Idaho is much more fascinating than many people give it credit for! With dozens of art, culture, and landscape tours offered throughout the state, it’s easy to find the perfect educational field trip, summer day trip, or activity for the kids. To help you see our state from a new perspective, we’ve highlighted a variety of tours that will show you some of Idaho’s best scenery and history. From skyhigh dam tours, to delicious food tours (with samples!), here are just a few ideas for your next family outing.
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. Hells Canyon Jet Boat Tour
Hells Canyon is one of those stunning places in Idaho that is so packed with adventure and beauty that there's simply no way to fit it all into one visit! With Killgore's Jet Boat Tours or Hells Canyon Adventures, you have multiple focused tour options (like fishing and history), multiple starting points, transportation there and back, and -- of course -- a close up look at the deepest canyon in the country, without all the extra effort that comes from paddling a raft.
2. The Idaho State Penitentiary, Boise
Originally opened in 1872, Idaho's "Old Pen" has always been a must-see for visitors to our state's capital. Reported paranormal activity alone has made this old prison a hotbed of attention, but this unique sandstone compound (built by the prisoners) is also fascinating for its unique history and architecture. Visit solitary confinement, check out the informative displays, and see where infamous murderers like Lady Bluebeard once dined.
3. A tour through Idaho wine country.
Southern Idaho is our state's wine country, with the Treasure Valley area being home to the delicious (and beautiful) Sunnyslope Wine Trail. For a relaxing day out filled with wine and good company, take a travel tour through some of the valley's best and most diverse vineyards -- samples included! Or, take your own self-guided tour across the trail with family and friends.
4. A Historic Mine Tour
Our state's fascinating past is full of short-lived boom towns that have faded into ghostly obscurity, but our state is still home to a number of mines that are open for visitors to experience firsthand. Sierra Silver Mine in Wallace is one such tour, complete with trolley guide and underground walkthrough.
5. A Cross-Idaho Bike Tour
For the active adventurer who wants to explore the diverse beauty of Idaho's great outdoors up close and personal, a guided bike tour is an awesome option. Every year, Ride Idaho features a week-long bike tour route that showcases our state's natural beauty, while also offering time for community, camping, and exploration. Signup required!
6. A Buck Knives Factory Tour
It's no secret that Idahoans love knives. They're a necessity more than anything -- so why not see what goes into making one of the sturdiest knife brands on the planet? Tour the production facility, check out the peddle-powered whetstone, and a brief history of this old-school weapon. Sparks are sure to fly!
7. Ballard Family Dairy Farm and Cheese Factory, Gooding
For the ultimate cheese-lover, why not see how your favorite dairy product is made, take a taste of the freshest cheese on the planet, and come to understand why Idaho-born Ballard made it into the list of Top 50 cheeses in the country?
8. Take a ghost tour of Idaho's original capital.
Downtown Lewiston is a stunning cultural center that is fitting for our state's original capital city. But you'll also find a few hidden gems here, but not without the help of a skilled tour guide! From Lewiston's resident haunts on a private ghost tour to a lovely, guided stroll through Lewiston's oldest district, it's a fascinating adventure ripe with photo ops.
9. Tour the Idaho State Capitol Building.
Idaho's capitol building in downtown Boise is stunning, to say the least. Built in the same architectural style as our nation's capital, the inside of this beautiful building also features stately marble finishes, a mesmerizing aperture, and -- of course -- rich state rooms. It's an eye opening tour that can be guided for larger groups, or self-led in small groups. Just grab the walking tour guide from the state website!
10. Tour Dworshak Dam
The tallest dam in Idaho has oodles of history to it, plus one of the most epic panoramic views in Central Idaho! Take a tour of the inside workings, then climb up top to truly experience one of Idaho's greatest man-made wonders.
11. Take an Art Walk tour.
For a culturally enriching experience that you can take part in over and over, an Art Walk tour in any one of Idaho's artistic hubs is an incredible opportunity to see Idaho through new eyes. Self-guided and complete with maps, audio, and plenty of photo ops, why not immerse yourself in the finer side of Idaho?