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Usually tourists come to Idaho for the rugged outdoors and the stunning vistas and adventures offered by this unforgettable state. Idaho has an abundance of natural beauty throughout all seasons of the year. And that beauty extends to its cities as well.
All of the cities on this list make for great home bases from which to explore the surrounding areas as well as fun destinations in and of themselves. Whether you're looking for a ski weekend or a summer getaway, there's something for everyone in Idaho.
The city of Twin Falls is located in the southwest corner of the state, near the Nevada border. It sits on a wide plain next to the Snake River (where Evel Knievel tried to jump across a canyon with a steam-powered rocket in 1974). The fastest growing city in southern Idaho, it’s also the state’s 7th largest city. There are three impressive waterfalls to visit nearby: the Shoshone Falls, the Pillar Falls, and, of course, the Twin Falls. And it is a major hub for commerce, industry, and transportation in the area. The city has a rich history that dates back into the 1800s. If you love kayaking, boating, and water sports, it’s the perfect place to center your adventures.
Nope, we’re not talking about a trip to Russia. This Moscow is on northern Idaho’s border with Washington State. It is home to an Arboretum and Botanical Garden, part of the University of Idaho where you’ll also find the Prichard Art Gallery, a contemporary art space. The beautiful Latah bike path connects Moscow with the nearby city of Troy. The McConnel Mansion museum offers a fantastic look into pioneer life. In the summer, the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center brings a world of fun to families with young children. And the Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center brings you the cultural background of the city and the region. In your free time, enjoy one of the town’s breweries.
Sandpoint is known for its amazing recreational activities. On the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, it offers boating and fishing outings, while its mountains bring you unforgettable mountain biking, hiking, and skiing. If you are looking for a good time, this is the place to go. In winter, you can ice fish, snowmobile, ski, or enjoy a sleigh ride, and in summer you can golf, rock climb, hike, bike, or go horseback riding. The options are truly endless. Plus, spring adds whitewater rafting, and fall offers hunting and incredibly scenic drives. Check out the city’s website to learn more about their annual events, including a rodeo, an art walk, and a summer concert series. And, if you’re hungry, you’ll find an array of delicious options at the farmers market from late spring through the early fall.
Coeur d’Alene takes adventures to the next level with Silverwood, the Northwest’s largest theme park. With incredibly long summer days, you’ll have hours of fun at the park. Plus, you can still enjoy the region’s boating, mining tours, whitewater rafting, biking, hiking, waterskiing, swimming, golfing, sailing, and camping options. In the winter, the city adds to the usual outdoor activities of skiing and snowboarding by bringing you an indoor water park, holiday festivals, and performing arts. At all times of year, you’ll find unique shopping, local wineries and breweries, a wide range of delicious restaurants, and rich history and heritage experiences at the city’s museums and mission (Idaho’s oldest mission).
This incredibly welcoming mountain town has long been known at the “Gateway to the Northwest.” It hosts an array of events throughout the year, included haunted walking tours, multiple art walks, a Christmas Night Lights Parade, and the truly unique Art Battle Pocatello. The city is also special for the number of historical experiences it offers. These include the Standrod Mansion (designed by San Francisco architect Marcus Grundfor with features ahead of its time), the Idaho Museum of Natural History, the Fort Hall Replica and Museum, and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Museum. All this is in addition to the region’s great hiking and biking trails, as well as golf courses, and winter activities.
Idaho Falls is the largest city in Eastern Idaho and is a great place to visit. You can enjoy a gentle river walk, see red pandas at the local zoo or colorful sea life at the aquarium, explore incredible geologic formations at Hell’s Half Acre, visit the Japanese Pavilion, the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, and the Museum of Idaho, or go to a minor league baseball game! Plus, there are also loads of parks and trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding and a wealth of dining options.
This is Idaho’s capital and the state’s most populous city. The Boise River winds through the heart of the city, with parks and green space along both sides. The Boise River Greenbelt is one of the most used parks in the city. You’ll also find the Idaho Shakespeare Festival here (which runs from June to October), the Treefort Music Fest, the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts, and the Boise Art Museum, and that’s just to name a few. Downtown Boise houses restaurants, bars, and shops that make it an unforgettable place to spend an afternoon or evening. Plus, you can enjoy a football game, the aquarium, an antique wonderland, golf, or a whitewater, hiking, or biking adventure nearby.
It’s hard to count all the wonders and attractions of Idaho’s many cities. All of them lie close to outdoor wonders, but they also offer unique experiences of their own. To prepare for your adventures, grab some PNW Journey gear and garb.
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