Visiting Idaho

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Family road trip to Idaho

June 2006

We're looking for family-friendly recommendations for our car trip to Idaho: great campgrounds, cabins, motels. Favorite towns, favorite national forests for adventures to take with our 5-year old. (Hells Canyon looks great, but we won't be white water rafting for a little while yet). We know nothing about the state, so would greatly appreciate any recommendations! Nancy

My family has had a summer cabin about 20 miles from the town of McCall, Idaho (about 100 miles north of Boise) and I've been going up there since I was a kid. It's wonderful!

McCall feels a little bit like Lake Tahoe, only much smaller. There are several beachfront areas around town (the water of Payette Lake is very cold!) and there is also nice hiking in Ponderosa State Park, which overlooks Payette. You can rent kayaks or canoes or jetskis in the area, or golf or go horseback riding, etc. There also are resorts with summertime activities in the area, depending on how upscale you go -- Brundage Mountain near McCall rents mountain bikes, and Tamarack Resort near Donnelly, Idaho has a lot of year-round activities too. Our house is actually on Cascade Resevoir near Donnelly. That area is a little less travelled than McCall, but has great swimming, fishing and waterskiing.

There are some some family friendly restaurants in McCall too; My Father's Place has burgers and delicious homemade milkshakes (it is right off the main highway) and the brewery in McCall (also near the main drag) has good beer and a rooftop patio with a view.

Depending on when you are there, the nearby town of Cascade has an extremely small county fair, the highlight of which is a little kid's rodeo (and a grown up rodeo on a different night). I remember being an 8-year-old kid from the CA suburbs and being amazed to see someone my own age riding a horse and roping a sheep. Those kids in their cowboy hats and tight levis jeans just seemed so competent.

There is also good whitewater rafting near Riggins (I think the river is a grade 3), though it is probably too much for a 5- year-old.

If you can't tell, I am a big Idaho cheerleader -- it is beautiful! Keep in mind that a lot of Californians have driven up the real estate prices there by buying second might get a look or two if you are driving California plates. - A fan of the gem state

Hiking vacation with 15 month old in Idaho

May 2005

My husband and I have the first week of September off and want to take a low-key, relaxing vacation with our son, who will be 15 months then. We really love hiking but don't feel ready to go camping or backpacking with our son. Can anyone recommend a place to go where there will be lots of great hiking close by? We stayed in a great lodge once in central Idaho and the hiking was phenomenal, but we also need a place that's not too expensive. We're really open to going anywhere, but would love to minimize the car time once we're there... Anyway, just wondering if anyone had a recommendation for us-- thanks in advance! Laura

There's a place in the Sawtooths called Red Fish Lake. There's a place called the Red Fish Lodge that's rustic and great. It's about 1 hr north of Sun Valley. JM