Alright, so you’ve decided to explore Idaho, a state most people can’t even find on a map. Idaho is a place where you can roam free, experience untouched wilderness, and stumble upon unexpected adventures.
If you’re looking for some of the best, and yes, weirdest, experiences in the United States, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are the 17 top things you absolutely cannot miss in Idaho. Let’s dive in.
In this article...
1. Experience Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls
Welcome to Shoshone Falls, where the water is louder than your thoughts, and the views are more expansive than your dreams.
Nicknamed the ‘Niagara of the West’, this waterfall is actually taller than its eastern counterpart. Surrounded by a park with perfect picnic spots, it’s a place where you can connect with nature.
2. Explore Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to walk on the moon, this is the place for you.
Formed by ancient volcanic activity, this lunar-like landscape is surreal, desolate, and strangely beautiful. It’s a glimpse of another world, right here in Idaho.
3. Visit the Historic Idaho State Penitentiary, Boise
If dark tourism is your thing, you’ll get a kick out of this one.
The old Idaho State Penitentiary gives you a grim peek into the lives of the state’s former inmates.
Wander the cell blocks, but beware: some say the place is haunted.
4. Bask in the Sun Valley
Sun Valley is like a slice of Europe in Idaho.
With its beautiful resorts, skiing trails, and hiking paths, it’s a place where you can enjoy life at a slower pace.
Not into skiing or hiking? No problem. You can just sit back, sip on a cocktail, and soak up the views.
5. Experience Fly Fishing in Henry’s Fork
Fly fishing in Henry’s Fork is like meditation, but with a fishing rod.
The river is considered one of the best fly-fishing destinations in the world.
Whether you catch anything or not, the peaceful ambiance and stunning scenery will hook you for sure.
6. Discover the Enchanting Lake Coeur d’Alene
Surrounded by forested hills, Coeur d’Alene is a haven for outdoor lovers.
From swimming and fishing to hiking and bird watching, there’s something for everyone here.
And when you’re done with your adventure, you can enjoy a meal at one of the lakefront restaurants.
7. Roam in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area
With over 700 miles of trails, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is like Disneyland for hikers.
Crystal clear lakes, towering peaks, and wildflower meadows – it’s a place that reminds you how stunningly beautiful this planet is.
8. Explore the Scenic Mesa Falls
Step off the beaten track and visit the Mesa Falls.
Nestled in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, these falls are one of Idaho’s best-kept secrets.
The Upper and Lower Mesa Falls offer spectacular views, especially during spring runoff.
9. Stroll Through the Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise
Looking for a serene escape in the city? The Idaho Botanical Garden is your answer.
This oasis in Boise is home to a variety of plants, and the peaceful atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a leisurely stroll.
10. Visit the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial
An educational park inspired by Anne Frank, this memorial is a meaningful place to reflect on human rights.
It’s an unexpected find in Boise, and one that leaves a profound impact.
11. Bike Along the Route of the Hiawatha
Hailed as one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country, the Route of the Hiawatha is a paradise for biking enthusiasts.
With its long tunnels and high trestles, this trail offers a unique biking experience.
12. Hike the Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park
Home to the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America, the Bruneau Sand Dunes are worth a visit.
Hike up the dunes, admire the view, and then run down like a kid. And don’t forget to stay for the stargazing – it’s out of this world.
13. Admire Art at the Boise Art Museum
If you appreciate art, you’ll love the Boise Art Museum.
From contemporary artworks to an outdoor sculpture garden, the museum offers a rich and varied collection.
14. Relax at the Boat Box Hot Springs
Tucked away in the Sawtooth National Forest, the Boat Box Hot Springs is a hidden gem.
Relax in the warmth of the natural hot springs and let the surrounding nature soothe your soul.
15. Take a Drive Along the Snake River Scenic Byway
Embark on a journey along the Snake River Scenic Byway.
With its picturesque landscapes and multiple attractions along the route, it’s a road trip you won’t forget.
16. Visit the World Center for Birds of Prey, Boise
Fascinated by birds? This place is for you.
The World Center for Birds of Prey is dedicated to conserving endangered raptors.
Come face to face with some of the most powerful birds in the world.
17. Explore the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area
Deeper than the Grand Canyon, Hell’s Canyon is a sight to behold.
From hiking and fishing to white water rafting, this area offers an array of activities.
So, there we have it – a vibrant mosaic of 17 unforgettable adventures that await you in the beautifully rugged Idaho. Sure, it’s not your typical glitz-and-glam vacation destination, but that’s precisely what makes it so damn special.
From the frosty peaks of Sawtooth National Recreation Area to the hauntingly beautiful Craters of the Moon, Idaho is a state that defies expectations at every turn. But don’t just take my word for it.
Go see it for yourself. Embrace the unexpected. Revel in the untamed.
After all, isn’t that what true travel is all about? Welcome to Idaho, folks – it’s high time you let it mess with your vacation plans. Trust me, you won’t regret it.