day trips from boise

23 Best Day Trips From Boise Idaho (Must Do Things From The Treasure Valley)

Idaho is nicknamed the Gem State because of the vast amounts of high-quality minerals and gemstones found within its picturesque landscapes. It is these same landscapes that draw vacationers to this natural paradise. With mountainous terrains, vineyards, protected wilderness areas, and state parks all within driving distance of the capital city, Idaho is brimming with incredible day trips from Boise. 

Check out our 11 incredible day trips from Boise for inspiration to get out of the city and into the pristine nature of the Gem State.

Sunnyslope Wine Trail

scenic winery drive near boise

Driving Time: 40m – 1h
Distance from Boise: ~30-miles

Enjoy Idaho’s wine country by taking a short drive to Caldwell, Idaho. The Sunnyslope Wine Trail combines seventeen different Idaho wineries that can be toured privately or in a group. Explore the picturesque vineyards and orchards of the Pacific Northwest while tasting wine year-round along the Sunnyslope Wine Trail.

Thousand Spring State Park

boise day trips

Driving Time: 1h30m Directions
Distance from Boise: ~100-miles

Thousand Spring State Park is composed of seven different parks, all located near one another. It is aptly named after the many beautiful waterfalls that cascade down the rocky landscapes.  On a day trip from Boise, the closest park is the Malad Gorge Unit, a picturesque canyon with roaring river views. Here you can enjoy hiking, picnics, horseback riding, and more.

Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park 

Driving Time: 1h5m Directions
Distance from Boise: ~62-miles

Take a day trip from Boise to visit the Bruneau Dunes State Park. Towering 470-ft, this is the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America. Adventure seekers can sandboard down the desert slopes. However, if that’s not your cup of tea, then fishing, hiking, and horseback riding may be more your style.

Don’t miss these iconic Boise Idaho events,
Bucket List Boise Idaho Festivals You’re Probably Missing

Kuna Caves

Just five miles south of Kuna, Idaho lies a once-volcanic area brimming with activity. It is said that this cave and other caves along the lava tube used to run below ground all the way from South of Kuna Cave Road to the Snake River.

Some people propose that the ancient nomadic Native American tribes traveled through lava tubes in order to access the Snake River underground .

Tourists now have access to the caves via a 50ft ladder that leads them directly to its depths. While it originally connected with the Snake River, what’s left behind are underground tunnels spanning an impressive quarter mile—now making this location one of the most exciting places for tourists!

Kirkham Hot Springs

Driving Time: 1h45 – 2h Directions
Distance from Boise: ~78-miles

What could be more relaxing than soaking in a geothermal pool while also forest bathing? A day trip from Boise to Kirkham Hot Springs offers this and day hikes and picturesque picnic spots. Visit between April – October for peak weather conditions.

Here are some more great hot springs near boise:
10 Ohhh So Good Hot Springs Near Boise

Idaho City

Historic idaho city

Driving Time: 45m – 1h Directions
Distance from Boise: ~40-miles

Idaho City is a short drive outside of Boise. This historical town was founded during the Boise Basin gold rush and still bears the old West vibes. It is considered a ghost town now as the once populous city quickly lost its citizens after the gold rush. Today, you can do a historical walking tour of Idaho city or wander the town at your own pace visiting its antique shops and old architecture. The Charcoal Gulch Hike is a short 4-mile hiking trail that can be done during day trips from Boise. 

Nampa and Caldwell

Just a stone’s throw away from Boise is the cities of Nampa and Caldwell. Over the last handful of years these cities have made some signficant advances to their infrastructure and tourism, making them an even more desirable destination for those seeking a day trip from Boise.

Caldwell has created a welcoming downtown area with a showcase of art galleries, museums, unique shops and restaurants. Not to mention the famous Indian Creek Steakhouse that has top-notch steak and seafood dishes!

Nampa is also home to several attractions such as Lake Lowell, Lakeview Park, Nampa Train Depot, Warhawk Air Museum and more. The downtown area of Nampa is also growing with some great places to get a bite to eat and drink.

