Idaho's nickname is the Gem State, and once you understand all it has to offer, you will realise how appropriate the name is. Located in the northwest of America, the 43rd state has the perfect mix of lush forests, picturesque lakes, and sprawling mountains, with many historic mining towns and the famous Oregon Trail adding to its history. Check out this amazing guide to find out best places to visit Idaho.
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Boise, located in southwest Idaho, is the largest city in the state and the capital. Because it is part of Idaho's Treasure Valley, Boise was once an essential stop along the Oregon Trail, although these days, 8th Street through downtown is now a pedestrian zone.
Here, you can find the Basque Block, where you will learn more about the Basque heritage of Boise, while jazz fans should not miss the annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival held here.
Yellowstone National Park is the most loved park in North America and one of the best places to visit Idaho. Not only is it the first national park in America, but it is the first in the world. You will never fully appreciate the spectacular wonders of this magical place without visiting it yourself, which includes plenty of geothermal activity. If you are lucky enough, you may even witness Old Faithful erupting.
For animal lovers, you will have plenty of opportunities to view wild animals in their natural habitats, including the impressive and intimidating Buffalo, which rules the roads. Remember that these animals are wild and unpredictable, so maintain a healthy and respectful distance when viewing them.
Many people who visit Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, which divides Idaho and Oregon, view it as a scenic and beautiful area filled with many recreational opportunities. At nearly 8,000 feet deep, it is the deepest river gorge in North America and can be explored via countless hiking trails.
Running through the middle of it is Snake River, which eventually combines with the Clearwater River. Hells Canyon is also an essential archaeological district, with many indications that humans called it home roughly 15,000 years ago. Because travellers used to frequently pass through here in the early days, there are historic sites on both sides of the canyon.
Situated along the Snake River Canyon is the largest waterfall in Idaho, Shoshone Falls. This waterfall is higher than Niagara Falls, with many referring to it as 'The Niagara of the West'. It is an impressive sight that can only be appreciated in the flesh, so visiting this extraordinary natural wonder is well worth the effort. During the summer, you can kayak or paddleboard right under the falls.
Furthermore, the falls were once an important fishing and trading spot for Native Americans, including the Shoshone, from which they got their name. The best vantage point of the falls is a nearby city park with a swimming pool, picnic and play areas, hiking trails and a boat ramp.
McCall is a beautiful mountain town on Payette Lake. It is small enough to feel like you are in your own private Idaho but big enough to have enough activities that you never feel like you are bored.
During the warm summer months, you can indulge in a multitude of water sports, huckleberry picking, hiking and plenty of other outdoor activities. During winter, this exciting town turns into a winter wonderland, with the famous ski lift Brundage Mountain, cross-country skiing to a yurt and snowmobiling tracks.
Sun Valley is considered the premier ski and summer holiday resort in Idaho, with many celebrities and famous names owning vacation homes in the area. Located in central Idaho, it is wonderfully nestled among sprawling mountains, which provide the ideal spots for skiing, ice skating and snowboarding during winter. If you prefer summer activities, enjoy golfing, horseback riding, hiking, and fly fishing under the sun.
Sun Valley is an exceptional location as it is a year-round holiday destination. It has hosted World Cup ski races in the past, and famous names in history, like Ernest Hemingway, have spent time here indulging in their craft.
Lava Hot Springs is a popular holiday spot in Southern Idaho near Pocatello on the old Oregon Trail route. Despite being a tourist favourite, the town isn't very big, with just over 500 people calling it home.
A visit to this town will allow you to experience five hot spring pools. Water temperatures range between 35 and 45 degrees Celsius throughout the year despite water constantly flowing into the nearby Portneuf River. When you grow tired of soaking in the warm water, take a leisurely dip in the river to cool off.
Craters of the Moon National Monument is a unique and mystical place in southern Idaho. The lava formations give it the appearance of a faraway planet, and many believe that the basalt flood areas found here are the best-preserved in the Lower 48 states.
Because it resembles the Moon's surface, NASA astronauts trained at the lava field in preparation for their space journey, although on arrival, they realised the two surfaces were very different.
If you plan to visit the lava caves, a reliable light source of some kind is a must. To keep your hands free, opt for a headlamp. Furthermore, water is essential for the hotter summer months. Uncover the rich natural beauty and diverse attractions among the best places to visit in Idaho.
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