold Rush Town
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the history of Idaho City, a charming town that was once the largest city in the Pacific Northwest during the gold rush era. Today, Idaho City is a living museum, with many of its original buildings preserved and restored to their former glory. Take a stroll along Main Street and admire the historic architecture, browse the antique shops and art galleries, or learn about the town’s fascinating past at the Boise Basin Museum. For outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Boise National Forest offers ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping. Idaho City is a hidden gem that showcases Idaho’s rich history and natural beauty.
Wrapping Up Your Idaho Adventure – Final Thoughts
As you wrap up your adventure through Idaho’s hidden gems, take a moment to reflect on the beauty and diversity this state has to offer. From the vibrant capital city of Boise to the picturesque lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, and from the majestic mountains of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to the unique lunar landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho is a destination that will leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a place to unwind and reconnect with nature, Idaho has it all.
Popular Tourist Spots
In addition to the top 7 places to visit in Idaho, there are several other popular tourist spots worth exploring. One such spot is the Idaho Potato Museum, located in Blackfoot. Here, visitors can learn about the history of the potato industry in Idaho and even see the world’s largest potato chip. Another must-visit attraction is the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the state’s criminal history. For those interested in Native American culture, the Nez Perce National Historical Park is a must-see destination, showcasing the rich heritage of the Nez Perce Tribe.
Tips & Recommendations
Before embarking on your Idaho adventure, here are a few tips and recommendations to ensure a memorable trip. Firstly, be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially if you plan to visit the mountainous regions. Pack layers and be ready for both hot and cold temperatures. Additionally, make sure to bring comfortable footwear, as many of the attractions in Idaho involve hiking or walking. Lastly, don’t forget to sample the local cuisine, which includes delicious Idaho potatoes, huckleberries, and trout.
Best Restaurants to Visit
After a day of exploring Idaho’s hidden gems, you’ll surely work up an appetite. Luckily, the state is home to many amazing restaurants that offer a taste of Idaho’s culinary delights. In Boise, don’t miss the opportunity to dine at State & Lemp, a renowned farm-to-table restaurant that showcases the best of local ingredients. For a taste of Idaho’s famous potatoes, head to Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro, known for their mouthwatering potato dishes. In Coeur d’Alene, be sure to try Beverly’s, an upscale restaurant with panoramic views of Lake Coeur d’Alene. These are just a few of the many fantastic dining options Idaho has to offer.
To make the most of your Idaho adventure, here are a few traveler tips to keep in mind. Firstly, plan your visit during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. Additionally, consider renting a car to explore the state at your own pace and to reach more remote destinations. Lastly, take advantage of the state’s outdoor recreational opportunities by going hiking, biking, or fishing. Idaho’s natural beauty is best experienced by immersing yourself in the great outdoors.
Should You Rent A Car?
Yes, you should rent a car. especially if you are flying in or really just want to surprise that special someone. Renting a car is an excellent option for getting around the state and exploring its many natural wonders.
Tip: Can be expensive-check out our partners at Discovercars.com for the best deals.
Where to find the best deals on flights and hotels
Finding the best deals on flights and hotels can be a challenge. Luckily, we have you covered!
Many travel websites offer discounted rates on flights and hotels, so check out these sites if you’re looking for something specific in Washington state or just want an idea of what’s available.
Our top two picks are as follow…
- Expedia: Well known for having good deals
- WayAway: The option to get cash back, you can learn about the cash back option here.
Idaho’s hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. From the vibrant capital city of Boise to the picturesque lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, and from the majestic mountains of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to the unique lunar landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument, this state offers a wealth of natural beauty and captivating attractions. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on an adventure through Idaho’s diverse landscapes. You won’t be disappointed.
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