Idaho: Family Vacation Perfection
Why not consider Idaho for your next family vacation? A family vacation in Idaho is great fun for everyone. What activities could it include? Well, the choices are endless.
“Meadow Trail Ride” Courtesy of Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch
Their website: www.idahorocky.com
You might choose a trail ride or a pack trek with mules or even llamas. How about a real
cattle drive, or would you rather just kick back at a guest ranch or a dude ranch?
You could choose fishing, boating, kayaking, or jet boating, flat-water canoeing or even whitewater rafting.
There is hunting, photography, and wildlife and bird watching. You could trek along the historic routes of the wagon trains the pioneers used to travel west, or walk in the footsteps of the expedition of Lewis and Clark.
There is hiking and camping, mountain biking or just sightseeing. There is rock climbing and mountain climbing. Nordic skiing and downhill skiing and snowboarding, and snowmobiling and tubing.
You can see there are lots of activities for everyone, and many are suited for the whole family, or even family and friends. Whether your time here is limited to a day or two, or you have a week or more for your visit, your time will be filled with adventures and be well spent. Idaho as a vacation venue is big, awe-inspiring and pristine.
The setting for a family vacation in Idaho is the natural, majestic beauty of the state. Mountains and hills everywhere. A huge backcountry of vast stands of timber, untouched by man. Mighty rivers with deep canyons, and cascading waterfalls, trout and salmon-filled streams and bubbling creeks, man-made reservoirs, and lakes....more than 2,000 lakes. Many alpine lakes are still unnamed.
There are visitor centers throughout Idaho to help you with local planning to add what-to-see ideas to your trip, or to help you with some shopping ideas or lodging and dining suggestions. For a listing of locations and telephone numbers of these information sources,
see the list here.
Take a look at these family vacation ideas:
Cowboys and Cowgirls
There are more than 20 guest and dude ranches from which to choose. This is as close to the Old West as you can get. Shed your urban air and live the life of a cowboy or cowgirl for a spell. With their old-fashioned hospitality and so many unique activities to keep you busy (if you want), a family vacation at a guest or dude ranch will be remembered without a doubt. The home-cooked food you will enjoy is always rated somewhere between great and "Oh, my God!".
The activities? Mount your gentle horse and ride the many trails in the scenic surroundings, fish for scrappy trout in stocked ranch ponds, or high-mountain streams and lakes, hike and observe and photograph wildflowers or wildlife. Some offer real cattle drives, campfire entertainment, hot tubs or natural hot spring baths, raft and kayak adventures, and you name it.
At a ranch, on the other hand, you could plop right down in a comfortable leather recliner and open that book you have been meaning to read. You will probably fall asleep, but don’t doze off for too long. The kids will be coming back from their all-day ride and fresh-caught rainbow trout, juicy steak and huckleberry pie are on tonight’s menu!
Ride the Rapids
Choose a jet boat, a raft or a kayak and head out for the thrill of maneuvering through the obstacle course on one of Idaho’s rivers. If you are “a screamer” on a roller coaster, you won’t be able to hold back on the whitewater.
This is a family vacation “must” when you visit. Idaho is internationally-famous for wild rivers - more than any other state in the lower 48 states. The state features more than 3,100 miles of these rivers. Whether you opt for a short half-day float or a full-day trip, you will have a breathtaking experience. And, if you have decided on several days on the river, you will love your decision, the overnight camping and the Dutch oven cookery that will satisfy those hunger pangs.
You will be overwhelmed by the scenery, the wildlife you are likely to see, and the fresh air of Idaho’s great outdoors. But, hang on for all you are worth. There are rapids ahead that will put happy smiles on your faces. Hook up with a professional, licensed outfitter to enjoy these experiences to the fullest.
You and Nature
Idaho boasts 19,000 miles of trails for hiking, mountain and road biking, horseback riding, Nordic skiing and snowmobiling, including the Idaho State Centennial Trail of more than 1,200 miles from the Canadian border to the state’s southern border with Nevada.
There is a connection with the landscape when one hikes in the Idaho mountains, valleys and backcountry. You are free and the pace is your own. The surroundings are part of your endeavor. The wildlife intently watch as you pass by. It is a family vacation with a purpose.
Camping in this environment is satisfying. Whether you showed up in a structure on wheels, or you have to pitch that awkward tent, you have created your home away from home. In most established campgrounds, you will have water and toilet facilities, as well as other amenities to make your camp life pleasant. If you camp in a remote, primitive site, you must bring all the comforts with you. Whichever you do, the food tastes better than you thought it would and you will sleep like a log. Don’t forget the fishing gear. A pan-fried trout goes good around the evening campfire.
Those Clever Fish
If you and the family enjoy fishing, you have come to the right place. Huge prehistoric sturgeon, large salmon and steelhead, many trout varieties (including Idaho’s own cutthroat), whitefish, perch, walleye and northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish are all available in Idaho. The state has mile after mile of rivers, streams and creeks, and over 2,000 lakes and reservoirs teeming with fish of all kinds.
White sturgeon, which can live for more than 100 years, can be 20 feet long and can reach a weight of 1,500 pounds. These huge fish can be found in the Snake River and parts of the Salmon River, as well as other Idaho waters. Hooking and landing a sturgeon can be a “hoot”, and licensed outfitters can put you over the big fish.
Idaho’s record lake trout (Mackinaw) was taken at Priest Lake in the Idaho Panhandle. This giant trout weighed in at over 57 pounds. The state’s record steelhead topped 30 pounds and was caught in the Clearwater River, one of the premier steelhead rivers in the United States. Lake Pend Oreille offers up record-size rainbow trout. The lake record is over 37 pounds. But, if size is not important to you, fishermen have been known to land as many as 100 trout per day on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. These hefty youngsters are mostly 12 to 16 inches in length.
If you fly fish, Idaho is a fly fisherman’s paradise, with more than 10 blue ribbon streams to satisfy the angler’s craving for quality. If you would like to learn fly fishing, many of Idaho’s guides can help you discover this exciting sport. Give fly fishing a try. It will add to your family vacation.
A Flurry of Activities
Like the winter snow? There is lots of it in Idaho. If you like playing in the snow, get ready for a flurry of fun activities. Take skiing, for example.
Downhill ski at your choice of 18 ski centers featuring over 16,000 acres of tests for every ability. Snowboarding is also offered at these resorts, and many have facilities just for the tubing crowd. The lift lines are short at Idaho’s ski complexes, so you get more runs for your money.
The Nordic cross-country skier will find hundreds of miles of groomed trails to enjoy, and snowmobile jockeys will find many miles of trails set aside just for them to play in. Or, just lay down in it and make snow angels. There is a family vacation in Idaho’s snow for everyone.
There is more to do, but you get the idea: Idaho is family vacation perfection. If you are just browsing, there is much to see. Drive the highways and scenic byways of Idaho and you will get your eyes full. Stop wherever you want to take extra time to enjoy the beauty and landmarks that make up Idaho. Visit the state parks, the museums, the interpretive centers and the historical remnants of the making of the west and this state. Smell the fresh air. "Listen" to the quiet. Smile, you're in Idaho.
Sightseeing Idaho will take some time, so make your plans to stay with us for a while. Idaho measures over 83,500 square miles, but fewer than one and a half million folks populate the state. We have room for you. As we always say: The door to Idaho is open, and you are welcome. Come on in!
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