lone man hiking up an open green mountain trail with a lake and pine trees in the far distance.


Post Summary: An Idaho bucket list of 51 of the absolute best things to do in Idaho.

Idaho, nestled into the Pacific Northwest region of western USA, has long been a bastion for rugged adventurers seeking thrills and solitude, but ask the average American what they think of when they hear Idaho, and you’re bound to hear potatoes, complete silence, or the worst of all three…you mean, Iowa?

With Idaho being one of the least visited states in the US, you might be left wondering if there’s anything to do in Idaho. Is Idaho even worth visiting?

As someone who lives and travels through Idaho as our job, we can confidently say YES! Idaho is brimming with jaw-dropping beauty, untouched wilderness, crystal clear lakes, and mind-blowing natural wonders that will tickle any traveler looking to spend time in the great outdoors.

While Idaho attractions are primarily geared toward outdoor activities, there are also a handful of excellent activities for the traveler who craves stimulation of the mind and stomach.

Here’s our roundup of 51 fun things to do in Idaho. Most of these Idaho tourist attractions are centered around an activity or landmark rather than a particular city to visit. Still, we had to sneak in a few fantastic small towns in Idaho!

The BEST Time To Visit Idaho (All Four Seasons Explored)
The Essential Idaho Packing List
57 Cool And Quirky Facts About Idaho
How To Spend An Epic Weekend In Boise


Dark figure of a woman stands on a rock looking out a bright blue lake with dotted clouds in the sky.

Before you head out to explore the best things to do in Idaho, here are a few things to know.

What is Idaho popular for?

Idaho may be best known for being the number one producer of potatoes, but did you know it also has more soakable hot springs than anywhere else in the US? Also, it’s called the Gem State because of its abundant gems and minerals found in the land and water. The state’s fertile land has over 240 gems! Idaho is also home to the largest Basque population in the US. Who knew?

Learn more interesting Idaho trivia in our post about fun and random facts about Idaho.

When’s the best time to Visit Idaho?

There are two high seasons in Idaho; the winter, when everyone bundles up and flocks to Idaho’s famed mountain towns for amazing winter recreation, and the summer, when everyone strips down and plays on Idaho’s numerous lakes and rivers. So what’s your pick…skiing or boating? Snowshoeing or hiking? Snowmobiling or mountain biking?

In truth, Idaho is a year-round destination, and each season offers something different.

*Learn more about Idaho’s four seasons in our post detailing the best time to go to Idaho.

What should I wear in Idaho?

Idaho is a laid-back state. You’ll want to wear clothes that you feel good in. That being said, a good pair of walking shoes will come in handy. An Idaho packing list will be dependent on what season you’ll be visiting. Check out our post on what to wear in Idaho for all four seasons for more detailed suggestions.


1. Visit the Largest Waterfall in Idaho: Shoshone Falls   

Region: Southern Idaho

Standing at a whopping 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide, Shoshone Falls is a phenomenal natural wonder in Idaho. If you’re a waterfall chaser, the “Niagara of the West” is a must-do when planning an Idaho itinerary.

The waterfalls are the most breathtaking in late spring when winter snow melt will guarantee a gushing waterfall. Located in southern Idaho in Twin Falls, you can easily make an entire waterfall trip since the area is ripe with waterfalls, including the other must-see waterfall Perrine Coulee Falls.

BONUS: For adventure seekers who want another perspective of the waterfall, take to the Snake River on a kayak or paddleboard (best left to an experienced paddle boarder) to paddle the eight-mile roundtrip journey to the base of Shoshone Falls. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.

READ NEXT: Learn more fascinating Idaho trivia in our article 57 fun facts about Idaho.

2. Craters of the Moon National Monument   

Region: South Central Idaho

The Craters of the Moon National Monument in central Idaho is an expansive national park filled with out-of-this-world geographical formations carved by lava.

Trapeze caves, caverns, and desolate terrain created over 15 million years ago make this a fantastic spot for explorers and photographers.

For a truly unique experience, pitch a tent at one of the many nearby campgrounds to experience the park at night.

