Exploring Idaho: Must-See Natural Attractions in the Gem State

Idaho is a state where adventure is available no matter what the season. Summer brings in tourists in search of lakeside escapes while winter has snowmobilers, skiers, and snowboarders across the country. Visitors can also pick and choose between fly fishing, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. There’s an available serene spa getaway in the middle of nowhere.

While most of the small towns in the States resort to gimmicks to attract visitors, Idaho relies on its beautiful, natural beauty and hospitality. Many small towns are simply beautiful with the backdrop of snow capped mountains and sky-high trees. This place was founded by some miners and homesteaders in search of a better life.

In Idaho, it’s all about the outdoors. Along with its amazing skiing, the gateway to the West is filled with dude ranches, lodges and cabin rentals in Idaho for any sort of wilderness relaxation you like.

Here are the best small towns to visit in Idaho:

Coeur d’ Alene

Located in Idaho’s panhandle, Coeur d’ Alene is one of the largest towns in the US, located on the vast Lake Coeur d’ Alene. With more than 50 lakes, some of the water-based activities you’ll surely enjoy include lake cruises, sailing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and some other water sports you can imagine. If you’re into playing golf, they have 18 golf courses or just enjoy the rides at the Silverwood Theme Park, where they offer more than 65 rides ranging from relaxing rides to thrilling roller coasters. Also, there’s a Boulder Beach section, where you can try it wave pools, fountains, geysers, and waterslides. If you’re coming here during winter season skiing is one of the most popular to try.

Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls

Located outside the town of Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls is the state’s largest waterfall, also referred as the “Niagara of the West” because at 212 feet, it’s even higher than its more famous counterpart, the Niagara Falls. These stunning falls are located in Shoshone Falls Park, where they offer a number of facilities including a swimming area, boat ramp, picnic areas, playgrounds, and a picturesque overlook. You can enjoy a picnic here as well as an ideal place for the perfect view of the falls.

McCall

McCall is a mountain town that is popular to many frequent Idaho visitors. This town sits on the southern shore of Payette Lake and has the highest average snowfall in the country. Visitors enjoy exploring the brilliant blue glacial lake where they can do kayaking, riding a boat, standup paddling, and of course swimming. Aside from these activities, the river offers everything from relaxing float trip for families to adventure challenging sections with class IV and V rapids. If you’re not into water sports, you can also do huckleberry picking and hiking activities, or attend music and art festivals. If you’re coming here during winter, never miss Brundage Mountain, as they open up its famous ski lift, and visitors can also cross-country ski into a yurt or go snowmobiling. McCall town is very popular for its Winter Carnival, a 10-day festival featuring life-sized ice sculptures, fireworks, live music, beer garden, and a Mardi Gras parade. The carnival happens late January.

Stanley

You’ll be surprised that this tiny town of Stanley has a population of just 69, but you’ll find a wealth of more than a few restaurants and accommodation options, along with the outstanding awe-inspiring scenery. The surrounding wilderness might be the main attraction, but an epic breakfast served by Stanley Baking Company is also a hit. Enjoy dining along the river at Backcountry Bistro, where you can try their specialty of fresh seafood and free-range meats. This town sits on the banks of the Salmon River, surrounded by the Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountain Ranges, which is the best base for exploring the beautiful backcountry. The alpine lakes provide places for fishing that are stocked with a variety of trout, and all kinds of hiking trails for beginners and professional hikers alike.

Bruneau Dunes State Park, Bruneau

The highest soars an astounding 470 feet, Bruneau Dunes State Park hosts the tallest freestanding sand dunes on the continent. These mountains of sand give you the opportunity to slide down using sandboard, or you can climb them up for a great workout. Sandboard is available for rent at the park. Some of the activities you’ll surely enjoy here includes star gazing at Idaho’s public observatory, swimming and fishing in a small lake, bird watching, and camping. Bruneau Dunes State Park is also a home to a different wildlife too, including sage grouse, coyotes, and birds of prey. If you’re into history, visit the museum located near the entrance of the park, which is the perfect place to learn more about its wildlife and the geology of the area.

Craters of the Moon

Once lava, Craters of the Moon is one of the few places in the States where you can explore, and discover an underground lava tube crafted by molten rock. This magnificent ocean of lava formed during eight major eruptive periods, between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago, where it flows with sagebrush and cinder cones scattered about. Today, the gnarled, crusty terrain that was frozen in time traces the tale of rivers of lava which gushed from fissures across the Great Rift, also known as the Snake River Plain. This place is best known for caving and hiking, and during winter people visit this place to enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Visitors can also try the free camping, but you just need to secure a wilderness permit, which is available at the Visitor Center.

 

 

 

photo via pixabay

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