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Top Idaho Road Trip Destinations – the Gem State Expedition

Idaho's most scenic road trip itinerary

At some point in time, the urge to just go wild, the desire to experience the thrill of adventure in a different spectacular getaway destination pops up in our heads. And with the age of the internet, it isn’t easy to keep that burning desire under control with your buddies posting their sleek fun-filled getaway photos online. We have just the right cure for that obsession; taking an Idaho road trip! So check out our sampling of best Idaho road trip destinations and have a time of your life!

Idaho doesn’t sound like an obvious destination for road tripping, but when you picture the wild rivers, scenic byways, expansive national parks, and dramatic mountains, surely, there isn’t any better place to go! 

We’ve sampled some of the best destinations you wouldn’t want to miss out on your Idaho road itinerary! Check them out as you plan for that remarkable road trip of your life! Further, if you want to look at some pocket-friendly activities then explore our dedicated sampling of affordable things to do in Idaho.

Want to quickly unearth all the hidden gems of the Gem State? Check out the slides below:

Bonneville and Kirkham Hot Springs – Say Goodbye To All Your Worries

Bonneville and Kirkham Hot Springs  - Idaho's Top Destination

It’s summer, and the weather is getting pretty hot! But that’s no excuse for not visiting these spectacular hot springs. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the terrible idea of popping out of a hot spring and getting into warmer clothes. 

You’d want to visit these hot springs during summer because that’s when the camping grounds are open. Each of these hot springs is amazing; but if trying to pick one, Kirkham offers a magnificent view at Payette River as well as the hot springs, and it’s often more popular. On the other hand, Bonneville is a little bit secluded and more hidden and features a bathtub that can be filled with water from the hot spring and also a small wooden shed to shield you from the summer heat. 

They are both equally primitive, based in Boise National Park, though they have amenities like bathrooms. You can camp at the campsites at a cost of $15. If just visiting for a day, it’s going to cost $5, so don’t forget to carry some cash with you! 

Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area -Deepest One In the US

This is the country’s deepest canyon, which goes up to 7,993 feet deep to the floor of the valley if standing at the highest peak. Hell’s Canyon spans the Idaho-Oregon border length adjacent to Seven Devils Mountain Range. 

While there, you shouldn’t forget to take a jet boat tour or a float trip between the gigantic slabs of black and green basalt walls. 

Bruneau Dunes State Park in Boise – 4800 Acres Of Adventure

Bruneau Dunes State Park in Boise - Idaho's best and unique

On arrival, you might probably think you’re in Dubai or Africa and not typical Idaho. The park rests on a 4,800-acre land and also serves as a geological preservation area, and home to North America’s tallest freestanding dunes. 

You’ll come across humongous dunes resting next to lakes, creating a somewhat dramatic scenic sight. Stories have it that these huge dunes were formed during the last era of the Ice Age, over 15,000 years ago. Their formation was due to the inundation of some sections of eastern Washington and southern Idaho by the Bonneville Flood. 

Today, the dunes stand majestically and serve as one of the most popular attractions for visitors and the locals alike. There are plenty of activities here that keep visitors coming, such as stargazing, fishing, flying kites, and surfing down the dunes. The park’s entry fee is just $5. 

Stanley Town – Spectacular View & Beautiful Sunset

If you’re fond of small towns with classic settings, simple lifestyle, and charming people, you’re definitely going to love this little American West town. It harbors a very small population, around 60,000, and gives you a feeling like visiting an Alps village. That’s right! When Sawtooth Mountains’ peaks are snow-covered, they could compete with the Alps. 

These mountain ranges have a spectacular view, and Stanley town being surrounded by mountains, becomes the flawless vantage point to view the sunset. 

The town also has got lots of fun activities to do. During winter, you can enjoy snowmobiling alongside the locals, and in summer go fly fishing. You also get to choose from other activities such as mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and more. 

Ketchum and Sun Valley – Spectacular Mountain Views

Ketchum and Sun Valley - Idaho' Unique Adventures

If you were on the Stanley town road trip, driving south for an hour and a half will get you to Sun Valley. This is a great road trip that you might want to combine with the Stanley road trip. You’ll enjoy this beautiful drive, but be careful not to hit a deer along the road! 

On the way, you’ll come across Galena where you can do some fun-filled hiking during summer or snowshoe if traveling in winter. There is Galena Lodge also based here with a great restaurant to grab a meal. It’s usually not opened throughout the year, so be sure to check out their website before traveling. 

Hotel Ketchum presents a perfect outdoor space for chilling out. Book one of the many rooms and get to spectacular mountain views from your window. 