3. Mesa Falls   

Region: Eastern Idaho

Mesa Falls is another powerhouse of a waterfall in Idaho. Located in eastern Idaho, the falls are 114 feet tall and stretch 200 feet across, making for a truly spectacular sight. The falls are often visited as a side trip from the nearby Yellowstone National Park, but we think it’s worth it all on its own. Take a drive down the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway to see lookouts of the upper and lower falls, and/or stop at the Mesa Falls Visitor Center to take the Mesa Nature Trail to get the best view of the falls.

4. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area 

Region: North Central and Southwest Idaho

Housing one of the deepest river gorges in North America, Hells Canyon is one of the best things to see in Idaho for its astounding depth of 8000 feet. To put it in perspective, the Snake River sits 2000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon.

A great way to experience the canyon is via water, whether on a raft, kayak, or a guided jet boat tour. A jet boat tour is the most accessible and easiest way to explore the canyon for the average visitor.

If you want to stay dry, you can also hike the canyon and check out scenic overlooks along the way. Whether you explore it on foot on a raft, you will surely appreciate the rugged and severe backdrop that Hells Canyon National Recreation Area provides.

5. BASE Jumping off the Perrine Bridge   

Region: Southern Idaho

If you’re looking for top-quality entertainment that is both unique and riveting, then head to Twin Falls, Idaho, where you can watch thrillseeking (or crazy?) BASE jumpers plummet 486 feet from Perrine Bridge.

Open year-round to BASE jumpers, Perrine Bridge makes for an exhilarating stop on an Idaho road trip.  Stand on either side of the canyon and watch in trepidation as people fling themselves off the bridge and land in the canyon.

If you want to experience the thrill of BASE jumping, you can book a tandem jump here with an experienced jumper.

6. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

Region: South Central Idaho

Tucked into south-central Idaho, the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is a premium location for studying fossils from long-extinct animals.  Famous for having the largest concentration of Hagerman Horse fossils, the 3000-acre national monument also has over two hundred species of Pliocene-era fossils. It’s a fantastic spot for kids that love fossils!

7. City of Rocks National Reserve

Region: Southern Idaho

Monoliths and granite spires reaching 60 feet tall greet you at the City of Rocks, a national reserve that spans 14,407 acres of land. Renowned for having some of the country’s most vivid and inspiring rock landscapes, City of Rocks attracts droves of climbers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and photographers every year.   

With its 700 climbing routes, the City of Rocks is considered one of the best granite-face climbing sites in the world. Non-climbers and families can still enjoy the craggy landscape with its ample hiking, unique camping, and fun mountain biking.

READ NEXT: Learn about Idaho’s other National Reserves and National Monuments in our article about 6 Must Visit National Parks In Idaho.

8. Balanced Rock

Region: Southern Idaho

Scope out nature’s superb balancing act in Castleford, Idaho, at Balanced Rock, a carved-out 48-foot-tall rock that manages to stand strong on a tiny pedestal measuring three feet wide. It’s a fantastic place to visit in Idaho for photographers who want to capture amazing nature photography.

9. Bike the Boise Greenbelt  

Woman on cruiser bicycle looking at a Boise Brewery

Region: Southwest Idaho

The Boise River Greenbelt is a scenic biking route that takes you along the banks of the Boise River. The 25-mile track is the heart and soul of Boise and begins in Eagle Island State Park and winds through downtown Boise before culminating at Lucky Peak Recreation Area.

This is the ICONIC Boise activity. You can easily spend an entire day biking the Greenbelt and stopping at places that interest you. For a map of the Greenbelt and points of interest along the way, check out this site here. There’s also a Boise Greenbelt app that gives directions and food recommendations.

This biking path is popular among tourists and locals and provides the perfect outdoor and urban exploration mix.  

READ NEXT: Planning an epic weekend In Boise? Here’s what you must do.

10. Freak Alley   

Region: Southwest Idaho

If you’re looking for unique and cool places to visit in Idaho, then Freak Alley needs to be on your list. Freak Alley, located in downtown Boise is the largest outdoor gallery in the northwest.   

With a unique collection of art murals created by over 300 artists, Freak Valley is an ever-evolving art display that portrays the creative heart of Boise.  

