Idaho Family Road Trip, Fun and Unique Stops

We’ll take you to some great places, both popular and unique on this Idaho road trip. To start at the beginning, you can make this a Seattle to Idaho road trip by starting with Part 1 and Part 2 where the family can discover fun things to do in Washington and Oregon. During this segment of the Idaho Road Trip, you’ll find places both fun and unique (like a potato museum!) To continue beyond Idaho, head to the next Part 4 through Montana, and then to finish the loop back to Seattle!

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Idaho

This is Part 3 of our Ultimate Seattle Round-Trip Family Road Trip that involves a road trip through Idaho. If you’re wondering how to take a kid-friendly road trip in Idaho without a long drive, you’ve come to the right place! Make sure to see Part 1 and 2. This part will take you through fun places to see in Idaho. The towns to experience with the family are Nampa, Boise, Twin Falls, Sun Valley, and Idaho Falls.

family road trip through Idaho pin

What to see in Nampa – Idaho Road Trip with kids

Warhawk Air Museum

John Paul and his wife Sue began restoring old planes early in their lives. They even dug one up from a field in Canada and shipped it to their home in California! Eventually, they moved to Boise, Idaho and began restoring a WWII plane, to which many people came to watch. People started leaving WWII items, and the collection is now all part of the Warhawk Air Museum, now in Nampa. This makes a fun stop during an Idaho road trip for kids who have a fascination with planes, or history!

Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge

Deer Flat Reservoir was created for early settlers who needed irrigation for their land. Their land was on desert ground, which had great soil, but no water. In 1909, the 9,000 acre lake was named the Deerflat Wildlife Refuge by President Roosevelt, knowing the water would attract all sorts of wildlife in the dry area.

Take the kids to the observation deck to watch the wildlife, walk around the trails, or dip your feet in the water. Free.

Visit the Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge Website for more info.

boy looking out binoculars over a lake
Photo provided by Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge
deer flat wildlife refuge
Photo provided by Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

Fun Things to do in Boise – Idaho Road Trip with kids

The largest city in Idaho makes for a great place to stop and spend a couple days during your Idaho road trip. Boise boasts enough to do and places to eat like a city, but enough nature to explore to forget you are in a city. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Deer_Flat/

Shakespeare Festival

(paused for 2020). This place seems amazing. Walk into a large, outdoor amphitheater with your own food and drinks, or stop of the Shakespeare Café on your way to your seat. Note: for children under 6 can only attend “Family Night” performances. Shows are May-September. The venue also hosts a mini-concert series. https://idahoshakespeare.org/

Boise River Greenbelt

Hop on the greenbelt to experience all the beauty of Boise! The kids will love this easy trail and watching the paddle boards, tubes floating, surfing, and beautiful scenery as you walk along the river. Rent some bikes and get on-and-off the trail whenever you need to make a stop!

Boise river greenbelt, man on bicycle
Boise River Greenbelt: Esther Simplot Park grand opening and dedication on November 2, 2016. (Otto Kitsinger for City of Boise)

Barber Park

Walk around and enjoy the open space, or rent a raft for the family and float down the Boise River for a few hours! The cold water will bring some relief on a hot Boise day. Just remember some $$ to grab a shuttle back to your car 🙂

Scavenger Hunt

For a fun, affordable way to bond with the whole family and experience the city, try a scavenger hunt! Find great libraries, theaters, and museums as you explore the historic part of Boise.

Bruneau Sand Dunes

Bruneau Sand Dunes are fun, picturesque sand dunes in Idaho. This is about an hour south of Boise. Stop here on your way out of town to the next stop (about a half-hour off the highway). Grab some lunch to-go in Mountain Home (the city right off the highway) and park at the end of the road at the sand dunes. Park, use the restroom, and enjoy the little beach while you’re there. Then move on to sledding down the dune from a sand board rental at the visitor’s center (only available if temperature is under 80 degrees). Remember to bring water, and bring extra if its a hot day!

