Idaho has its fair share of well known attractions, renowned landmarks, and classic summer activities, but there are also dozens of lesser known must-dos that are all too often overlooked. Summer in Idaho should be a time of exploration and adventure, as well as relaxation, so if you’re looking for something unique to do this summer in the Gem State, be sure to add the following attractions and activities to your bucket list:
1. Hike the Palisade Canyon/Creek trail.
Rated as Idaho's most scenic trail and only accessible by foot or horseback, the steep, magnificent cliffs of the Palisades Canyon make a stunning landmark and day trip. The Lower Palisades Lake is much smaller than the Upper Palisades Lake and because of its proximity receives most of the traffic, but the Upper Palisades Lake is in a beautiful, tree-lined valley and is a great place for camping.
2. Take a "safari" through Yellowstone Bear World.
Located just outside Rexburg, no Idaho bucket list is complete without experiencing the beauty of these magnificent creatures up close and personal in this free-roaming nature preserve. Stunning!
Check it out
3. Go horseback riding in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Often, by foot or by horse are the only means of exploring Idaho's hidden recesses. Central Idaho is bursting with natural, roadless beauty and there are a number of horse outfitters who can guide you through trails of varying degrees of difficulty -- but all are simply stunning.
4. Catch some rays (or a sunset) at City Beach in Sandpoint.
Experience the epitome of sandy relaxation without the crowds of the Pacific Coast.
5. Visit Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach Waterpark.
What better way to spend a hot summer's day than with the breeze zipping by you at 70mph, in between water rides? Nothing, that's what.
6. Soar above the Idaho landscape in a hot air balloon.
Idaho is simply too magnificent to be seen only at eye level. There are dozens of hot air balloon tour companies that will let you experience Idaho's beauty from a whole new perspective.
7. Practice your swing at one of the top 100 golf courses in the country.
Circling Raven Gold Club at the Coeur d'Alene Casino has consistently been ranked as one of the most scenic and playable courses in the US.
8. Stargaze in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
Miles away from the lights and bustle of civilization, the sky just seems bigger out here.
9. Enjoy a romantic sunset dinner cruise.
Whether a waterfall dinner cruise by Thousand Springs in Southern Idaho, a sunset sail on Payette Lake, or a lavish resort-style cruise on Coeur d'Alene Lake, experiencing the relaxation and beauty of Idaho from the water is a can't miss experience.
10. Explore the Cave Trail at Craters of the Moon.
Beat the heat and explore every cave in the monument: Dewdrop, Indian Tunnel, Boy Scout, and Beauty Caves. While you'll need a permit for this one, you're sure to find the history and natural architecture unbelievable!
11. Catch a movie or concert at the Boise Botanical Garden.
Boise's expansive gardens are lovely enough on their own, but summer concerts and big-screen movies amidst the pristine landscaping and architecture is the perfect way to end a summer evening.
How many of these have you completed and/or visited? What else would you add to your Idaho bucket list? Share your comments and we’ll be sure to send a Part 2 your way!