With a population of 700.000, Boise is the capital city of Idaho. It offers the most attractions per square mile in the state. But Idaho has plenty of great attractions, particularly for nature lovers.
You can choose one of the following days trips from Idaho to convince yourself about the state’s potential in 1-day escapes further out from its capital.
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15. Sunny Slope Wine Trail
The Sunny Slope Wine Trail around Caldwell is a rising wine region of Idaho. It creates the premises of a new US wine-making state and region and the first benefits are already seen by tourists and wine enthusiasts.
15 wineries are already registered in the region. If you don’t have the time to visit them, you can simply go to Caldwell and head downtown to try the wines out at various local restaurants.
14. Snake River Canyon
Snake River Canyon in Idaho’s Grand Canyon. It represents a long crevasse of tens of miles. The best way to enjoy the majestic nature of the canyon is to go rafting.
Organized Snake River Canyon tours represent the main attraction here. For a fun experience, you can gather a few friends and jump on the boat into Snake River.
13. Silver City
Silver City is one of the smallest surviving mining towns of Idaho. This place used to be the home of thousands of gold seekers but it eventually crumbled with the end of the mining in the region.
Today, there are just a few people living here, but the community can be visited with an off-road vehicle given its remote location. The place is ideal for an as one-day trip, especially if you’re curious about mining history in Idaho.
Meridian is located just 10 minutes out of Boise. The place is mostly known as an unlikely shopping destination. Small town Meridian has its own outdoor mall which is ideal given the current situation of social distancing.
There is a large food area and a designated cinema for you to stop by when you’re too tired from all of the shopping.
Nampa is one of the rising communities around Boise. It’s a designated living area for those who seek more affordable housing than Boise can offer. People come to Nampa for food and for events from outside of the town.
But you can consider the place as the ideal non-busy location for wintertime fairs. There’s a large ice rink here which can be an alternative to the busy Boise ice rinks.
10. St Anthony Sand Dunes
Camping and dirt bike riding is ideal in a place like St. Anthony’s Sand Dunes. For a day trip, you need to bring your own ATV or dirt bike to cover the vast area of the dunes.
It’s estimated the dunes cover an area of 10.600 acres or more. This vast sand land is the ideal location for those hiking as well. Alternatively, you can consider the place as a fishing destination.
9. Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway
Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway is located at the natural frontier between Idaho and Oregon.
This place is based on highly impressive basalt rocks and it provides the trekking opportunity you might be thinking about when planning a trip to Idaho.
There are no amenities such as restaurants or gas stations around so you should take plenty of supplies for the day with you.
8. Garden Valley
The area of Garden Valley is easily accessible via State Highway 17. It can be the place to start looking for wildlife such as birds and bears. Eagles are spotted here frequently.
If it isn’t your lucky day you can still have a good time by heading to the nearby Terrace Lakes Golf Course for a bit of sporting action.
Garden Valley is also known as one of the prime Idaho locations for retirement. People come here to either build a second home or to retire and get away from busy city living.
As a tourist, you can visit this relaxing area by dirt bike. Single-track dirt bike trails are some of the best in Garden Valley.
You will ride up and down mountains, into the forest, or on clear summits, so you will have a changing scenery that ensures you won’t get bored of riding here even if this is all you do for the rest of the day.
Not all natural attractions in Idaho are outside city limits. For example, you can consider the Indian Creek of Caldwell, a natural attraction situated in the middle of the city. The location is ideal for long walks but there are many river sports competitions held here through the year.
The Indian Creek Plaza is one of the leading attractions for when you want to find an alternative day trip activity during the winter months. This is the ideal place for all of the skating fans of all ages or skill levels with only a modest entrée fee.
6. Jump Creek Falls Trail
The Jump Creek Falls Trail leads to the most spectacular waterfall in the area. This is easily one of the top attractions for a single day coming out of Boise. It normally takes about an hour to drive to the trail.
Once there, you can find a designated parking spot and proceed along with the trial. It’s here that you will start to truly wonder about the amazing aspects of nature as the cliffs here are hundreds of feet high.
The main trail is rather narrow and you won’t be able to use an e-bike or a buggy on it. But you can consider the trail for hiking as you eventually end up at one of the tallest waterfalls in Idaho.
A good tip when coming to this waterfall is to be here early. You might think that it’s a bit of an unusual spot but the truth is the trail is packed with tourists regardless of the season. At the same time, this might just be one of the busiest one-day trips from Boise in the state.
