I think it’s funny when I’m somewhere else in the country and I tell someone that I go to Boise State and they respond with something like, “Idaho? What is there to even do in Idaho?” And it’s only funny because after living here for three years, I’m still often overwhelmed by how much there is to do. If Boise’s your home base as well, there’s tons of things you can see, do, and explore all within a day’s drive from home. Keep reading for 5 ½ super fun day trips you can start from here in Boise.
1) Bruneau Dunes State Park
In southern Idaho, you can expect to see some deserts. But sand dunes? You bet. Bruneau Dunes State Park is only about a two hour drive from campus and this otherworldly spot is a great place to picnic, walk, stargaze, and drive around the hundreds of acres of sandy hills. Not to mention it’s a great place for an Instagram photo shoot!
Need a little PNW-oasis? McCall’s got you covered! Just less than a two-and-a-half hour drive from Boise, this perfect lakeside town offers lots to do. From lounging, sunbathing, and swimming on the beaches of Payette Lake, to restaurant hopping downtown, to strolling through the farmer’s market (Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. -1 p.m., FYI), it’s hard to be bored during a visit to McCall.
3) Bogus Basin
A little closer to home and up the foothills is Bogus Basin. While you and your friends may be regulars during ski and snowboard season, there is still much to do up there during the summertime. Whether it be riding the only mountain coaster in the state of Idaho, hiking, trail running, or mountain biking, a summer Bogus excursion can give you the adrenaline rush you’re craving!
4) Boise National Forest
Up into the mountains, you’ll find Boise National Forest. These thousands of acres of trees, lakes, rivers, and meadows offer tons of recreational activities for you to try. From swimming and hiking, paddle-boarding and kayaking, and everything in between, Boise National Forest offers heaps of outdoor fun. Be sure to check out the Outdoor Program’s rental center if you need any gear before setting off on your adventure!
5) Sun Valley & Ketchum
You may have to prepare for an earlier start time if you plan to trek up to Sun Valley and Ketchum, but you definitely won’t be disappointed. These world-renowned pair of ski resort towns offer tons of great shopping, restaurants, biking (mountain and street), and even some great hot springs (my favorite is Guyer Springs, in case you were wondering). If you haven’t made the journey up there yet, be sure to add it to your calendar.
5 ½) The Treasure Valley
Who says you can’t make a day trip out of somewhere closer to home? Perhaps, even creating a fun day by staying home. Lucky for you, there’s always something happening in the city of Boise and the Treasure Valley. You could just spend some time biking around, or taking some inspiration from where other Broncos are hanging out this summer. You could even explore a town or two that you haven’t seen much of before, like Meridian, Nampa, or Kuna.
Point being, anyone who’s told you, “There’s nothing to do in Idaho,” must have never spent much time here, nor witnessed how special, beautiful, and exciting the state we call home is!