Many people don’t think of Idaho as being home to lush gardens, shaded oases, or beautiful groves that look straight out of a fairy-tale. Contrary to what you might think, however, Idaho is home to some rather magical looking places if you know where to look. From (semi)secret nature gems to hidden castles and scenic island retreats, Idaho is full of beautiful locales. Here are 10 of them that you should check out this summer.
1. Moscow Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Moscow
This 63-acre garden is the finishing touch to U of I's already beautiful campus. Here you'll find dozens of water features, lush walking paths, and flora arranged by region. The Arboretum is the oldest in the Northwest, featuring hundreds of native and non-native trees in a spacious grove.
2. The Idaho Castle, Hope
Feel like the king or queen of your very own fairy-tale castle when you stay here. Towers, Rapunzel-windows, woodland creatures, and a scenic setting on Lake Pend Oreille will make you forget that you're not in a storybook.
3. MK Nature Center, Boise
One of Boise's best-kept secrets is this hidden park just off of the Greenbelt. Flora, fauna, a sweet little creek and numerous bridges all offer fantastic spots for relaxation and nature-watching.
4. Hobo Cedar Grove, Clarkia
Of the seven protected areas established by the U.s. Forest Service in Idaho, Even on the hottest of days, Cedar Grove is a cool, serene oases of 500-year old cedars, established as a National Natural Landmark in 1969.
5. Kalispell Island, Priest Lake
Idaho is actually full of islands, believe it or not, but Kalispell -- Priest Lake's largest -- is a scenic retreat made for family adventuring and sandy beach vegging. Here you'll be able to enjoy the crystal-clear waters while camping, or just as a day-trip, and forget that you're still on the mainland.
6. Gail Severn Gallery Sculpture Garden, Ketchum
The Sun Valley area is renowned for being an artists' hub. The Gail Severn Gallery is one such magnificent space, uniquely rendered to include a sculpture garden that features the work of Rod Kagan, among others. Strolling through the grassy, shaded garden, art comes to life in a big way.
7. Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise
Boise's own botanical garden is a year-round feature that not only features stunning rotating displays of flowers and plantlife, but unique decorative additions and even local community events, such as weekly movie nights during the summer.
8. Thousand Springs, Hagerman
With seven units to explore and hundreds of acres of geologic and natural wonders to explore, Thousand Springs is an Idaho haven. Check out the falls, explore Ritter Island, enjoy the plunging canyons, and marvel at the scenic, garden-like beauty that is found in this corner of Idaho.
9. Redfish Creek, Sawtooths
Far too often overshadowed by its lake counterpart, Redfish Creek offers a crisp, refreshing getaway in the Sawtooths. Whether covered in snow or exposing the rock-laden beaches, Redfish is a beloved Idaho staple that is as lovely as it is remote. The sunrises here will take your breath away.
10. Sawtooth Botanical Garden
This stunning high-altitude garden and park also features a solar greenhouse, a walkabout, meditation gardens, and much more. Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers!
What do you think? Pretty breathtaking, wouldn’t you say? Be sure to plan some extra time to explore these locations completely…you never know what other hidden gems you might find nearby!