5. Twin Falls
Twin Falls is one of the main destinations that offer plenty of excellent natural and man-made attractions, mainly outdoors. Shoshone Falls is the main attraction here.
Reaching a maximum height of 200 feet, these falls create a unique picture that can be viewed properly from a designated viewing spot that amazes almost all of those who visit it.
Rock Creek is another interesting destination here. You can consider this park if you like a good story. Nobody would believe this was an old junkyard. But the park offers plenty of relaxation options with designated picnic areas.
The old junkyard image is almost impossible to recreate here today. Rock Creek is also home to an excellent golf course. Rather small, this golf course might still offer a pleasant activity for couples visiting the park.
4. Kirkham Hot Springs
Kirkham Hot Springs is located just outside Lowman. These hot springs offer the ideal natural space to take a hot relaxing bath with plenty of space for all of your friends or family members.
The hot springs are located at a height of around 4.000 feet which means weather influences the temperature of the geothermal water. A simple walk up and down the hot springs should come up with a relaxing place where the water temperature is just right.
The campground at Kirkham Hot Springs is also usually very busy. Those coming here can also take a shower after dipping into the hot springs, which is always a good addition, especially since you can get sweaty. It’s not even too complicate to sweat around the hot springs as the inviting nearby trail is often also hiked by those coming for the hot springs.
The benefits of hot springs are already proven, even if there’s no clear scientific evidence of their wonders on the body. What we know so far is that hot springs help us relax. This is why the day trip to Kirkham Hot Springs is ideal for all of those who want to unwind and relax from the stress of jobs or daily chores.
3. Bruneau Sand Dunes
Bruneau Sand Dunes are the home to the tallest sand dune in North America. The tallest sand dune here reaches 400 feet and it covers the tallest peak in quartz sand entirely. This dune is spectacular to visit on its own.
However, you can consider the Bruneau Sand Dunes for sand skiing. This is the only place in the state where you can sand sky and the experience can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get into skiing even when there’s no snow around.
All the gear you need can be rented on the spot which means you don’t need to carry any skies with you from Boise.
A hiking trail has also been created here. It can be educational at times and coming here with the kids is a must as a result. There are all types of information panels posted alongside the trial here which makes it the ideal location to learn about how sand dunes were created.
Sand dunes weren’t always present in this region of the state. To some, it might even seem highly unlikely to have to deal with the dunes in the middle of Idaho. But the weather and reduced humidity at ground level created this amazing attraction adults now use for skiing.
2. Idaho City
Idaho City might be small today, but it used to have a significant role in the mining days. In the 1860s, the place was in its full glory. It had more than 7.000 inhabitants coming in from all over the North to work in the mining industries. Hundreds of businesses were open those days in Idaho City. But the city slowly started to get depopulated to a mere few hundreds of residents.
As a tourist, you can learn more about Idaho City by booking a walking tour. This can be ideal if you plan to learn everything from the locals. A walking tour also supports the local communities where jobs are almost impossible to find or to create.
Gold Mine & Grill Saloon is the only place where you can stop for a meal and a drink. There are a few outdoor activities to get into if you don’t fancy sitting at a bar all day long. Sports vehicle rentals are popular in Idaho City and you can rent an ATV to venture off and explore the surroundings of this once bustling mining town.
1. Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon is the most unusual and the most popular day trip from Boise. People come here from all over the country to see what is essentially a walking surface that makes you feel weightless similar to walking on the moon.
Old volcanic activity created the area that is now called Craters of the Moon. Old lava is seen here today and you can walk on it yourself to see how it feels. The entire park or natural reserve covers an area of thousands of acres and it’s almost impossible for someone to discover completely. However, designated hiking trails make discovering this reserve much easier.
The main requirement for this day trip is to have good shoes as lava can feel weightless, but its hardened black look can certainly dirty your shoes considerably. Otherwise, this reserve also enjoys guided tours which can be ideal when visiting in groups.
One of the hidden secrets of Craters of the Moon is its perfect location for astrophotography. Since there’s no industrial activity for miles around, the sky is completely clear here during the night. Photographers come here to take the perfect short of various constellations.
If you arrive here before sunrise, you might also see the stars from a new angle and a better perspective, much different from what you can expect to see from Boise or other large cities covered in smog.