You may think of Idaho and picture a whole pile of Yukon Golds, but there’s much more to this spectacular state than potatoes. Situated next to Oregon and Washington in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho holds a wealth of natural beauty that spans from Canada to Nevada. Its two dominant landscapes are mountains and farmland cut by rivers that empty out into green hillsides and picturesque lakes. Nestled into the majestic landscapes are small towns with vibrant histories dating back to the days of native tribes and pioneers heading west along the Oregon Trail. Whichever facet of Idaho you choose to visit, there’s an abundance of tourist attractions to explore.
The state capital of Idaho is an undiscovered gem when it comes to must-see cities in the US. With a population just north of 200,000, Boise avoids the commotion and pollution of a sprawling metropolis. It is vibrant and full of life, with a bustling arts community and a downtown full of shops, restaurants, and night life destinations. Interestingly, Boise is also home to one of the largest Basque communities in the US. You can check out the local dance troop, the Oinkari Dancers, eat at a Basque restaurant, or visit the the Basque Market. Boise ranks as one of the top outdoor towns in the US, so make sure to take advantage of its mild, four-season climate and explore life beyond the city.
Outdoor Recreation and Eco-Tourism
Idaho is heaven for those who love the outdoors. While visiting Idaho, you can try out white-water rafting, horseback riding, and hiking into some of the best nature the U.S. has to offer. At the top of everyone’s list should be one of Idaho’s most popular tourist attractions, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. A vast ocean of lava flows elicit feelings of a surreal moon wilderness; it is home to the famous Lava Trees and the Echo Crater. You can discover the delights of Yellowstone National Park with its exotic flora, fauna, and famous geyser. Take an adventure down the Snake River, where you’ll be able to stop at unforgettable sites like the 212-feet-high Shoshone Falls, or catch some fresh fish for dinner. Winter sport enthusiasts will find it well worth their time to stop by Sun Valley, Idaho’s most popular ski lodge, and take some turns on this Nordic skier’s paradise. Other must-see parks that provide opportunities for a plethora of outdoor recreation include Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area, where you can raft or take photographs of the deepest river gorge in the US; Bruneau Dunes State Park, which is home to the largest public observatory in the states; and Coeur d’Alene, if you’re looking for a relaxing lakeside playground.
Cultural Visits at Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls is the cultural destination of the state. You can take a break from all your wild outdoor adventures with stage plays, live acts, film, and concerts. They’re all easily accessible by visiting the Cultural District, the Colonial Theater and the Civic Auditorium. Idaho Falls Zoo is a great places to take the kids to get up close and personal with the animals. Head to one of the many interesting museums, including the Museum of Idaho and the Eagle Rock Art Museum.
For the history buffs, Idaho provides a number of opportunities to delve into US history by visiting museums like the Boise Basin Museum and the Central Idaho Historical Museum. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit sites originally explored by Lewis and Clark, or partake in one of the American Heritage Tours.
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