America’s Gem State offers far more than fields of potatoes and bearded mountain men. Idaho is a wild, exciting place where culture grows organically at its own pace in hot cities like Boise and vast wilderness areas are never more than an hour or two away by car. Idaho offers travelers some of America’s rawest, most exciting outdoor action, with fun, comfy resort towns right next door.
You can go as hard or as soft as you like in Idaho. Its Bitterroot National Forest covers 1.6 million acres in the heart of the state, and is the largest continuous wilderness area in the lower 48 states. This is Ground Zero for white water rafting, multi-day backpacking adventures, and an endless array of mountain biking, hiking, and fishing outings.
But right in the heart of all this rugged nature is Sun Valley, a posh little ski resort that has been delighting celebrities and the like since 1934. Its luxury hotels and delicious restaurants make a long day on the slopes tolerable. Boise is also a hot spot for uniquely Idaho culture, art, dining, and entertainment. It’s one of America’s prettiest and hippest underrated cities.
The pioneering spirit of Idaho has created some very friendly locals who are happy to see visitors enjoying their beautiful state. For the sheer quality of its outdoor recreation and cool mountain towns, Idaho is an incredible value. You can find affordable lodging and meals just as easily as five-star resorts and New American fusion cuisine.
The diversity of Idaho’s landscape is another draw. The northern region consists purely of mountains and wild rivers mixed with some oddball attractions like the volcanic Craters of the Moon park. In the south the land turns into endless rolling fields of wheat, barley, and potatoes, creating another beautiful area to explore. This is where most of the people live and all major towns are located.
One thing about traveling in Idaho is you will need your own wheels to get around. Everything is spread out, and the only convenient way to travel is by car. Even in the cities there is scarce public transport available. Rent an SUV or summer convertible at the airport when you arrive to enjoy the sublime scenery and freedom of movement without delay.
- Ski and snowboard the two mountains at Sun Valley in winter
- Take a hot air balloon ride over Sawtooth Mountains at sunrise near Ketchum
- Play a round at the famed Coeur d’Alene Golf Resort with its unique floating tee off hole
- Go gallery hopping in the historic downtown district of Boise known as BoDo
- Run around the lava fields at Craters of the Moon National Monument
- Canoe across Lake Pend Oreille at the foot of Sandpoint
- Raft, hike, or horseback ride through America’s largest single wilderness area, Bitterroot National Forest