The Ultimate And Definitive Bucket List For Everyone In Idaho
No state is more diverse and surprising than Idaho when it comes to exciting places to see and unique things to do. Natural attractions, like Hells Canyon, impress seasoned travelers while our historic buildings intertwine history and beauty for all ages; but it is our “only in Idaho” experiences that make holidays and vacations so special. Drive, hike, swim, learn, and have your breath taken away by these bucket list must-dos – year-round, Idaho is ready to show you a good time.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Visit Coeur d’Alene’s Old Mission State Park in Cataldo.
Completed in 1853, the Mission of the Sacred Heart is the oldest standing building in the state. The park consists of the church, a visitors center, museum, cemetery, and beautiful grounds that are perfect for picnicking and special events.
2. Stay the night in a historic fire lookout.
It's rustic camping taken to a whole new level...literally.
3. Grab a slice of world-famous pie at Trudy's Kitchen in Idaho City.
We use the term "slice" lightly. Our recommendation: eat dessert first!
4. Ride the Silver Mountain Resort gondola in Kellogg.
The longest single-stage gondola in the country is found right here in Idaho, and it will take you from downtown Kellogg to the soaring heights of Silver Mountain.
5. Keep it cool at the McCall Winter Carnival.
This iconic Idaho event dating back to 1924 is a local favorite renowned for its snow sculpture competition, and fireworks show over Payette Lake, but this festival in celebration of all things winter also includes a parade, Monster Dog Pull, concerts, and more.
6. Enjoy a picnic at Shoshone Falls.
Our own Niagara Falls creates the perfect backdrop for a summer family outing.
7. Bike the Route of the Hiawatha.
This scenic 15-mile rail-to-trail mountain bike and hiking route showcases the beauty of Northern Idaho from seven sky-high trestles and 10 historic train tunnels. In fact, so magnificent are the views from this trail that it has been repeatedly named the "Crown Jewel" of Rail to Trail experiences.
8. Float the Boise River from Barber Park to Ann Morrison Park.
Nothing says "summer" as quintessentially as this relaxing six-mile trip under outstretched trees and quaint footbridges.
9. Tour the Idaho State Capitol Building in Boise.
Idaho's capitol is a fascinating place to visit, both for its history and beautifully ornate architecture.
10. Explore an old ghost town.
Silver City, Bonanza, and Burke are perhaps more well-known, but head off the beaten trail to explore small gems like Reynolds and Chesterfield.
11. Raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River – also known as the River of No Return.
It's the adventure of a lifetime.
12. Slide down the sand dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park.
Grab a sled (or piece of cardboard) and slide down the tallest single-structured sand dunes in the country.
13. Enjoy a long, relaxing soak at an Idaho hot spring.
With dozens of hidden pools tucked away in the mountains and off the beaten path, Idaho's natural hot springs make the perfect day trip or end to a long work week.
14. Pay a visit to the Shoshone Ice Caves.
The Shoshone Ice Caves boast below-freezing temperatures all year long and ice up to 30 inches thick. No hiking required -- just grab a jacket, and follow the wooden path!
15. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride in winter.
Bundle up and jingle through a snowy wonderland in Garden Valley on an old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh ride. Sip a hot drink and take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife up close and personal before roasting marshmallows over an open fire at the end of your journey.
16. Go spelunking at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.
This 1.6-mile tour through four of the monument's 400 (and counting) documented caves is a unique look at the dynamic volcanic processes that shaped much of Southern Idaho.
17. Explore the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness by horseback.
Over 2.36 million protected acres and hundreds of mountain trails wind through Idaho's most pristine landscape.
18. Attend the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Sun Valley, Hailey, Ketchum area.
This week-long festival honors the history and heritage of sheep ranching in the Wood River Valley region and marks the movement of sheep to their winter grazing grounds.
19. Take a historic underground mine tour.
Dive deep into Idaho's mining history in the most tangible way possible.
20. Take a sunset dinner cruise on one of North Idaho's stunning lakes.
It's the perfect end to a perfect day in Idaho.
How many things can you check off of this bucket list? Of course, Idaho has plenty more awesome things to do that we couldn’t include, so if you don’t see your favorite Idaho adventure listed, be sure to let us know!