There’s something exhilarating about spending time in a big city. Towering buildings, bright lights, and endless things to do can make city life an exciting experience. But let’s be real – you don’t live in Idaho for the city life. You live here for the charm, beauty, history, and special community. As Idahoans, we’re incredibly fortunate to have access to some of the loveliest small towns in the country with some of the best scenery on earth. Whether looking to settle down or looking for a rural escape, here are 10 scenic destinations in the Gem State where you’ll find your soul rejuvenated with peace and quiet.
Despite being home to the Washington County Fair, Cambridge Rodeo, and the gateway to Hells Canyon, this town has plenty of rural beauty and down time to offer. Here you'll find yourself within minutes of numerous hot springs, meandering creek beds, and rustic camping.
Melba may be seated less than an hour's drive from Idaho's urban center, but this tiny, historic town couldn't be further from the hustle and bustle of the city. Uniquely nestled against open agricultural fields, rolling hills, and tucked against the Snake River, Melba is not only home to the fascinating Cleo's Ferry Museum, but to Celebration Park - the site of hundreds of ancient Native American petroglyphs. The beautifully photogenic Guffey Bridge across the river was built in 1897 to carry ore from Silver City to Nampa to be smelted, but today stands as a romantic walking bridge and historic remnant.
3. St. Maries
Snug in the middle ground between the Palouse and Panhandle and set in a lush, forested valley rich with waterways and lakes, St. Maries is truly a charming town. While renowned for the annual Paul Bunyan Days, this gem has plenty to offer those who prefer to kick back and enjoy Idaho's scenery - like the shadowy St. Joe.
For an escape into Idaho's picturesque agricultural countryside, Carey is a welcoming and all-too-often overlooked community in Southern Idaho that offers all the small town charm you could ask for in the heart of the Little Wood River Valley, Once you visit, the serenity and laid-back lifestyle will keep you coming back again and again.
5. Clark Fork
Beautiful and full of wildlife, this welcoming town on the Idaho-Montana border and its namesake river offer some of the most dramatic scenery in Northern Idaho. The soaring Cabinet Mountains overlook what was once a thriving ferryboat route, while the short river has a higher water volume than the Snake River, which feeds the lush landscape.
Tucked away in the southeast corner of Idaho, Georgetown is a small farming community that offers easy access to Bear River on one side and scenic mountains to the east. But for the body in need of rural ambiance and peace and quiet, you'll find plenty of solitude in this meadowy haven - the original name of this community was "Twin Creeks" after the babbling waterways that flow into the Bear River. What better place to kick back and drink in the fresh air, or just get away from it all?
Uniquely surrounded by natural barriers, this former Shoshone village was seemingly destined to be a cozy small town, even in Fort Hall days gone by. Close enough to the city of Pocatello to be close to amenities but known for its miles and miles of endless trails to explore, Inkom is one place you'll want to get lost in.
This tiny town of under 600 looks straight out of a mountain postcard. Surrounded by the Seven Ridges Mountains and expansive treelined beauty, this quaint community is as lovely as its name suggests.
9. Sugar City
Sugar City in Eastern Idaho was (and is) as sweet as it sounds as the former site of the Northwest's largest sugar beet plant. Rural and welcoming to its core, Sugar City is truly a well-rounded and model community that epitomizes the natural beauty and quality of life Idaho stands for.
A true jewel in Northern Idaho, Kooskia is a stunning town that radiates natural beauty in every form. Lush, green, and bursting with wildlife, this community isn't called Idaho's "Gateway to the Wilderness" for no reason. Here, nestled against the richly flowing Clearwater River, endless history meets all the charm and beauty of a quiet and secluded mountain town.
Of course no list could ever fully explore all of Idaho’s beautiful small towns. Where’s your favorite destination for peaceful relaxation in the Gem State? Share your photos with us directly on
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