10 Best Places to Visit in Idaho

Martina Rosado
Written by
Last update:

Sandpoint

Idaho.

About an hour from the Seattle area, travelers will find Sandpoint, a quaint coastal town. With small, wooden cabins, which locals would call B&Bs, Sandpoint makes a great getaway.

A visit to the area welcomes travelers from all over the world seeking a woodsy getaway of world class whitewater rafting and kayaking.

The area is home to many annual festivals such as Sandpoint Days and Whitewater Roundup, a festival where regional industry leaders come together to celebrate the great outdoors.

The city holds its annual Idaho Steelheaders baseball game, bringing in some of the biggest players in the world for an entertaining day.

If you’re a golf buff, Sandpoint is also home to the Big Wood Golf Club, a great place for food and a beer after your round.

Lava Hot Springs

Idaho Best for: Connecting With Nature

Living in Boise, Idaho doesn’t take you too far from nature. I often find myself driving an hour northwest to get to the Lava Hot Springs. This natural hot spring is nestled into the mountains, but it is surrounded by bear and mountain lion habitats. I’ve visited at night and had a staring contest with a mountain lion. Spending time in nature is sometimes priceless.

Most of the time, I go alone with my camera and an audiobook. I read an excellent book called The Paris Wife, an intimate memoir of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to his first wife. Sometimes, I even work on a short story and sneakspeak with the neighbors. I always have incredible conversations with people here.

The majority of people who visit this hot spring stay in the forest. If you bring a tent, you can camp overnight there. Other campsites abound, but bring all the camping gear you need when you visit. You can also camp just off the road and use the restroom facilities there.

Hells Canyon Recreational Area

Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls is located on the south-central area of Idaho and is the third largest city in the state. It’s nicknamed the “City of Rocks,” because it is one of the most rock-solid cities in the state.

This city was founded in 1863 and was named after a mountain that stands in the center of town. This city features many things that are worth exploring. It has the Lewis and Clark National Forest, Lewis and Clark’s original route is at this national forest, and Lake Cascade. You also can’t forget about the many parks and courtyards that surround the city.

In 1883, some 2,500 people moved to the area to work in the lumber industry after the Boise and South Park Railroad had been built. The lumber has settled and now Idaho Falls is home to 93,000 residents.

I hope this top 10 list will help you in planning your next vacation. Our staff has written 10 top lists for all of the states in the U.S., so check out our next article based on the best places to visit in your area.

Coeur d'Alene

This locale is located in the northern region of Idaho and is best known for its beautiful river reflecting the trees near the shore. Here you can watch the magnificent wildlife of the river valley while enjoying the serene scenery in the luxurious ambiance of a dining hall or a coffee shop. No wonder why this place is a magnet for travelers because not only can you see the local wildlife here but you can also watch as the boats plow across the river towards the destination. When you want to watch this in action, you can simply park your vehicle in the area of the Riverside Recreation Park and watch with your own eyes the ship as it glides across the waters.

It is advisable to do a trip here during the summer because you will see why it gets its name, The Coeur d’Alene. In the summer, it gets a mix of sun and clouds which adds the perfect amount of color to the landscape in the form of a rainbow. What’s more is that the bottom waters get so clear that it is virtually impossible to see the boats in this are until you get close enough to see the people embarking it. If you are a nature lover, you will then get so enchanted in the fact that there are animals swimming and soaking in the sunlight that you will feel the need to dive into the waters.

Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls National Fish Hatchery.

Shoshone Falls, near Stanley, Idaho, is one of the best places to see the falls of the North Fork of the Salmon River, along with a little park and other nearby historic sites.

About 13 miles of peaceful, scenic walking and hiking trails through a dense, green forest, Shoshone Falls is a hidden gem.

Along with the Salmon River supply of trout and other species for the renowned national fish hatchery here, Shoshone Falls is worthy of its reputation as the “Falls of Walls.” Native American tribes called them Pacific”s “Walls” because of the sheer vertical character of the canyon walls that give Shoshone Falls its name.

Although the national hatchery site boasts of having the largest hatchery in the world, Pacific’s “Walls” have generally been thought of as a premier post-settlement, pre-railroad artist’s retreat and photographic haven.

A little ways north on US Highway 20 is the historic, one-room Union Colony Schoolhouse, which serves as a small interpretive facility at the site.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Sun Valley

Boise

Just looking at the map, Boise Foothills looks like an ideal camping destination. Looking through the National Geographic map, we found out that the parks encircling downtown Boise are in the foothills – hence the name.

There are a few parks within the Boise foothills. Obviously, those of us who live in town could easily get out to the foothills to check out some of the parks, but there are others who may not have a car.

We are including each of the parks into the Boise foothills parks list.

Exeter Park

Exit 73 off I-84. Exeter Park is one of the foothills' most used parks, and for good reason. The large, flat facilities are well within the walking distance to downtown Boise and the Boise foothills park system.

It houses the Boise River Greenway, which consists of paths for walking, running or cycling. There is also an archery archery range and the Exeter Greenway Wildlife Area.

There is space for the dogs to run and play, and a public-access playground at the edge of the park. There are also a number of campsites available for tent campers and trailers.

Yellowstone National Park

Idaho is the home of Yellowstone national park. Known as the most geologically active supervolcano, the area contains the largest reservoir of hot and boiling water in the world.

Yellowstone National Park is located in North Idaho county and has the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, a river of boiling stew of muddy water, that cuts the park into two halves.

The Yellowstone supervolcano erupted 2.1 million years ago. In the years after the eruption, the earth's crust shifted and the volcano plateau, and the Yellowstone plateau, rose up out of the earth and became soil and rock and the rivers that flowed to it.

The supervolcano is also considered the source of the hot, mineral-rich, heated water that flows through and feeds Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The area is known as the land of winding rivers and craggy peaks. The high, jagged cliffs are a popular destination for rock climbers.

The area is also a hotspot for geysers and hot springs. Geothermal energy is a reliable and renewable source of energy and the Yellowstone hotspots are one of the largest geothermal energy sources in the world.

The area is also known for its wildlife; the herds of wild buffalo, the verdant forests, and unique wildlife like the Grizzly bear.