READ NEXT: `17 Spots In Boise To Capture Insta-Worthy Photos

11. Craft Beer Hopping in Boise   

Region: Southwest Idaho

Idaho likes its beer and, more importantly, locally made-hand-crafted beer. With Idaho being the 2nd largest hops producer and the No. 1 barley grower in the United States, many breweries source exclusively from local providers.

While all of Idaho has excellent breweries, Boise is the reigning champion of craft beer breweries, with 17+ breweries in Boise, many of which dot downtown Boise. If you’re a beer connoisseur or are just looking to have a good time, head downtown to discover some of the best breweries in Boise.

READ NEXT: See why Payette Brewing has been voted Best Boise Brewery for 8 straight years

12. Idaho State Museum     

Region: Southwest Idaho

While many Idaho activities center around outdoor recreation, The Idaho State Museum, located in Boise, is a change of pace, offering an educational and interactive experience that will guide you through the colorful history of Idaho. The museum covers everything from the indigenous groups that have called the state home for thousands of years to the recent past.   

Peruse the hundreds of exhibits and explore Idaho’s past and how the fascinating landscape has shaped the state and its people.   

The Idaho State Museum is a great stop to make while exploring the state so you can have a deeper appreciation of everything you visit in Idaho. 

13. Treefort Music Festival   

Hip musician with tattoos playing at a neon lit stage at Treefort Music Fest

Region: Southwest Idaho

Held annually in Boise, Idaho, the Treefort Music Festival is a special 5-day music event that transforms downtown Boise. Renowned for its home-grown feel, the Treefort Music Festival is highly regarded by festival-goers around the US. Not only does the Treefort Music Festival stick close to the heart of music festivals – the discovery and appreciation of music – but it also does well in celebrating everything local.   

But Treefort isn’t just music all day long. It also has several different “forts” that include Yogafort, Storyfort, Alefort, Foodfort, Skatefort, Dragfort, Comedyfort, Filmfort, and Kidfort. While music is the festival’s foundation, the event’s heart and soul is a gathering that celebrates artistry, innovation, inclusiveness, and community.

Read Next: Idaho’s Biggest Music Festival with Kids? Yes, if it’s Treefort Music Fest.

14. Spirit of Boise Hot Air Balloon Rally

Four colorful hot air balloons in the air over Boise with the desert mountain range in the distance.

Region: Southwest Idaho

Every summer, over the course of three days, the skyline of downtown Boise is filled with colorful hot air balloons. Dubbed the Spirit of Boise, the event is located at Ann Morrison Park and includes events with the pilots and a special “night glow” where the balloons stay grounded, but the pilots light up their burners to create a fanciful light installation that’s absolute magic.

15. Winter Carnival in McCall   

Region: Southwest Idaho

Located in picturesque McCall, Idaho, is the annual celebration of all things ice, snow, and winter. The Winter Carnival in MacCall is an event that draws nearly 60,000 people every year.   

Visitors to the Winter Carnival can expect mesmerizing winter sculptures, shows, lively parades, and festival parties. During the day, there’s everything from snowmobile races to comedy shows and art exhibits, while the night brings out music, performances, and fireworks.   

16. Sand Surfing at Bruneau Dunes State Park   

Region: Southwest Idaho

One of the must-see places in Idaho is the tallest freestanding dune in North America at Bruneau Dunes State Park. While there, rent a sandboard from the visitor center and try out the adventurous sport of sandboarding. With golden-colored dunes surrounding two emerald-green lakes, the park is the perfect picture of a desert oasis.

When not sandboarding, you can hike, fish, kayak, swim, camp, or check out the world-class observatory for stargazing.  

READ NEXT: 12 Fantastic Day Trips From Boise

17. Thousand Springs State Park   

Region: South Central Idaho

If you’re looking for magical landscapes that come straight from the pages of Lord of The Rings, head to Thousand Springs State Park. This stunning landscape is packed with gorgeous waterfalls, lush valleys, and crystal lakes, making it perfect for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.   

The state park has six distinct sections that offer its own natural wonders – Box Canyon Springs, Billingsley Creek, Malad Gorge, Ritter Island, Kelton Trail, and Niagara Springs.   

Whether you hike the Malad Gorge, ride horses at the indoor arena, or picnic at Niagara Springs, Thousand Springs State Park is among the best places to see in Idaho.

