This author is a paid content writer for Idaho Tourism.

The end of summer is quickly approaching, which means a new school year is just around the corner. It seems every year that summer vacation gets shorter and shorter, and we struggle to find the time to check everything off the list that we wanted to do. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! You still have time left to make this summer a memorable one.

Before your kids head back to school, take them on one last summer adventure – these trips are sure to create lasting memories that you’ll look back on for years to come. Here are three destinations you should see before school is back in session!

1. Swim at Bear Lake State Park

A picture of Bear Lake.
A sweeping view of Bear Lake’s famous turquoise water. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Bear Lake State Park lies in the southeast corner of Idaho along the shores of Bear Lake. The lake’s turquoise blue water is well known amongst travelers in the Northwest; so much so that it’s often referred to as the “Caribbean of the Rockies.”

A family swimming in the cool waters of Bear Lake.
Swimming in the cool waters of Bear Lake. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

The lake is 20 miles long and sits near Minnetonka Cave and the Cache National Forest. The activities here are seemingly endless – go fishing and swimming, lay on the beach, go for a boat ride, sail, scuba dive, water ski, and pitch a tent at one of the lakeside campgrounds. There are a hundred things you can do near or on the water. Just remember to bring your camera!

To view, Bear Lake’s campground details click here.

2. Explore Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

You don’t have to travel to Hawaii to walk on molten rock from an ancient volcano. All you have to do is take a short drive two hours north of Twin Falls to Craters of the Moon. There are a select number of places in the world where you can explore underground lava tubes and see where molten lava once flowed for miles on end, and Craters of the Moon is one of them.

A family walking on a trail at Craters of the Moon.
Exploring Craters of the Moon trails. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

This otherworldly landscape in south central Idaho is a testament to the power of Mother Nature. You’ll be transported to another world while exploring this vast landscape – above the surface, vibrant light and expansive views await, while down below, the lava tubes offer hikers a unique view into the inner workings of the lava flows.

A trailhead sign at Craters of the Moon
Journey through Craters of the Moon. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Grab your map at the trailheads or journey over to the Visitor Center. The caves found along the Cave Trail are Dewdrop, Indian Tunnel, Boy Scout, and the Beauty Caves. For more information on your trip to Craters of the Moon click here.

3. Hike Fishhook Creek Trail Near Stanley

A group of friends hiking along Fishhook Creek Trail near Redfish Lake.
Hiking along Fishhook Creek Trail near Redfish Lake. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

One of the best ways to take advantage of a beautiful day and get some exercise with your kids is to go on a hike. Central Idaho boasts countless numbers of trails and the Stanley, Redfish Lake area is one of the most accessible and jaw-droppingly gorgeous areas to explore. One of my personal favorites is the Fishhook Creek Trail that winds through the expansive wilderness near Redfish Lake.

A group of friends hiking along Fishhook Creek Trail near Redfish Lake.
Traversing through the meadows along Fishhook Creek Trail near Redfish Lake. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

The trail begins at the Redfish Lake Trailhead and is accessible for all ages and skill levels. You’ll trek through stunning grassland surrounding Fishhook Creek and wide-open meadows. The mountain views on this trail are like none other – typically, you have to hike remote expert trails to get outstanding views such as these, but here, you’ll meander through lush vegetation, around small ponds, and next to many beaver lodges that fill the area.

A group of friends hiking along Fishhook Creek Trail near Redfish Lake.
Soaking in the views along Fishhook Creek Trail near Redfish Lake. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

This spot is perfect for a family photo as you’ll see endless fields of wildflowers, various wildlife, and marvelous views of the towering Horstmann Peak. To find other trails near Redfish Lake click here.

For more adventures to do before school starts, check out these five Idaho destinations that are within a day’s drive.

Tyler Schnur

Published on August 12, 2016