Kid-friendly Idaho: 8 Ideas for the Adventurous Family
The ultimate family vacation is waiting for you in Idaho
Yes, Idaho. You’ll be blown away by all of the adventures that lie ahead for you and your crew in this underrated family vacation spot, where you can climb record-breaking sand dunes, explore underground lava worlds, and raft some of the most pristine rivers in the country (just to name a few). Do we have your attention? Here are eight Idaho family vacation ideas that we think will excite the whole clan.
1) Bike the Hiawatha Trail. It was one of the most scenic railways in the country, and now it’s a bike trail like no other. Rent bikes for the whole family and grab a trail pass from Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area. Then, ride the exhilarating 15-mile, relatively flat trail through 10 covered tunnels and seven canyon-spanning trestles in the Bitterroot Mountains. Headlamps are required!
2) Climb a Sand Mountain. Rising 470 feet high, Bruneau Dunes State Park is home to the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America. And you can climb it too! Besides massive amounts of sand, the park is also home to Bruneau Dunes Observatory. Stay the night and take advantage of the observatory’s late night star gazing program.
3) Stay at a Dude Ranch. Have an authentic western vacation, filled with plenty of adventure, at Idaho’s Red Horse Mountain Ranch. Kids can learn how to kayak, shoot a bow and arrow, ride a horse, or even go climbing as part of the ranch’s Kids Program. You can join in on the fun or head out for a big-kid adventure.
4) Conquer the rapids. Idaho’s Lower Salmon River is the perfect river for families who want fun Class III whitewater thrills with huge sandy beaches for camping under the stars. OARS offers trips throughout the summer.
5) Hike a mountain. Well, kind of. Get all of the glory of being at the top of 9,159 foot Bald Mountain in Sun Valley by taking the chair lift to the top. Take in the panoramic view of some of Idaho’s tallest peaks, and then hike the 4.5-mile trail down to the bottom.
6) Visit the Moon. You’ll feel like you’ve landed on the moon when you visit Craters of the Moon National Monument, a one-of-a-kind volcanic masterpiece. The 60 distinct lava flows found here range in age from 15,000 to 2,000 years. Want to go below ground? Make sure to grab a cave permit before heading underground.
7) Explore the Underworld. Accessible only from May to early September, Shoshone Ice Caves are home to a 1,000-foot long lava tube with ice ranging in depth from 8 to 30 feet in some places. You’ll want to dress warm if you choose to hike through.
8) Try to break a record. At 65 miles long and 1,150 feet deep in some places, Lake Pend Oreille makes the list of top 10 biggest lakes in the U.S. This picturesque glacial gem, which is surrounded by mountains and rivals Lake Tahoe in beauty, is also home to the 37-pound state record Kamloops rainbow trout caught in 1947. Imagine the size of the other fish in there! Maybe you can break the record?