Best 10 Places To Visit In Idaho - Updated 2022

best places to visit in idaho

A state in the Northwestern U.S., Idaho is a year-round destination that will offer you nature, art, history, and exciting activities. A lot of cities here are known for their ski slopes and mountain trails, while other areas will entice you with its unique museums, intriguing historical sites, and picturesque sceneries. An example is Idaho’s capital city, Boise, where you’ll find the Boise River that is a perfect place to fish and boat. Another attraction is Julia Davis Park, a sprawling green space that features a zoo, a museum, and a rose garden. In case you need more reasons to explore the state, read on, and discover our list of the best places to visit in Idaho, USA.

1. Nampa

Nampa Historic District
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The largest city in Canyon County, and the city with the most population in Idaho, Nampa has a lot to offer, starting from its natural treasures to arts and the local food scene. One of the attractions you shouldn’t miss while you are here is the Warhawk Air Museum. It is an aviation museum focusing on World War I planes and memorabilia. Also, you’ll find here on display, exhibits about the jet era. Another point of interest is the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, where animal lovers can see wildlife in their natural habitats. Apart from being a protected area for animal breeding, the area also has hiking and riding trails.

2. Salmon

Salmon River
Source: Pixabay

Salmon City in Lemhi County is famous for being the birthplace of Sacajawea, who is the only woman and the key to the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This place is a gem for history buffs and adventure seekers for the wide array of activities and attractions it has in store for everyone. You’ll be amazed by the many winter sports you can do here, like ice skating, skiing, ice fishing, snowboarding, and more. And you can try all these activities at the Lost Trail powder mountain, where slopes for all levels of skiers are available. Also, don’t forget to drop by some of the hot springs in the area for a more relaxing vacation ahead.

3. Meridian

Meridian Idaho Temple, Springtime
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jacob Roecker used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The third-largest city in Idaho with a population of 75,092, according to the 2010 census, Meridian offers many family-friendly activities and attractions. So, if you’re looking for a vacation location that will surely be loved by everyone in the family, this is the perfect spot for you in Idaho. The first attraction in your list must be the Roaring Springs Water Park. It is an expansive water park that features a lazy river, wave pool, water slides, as well as food and drink concessionaires. For your second stop, they have here the Wahooz Family Fun Zone, which is an activity and entertainment center that offers arcade games, mini-golf, go-karts, and other game facilities. And for the other destinations, Meridian has numerous sprawling parks just like Settlers Park and Hillsdale Park.

4. Boise

The capital of Idaho has a lot in store for you, ranging from historical sites to beautiful parks and stunning architecture. A must-visit here is the Boise Art Museum, which is in a charming art deco building, and features many contemporary artworks. You’ll also find, within its premise, a wondrous outdoor sculpture garden. Another gem in the city is the Boise River Greenbelt, where you’ll find several parks and trails lined with many trees, shading you from the sun, and making your experience a lot more relaxing. Other attractions you may want to visit here include Idaho State Capitol Building, Old Idaho Penitentiary, Bogus Basin, etc.

Culinary and Cultural Tour of Boise

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5. Pocatello

Pocatello, Idaho - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jordan W. used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Pocatello is the largest city in Bannock County, with a population of 55,193 as of 2017. If you’re looking for a laid-back place to visit, one that will keep you close with nature, while having the metropolitan vibe, then the city of Pocatello is the perfect holiday destination. An interesting attraction you shouldn’t miss while you’re here is the Museum of Clean. It is a museum where you’ll learn about the history of cleaning techniques and tools as well as see on display the evolution of cleaning equipment like the brooms and tubs. Another point of interest in the area is Zoo Idaho, where you can view animals that are local to the Intermountain West. The zoo has been operating since 1932 and features more or less 100 animals belonging to 40 different species.

6. Ketchum

Beautiful country outside of Ketchum, Idaho
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Frank Kovalchek used under CC BY 2.0

Another great place to visit in Idaho, located in Blaine County, Ketchum will charm you with its many ski resorts and the fact that the famous author, Ernest Hemingway, once lived in the area. One of the most visited tourist destinations here is the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It is a national recreation expanse, that has an area of 730,000 acres (295420.52 hectares), that offers a large selection of nature activities like kayaking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, water rafting, as well as overnight camping on its facilities.

7. Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls, Idaho (Snake River)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ARLittleRock used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Idaho Falls is a city rich in historical sites, arts, and natural gems. The city has a lot of surprises in store for everyone, even if you just want to relax or commune with nature. They have the Greenbelt, which is composed of numerous trails that have parks and waterfalls. In case you’re interested in the city’s art scene, you can drop by the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, at the riverside, and see eclectic artworks, or the Downtown’s Museum of Idaho, and know about the local history as well as view artifacts about the Clark and Lewis Expedition. And for animal lovers, you can always visit the Idaho Falls Zoo, where you will watch lions, penguins, and sloths, as well as have a close encounter with some species at the petting area of the zoo.

8. Sun Valley

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user SnapJag used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A resort city in Idaho, Sun Valley is known for its many ski resorts in Bald Mountain. Though it is famous for being a fabulous winter destination, the city also has summer offerings in the form of hiking trails, meadows filled with lovely wildflowers, and many more. One of the top ski spots here is Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center, which features over 40 km (24.85 mi) of well-groomed trails that are perfect for cross-country skiing and skating. But if you’re with your family, you better visit the nearby Bald Mountain, for it has gentler slopes which are suitable for every level of skier.

9. Sandpoint

Sandpoint Federal Building - Sandpoint Idaho
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ian Poellet used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located in Northern Idaho, Sandpoint is an excellent holiday location for people looking to get active and explore nature. The area is famous for the ski trails and terrain parks that are found in Schweitzer Mountain Resort. If you want to learn more about different species of plants, you shouldn’t miss visiting the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society’s arboretum in Lakeview Park. Moreover, arts and history are also a major tourist charmer. You’ll know why when you visit the Bonner County History Museum and see its Native American artifacts.

10. Coeur d'Alene

Coeur d'Alene
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Antony-22 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A well-rounded tourist destination in Idaho, Coeur d'Alene doesn’t only offer you exciting nature adventure but also immerses you in arts and history. The most visited attractions here are Lake Coeur d’Alene, for its water sports, Coeur d’Alene National Forest and Canfield Mountain Natural Area, which feature numerous hiking trails. Another point of interest in the area is the Museum of North Idaho, where you can learn about the region’s history as well as the city’s timber industry.

Enjoy your trip to Idaho

Visiting Idaho will keep you close to nature and have lots of chances to try new activities like skiing and mountain hiking. Also, it will keep you refreshed and relaxed with its many beautiful resorts and sprawling parks. Make sure to read our list of the best places to visit in Idaho to get an overview of what awaits you.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Michelle is a book-loving travel-junkie who tries to write for a living. Her goal is to explore the world, get to know as many people as she can, and inspire others to do the same, for she believes...Read more

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