Sun Valley is the ultimate skier’s paradise, popular for its seamlessly groomed ski terrain, uncrowded skiing slopes, and the beautiful blue skies. But if you aren’t a skiing enthusiast or not in the mood, you’ve got plenty of activities to make this trip worthwhile. Go for the ice-skating fun at Sun Valley Lodge or take lessons if you’re a newbie. You also get to watch hockey at Sun Valley Suns in Hailey. 

Other fun activities you can indulge in include snowmobiling, enjoying live music at River Run Lodge, biking and hiking at Sun Valley Nordic Center 

Lake Coeur d’Alene – 135-Mile Long Shoreline

Lake Coeur d’Alene - 135-Mile Long Shoreline - Peaceful Idaho

This is the second largest in the Northern Idaho area and is surrounded by a beautiful mountain setting. It is believed that the lake was formed during the last era of the Ice Age when the continental ice cap lobes receded. 

Spanning a 26-mile length, Lake Coeur d’Alene has a magnificent view and boasts of a shoreline that’s 135 miles long. Being an international resort, it receives visitors from not only across the country but from other nations on the planet as well. 

You’ll also get to enjoy the scenic views of Coeur d’Alene Resort and Silverwood Theme Park, the largest theme park in the Northwest region. The park also boasts plenty of outdoor activities to keep visitors’ experience remarkable. You’ll get to enjoy the hiking trails, beaches, recreational facilities, and campsites. 

It’s a fun-filled experience that the entire family will love. don’t forget to bring with you an HD camera for those scenic views you’re going to encounter. 

The Twin Falls – Evil Knievel Jump Site

Twin Falls is a great road trip destination that you might want to include in your Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park trip as it is just an hour and a half away. This stunning city has been nicknamed the Snake River Canyon gateway and is among the best scenic parts of Idaho. 

And if you wanted a destination you could enjoy lots of fun-filled outdoor adventure, Twin Falls is the place to be. You can bike, run or hike along the spectacular Snake River Canyon Rim Trail. Pick up the rim trail from Washington Street northern terminus or get them from Shoshone Park. 

The Twin Falls - Evil Knievel Jump Site, Idaho's Most Scenic Spots

Just to understand what fun really means, simply pay the Evil Knievel jump site at Perrine Bridge a visit to watch base jumpers leaping off the edge. And if you got the guts, join in and experience the thrill like you’ve never before! Head down to Elevation 486 to watch the beautiful sunset over the scenic canyon. 

If you haven’t seen one of the tallest waterfalls yet, head to Perrine-Coulee Falls and watch the water drop at a height almost 200 feet into Snake River Canyon. Unlike most waterfalls, the strength of Perrine-Coulee increases during summer due to the irrigation water spillage into the River. There’s also a trail leading to behind the waterfall if you don’t mind getting wet a little! Grab your dinner at The Buffalo Café and spend the night at Blue Lakes Inn. 

Salmon – Fishing or Fly fishing, You Can Do It All!

This is a small rural setup located in Central Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains region. This is the place to be if you want some mind reboot to free your body and soul of the hassles of the city life. It is a small town but has some serious vibes of a small town. 

Lying along Salmon River, this town usually expands during the steelhead run held here every year. There’s also plenty of fun activities to indulge in during this trip. If you haven’t done fishing for quite some time, you can enjoy one of the best fly-fishing experiences the country has. 

Whether looking to get some fun from this sport or you’re a fishing veteran, you might want to make a stop at The Flybox, which is the only fly fishing outlet in the area offering full service. 

Then head to the Goldbug Hot Springs and see the terraced pools and stunning views of the crystal clear water. In Salmon downtown, you can head down to Stagecoach Inn, a simple but classic motel by the roadside, and enjoy the spectacular view of Salmon River from the windows of your room. Rise and Shine Espresso serves tasty breakfast and lunch, place an order at their drive-thru or make a stop for their sumptuous delicacies. 

Wrapping Up Idaho Road Trip Destinations

Idaho has got a lot more fun places and activities to plan a remarkable road trip to. Be sure to include these in your itinerary and you’ll love it. As always, bring along an HD camera, some cash, and camping gear as you never know, a trip planned for one or two days can end up becoming a week’s trip due to the magnificence that Idaho State has to offer! If you’re on the way to Idaho and have enough time, you can also explore the wonderful night out in Seattle; the neighboring state of Idaho.

Hope our sampling of Idaho road trip destinations helps you plan an amazing vacation. To have the experience of a lifetime, book your vacation rentals at RentalTrader.com. If you need any more information, fill our web form or give us a call, we’ll be happy to help you.

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