18. Kayak to Blue Heart Springs   

Region: Southern Idaho

This oasis in southern Idaho boasts azure water that will leave you wondering if you’re in Idaho or the Caribbean. The only way to get to Blue Heart Springs is by waterway, so bring a kayak, SUP, or canoe and paddle your way to the tucked-away paradise. As you paddle along the serene route, you’ll pass by caves, small waterfalls, and natural springs.   

You’ll eventually make your way to the clearest, cerulean water – that’s how you know you’ve reached Blue Heart Springs.  Take a dip in the inviting water if you dare…it’s shockingly cold even in the summer months.

19. Kirkham Hot Springs   

Region: Southwest Idaho

A little-known fact about Idaho is that it boasts more soakable hot springs than any state in the US. Most of the steamy pools are in southern Idaho, with many located right off the road. The most famous hot spring in Idaho is Kirkham Hot Springs, particularly loved for its easy access and steamy waterfalls. This idyllic hot spring near Boise is on the southern fork of the Payette River and is popular year-round. For a truly magical experience, visit the thermal pools in winter for an unforgettable soak.   

Read Next: The best hot springs a road trip away from Boise, Idaho

20. Boat Box Hot Springs

Region: Central Idaho

Boat Box Hot Springs is a natural hot spring in Idaho that lends itself to a completely different hot spring experience than Kirkham Hot Springs. This Instagram-famous spot is located in Stanley, Idaho, and is in a large soaking metal tub that sits beside the Salmon River.

Rather than soaking in a rocky natural pool, steaming hot water is funneled down from a pipe that flows directly into the tub. The tub can comfortably fit two to three people. Its small size and popularity mean you will likely have to wait your turn to get a chance in the tub. Arrive at the crack of dawn or visit in the winter for better odds of experiencing this unique Idaho hot spring without a long line.

21. The Springs In Idaho City

Hot Springs Pool in Boise

Region: Southwest Idaho

If a natural hot spring with sharp rocks and no amenities doesn’t appeal to you, try out one of Idaho’s best-manicured hot springs, The Springs. Located outside of Boise, Idaho, The Springs offer natural springs in a more refined spa-like experience. You can use the communal pool with beautiful views of the mountains or book a private soak if you want solitude. The Springs also offer food, spa treatments, and poolside beverages. 

22. Gold Fork Hot Springs

Region: Southwest Idaho

Located south of McCall, Idaho, in the charming small town of Donnely sits the developed hot spring Gold Fork Hot Springs. This heavenly hot spring is tucked into the foothills of the North Fork Range and offers six cascading pools with varying temperatures, including a sandy bottom hot spring that’s perfect for kids.

23. Roosevelt Grove of the Ancient Cedars

Region: Northern Idaho

Located North of Nordman, Idaho, is the Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars, a cedar grove with trees ranging from 2000 to 3000 years old. With the cedar trees reaching 150 feet and spanning 12 feet wide, these impressive trees are for anyone who wants to revel in the beauty of an ancient forest. Within the scenic area are a few different walking trails, including an easy hike that takes you to various viewings of Granite Falls, (you can see a video of it on our Instagram), a beautiful waterfall located within the grove. While technically located in Washington, the grove can only be accessed in Idaho.

Read Next: A Walk Among Giants: Exploring The Roosevelt Grove Of Ancient Cedars

24. Visit The Champion Tree   

Region: Northern Idaho

If you’re a tree lover, seeing the largest cedar tree in Idaho needs to be on your Idaho bucket list. The hardest part of seeing this spectacular Idaho attraction is getting there! Located near the picturesque but rarely visited Elk River stands this magnificent tree that measures 18 feet in diameter and 177 feet in height. Estimated to be over 3000 years old, it’s an ancient giant sure to impress.

25. Farragut State Park   

Region: Northern Idaho

With Conde Nast ranking Farragut State Park as the best state park in Idaho, is it any wonder why it’s on our Idaho bucket list? Located on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille, Farragut has 4000 acres of land to hike, bike, fish, kayak, swim, camp, and explore.

This pristine state park was once a World War II-era naval training station, and the park includes a fantastic museum highlighting its unique place in Idaho history.

