Situated between Canada and Nevada on the western side of the Rocky Mountains, Idaho is vast. With rugged mountains in its central area, verdant hillsides, endless farmlands with open vistas and rapid rivers, Idaho is the land of agriculture, fun outdoor activities and charming small towns. Idaho is home of the cosmopolitan Boise, the University of Idaho, the magnificent Sun Valley, historic Custer and many other great places to visit. Idaho’s nickname is the Gem State.Idaho is a vacation paradise, offering everything from unforgettable wilderness camping experiences and high-end resorts geared for outdoor adventurers to sparkling lakes, soaring mountains and pristine rivers. If you’re planning to head to the Gem State, you won’t want to miss visiting at least some of these 10 great places.
1. Visit Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is the first national park in the world. It covers almost 3,500-sq.-mile of wilderness and is a recreation area on a volcanic hot spot. The park spreads between Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. There are spectacular canyons, wild alpine rivers, lush ancient forests, hot springs, and gushing geysers – who has not heard of Old Faithful?. It is paradise for both wild animals and animal watchers – you can see bison, bears, wolves, elk, antelope, and much more. The best way to see the park is on foot, so put on a good pair of hiking boots and enjoy more than 1000 miles of trails, with twelve campgrounds to rest in. You can also bike, boat, and ski, depending on the season
2. Visit Coeur d'Alene
Just 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington, Coeur d’Alene rules the Idaho Panhandle. The largest city in northern Idaho, the city sits on the shores of the scenic Lake Coeur d’Alene. If you’re a golfer, you might want to play a few rounds at the Coeur d’Alene Resort course that’s famous for its 14th Hole, a green that sits in the lake, floating along on an underwater cable. Coeur d’Alene is one of the best places to visit in Idaho throughout the year, from its Christmas lights cruise on the lake to summer’s Iron Man competition.
3.Visit the Shoshone Falls
Located about three miles from the city of Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls is a spectacular waterfall on Snake River. This majestic fall is called “Niagara of the West,” but, at 212 feet, it is actually higher than Niagara Falls. The rim of the fall is almost 1000 feet wide. Since the falls are created by seasonal runoff from Snake River as it carves its way through the basalt canyon on the way to Colombia River, the best time to see it is when the flow is at its peak, from April to July. The falls are a popular recreation area, and there are playgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, swimming areas, and a boat ramp. The best spot to watch the falls is a scenic overlook.
4.Take tour of Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
Mountains of Idaho are very geologically active, and the whole area experiences what scientists call “stretching.” What we call today Craters of the Moon are volcanoes that formed during the last eight active periods, between 15,000 and 2000 years ago. During each eruption, lava exploded out of the Great Rift – deep cracks we can see starting near the visitor center. Some of them are almost 52 miles long. This lava coming out of the Craters of the Moon created a lava field that covered 618 square miles. During the last eruption about 2,000 years ago, two smaller lava fields – Wapi and Kings Bowl – formed near the Great Rift. The eruptions in this active area are expected to continue in the future along the weak Crater of the Moon area, where the lava is close to the surface of the earth. The volcanic activity created fantastic formations that are popular with adventure seekers and offer great hiking opportunities to explore the lava tubes, wild animal watching, and camping in the wilderness. Craters of the Moon are protected under the designation of National Monument and Reserve.
5.Have fun at Idaho Falls
The falls at Idaho Falls may not be very deep, but they’re plenty wide. The falls in downtown Idaho Falls only drop 22 feet (7 meters), but they stretch 600 feet (180 meters) across the Snake River. They’re best viewed from the Snake River Greenbelt, a six-mile round trip over a paved path. The greenbelt, the city’s top attraction, is popular with bikers and strollers as well as those who climb down the rocks for a little fishing. The town itself is the best city in eastern Idaho. It is the economic, arts and cultural center for the region. Stretched beneath the majestic Grand Teton in the Snake River Plain, Idaho Falls is known for its warm western hospitality, active arts community, and spectacular nature to explore and enjoy. Art lovers should check what the local artists are doing at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho and the Willard Arts Center. You can also enjoy “Art You Can Sit On,” a collection of benches scattered downtown designed by several local artists.