Best places to eat or drink in Nampa and Caldwell

  • Holy Cow Idaho (Nampa)-Good place for a bite to eat
  • Brick 29 Bistro (Nampa)- Fantastic place for food and drink
  • Mesa Taco and Tequila (Nampa)- Great Tequila, happy hour and food
  • Prefunk (Nampa) Great place for beer
  • 2C Brewing (Nampa) Great German Beer
  • Flying M (Nampa and Caldwell) Fantastic environment with great coffee
  • White Dog Brewing (Caldwell)
  • Casa Anejo (Caldwell) -Great Happy hour with drinks and Mexican food

Bogus Basin

bogus basin summer

Driving Time: 30m – 45m Directions
Distance from Boise: ~20-miles

Bogus Basin is best known for its fantastic skiing during the winter season. However, it is a year-round natural wonderland that is an easy escape from Boise. Enjoy skiing, winter tubing, and snowshoeing in the snow. While summer in Bogus Basin brings ample opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and even a ride on the Glade Runner, Idaho’s only mountain roller coaster. 

Home to spectacular waterways and canyons, Twin Falls is an outdoor paradise renowned for its natural beauty. From awe-inspiring waterfalls to a myriad of recreational activities, this destination beckons all visitors with its unique charm!


Driving Time: 16 minutes

Driving from Boise: 12 miles

Rich in activity and situated just beyond the outskirts of Boise, Meridian provides an abundance of opportunities for exploration. Meridian has skyrocketed in popularity, becoming one of the most sought-after cities in the US. Boasting an abundance of attractions such as theme parks, shopping plazas and a vibrant culinary landscape – there is something for everyone to enjoy here! As Meridian continues to grow at lightning speed so too does its reputation; this city is no longer just what it used to be. Escape the hustle and bustle of busy downtown Boise just fifteen miles away to Meridian, nestled

Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

hagerman fossil beds

Driving Time: 1h30m Directions
Distance from Boise: ~100-miles

Among the many wonders found within the rocky Idaho, landscapes are fossils of now-extinct species. The Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is named after fossils of the Hagerman Horse, an extinct horse referred to as the “American zebra.” You can find fossils here of the Hagerman Horse, the American Mastodon, and more. Day trips from Boise to the Hagerman Fossil Beds are exciting and educational escapes outside of the city. 

Eagle Island State Park

scenic drives near boise

Driving Time: 30m Directions
Distance from Boise: ~15-miles

Eagle Island State Park is conveniently located close to Boise, making it an easy and cheap option for day trips from Boise. Go swimming or paddleboarding in the Boise River, enjoy a picnic, or hike along nature trails. 

Boise Day Trips (2-3 Hours)

Twin Falls

Driving Time: 2 hours

Distance from Boise 128 miles

From far and wide, travelers journey to Twin Falls for the awe-inspiring Snake River, magnificent Shoshone Falls, and spectacular Perrine Bridge. Yet there is more to behold in this beautiful location! With a stunning backdrop of desert and mountain, visitors can go rafting, kayaking, fishing, golfing, or even BASE jumping. The nearby Thousand Springs State Park is also home to several natural springs with breathtaking views.

For those looking for an outdoor adventure close to Boise, Twin Falls offers the perfect escape! With its multitude of activities, stunning scenery and beautiful natural attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Here are some MUST Day Trips ideas while visiting Twin Falls

Shoshone Falls Park In Twin Falls (One of the Natural Wonders of Idaho)

day drives from boise

Driving Time: 2h Directions
Distance from Boise: ~130-miles

Take in the peaceful sounds of the waterfalls at Shoshone Falls Park on a day trip outside of Boise. Located along the Snake River, Shoshone Falls has been nicknamed the Niagara of the West. The recommended time to visit is during the spring season. 

Snake River Canyon

Carved into the basalt lava flows of ages past, Snake River Canyon runs for over fifty miles in length and boasts two spectacular waterfalls plus an abundance of springs.

The Perrine Bridge stands tall, spanning the Snake River Canyon with its 500-foot span. This is also where daredevil Evel Knievel attempted a daring feat back in 1974, failing to make it across the canyon.

Nowadays though, BASE jumpers flock to this bridge as it is one of only three places in America that allows for year-round jumping!

So if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and want to get your heart racing – head over to Twin Falls and experience an unforgettable thrill at the majestic Perrine Bridge.