In addition to the outdoor recreation, visitors can enjoy Tree To Tree Adventure Park, an aerial obstacle course park, as well as sharpen their disc golf skills at one of the five 18-hole disc golf courses for all skill levels.

READ NEXT: A Complete Guide To Farragut State Park

26. Mountain Biking at Silver Mountain Resort   

Region: Northern Idaho

The Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, Idaho, is best known for its skiing slopes and over 132 runs; however, come summertime, the resort also boasts stellar mountain biking paths. We’re not the only one who thinks so! It’s been voted the #1 bike park in the northwest for four years in a row.

Suitable for all levels, beginners will enjoy the more accessible tracks with 800 feet of vertical descent while experienced riders will appreciate the nine miles of trails taking you down a 3400 feet descent. 

Not a big mountain biker? Splash in the large indoor swimming waterpark or golf on the resort’s greens – there is no shortage of things to do at the Silver Mountain Resort.

27. Bike the Route of the Hiawatha   

Woman stands by her bike on a train trestle looking over the green mountains with her son.

Region: Northern Idaho

The adventurous and family-friendly route of the Hiawatha is one of the top things to do in North Idaho. This 15-mile bike trail near Wallace, Idaho, might seem like it’s best left to serious bikers, but actually, it’s one of the most tourist-friendly things to do in North Idaho. Why? It’s all downhill!

The downhill bike ride takes you on a journey through the scenic Bitterroot Mountains and includes biking through 9 train tunnels (some of them are pitch dark) and seven trestles. Once you reach the end, if you don’t want to go back uphill, a shuttle will take you and your bike back to the top. It’s a fantastic choice for adventurous travelers and families. The trail is typically open from May to September.

READ NEXT: A Complete Guide To Biking The Route Of The Hiawatha

28. Silverwood Amusement Park   

Different rollercoasters in one photo at an Idaho amusement park.

Region: Northern Idaho

Looking for places to visit in Idaho that aren’t solely outdoor-based? Look no further than Silverwood Amusement Park.   

Packed with over 70 different rides and attractions, Silverwood Theme Park can easily fill up an entire day. Perfect for all ages, the rides range from adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to kid-friendly coasters. Included with your admission to Silverwood is Boulder Beach, a family-friendly waterpark that includes a lazy river, two wave pools, a kid’s splash area, and multiple water slides.

29. Dig for Idaho Star Garnet

Region: Northern Idaho

See why Idaho’s nickname is the Gem State by digging for Star Garnet, a gemstone that can only be found in Idaho and India. Located south of Coeur d’Alene in a little nook of North Idaho is Emerald Creek Garnet Area, a park that lets you mine and keep your own Star Garnet.  It’s the only place in the world where you can collect this rare gemstone! The park provides all the tools you need to dig and find your own garnet. A fun, hands-on activity that is perfect for anyone looking for fun things to do in Idaho with kids.

READ NEXT: Where And How To Dig For Star Garnet In Idaho

30. Hike Scotchman peak

Mountain goat perched on a high mountain peak in Idaho.

Region: Northern Idaho

Scotchman Peak near Clark Fork, Idaho, is an arduous 8.7-mile out-and-back hike that will reward you with jaw-dropping views of Lake Pend Oreille, the Selkirk Mountains, and the Clark Fork Valley. With a 3364 elevation gain, you’ll want to hit the trail early in the morning to give yourself enough time to steadily get to the top. It’s a top-tier hike in Idaho and one of the best things to do in Northern Idaho. At the top, keep your eyes peeled for the resident mountain goats!

31. Hike Mount Borah

Region: Central Idaho

Scale Idaho’s highest peak by embarking on the difficult trek up Mount Borah. Sitting at 12,668 feet, the hike is no joke and includes a steep ridge dubbed “Chicken-Out Ridge.” The trail up gains 5200 feet over four miles and includes areas where climbing and scrambling are necessary. Not for the faint of heart, the hike is a bucket list hike in Idaho, where you’ll be able to view six of Idaho’s famed mountain ranges.

32. White Water Rafting the Salmon River   

Region: Central Idaho

For adrenaline junkies and outdoor lovers, taking on the Salmon River rapids is one of the most adventurous things to do in Idaho. National Geographic ranks it as one of the top three whitewater river trips in the world.

