Travel Bucket List: Idaho

coeur d'alene

Like thousands of British families, we love to travel to the USA – but does Idaho make your US travel bucket list?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be a bit, “Ida-who, now?” but after spending the day with Visit Idaho recently, I’m more than a bit sold.

Basically, Idaho has more wilderness than pretty much anywhere else in the US that isn’t primarily covered with ice. It’s warm and dry in the summer, and a relatively short onward flight, or drive, from LA or any other West Coast US airport.

Our summer plans this year were entirely based on a conversation where Flea and I said we wanted to go somewhere with lots of lakes and rivers, plenty of wild woods and cabins, with the odd cool city to explore. Basically, we could have booked Idaho. Certainly, here are five reasons why Idaho is top of our list for 2016 summer road trip destinations:

Coeur D’Alene 

Flea is happy with anything that involves water, and the Northern tip of Idaho is filled with lakes, crystal clear, formed from glaciers.

coeur d'alene

I’m especially appealed by Coeur D’Alene, a resort town with luxury hotels and spas (hurrah!) plus 135 miles of shoreline where you can canoe, kayak, hike, paddle board and pretty much anything else you can imagine involving floating.

Oh, and it’s beautiful.

Salmon River

Towards the Central part of Northern Idaho, you’ll find the Salmon River – perfect for adrenaline junkies like my daughter. I never realised that Idaho has more miles of white water river than anywhere else in the US, and that makes it an amazing place to go white water rafting.

salmon river camping

Take a trip along the Salmon River from one to eight days, camping on river-side beaches, or in campsites tucked into glades of Ponderosa pines, cooking dinner over a campfire and pretending to be a cowboy. Or something. I think you should channel your inner cowboy at least once before you’re old enough to know better.

Shoshone Falls

Niagara isn’t actually the tallest waterfalls in America, did you know that?

shoshone falls

Shoshone Falls in Idaho, at 212 feet, is higher than its famous Northern neighbour, and quite a bit less crowded.

shoshone falls idaho

At Shoshone, you can hike and ride, and there are countless trails to explore. This part of Idaho is great for climbing and also has the Sawtooth Scenic Byway, which will take you through some awesome country to end up in Sun Valley. Who wouldn’t want to road trip through these mountains?

sawtooth mountains

Sun Valley

Best known as a swanky ski resort, Sun Valley is THE place to get out and about – with horse riding, zip lining (Flea’s favourite), mountain biking, ATV and dirt bike riding and countless other outdoor activities.

sun valley idaho

It’s also apparently the single BEST place in the USA to go white water rafting, according to Lonely Planet. Sun Valley also had a vibrant arts scene, with festivals, concerts and symphonies through the season.

Oh, and Potatoes.

Idaho is famous for ’em. There’s a famous giant potato, and a museum dedicated to potatoes. However, we have opted to limit ourselves to recreating this recipe, which was served to us by the Visit Idaho team – potato doughnuts.

By the way, this recipe TOTALLY works – it makes for a slightly heavier doughnut, with something brownie-like about the texture, and a bit less sweet than a regular doughnut. Definitely worth trying at least once!

potato donuts

Idaho Potato Donuts Recipe

Fancy having a go at your own potato donuts? Here’s a recipe, courtesy of the Idaho Potato Commission.


  • 2-3 medium potatoes
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3.5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  1. Boil and mash your potatoes, then stir in the sugar and orange zest.
  2. Steep the milk with cloves and nutmeg over a low heat, then strain and reserve the liquid.
  3. Whisk eggs and add the steeped milk. Pour over the potatoes, and mix together. Add the remaining dry ingredients, then leave to stand for one hour.
  4. Turn out your dough and roll to 1/3 inch thickness, cut out donut shapes and fry in 360°F oil for 4 minutes, turning once.
  5. Drain on kitchen paper and serve. Dust or glaze with sugar if desired.


8 thoughts on “Travel Bucket List: Idaho”

    1. I know – for families that love the outdoor thing, Idaho has mountains, rivers, lakes – even a desert. It’s pretty spectacular.

  1. My family live in Idaho but when I tell people that they give me a blank stare! It’s a great place. My cousins go waterskiing and boat racing in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. My uncles town also still has a sheriff which I think is super cool! Anyway I could go on for ages… Thanks for the post it really made me smile

  2. I’ve always been interested in Ihado but never realised exactly how beautiful it is! Definitely on my bucket list now.

  3. Yep, I knew nothing about Idaho and it definitely wouldn’t have been on my travel must list! But it looks beautiful and a great place to visit. Maybe one day!

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