6.Have a visit to Sun Valley
Sun Valley is Idaho’s premier ski and summer vacation resort, with many celebrities owning homes in the area. Located in central Idaho, Sun Valley is nestled among mountains that provide great skiing, ice skating and snowboarding in the winter, and golf, horseback riding, hiking and fly fishing in the summer. It is a year-round family tourist destination. Sun Valley has hosted World Cup ski races, while Olympic ice skater Sonja Henie filmed Sun Valley here. Noted writer Ernest Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls here.Sun Valley is a small resort city in central Idaho within the larger Wood River valley. It is adjacent to Ketchum, and the cities share many resources. The entire city is a large playground – you can go ice-skating, riding, hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, and playing tennis. But, most people associate Sun Valley with spectacular skiing on Bold and Dollar Mountains. No wonder Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger name Sun Valley as their favorite ski vacation spot. Sun Valley has a thriving art scene, and the best way to explore it is during the monthly Gallery Walks. The Sun Valley Museum of History brings the past of Sun Valley to life, and Forest Service Park will delight you with weekly free live concerts.
7.McCall: The beautiful town
McCall Located on the shores of Payette Lake, at the heart of the Payette National Forest, McCall is a small resort town that, once a former logging community, is today famous for its Winter Carnival. This mountain town is a favorite with many frequent Idaho visitors. All about the water, it sits on the southern shore of Payette Lake, and boasts the highest average snowfall in the state. Kayakers, boaters, standup paddle-boarders and swimmers are all drawn here to explore the brilliant blue glacial lake. The river offers everything from peaceful float trips for families with kids to challenging sections with class IV and V rapids. In addition to water sports, huckleberry picking and hiking are popular activities, and many arrive to attend music and arts festivals. In the winter, Brundage Mountain opens up its famous ski lift, and visitors can also cross-country ski into a yurt or go snowmobiling. The town is probably most famous for its Winter Carnival, a 10-day festival held in late January featuring life-sized ice sculptures, live music, fireworks, a beer garden and a Mardi Gras parade
8. Visit Mesa Falls
Mesa Falls The beautiful and dramatic Mesa Falls are situated in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, approximately 13 miles north-east of Ashton, and can be easily accessed via the renowned Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. Both the Upper Mesa Falls and the Lower Mesa Falls can be viewed from several viewing platforms, including an accessible boardwalk which starts at the historic Mesa Falls Visitors Center. It is encouraged to get there on a sunny summer morning when the Upper Mesa Falls is usually decorated by a stunning rainbow. From the upper view site you can walk the Mesa Falls Nature Trail which winds through the forest to the viewing platform above the Lower Mesa Falls, and features interpretive stops along the way – remember to pick up a map at the Visitor's Center. You can get more sensational views of the Lower Mesa Falls when you continue one mile south on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway to the Grandview Overlook.
9.Surf the dunes of Bruneau Dunes State Park
Bruneau Dunes State Park offers nature lovers a fun-filled weekend far from the hustle and bustle of the city, surrounded by wide open skies, fishing lakes, desert vistas and the largest sand dunes to be found in the United States. The main emphasis at the park is on getting back to nature, camping and having fun climbing the sand dunes, the largest of which rises 470 feet above the desert floor. A good idea is to start your visit at the Visitors Center where you can get trail maps and rent a sand board. There are several trails in the park for hiking, bird watching and horse riding, but most of the fun takes place on the dunes - you can climb to the top for great views (and good exercise!) and then enjoy hurtling down the sides on a sand board. You can hike around the small lakes, enjoy a lake-side picnic or try your luck fishing for bluegill. There is also a ramp for boating – electric motor boats only. Bruneau Dunes State Park has an observatory on-site which you can visit on weekend nights to learn all about the stars, and do some serious star-gazing through their powerful telescopes. Other activities include kite-flying and going on guided educational walks. In winter you can enjoy downhill skiing and sledding on the dunes, and the campsite is open all year round
10.Visit Boise: The State Capital
Boise, the state capital, is often overlooked, but it offers lots of small town charm with big city amenities. It’s also the starting point for an endless array of outdoor activities, in addition offering whitewater rafting and inner tubing right through the city along the Boise River. Fly-fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking are just a few of the other popular outdoor pursuits in the area. In the revitalized downtown, offers great people watching, shopping and dining. With Boise’s rich cultural scene, you’ll find lots to do indoors when the weather isn’t cooperating, including learning about Idaho’s history at the History Museum, visiting one of several performing arts centers and theaters in the city, or heading to the Boise Art Museum. The capitol building is open year-round with guided group tours and self-guided tours for individuals.
AND OHHHH I know what are you thinking right now there are other places to visit in Idaho but why I didn't included them. So to tell you that this list is not an exhaustive one and there are couple more good places to visit in Idaho like Perrine bridge;Snake river canyon trail ;Dierkes lake; Sawtooth national forest ;Idaho heritage museum and many more. I just felt that the above ones are to be a must visit and that's why I included them in my top 10 Best things to do in twin falls Idaho.
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