Climb aboard a large raft and rush along the middle fork of the Salmon River as you tilt, dip, and careen off short drops for a truly thrilling ride. Going with an experienced guide like ROW Adventures will ensure a safe and memorable 4-7 day adventure rafting down the river. Most tours will include stops at historical sights, playtime in the water, hiking trails, and an interesting lesson into the area’s history.

The Lower Salmon is an excellent choice for anyone traveling with younger kids or any traveler who wants smaller rapids.

33. Visit Stanley, Idaho   

Region: Central Idaho

A small town tucked into Sawtooth Valley, Stanley, Idaho, is a prime spot for community and outdoor exploration. Stanley is not only the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding Sawtooth Mountain range, but the town itself holds a unique charm waiting to be experienced. To many, it’s considered the best small town in Idaho.

With a year-round event calendar filled with special events, festivals, and celebrations, something is always happening in Stanley, Idaho. From live music to local parties, the nightlife in this small community is surprisingly lively.   

Popular activities include soaking in one of the many natural hot springs, Redfish Lake, hiking, camping, and horseback riding.

34. Hike or Backpack the Sawtooth National Recreation Area   

Jagged mountain range with a hiking path and lush green shrubs in Idaho.

Region: South Central Idaho

With over ten mountain ranges, 2.1 million acres of forest, and over 700 miles of hiking trails, the Sawtooth National Forest is a premier hiking spot in Idaho.   

Whether you’re looking for day hikes or long treks leading to sparkling alpine lakes, you will surely find the perfect outing at Sawtooth National Forest. Popular hikes include the backpacking trek to Alice Lake and the day hike, Fishhook Creek Trail.

35. Salmon Scenic River Byway  

Region: Central Idaho

With over 31 scenic byways, Idaho is a state perfect for a long road trip with a great playlist on hand. When looking for places to see in Idaho, there’s no better road trip than the Salmon Scenic River Byway.   

This 161-mile route takes you through jaw-dropping landscapes along the Salmon River edge while also winding through beautiful destinations in Idaho, including Stanley, Redfish Lake, and the Sawtooth National Forest.  

A road trip on the Salmon Scenic River Byway can easily fit into one day as it will take you roughly 4 hours one way; however, we recommend taking as many stops as you can for photo opportunities, pitching a tent, and exploring some of the best destinations that Idaho has to offer. 

36. International Selkirk Loop

Region: Northern Idaho

While Idaho has a great supply of scenic byways to cruise, nature-loving road trippers will want to head north to the only multi-national scenic loop in North America. The international Selkirk Loop is a 280-mile scenic drive that circles you through Idaho, Washington, and Canada. Famed for being one the most beautiful scenic drives in the Northern Rockies, one can explore the Idaho portion of the loop known as the Wild Horse Trail Scenic Byway and the Panhandle Historic Rivers Passage. You’ll pass through the historic towns of Priest River, Sandpoint, and Bonners Ferry, where you can explore fun outdoor adventures like hiking Schweitzer, kayaking the Pack River, and boating the Pend Oreille River.

37. Sun Valley/Ketchum

Region: Central Idaho

Arguably the most well-known thing to do in Idaho is visit the famed Sun Valley Resort. The iconic ski resort is famous for being the first ski resort in Idaho and for attracting celebrities and other influential people since the 1930s.  While the ski hill is fun, the Sun Valley area also includes fantastic mountain towns like Hailey and Ketchum. While in the Sun Valley area, you can go fly fishing at Silver Creek Preserve, soak at Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs, mountain biking at Sun Valley Resort, and fine dining at Michel’s Christiania.

38. Priest Lake State Park   

Region: Northern Idaho

Priest Lake State Park lies a short 30 miles south of the Canadian border and offers visitors sandy beaches, a calm lake, and craggy mountains to explore.

The dense forest bordering Priest Lake State Park is excellent for spotting wildlife such as deer, bears, and bald eagles. The lake is fed by mountain springs cascading from the Selkirk Mountain peaks and is renowned for its clarity.   

