Idaho is renowned for its potatoes, and rightfully so—the state alone grows roughly one-third of America’s crop. The Gem State’s natural riches, however, extend far beyond its tubers. Sun Valley Resort in central Idaho highlights the state’s mountainous terrain with more than 40 kilometers of trails and powdery slopes that start at heights of up to 6,000 feet. The ski lifts stay in operation long into the summer, whisking visitors up to the mountains’ hiking and biking trails.
Though some of them took millions of years to form, Idaho’s natural wonders afford plenty of things to do in the here and now. Carved by glaciers, Lake Coeur d’Alene—along with the more than 55 lakes that surround it—is a popular destination for watersports enthusiasts. The lake’s gentle waters are ideal for stand-up paddle boarding, water-skiing, sailing, kayaking, and fishing. On the north shore, the Coeur d’Alene Parkway, a scenic hiking trail, stretches across more than 1,000 feet of shoreline.
It’s not all about nature in the capital city of Boise. Locals often gather in The Grove, a wide-open city square that hosts summer concerts, sunbathers, and kids who cool off by prancing in the fountain. Another draw in the warmer months, the Capital City Public Market brings together local farmers and artisans to sell their produce and crafts. The 208-foot dome of the Capitol Building casts a shadow over these proceedings. The building, which was constructed in 1905 in the Renaissance revival style, remains the nation’s only capitol heated by geothermal water.
Despite its urban trappings, Boise stays in touch with Idaho’s nature-friendly roots. The 22-mile Greenbelt winds alongside the Boise River, and lush stretches of public land throughout the city provide scenic views and crucial habitats for wildlife.