We’re all ready to stretch our legs, have a change of scenery and plan that first weekend getaway or week-long vacation. Idaho has reached its fourth and final stage of reopening, allowing all businesses to operate with enhanced cleanliness and physical distancing protocols in place. However, the protocols and procedures to keep everyone safe here in Idaho might be different from your hometown. Here is a checklist of things to consider when planning a trip to Idaho.

Smiling young boy wearing tan shorts and green plaid short sleeve shirt touches a giant tortoise.
Encounter with a giant tortoise at Idaho Falls Zoo. Photo credit: Idaho Tourism.

Before You Travel

  • Review the COVID-19 Travel Information on VisitIdaho.org.
  • Check with your destination for any travel restrictions or limitations that might be in place. Ask about open lodging, restaurants, and amenities – such as grocery stores or gas stations – in the area.
  • Review resources to help you Recreate Responsibly on Idaho’s public lands. Contact them to inquire about weather, access, available services and amenities (water, restroom facilities, etc.) at your preferred location.
  • Confirm lodging/camping arrangements before travel. Properties may limit the number of rooms available to account for physical distancing and might not be able to accommodate walk-ins.
  • Determine the best way to purchase attraction passes or reserve activities. Buying online or prepaying by phone might be preferred to avoid person to person contact at the location.
  • Be aware that the number of visitors allowed into attractions could be reduced or require a reserved entrance time.
  • Ask about cancellation and refund policies at businesses you plan to visit.
  • Consider outings on a weekday to avoid crowds. Have a Plan B location/activity in mind in case of crowding.
  • Contact any businesses or attractions you plan to visit to confirm procedures in place for health safety and physical distancing (face coverings, temperature checks, food service, etc.).
  • Consider bringing some food, drinks and personal items to preserve supplies and limit exposure in communities. Some stores may not be open.
  • Pack cloth face coverings for everyone in your party. Face coverings are required in some businesses and encouraged where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Public restrooms in parks, rest areas or gas stations may not be open. Plan for the inevitable and take advantage of restrooms when available, especially when traveling with young kids.
Three children play around their campsite, with tall trees and a sage green colored tent, and white pick up truck in the background.
Camping fun at Ponderosa State Park. Photo credit: Idaho Tourism.

At Your Destination

  • Accept, respect, and kindly follow safety precautions. Your health and safety and the health and safety of employees are top priority.
  • Politely adhere to any cleanliness and physical distancing guidelines and allow others their space.
  • Plan for patience as longer wait times or delays could occur at some locations.
  • Take water when you head out to explore. Some drinking fountains might not be turned on.
  • Travelers at greater risk of getting sick, or those with people at greater risk of getting sick in the household are encouraged to use extra precautions.
Recreate Responsibly Graphic

Enjoy the Outdoors

  • Recreate with people in your household. Give others plenty of space in parks, on trails and in campgrounds.
  • Bring enough gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to properly sanitize your vehicle, personal items, and yourselves.
  • Bring potable water. Some recreation sites may not have water turned on.
  • Pack out everything you pack in during hiking, camping and any backcountry experiences following the Leave No Trace principles. Keep a garbage bag in your car as some trailheads or locations may not have full maintenance in place.
  • Be prepared for bathroom breaks without facilities. Bathrooms at some parks and trailheads may not be open. Bring toilet paper and a plastic bag that seals to dispose of later.
  • Know your limits – consider postponing first-time or challenging activities to avoid the necessity of calling search and rescue or emergency responders.
Two women practicing yoga on stand-up paddleboards on smooth river with blue skies, canyon walls and an arched span bridge in the distance.
SUP yoga on the Snake River. Photo credit: Idaho Tourism.

To Good Health

Whether your travels take you to urban attractions, horseback rides in the mountains, thrilling raft trips or relaxing resorts, a bit of extra research and planning will give you the best opportunity for a hassle-free, fun-filled visit. We’ll see you soon in Idaho!

Visit Idaho

Published on June 16, 2020