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Visit Idaho – The Perfect Gem This Christmas

Thanks to the vast array of natural resources, scenic areas and wild vistas, it is easy to see why Idaho is known as the Gem State.

As part of the world famous Yellowstone National Park, Idaho is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, families, weekends away or those taking a solo trip to explore both the area and yourself.

From mountain biking and hiking through the scenic areas to white-water rafting and fishing at Big Wood River you can be sure to find something for everyone.

In the summer many are drawn to the area for the camping and beautiful views that can be found in every corner, while in winter the Schweitzer Mountain provides a magical source for skiing, snowboarding and tubing.

There are plenty of places to stay in the state with facilities for every budget, experience and group.

Kellogg is located 70 miles from Spokane and is home to the Silver Mountain Resort. Open throughout the year the resort offers winter sports for every member of the family, and at every level. As well as skiing, tubing and snowboarding you could also visit Idaho’s biggest indoor waterpark, Silver Rapids.

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In the warmer months you can enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities including gondola rides while if golfing is more your thing the Galena Ridge Golf Course is one of the best in the world.

Another mountain resort that is popular with visitors is Burgdorf Hot Springs. Located high in the central Idaho mountains – around 30 miles from McCall – the resort is more ‘off the grid’ than Silver Mountain Resort.

Rather than hotel rooms, Burgdorf has 15 rustic cabins available to rent and being so high in the mountains you can only reach the resort in winter using snowmobiles – during the summer you can drive there easily.

To stay off the grid there is no running water or electricity and with only limited menus it is encouraged that all guests bring their own food. While this may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect holiday, skiing in the area is one of the biggest draws. A day on the slopes can be finished with the second biggest attraction at the resort, the 100 °f swimming pool, fed by a natural hot spring at around 150 gallons a minute.. As well as the large pool there are two smaller, hotter pools as well as a shallow pool for children to play in.

Hot springs are plentiful in Idaho so if a rustic approach is not something you would want to do make your way to Lava Hot Springs in the Portneuf River valley. This quaint little city has grown thanks to the number of visitors that the springs has attracted. The area, including the land and the springs, were formerly part of the Fort Hall reservation until they were sold in the late 1800s to the government.

The previous owners of the springs – the Shoshone-Bannock people – called them the Poha-Ba, the Land of Healing Waters, due to the minerals that were bountiful and known for their healing properties. There are five hot pools, each with a temperature of between 102° and 112°f and also includes an Olympic pool, diving areas, water slides and a Kiddie Cove.

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If you prefer beaches to mountains you need to visit Lake Coeur d’Alene, a 25-mile long natural lake that is full of stunning beaches and beautiful views. Not only does the North Idaho Centennial Trail run along the north shore of the lake the city of Coeur d’Alene is just nearby.

Boating, kayaking, sailing and fishing are popular activities at the lake while many also enjoy swimming in the clear waters.

A trip to Idaho would not be complete without a walk around the botanical garden in what was once the State Penitentiary in Boise’s Old Penitentiary Historic District. The gardens have become a living museum and are home to a vast range of botanical specimens. As well as welcoming visitors the Idaho Botanical Gardens also provides educational programs, entertainment and several community and cultural events. And with over 800 species from 42 families within the 14 different gardens, spaced out around the 15-acre land, it is easy to see why visitors love coming here.

As with every state within the country, Idaho has many museums for you to visit, including the Museum of Clean in Pocatello that looks at how clean is a major factor in our lives. Clean air, clean language, clean politics and clean water are just some of the aspects the 75,000 square foot building looks at via a blend of education and inspiration.

With a mission statement to show how the different aspects of clean affects our lives the museum includes a tour, displays and many artefacts.

The state also has several theme and water parks including the Silverwood Theme Park near Coeur d’Alene which has carnival rides and an original steam train as well as a ‘main street’ full of shops and dining facilities. Although opened in 1998 the park added the Boulder Beach Water Park in 2003, which offers a choice of 65 rides and slides as well as shows and attractions.

Due to the current climate it is worth calling your destinations in advance to ensure that opening hours have not been restricted as well as establishing what Covid-19 rules have been put in place.

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