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Idaho, the Gem State, or to most known as the Potato State. What many native Idahoans like to keep secret, is that Idaho is a treasure trove for tourists looking for adventure a little off the beaten path. While Idaho may not host extravagant shopping malls or high-end resorts and restaurants, it does contain a rustic elegance that is not lost to its residents. If you are looking for an adventure filled, off the beaten path kind of vacation, look no further that these 5 must see places in Idaho!
Hells Canyon - Riggins, Idaho
Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America, 7.993 feet. A beautifully scenic area that can be fun for the whole family! With access to many recreational activities, such as fishing, jet boat tours, hunting, hiking, camping and whitewater sports (mainly rafting and kayaking), the canyon offers much to it visitors. Home to numerous fish species, diverse wildlife and miles of hiking trails, Hells Canyon is a recreational paradise! Offering tours year round and whitewater activities during the summer, this canyon is a treasure trove for Idaho natives and tourists!
Bruneau Dunes State Park - Bruneau, Idaho
This state park is home to the tallest freestanding sand dunes in North America, some reaching up to 470 feet! There are many activities to enjoy when visiting Bruneau Dunes. Families can enjoy camping and fishing on the small lake, hiking the surrounding trails or even sand boarding down the dunes! The park even boasts Idaho’s only public observatory located right in the park so visitors can search the stars and skies! Bruneau Dunes is an ideal destination for visitors looking for some great outdoor fun!
Silverwood Amusement Park - Athol, Idaho
This northern Idaho theme park is the hidden treasure of Athol. Boasting a total of 66 rides (6 roller coasters) throughout the main park and water attraction, Silverwood is the largest amusement park in the Northwest. Opened in 1988, by Gary Norton, this park started out as a small assortment of carnival rides and has grown to the size of 413 acre of fun! Not only does the park include an assortment of rides both wet and dry, it also hosts an array of shops and eateries. While the park is open mostly during the summer, it also hosts several events throughout the year, such as Scarywood, the parks Halloween attraction held at night with fun filled scare zones and mazes!
Craters of the Moon - Arco, Idaho
The massive ocean of lava flows is offers an array of hiking opportunities. The unique volcanic landscape offers treks through caverns and large craters, visitors can explore the lava field both on foot and by car. Planning to stay until after the sun goes down? No problem, this area is a designated Dark Sky Park, which means there is no shortage of space or stars! Wanting to make a winter trip? This park also offers free camping and skiing! This dormant volcano is hot spot at all times of the year!
Elkhorn (Boat Box) Hot Springs - Stanley, Idaho
Watch out for steam rising off the river because this easy to miss spot is truly a treasure. Set slightly away from the highway of lower Stanley, this soaking area is great for a quick stop to relax after a long day hiking or camping. The spring runs out of steaming hot pipes into an old mining cauldron, set right off the Salmon River. Making use of the bucket near the tub, visitors can adjust the pool to the perfect temperature, before sinking in and enjoying the beautiful river views!
Whether you are a native to Idaho or just visiting, take your time and explore some of Idaho's beautiful and hidden wonders. You won't regret the wonderful and exciting experience.