If you’re here in the summer, take advantage of the star-gazing on Observatory Nights (late March to early October, except long holiday weekends).

top of a sand dune
Bruneau Sand Dunes, Image Credit Sdnet01

Twin Falls – Idaho Road Trip with kids

We just have one quick thing to do in Twin Falls, but it’s a must!

Shoshone Falls

The most popular site to see is Shoshone falls. Both adults and kids will have fun seeing this tall (taller than Niagara!) waterfall splash to the bottom. The later summer/fall you go, the more water levels start to decrease. If you happen to be there in spring, you’ll see quite a show!

  • $5 entrance fee per car
  • Park and walk just a few feet to the viewing area. (Walk up Canyon Rim Trail for more viewing areas though.)
twin fall waterfalls
Photo by Ryan Fish on Unsplash

Sun ValleyIdaho Road Trip with kids

Sun Valley is a popular vacation spot, and has fun things to do for kids and adults alike! Once you are here, enjoy the free shuttles around town.

Baker Lake

Bring a picnic lunch and hike this easy, 1-1/2 hour round-trip trail to Baker Lake. The hike is filled with greenery and wildflowers galore!

Sun Valley Stables

Enjoy a nice, 1-hour horseback ride through the area. Sun Valley Stables welcomes beginners to experienced riders!

Sun Valley Outdoor Ice Rink

One of the few year-round, outdoor ice rinks. This full size rink features world-class and olympic skaters. Feel free to watch them practice, or hop on and have the whole family skate! Come back in the evening to watch an ice show (canceled 2020).

  • $14 per adult
  • $12 per child
  • Free for kids 5 and under with paying adult
ice skates
Image by anncapictures

Sun Valley Lake

The kids will love renting a paddle boat to play on the lake. Afterwards, play in the sand, beach volleyball, or a game of horseshoes!

  • Paddleboat or kayak- $25/hour
  • End of June to Labor day, Thursday thru Sunday

Gondola at Bald Mountain

Take the gondola up for great scenic views. Then, enjoy lunch at Round House Restaurant on the top of the mountain.

  • $21-$29 for a ride up the mountain. Under two are free.
  • Thursdays-Sundays

Idaho FallsIdaho Road Trip with kids

Next stop on the Idaho road trip is Idaho Falls. Here you’ll find fun, learn a little, and even see a unique place in Idaho!

Hell’s Half Acre

About a 40 minutes west of Idaho Falls, this stop is a great place to stretch on the way from Sun Valley to Idaho Falls. The kids will have fun learning about a volcano that erupted over 4,000 years ago as they explore around this lava field!

Snake River Greenbelt

Enjoy a nice walk down this paved trail along the Snake River. Observe wildlife, take a photo on one of the bridges, search for the different sculptures, and enjoy the Japanese Pavilion.

Tautphaus Park and Zoo

Lions, tigers, bears…this zoo is impressive for its small size and the small town it’s located in! And it comes with a small price (compared to big city zoos!)

  • $8 for 13+, $5 children, free for 3 and under
  • Zoo Website

Tautphaus Park

This is a perfect stop for kids on your Idaho road trip. This park features multiple playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, sports field…AND a ferris wheel and other amusement rides! They really take “fun” to the next level at their park!

Idaho Potato Museum

Because you can’t go to Idaho and not learn about the potatoes! Check out this unique attraction in Idaho. This place started as a railroad depot, then a potato expo, and now a museum. Come and learn about the history of the potato, food security around the world, and growing/harvesting potatoes! The kids will also enjoy learning fun experiments with potatoes. Save your appetite, because here you can snack on some french fries, baked potato, or…gulp…potato ice cream! (When in Idaho…!)

large potato statue
Photo with the potato artist Yuki Matsuura, image provided by Idaho Potato Museum

Idaho Road Trip Fun

What did you think of the popular and unique places to visit in Idaho? This family road trip through the northwest is full of fun, and Idaho doesn’t disappoint!

Next – Part 4: Ultimate Seattle Round-Trip Family Road Trip

Make sure to check out the final post that will take you through a piece of Montana, northern Idaho, and back to Seattle!

Don’t forget to check out:

Part 1 through Washington

Part 2 through Oregon

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