Priest Lake is less developed than other North Idaho lake towns making it an ideal spot for camping and quiet outdoor time. Popular activities include hiking the Mount Roothann trail and kayaking the 2.5-mile thorofare from Priest Lake to Upper Priest Lake.

READ NEXT: 1o Amazing Things To Do At Priest Lake

39. Explore A Ghost Town    

Region: Throughout Idaho

Idaho’s expansive, untouched landscape is home to more than a few ghost towns, making for interesting stops to add to any Idaho itinerary. Due to Idaho’s presence amid the era of the Wild West and Gold Rush, many ‘pop-up’ towns were abandoned as quickly as they had been built.   

Lucky for visitors today, many of these Ghost Towns can now be visited and explored. Some of the most famous Ghost Towns are Bonanza, Bayhorse, and Custer – all of which are now formally protected by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation

40. Skiing at Schweitzer  

schweitzer resort

Region: Northern Idaho

Idaho is a wonderful skiing destination with several world-class resorts that remain blissfully under the radar. It’s hard to pick the best ski resort in Idaho, but Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho, remains a perennial favorite for its steep terrain and jaw-dropping views of Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountain ranges.

While Sun Valley Resort may have the greatest vertical drop at 3,450 feet, Schweitzer is the largest resort in Idaho, with the most skiable terrain at 2900 acres. Schweitzer offers everything from beginner to advanced ski runs, including open bowls and scenic, tree-lined runs.  

READ NEXT: 19 Amazing Winter Adventures In Sandpoint, Idaho

41. The Best Small Town in Idaho: Sandpoint 

Region: Northern Idaho

Sandpoint, Idaho, is a beloved town in northern Idaho that was ranked by USA Today as the best small town in the US. Tucked away into a stunning landscape featuring three mountain ranges and a deep lake, Sandpoint, Idaho, is the definition of an idyllic escape.   

Known for its abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, the gorgeous landscape provides the perfect backdrop for various outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, skiing, fishing, and mountain biking.   

After you come down from the mountain or off the lake, you’ll find a charming town hosting festivals, galleries, and concerts all year round.

READ NEXT: 25 Amazing Things To Do In Sandpoint, Idaho

42. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 

mother and young son walk along ridge looking over Lake Coeur d'Alene idaho

Region: Northern Idaho

Located 45 minutes from Sandpoint is North Idaho’s premier resort town, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. While often compared to each other, Coeur d’Alene has its own unique feeling and vibe.

Coeur d’Alene has the second-largest lake in North Idaho and is a prime spot for boating, fishing, kayaking, and parasailing. With 135 miles of shore, plenty of spots exist to live out your “lake life” getaway.

Once you’ve explored the lake, the city of Coeur d’Alene beckons with its thriving art scene, cute downtown shops, and burgeoning food scene.

READ NEXT: 25 Amazing Things To Do In Coeur, d’Alene, Idaho

43. Sip on Idaho’s Wine Scene

Wine Vineyard in Idaho

Region: Southwest Idaho

Idaho has wine? That’s right. A 30-minute drive from Boise to neighboring Caldwell will bring you to the up-and-coming wine region of Southwest Idaho. The Sunnyslope Wine Trail encompasses 17 wineries and vineyards that weave through the lush farmland of Caldwell, Idaho.

Start your day at the Sunnyslope Wine Trail visitors center in historic downtown Caldwell, where they can help you with maps and possible itineraries.

Idaho’s Sunnyslope Wine Trail is one of the best places to go in Idaho for wine connoisseurs or couples looking for a romantic getaway in Idaho.

44. Visit the Only Dark Sky Reserve in the US  

Region: Central Idaho

Idaho holds the distinction of having the only Dark Sky Reserve in the United States. A dark sky reserve is an area of public and private land offering unparalleled night sky views with little to no light pollution to obscure your view. The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is a rare opportunity to glimpse the stunning Milky Way and other galaxy systems in amazing clarity.

Many choose to pitch a tent in the National Forest to view or photograph the stars, but you can also choose various spots to pull over and get a glimpse from your car. Regardless of how you take in the stars, you’re sure to be in awe of a view that is becoming harder and harder to get.

