10 Best Tourist Attractions in Idaho
Idaho is a state that is often overlooked when it comes to tourist destinations. However, this Pacific Northwest destination is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes and thrilling outdoor activities in the country. From stunning national parks and majestic waterfalls to hot springs and historic sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Idaho.
In this post, we will take you on a journey through the state, showcasing the top 10 must-visit tourist attractions that will leave you awestruck and inspired. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking for a change of scenery, Idaho is the perfect destination for your next adventure. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover the beauty of Idaho!
10. Craters of the Moon
The Craters of the Moon National Monument is a true geological marvel that will leave you in awe of its otherworldly beauty. When you arrive at this surreal landscape, you’ll find yourself surrounded by vast expanses of ancient lava flows, cinder cones, and unique rock formations that stretch as far as the eye can see. The volcanic activity that occurred thousands of years ago has sculpted a mesmerizing terrain that is unlike anything else on Earth.
Exploring the Craters of the Moon is like embarking on a journey through time. As you wander along the trails that wind through the monument, you’ll encounter eerie caves and lava tubes that once spewed molten lava. These natural formations offer a glimpse into the powerful forces that shaped this extraordinary landscape.
9. Shoshone Falls
Known as the “Niagara of the West,” this breathtaking cascade stands at an impressive 212 feet tall, surpassing the height of its eastern counterpart. As you approach the falls, you’ll feel a rush of anticipation, eager to witness the captivating display of raw power and beauty that lies ahead.
The sheer force of the water is a sight to behold, as it plummets down the cliffs, sending misty sprays high into the air. The mist, catching the sunlight, creates vibrant rainbows that dance across the sky, adding an ethereal touch to the already stunning scene.
A network of well-maintained trails allows visitors to explore the area, offering breathtaking viewpoints and opportunities for hiking and picnicking. Whether you choose to stroll along the rim trail, capturing panoramic views of the falls and Snake River Canyon, or venture down to the base for an up-close encounter with the cascading waters, every step will leave you captivated by the majesty of nature.
To truly experience the grandeur of Shoshone Falls, it’s best to visit during the spring or early summer months when the snowmelt swells the river, intensifying the power and beauty of the falls. However, even during the drier months, the falls retain their charm and allure, providing a serene escape from the bustling world.
8. Sawtooth National Recreation Area
Sprawling across more than 750,000 acres, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is known for its rugged mountain ranges, pristine alpine lakes, and picturesque meadows. Hiking trails weave through the wilderness, offering breathtaking views at every turn. From leisurely strolls to challenging multi-day treks, there is a trail suited for every level of adventurer.
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is known for its rugged mountain ranges, pristine alpine lakes, and picturesque meadows. Hiking trails weave through the wilderness, offering breathtaking views at every turn. From leisurely strolls to challenging multi-day treks, there is a trail suited for every level of adventurer.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area also boasts an abundance of sparkling lakes and rivers. Redfish Lake, nestled at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. The crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding peaks, creating a postcard-worthy scene.
7. Idaho Potato Museum & Potato Station Cafe
Idaho Potato Museum & Potato Station Cafe, located in the heart of Blackfoot, is a must-see for any potato enthusiast. With over 5,000 square feet of exhibits and displays dedicated to the history and science behind the humble potato, it’s a great way to learn about this important food crop.
The museum also features a number of artifacts, including a potato harvester dating back to the turn of the century, as well as a variety of vintage potato recipes. Plus, guests can enjoy home-cooked meals at the adjacent Potato Station Cafe. Whether you’re looking to discover some tasty treats or learn more about Idaho’s agricultural roots, the Idaho Potato Museum & Potato Station Cafe has it all!
6. Sun Valley Resort
Renowned for its unparalleled beauty and world-class amenities, Sun Valley Resort is a must-visit for any nature enthusiast or adventure seeker. During the winter months, Sun Valley Resort is a winter wonderland, offering world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities on its pristine slopes. With over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain and a variety of trails for all skill levels, both beginners and seasoned athletes can indulge in their winter sports passions.
In the summer, the resort comes alive with a plethora of outdoor activities. Hiking and mountain biking trails wind through the mountains, allowing visitors to explore the breathtaking landscapes at their own pace. Golf enthusiasts will also be delighted by the resort’s 18-hole championship golf course, offering stunning views and a challenging game.
5. Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area
Stretching over 652,488 acres, Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area is one of Idaho’s most renowned tourist attractions, and it’s no wonder why. Located in the deepest river gorge in North America, this vast recreation area spans two states – Oregon and Idaho – offering breathtaking views and boundless outdoor activities. From scenic drives and camping to fishing, boating, white water rafting, and horseback riding, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
The canyon itself is a spectacular sight, with steep walls towering over 8,000 feet above the Snake River below. For an even more beautiful experience, visitors can join a jet boat tour that will take them upriver through some of the most stunning gorges in the region. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or dreamy relaxation, Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area has it all.
4. Idaho State Capitol Building
The Idaho State Capitol Building is, quite simply, a must-see for anyone visiting the state. It’s a stunningly beautiful example of neoclassical architecture, built in 1912 with marble quarried from nearby places like Rattlesnake Creek and Green Park. Inside, visitors will find amazing works of art and interior features crafted exclusively for this building.
Visitors may also take part in a self-guided tour, which provides an insightful look into the history and current operations of the State government. In addition to its incredible architectural significance, the Capitol Building also offers great views of Boise from the observation deck located on the fifth floor. No matter what kind of visitor you are or where your interests lie, a trip to the Idaho State Capitol Building should be at the top of your list.
3. Lake Coeur d’Alene
Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of Idaho’s most popular tourist attractions. Located in the northern part of the state, it is a stunningly beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. The area has been inhabited since the 1800s, and it offers a wealth of natural beauty as well as a number of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the area on the paved Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes or take a scenic boat tour on the lake to marvel at the diverse wildlife.
For those who are looking for a more active experience, Lake Coeur d’Alene also provides excellent fishing and camping opportunities. Moreover, the nearby towns of Coeur d’Alene and Hayden offer plenty of shops, restaurants, and entertainment for visitors to enjoy. With its breathtaking scenery and plentiful activities, Lake Coeur d’Alene is an ideal destination for any type of traveler.
2. Idaho Botanical Garden
Idaho Botanical Garden is one of the most desirable tourist attractions in the Gem State. Located on a picturesque 25-acre campus, this botanical paradise is home to over 200 species of plants from all over the world, including rare and endangered species. Those looking to just take a leisurely stroll can wander through the grounds and admire the varied foliage, ponds, fountains, and walking paths.
For those wanting to delve deeper into the wonders of nature, there are educational programs available for both adults and children. At the center of the garden sits a large conservatory filled with vibrant flowers and exotic plants from every climate. Idaho Botanical Garden is not only a beauty to behold but an educational opportunity as well, making it a must-visit destination in Idaho.
1. City of Rocks National Reserve
Ranked as the number one tourist attraction in Idaho, the City of Rocks National Reserve is a veritable natural wonderland. Located near the Utah border, this unbelievable geological formation is comprised of granite spires, house-sized boulders, and breathtakingly unique rock formations. Spanning 14,407 acres of beauty, City of Rocks offers visitors an array of recreational activities, including camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, and more.
You can take ranger-led walks to learn about the area’s history and view its ancient petrified wood. Other attractions include a 35-foot-tall dome made entirely out of stacked granite stones, as well as a fascinating rock slide that spans 75 feet long. With plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities and over 300 species of birds, City of Rocks is an ideal destination for any nature lover looking to experience Idaho’s rugged terrain at its finest.
We hope you enjoyed our article on the breathtaking beauty of Idaho and its top 10 must-visit tourist attractions. From the majestic mountains to the stunning lakes, Idaho offers a diverse range of natural wonders that are sure to leave you in awe. Pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the stunning landscapes and fascinating attractions that Idaho has to offer. Don’t forget to share your adventures with us and inspire others to explore the beauty of Idaho as well!
- 10 Best Tourist Attractions in Idaho
- 10. Craters of the Moon
- 9. Shoshone Falls
- 8. Sawtooth National Recreation Area
- 7. Idaho Potato Museum & Potato Station Cafe
- 6. Sun Valley Resort
- 5. Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area
- 4. Idaho State Capitol Building
- 3. Lake Coeur d’Alene
- 2. Idaho Botanical Garden
- 1. City of Rocks National Reserve
- Final Word