Every adventurer has a bucket list and every family has a dream vacation. The problem is, we never find the time to take that much-needed vacation. So mark your calendars for this summer! Here are five Idaho adventures you’ve heard of, but never done. Until now!

1. Explore Stanley

Let’s kick the list off with one of the most diverse and gorgeous places you’ll ever visit, Stanley. This traveler’s utopia is buried between the Sawtooth Mountains and the banks of the Salmon River, which makes for happy campers, so to speak, because outdoor adventure is no more than five minutes away no matter which direction you drive. There are outstanding campgrounds, guided whitewater rafting adventures, legendary fishing spots, hiking trails, horseback riding, and mountain biking trips all within walking distance from your hotel (or tent).

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2. Pedal the Route of the Hiawatha

What was once a railroad route winding through the northern mountains of Idaho is now a gorgeous downhill biking and walking trail that stretches more than 15 miles. Discover one of the most beautiful destinations in the Northwest on the Route of the Hiawatha, glide through ten train tunnels, coast along seven trestle bridges that stand over 230 feet high, and gaze out over rolling mountains of trees as far as the eye can see. You’ll begin your ride at Lookout Pass Ski Area where you can get mountain bike rentals, helmets and lights, and an optional return shuttle service. A word to the wise: call ahead and reserve rentals ahead of time, spots fill quickly!

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3. Tour Minnetonka Cave

Wander through a gigantic limestone cave situated high above Bear Lake. Explore this 9-room maze one half-mile underground – filled with  jaw-dropping stalactites, stalagmites, and banded travertine. Descend below the earth’s surface and take a guided tour from mid-June through Labor Day.

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4. Visit Shoshone Falls

Referred to as “The Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is a mammoth waterfall measuring 900 feet wide and 212 feet tall, which makes it taller than Niagara. It’s fed by the Snake River and is at its peak performance during the spring and early summer months. If you’re visiting with the family, make sure you explore one of the recreational facilities or head out on one of the many hiking trails. If you’re a thrill seeker passing through on the weekend, rent a paddleboard or canoe and paddle to the base of the falls. Just make sure you set some time aside during the day – the average trip takes roughly 6 hours to make it to the falls and back.

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5. Relax at Bear Lake State Park

Bear Lake State Park rests in the southeast corner of Idaho along the Utah border. This destination is also known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” because of Bear Lake’s unique turquoise waters. The lake spans 20 miles and is located near Minnetonka Cave (number 3 on our list) and the Cache National Forest. If you’re looking for the perfect summer vacation, this may be your spot. Take your pick from an endless list of activities including fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing, camping, or buidling sandcastles.

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Published on March 15, 2017