Idaho is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. There are very few other parts of the world that can match the natural splendor that cascades across the mountains and meadows of the gem of the midwestern United States. Idaho has just above every kind of terrain you can imagine. High and low. Far and wide. Wet and dry. You name it, Idaho has it. Even sand dunes. The fact that you can find deserts in the state that is also known to have the most rivers of any state makes it truly unique. Of course, it is also a very big state, which means it can be hard to pack everything into a single lifetime, let alone a single visit. With that in mind, I want to tell you about a few of the most important spots that you absolutely have to take the time to check out. There are quite a few of them, and we definitely will not cover them all here, but it is a good start if you have not checked out much of Idaho and want to discover more. If you live in the in the state and the Treasure Valley itself, you might be aware of most of what there is to see, but maybe not, and if you are just planning a visit, this guide might be very helpful.
One of the easiest places for anyone to get to from the Treasure Valley is the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Morley Nelson was a really big activist in the world of birds of prey, and did a lot to preserve different raptor species from extinction and take care of birds like the peregrine falcon and the bald eagle. For that, he got a massive part of Idaho named after him. There is plenty to do and check out in the conservation area itself, but it might be best to start at what is basically its mouthpiece, the World Center for Birds of Prey. The center is just a short drive out of Boise and is never far from anywhere in the Treasure Valley, and you can check out all kinds of different exotic bird species being cared for and breed so that they can help bolster their counterparts in Idaho and other parts of the world. You can learn a lot about birds of prey here and be a part of the effort to save them.
One of the defining features of Idaho is that Snake River, which slithers its way across a large part of the state. The Snake is not unique to Idaho, but it is very nearly at that point. There are a million different points across the length of the river that will absolutely take your breath away and they are complimented by the same number of spots where you can have a lot of fun at the same time. For example, Shoshone Fall, near Twin Falls, is one of the biggest waterfalls you can find in the Midwest, and once you have had your fill of falling water and mini rainbows, you can head to the calmer parts of the river for some kayaking or canoeing or just swimming. You cannot do this at every point of the river, and a lot of the Snake is hard to get to, but much of the river is up to whatever you want to do with it (Within reason and as long as you are being environmentally friendly). If you take the time to see a lot of the Snake, you are also going to discover a lot of the rest of Idaho as well.
If you like outdoor sports, then one of your first stops after spending some time in the Treasure Valley is to head up to McCall. There is a lot to do in the city, but the reason it attracts so much attention is that it is on of the premier spots in Idaho for skiing. If white powder is your game (Not the addictive kind that gets you in trouble with the law), McCall is the place to be. You can spend your daylight hours pizzaing and french frying the hilltops, strafing down slope after slope, and when night falls and it is too cold and dark to spend more time in the snow, the city and nearby resorts make for the ideal spot to warm up and get a great bite to eat. You can spend a week or more in McCall and not run out of fun things to do.
Idaho has a lot of historical significance as well. A lot happened in the state that shaped the creation and path of the states around it and to the west. The Oregon Trail wound through Idaho for quite a distance, bringing settlers west to make a new life for themselves or to set up new opportunities for American interests. The Oregon Trail was in no way just a dirt path on the road to better things. The western United States was defined by much of what happened on the trail, and the kind of people it took to make the journey, whether they had the resources to travel in comfort and style or the hardiness to make it work without much of anything. You can visit much of the trail and see what happened in the past and how it has changed the future.
Far to the north of the state (Which is very far indeed), it is not just wildlands. Much of the state’s population lives in a belt across the south of the state, but there is still plenty of civilization in Coeur d’Alene and all over the north of Idaho. Coeur d’Alene opens up a whole new world of opportunities for things to do, but Lake Coeur d’Alene might be the place where you can have the most fun and see the most beautiful sights. Grab a boat, cast out a fishing line or just hop in for a swim and you can have a whale of a time.