45. Summer Huckleberry Picking   

Region: Throughout Idaho

When looking for things to do in Idaho in the summer months, there’s nothing more Idaho than taking to the mountains to forage for Idaho’s state fruit, the beloved huckleberry. This sought-after berry is nearly impossible to cultivate, so if you want to taste the sweet-tart berry, you’ll have to put on your hiking boots and take to higher elevations to find the “purple gold.” Idahoans are famously tight-lipped with huckleberry patch locations, but in North Idaho, they’re pretty easy to find when they ripen in July and August. If you don’t want to try finding your own huckleberry patch, you can take a huckleberry tour at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, where they’ll take you right to the berry patches.

If you don’t feel like picking it yourself, almost every restaurant, bar, or winery will have something featuring the infamous Huckleberry.

46. Explore the Foodie Scene

Region: Southwest Idaho

Admittedly, Idaho is not renowned for its foodie scene. That doesn’t mean there isn’t amazing food in the Gem State! Boise is helping Idaho gain some food cred with new restaurants and innovative chefs stamping out a name for themselves. In 2022, Idaho received four James Beard nominations, a first-time accomplishment for the state. Stand-out chefs and restaurants that have all received the honor of a James Beard nomination are Kin, Ansots, Amano, and Sunshine Spice Cafe.

READ NEXT: 5 Must-Try Desserts in Boise, Idaho

47. Visit the Caribbean of the Rockies

Region: Southeast Idaho

Known for its intensely blue waters, Bear Lake attracts water lovers who want to swim, boat, fish, and even scuba dive in its vivid waters. Its turquoise colors have earned it the title “ The Caribbean of the Rockies.” The lake is 20 miles long and shared by Idaho and Utah. Bear Lake State Park is popular in summer, so like many campgrounds in Idaho, you’ll want to book your spot in advance. 

48. Stay Overnight in a Fire Lookout   

a lit from within fire lookout with a purple blue night background.

Region: Northern Idaho

If you want a truly unique stay, check out one of the many fire lookouts that dot the rugged landscape of Idaho. Fire lookouts are tall cabin-like structures built high up in densely forested areas that are used to spot a potential forest fireThe Forest Service (and Airbnb) offers a handful of reclusive lookouts you can rent. 

With northern Idaho’s dense forests, most of the lookouts are in the panhandle of Idaho. While Instagram can make it seem like a dreamy getaway, the reality is most of the lookouts require a hike to access the lookout and carry in all of your supplies, including bedding, food, water, and cleaning supplies. If you’re up for the work and preparation, it’s a truly unique experience that promises solitude and stunning views.

49. Winter Camping In A Yurt

Region: Throughout Idaho

Head into the forest for an iconic Idaho activity of winter camping in a yurt. It’s a magical winter wonderland experience that can satisfy family travelers and adventure seekers alike! While you can go camping in a yurt all year, there’s something special about strapping on your snowshoes and hiking out to a backcountry yurt that screams Idaho bucket list. Yurts can be found all over the state, but popular spots include Idaho City. You can read more about yurts to visit in Idaho here.

50. Idaho Potato Museum   

Region: Southeast Idaho

We can’t list the best things to do in Idaho and not include a potato landmark! Idaho potatoes are known to bake better, fry better, and mash better than any other potato in the states and are now the leading source of potatoes for companies such as Pringles.   

The Idaho Potato Museum outlines this fascinating, albeit strange, history, from the very first potato planted in Idaho soil to the biggest French fry made from Idaho potatoes.   

Located in Blackfoot, Idaho, the Idaho Potato Museum is a quirky stop for anyone interested in how Idaho became famous for its potatoes.   

51. Stay Overnight in a Potato

Region: Southwest Idaho

When looking for stuff to do in Idaho, how does staying overnight in a potato sound? That’s right; you can stay in a potato hotel that sits on 400 acres of land just outside of Boise. While it’s not literally a potato, it is a chic 28-foot-long tiny potato house gifted by the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour. There’s even a spa on site, so get a massage, eat some potatoes, and grab an Instagram photo in your potato hotel to secure the bragging rights of doing the most off-beat activity in Idaho.

It was hard to limit it to only 51 things to do in Idaho, but this represents a good cross-section of activities in Idaho. What’s on your Idaho bucket list?

Let us know your must-see places in Idaho in the comments below!

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