Destinations to Visit in Southern Idaho

Bear Lake

Imagine visiting the most transparent waters and gorgeous beaches with room to roam while partaking in fun-filled water adventures. The waters at Bear Lake provide the ideal setting for relaxation with elegant landscapes dotted with intrinsic birdlife. Bring all the extras for a splashing day of water fun at Bear Lake. Stretching as far as 20-miles along the state line alongside Utah, Bear Lake has become the true paradise of the state and maybe the equivalent of the "Maldives of the greater northwest." The nearly transparent water becomes mesmerizing on a summer day with the sun's reflection dancing atop the waves. The beach does become quite populated during the mid-summer season; options to avoid the crowd might include beachfront rentals, boating, or watercraft. While drifting atop the water with breathtaking views, one might consider taking a mid-day break to cool off at the Minnetonka Cave. Discover opportunities for biking, bird watching, sailing, camping, fishing, paddle sports, boats, RV'ing, swimming, sand sports, seasonal snowmobiling (weather dependent), tent camping, nearby backpacking, photography, and equestrian trails. 

Plan a trip to Bear Lake this summer for warmer weather excursions, white sands, and refreshing water with remarkable sunset views seems like the ideal vacation destination. Things to consider bringing along for the perfect water or waterside adventure might include sand toys, watercraft, the boat, floaties, sunscreen, and lunch. If planning to pack up the RV, park reservations at Bear Lake State Park are available online. If camping, campfires are allowed in designated areas only, and a portable bbq or fire ring may come in handy as there are only a few campsites with fire pits with grills.     

Minnetonka Cave 

Discover Minnetonka Cave, located in the southeastern portion of the state near Bear Lake. The Minnetonka Caves boasts incredible stalactites, stalagmites, and travertine with nine total rooms. Because of the popularity of this location, first come, first serve, with the cave opening on June 4th and closing on September 6th, weather dependent. Be sure to check for date changes and closures before a trip. The cave is typically open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m with fees. The cave stays at around 40 degrees and maybe more enjoyable if equipped with a coat or warm gear and boots or sturdy sneakers ideal for trekking up and down wet surfaces. 

St Anthony Sand Dunes

Tucked off to the state's southeast corner sits St. Anthony Sand Dunes and lake. This area attracts folks from across the country and abroad for year-round enjoyment with outdoor activity opportunities, including off-road vehicle use, sandboarding, sand sledding, fat bike touring, and sand surfing. Living in the southeastern portion of the states creates a conglomeration of wonders right in your very own backyard. St. Anthony Sand Dunes attacks visitors nationwide with annual events, races, equestrian tours, RV-ing, fat-tube biking, camping excursions, and off-road adventures. Additionally, for the less crowded option and considerably less expensive, consider a self-guided tour closer to the end of the busy season. The St. Anthony Sand Dunes complex is home to over 10,600 acres of white sands along Idaho's Snake River Plain. The area bears the beautiful Egin Lake, ideal for cooling off on a hot summer day. With the 10,600 acres of shifting sand that nears 400 feet in height, opportunities for sandboarding, sledding, and sliding are ready for the taking. The dunes are the ultimate day adventure destination for outdoor fun in the sun! 

If planning to stay for the entire weekend for the whole experience, check out Egin Campground, with 26 campsites available for reservation online. The campsite boasts 48 designated spaces, with 22 first come, first serve sites with straightforward access to the sand and Egin Lake. Be sure to bring the picnic basket packed with goodies. Occasionally, onsite vendors are, though it's always better to arrive fully prepared with the best picks. Exploring the general further, visitors may consider taking the scenic byways, fishing one of the world-famous nearby river tributaries, or hearing over to the lava tubes of the Snake River Valley. If aiming for the more adventurous spirit, perhaps trekking to the Darby Cave may be the way to go. You may dream of visiting destinations close to the area, creating a full-encompassing effect with additional nearby destinations, including the Grand Teton Range, Yellowstone, Mesa Falls, etc.  

Silver City

A trip to SilverCity is a full-day experience. The adventure has already begun when traveling over the mountain pass, across the tops of the beautiful rolling hills, and the sweeping valley landscapes to Silver City Road. The road starts at Milepost 34.1; from the Boise area, travel time takes roughly 2 hours and does not require a high clearance vehicle; the road is a narrow winding dirt road and may become impassable for large trucks pulling trails. Discover mysterious artifacts, boutiques, souvenir shops, historic structures, equestrian and off-road vehicle use trails, locations ideal for camping, and opportunities for exploration across a variety of terrain. Furthermore, due to the remote location, it is well-advised to pack up generous food supplies, water and drinks, an alternate set of clothing for climate weather, and typical traveling supplies like a backup first aid kit with sunscreen - hats - eye protection, car maintenance supplies - tools, and the preferred extras such as dirt bikes, quads, or perhaps mountain bikes. Heading out to Silver City for the day, one might decide to check out the local boutique, enjoy mountain exploration surrounded by nature, and have unforgettable adventures. 

Historic structures in and around Silver City include the famous Idaho Hotel, Masonic Hall, and Masonic Lodge. Additional neat historic facilities include the Our Lady of Tears Structure, Silver City Schoolhouse, Barbershop Building, and Sommercamp Saloon (turned into a private residence). The handsome Blacksmith Building is unique in design and style, as is the Washington Street County Jail and the Courthouse, also known as the Granite Block. Discover stories that go back to the days when the Odd Fellows Hall was home to dances, gatherings, and an apartment building. Perhaps learn more about the Grete House - once home to the local dentist and his wife, the Gretes also owned the War Eagle Hotel, Getchell Drug Store, the old ice house, and the original home to the Owyhee Nugget newspaper, to name a few. For additional information about the area, check out the Owyhee County Historical Society Museum, which is ideal for gathering books and brochures to guide explorers. A host of secure access mines scattered throughout the area offer an exciting perspective of the days past, including Cape Horn Mine, Afterthought Mine, Summit Mine, Venus Mine, and Placer Mine. There are two cemeteries, including the Ruby City Cemetery and the Pioneer Cemetery. 

Traversing the topography, explorers may consider checking out the unparalleled panoramic views from Florida Mountain and Telegraph Hill. Likewise, Cinnabar Mountain offers excellent photography options and a chance to take a break and take in the surroundings. This area is famous for its landscapes covered in juniper and sage grouse met with a host of rock formations, area trails ideal for OHV/ATV and mountain bike writing opportunities, and off-road exploring. In the Spring, trails lined by delightful wildflowers make for a beautiful trek along the mountain trails.

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