Maybe you’re just not really the hiking type. Perhaps the idea of going on a vacation and having to “work” or sweat through a hike at any point isn’t you cup of tea. Or maybe, you just need something a little different to do.
Regardless of your reasons, you’re in the right place! There are plenty of things to do in Idaho that don’t require Bear Grylls-style survival skills, but still allow you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors that Idaho is so blessed with. Here are just a few options that anyone can enjoy.
1. Tour the Idaho National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Idaho has a number of wildlife sanctuaries and refuge sites as part of the national system, and SE Idaho is home to five of them, headquartered in Chubbuck: Bear Lake, Grays Lake, Camas, Minidoka, and the Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area. Each of these unique marshland habitats offers incredible waterfowl and wildlife viewing opportunities. Another option is the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge in Northern Idaho, or Deer Flat in Boise.
2. Ride a Hovercraft.
If your love of 80s hoverboards translates into a passion for getting out on the water, a hoverboard tour in Coeur d'Alene might be for you! KJ Watersports offers the opportunity to enjoy the lake from a new perspective. Hovering well over a foot above the surface of the water while traveling close to 40mph, it's a once in a lifetime experience!
3. Take an adventure tour through Hells Canyon.
For a truly personalized experience that will give you the most adventure for your buck, O.A.R.S. is one tour company that offers private flights to two major destinations (Hells Canyon and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River), while also offering every outdoorsy thing you can imagine as part of the itinerary. For a little extra cash, you can also turn this adventure into a wine tour.
4. Experience the rush of a canopy walk.
Well, you'll get to do a little more than walking, here! Young and old alike will enjoy the spectacular scenery and multi-faceted adventures found at Idaho's only canopy walk-zip-line-bridge tour. You can check out our featured piece on Timberline Adventures
for more info or just book the time of your life right now by visiting their
5. Kick back on a 1000 Springs boat tour.
Drinks, scenery, and a trip to Blue Heart on an easy cruise down the river make for an easy and relaxing day out, without the stress of packing.
6. Ride the Hiawatha.
The most scenic rails-to-trails bike route in the country, this sky-high bike trail is a easy-riding and perfect for all ages. 10 tunnels and 7 trestles that soar above the treeline also make this a breathtaking experience that highlights the majestic scenery of Northern Idaho. But if heights aren't your thing, check out the Weiser River Trail in Southern Idaho for a less fear-inducing rails-to-trails experience.
7. Veg out at the beach.
Northern Idaho in particular has a plethora of sandy city and private beaches open to soak up some soothing Idaho rays. Pictured is City Beach at Sandpoint, but Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho also offers some phenomenal coast-like opportunities.
8. Take a waterfalls road trip.
Waterfall season is still at its peak, so why not take a few weekends to see them all in person? You can use any one of our
waterfall road trips
as a starting point to your own explorations. but be warned: this epic outdoorsy adventure does involve some hiking!
9. Enjoy a sunset dinner cruise.
Romance, ambiance, Idaho beauty, delicious food, panoramic views, and great company all make for a stellar evening on Payette Lake with McCall Lake Cruises. Here, wildlife watching opportunities are plentiful, and the wonderful feeling of being right on the water is unmatched. But let's be real. You're there for the magical sunsets! Private, daytime, and themed tours are available as well. If you're a northern Idahoan, Lake Coeur d'Alene and Pend Oreille offer cruise options as well.
10. Stargaze at the Bruneau Observatory.
Take advantage of clear spring and summer nights by checking out some of the northern hemisphere's most beautiful celestial happenings through souped up telescopes that get you up close and personal with our galaxy. Admission is super low, plus your experience comes with an informative astronomy lesson and expert guidance.
11. Catch some waves.
Being a landlocked state doesn't stop Idahoans from riding the surf, but rather than feeling the salty ocean breeze, we can catch our waves in a temperate climate without the crowds. River surfing is quickly rising in popularity as a a new way to experience the beauty of Idaho, but for novices and those that aren't quite comfortable on the open water, a controlled park setting -- like Kelly's Whitewater Park in Cascade -- gives all ages water-lovers a chance to learn safely. When you're ready, the Payette River Games are hosted here as well.
12. Take a wine tour.
Nature, scenery, good company, and great wine all at once? While not as "outdoorsy" as some of our other options, for those who want a taste of Idaho's beauty without roughing it or going extreme, a wine tour might be the perfect fit. Southern Idaho is home to the Sunnyslope Wine Trail for those who want to go at their own pace, or for a richer educational experience, companies like Winery Seekers offer chartered tours. Or, jump on Diamond Limo's wine tour offer to add a little posh luxury to your experience.
What do you think? From the mild and picturesque, to some new adventures you may not have heard of, this is just a sample of the wonderful opportunities that Idaho’s great outdoors has to offer. What else would you add?