As we keep things closer to home, it’s important to highlight the best the U.S. has to offer. Instead of jetting off to a far-off country, consider a road trip to Idaho, a state that doesn’t always get its due. Whether you are looking to explore the great outdoors or spend a great city weekend in Boise, Idaho has a lot to offer.
50 Things to Do in Idaho That Prove This State Is America's Best Kept Secret
1. Learn About Potatoes
Start your Idaho journey off with a visit to the Idaho Potato Museum, which details the history of the root vegetable, as well as fun facts and trivia. Located in Blackfoot, the museum is oddly fascinating and, of course, features a café that serves up all sorts of potato-themed treats.
12. Visit The Idaho Botanical Garden
Explore the plants, trees and flowers at the Idaho Botanical Garden, which is open year-round. It’s a great place for an afternoon outing, or look for one of the special events that Garden often hosts. There’s also a garden store for those who want to cultivate their own green thumb. Currently, the gardens are limiting ticketed events and updating safety precautions, which you can check out here.
17. Visit Shoshone Falls Park
Sometimes known as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls Park is an amazing site. The massive waterfall, located in the Snake River, is even higher than Niagara Falls and welcomes visitors year-round. For the best viewing, head in the spring when the water is strongest.
22. Bike The Mountain Route Of The Hiawatha
One of the coolest biking or hiking paths there is, this 15-mile long trail with ten train tunnels and seven sky-high trestles follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind views. The best part? It's mostly down-hill.
28. Explore Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls has plenty to see and do, especially if you’re into performing arts and museums. Check out the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho and the ARTitorium on Broadway, which are both taking safety measures in the face of COVID-19. Anddon’t miss the outdoor Japanese Friendship Garden.
29. Learn about atomic power
Idaho Falls’ The Museum of Idaho, which is open and following new safety measures, has rotating exhibitions about everything from dinosaurs to the state’s history with atomic power. It’s great for kids, with frequent special events and activities on the calendar, and its ongoing Museum After Dark series features treats and activities for adult visitors.
33. Take A Dip In On Redfish Lake
The alpine lake located within Sawtooth National Recreation Area is five miles long, one mile long and absolutely gorgeous. We recommend camping or a night or two at the Redfish Lake Lodge.
34. Pay tribute to a classic writer
Ernest Hemingway was buried in Idaho, with his grave available to visitors at a cemetery in Sun Valley. Look for a simple headstone in the grass with only his name and the life dates. Fans visited frequently and leave behind gifts, including half-consumed bottles of booze.
35. Dine at historic restaurant
The Snake Pit is supposedly Idaho’s oldest restaurant, dating back over 135 years, and it may also be one of the state’s coolest. The Western-style eatery, located in Enaville, is all about indulgence, serving up everything from massive steaks to classic BBQ. If you’re very brave try the Rocky Mountain oysters, which, as they note on the menu, don’t come from the sea.
38. See Petroglyphs
Celebration Park, in Melba, features rock drawings that date back 10,000 years. There are also newer Native American petroglyphs, which visitors can spot along the rocks. Visit between April to October, and be sure to grab a trail map from the Visitor’s Center to discover all the drawings.
39. Celebrate cleanliness
This is a weird one, but the Museum of Clean, which can be found in Pocatello, actually makes for an interesting afternoon out. It showcases the history of cleaning, as well as what clean can also mean in terms of clean minds, clean language and a clean world. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, and cheap for visitors of all ages. And, per its name, the museum is operating with updated sanitary measures in the wake up COVID.
43. Embark On A Road Trip
Idaho is a vast state, with lots of open expanses, so instead of picking just one destination, consider hopping in the car and just driving. Some of the best small towns can be discovered by exploring by car and you can also head to neighboring Wyoming or Oregon via your Idaho journey.
44. See some Shakespeare
While you may not think of Idaho as a theater destination, the annual Idaho Shakespeare Festival is a popular event in Boise. Each year five different plays are selected, some by other playwrights, and the festivities kick off in May, though, the company is currently taking an “intermission” due to COVID.
46. Climb The Sand Dunes
At Bruneau Dunes State Park visitors can scale the massive natural sand dunes, or explore by ATV, horse or motorbike. The park also features camping and other outdoor activities, including snowmobiling and Nordic skiing during the winter. According to the website, the park advises visiting in small groups and during the week to keep crowds down. And, of course, wear a mask.