Boise National Forest

Driving Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Distance from Boise: 84 miles

With its sprawling 2.5 million acres of varied landscapes, the Boise National Forest is an adventurer’s paradise just northeast of Idaho’s capital city Boise.

From a low elevation near the North Fork Payette River Basin at 2800 ft to soaring heights atop Trinity Mountain (nearly 10,000 feet), you can explore and discover endless joys in this natural oasis! 

The Boise National Forest is a paradise for outdoor adventurers! With more than 500 trails and over 250 lakes and reservoirs, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life. So why not come explore all that this amazing forest has to offer?

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve

boise idaho day trips

Driving Time: 2h45m – 3h Directions
Distance from Boise: ~180-miles

Craters of the Moon is a US National Monument with other-worldly views of lava-covered landscapes. This protected area is great for hiking day trips outside of Boise because the vistas are breathtakingly unique. Hike along black lava trails and explore the flora and fauna unexpectedly thriving amidst these strange landscapes.

Silver City

Driving Time: 2 Hours

Distance from Boise: 73 miles

For those in search of a captivating journey into the past, Silver City is an ideal destination. Once a prosperous mining town located in Southeastern Idaho, this tranquil ghost town now exists as a time capsule of the past. Silver City is a two hour drive from Boise and makes for a perfect day trip.

Silver City, Idaho is a unique and beautiful old mining town surrounded by the dramatic 8,000 feet-high Owyhee Mountains. Located at an elevation of 6,200 feet high, Silver City has lucked out; unlike many other mining towns that have been either burned down or commercialized over time – it remains untouched.

Exploring the town is like being transported to a different era. The iconic Idaho Hotel, which has remained virtually unchanged for over 100 years with only minor updates, stands proudly at its center. Surrounding it are about seventy-five structures from between 1860 and 1900 that conjure up feelings of nostalgia and inspire people to take pictures.

McCall (One of Our Favorite Smalls Towns)

Driving Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Distance: 108 Miles

A visit to the charming mountain town of McCall is a must-do if you’re looking to relax and enjoy nature.Take in all that this stunning lakeside destination has to offer from breathtaking views of Payette Lake and endless outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, hiking, and more!

During the summer, don’t forget to check out North Beach, a prime spot for paddleboarding. Nature-lovers and outdoor adventurers alike should explore Ponderosa State Park on its 1,000 acre peninsula jutting into the lake – it has countless picturesque trails you won’t want to miss! Be sure to make your way over to Osprey Point where you’ll get remarkable views of the lake in every direction.

If you’re visiting during the winter months, you can also enjoy some of the best skiing and snowmobiling in the region.

McCall is an ideal destination for a day trip from Boise, with its quaint downtown full of unique shops, cozy cafes and restaurants. With so much to do and see here, you won’t want to miss out on this special place!

Stanley Idaho

Driving Time: 2 Hour and 47 minutes

Distance from Boise 134 miles

If we are to recommend one and only place to visit in the state of Idaho , Stanley would be it. It is an absolute paradise, especially for those looking to explore outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and hiking.

The town of Stanley is nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains and surrounded by breathtaking views of jagged mountains, crystal clear lakes and rivers, wildflower meadows, alpine forests and snow-capped peaks.

Those looking for a thrill can go white water rafting on the Salmon River, or mountain biking along one of the numerous trails in the area. No matter what your preference is, you’ll never be short of things to do in Stanley! With its natural beauty and abundance of adventure possibilities, it’s no wonder why this is one of the most popular day trips from Boise.

So, why not take a break from the city and come explore the beauty of nature in Stanley? You won’t regret it!

Insider Tip: Don’t miss visiting Boat Box Hot Spring or one of the many others during your visit to Stanley.

Hailey And Sun Valley

If you’re looking for a unique day trip from Boise, Hailey and Sun Valley are the perfect destinations. Just a short drive away, these charming mountain towns offer some of the most breathtaking views in Idaho.


Driving Time: 2 hour 22 minutes

Distance from Boise: 141 miles

Nestled in the serene Wood River Valley beneath the majestic Central Idaho Rockies lies Hailey – otherwise known as, “Idaho’s Hometown in the Mountains”. This small community borders a vast expanse of wild public lands such as Sawtooth and Challis National Forests. Whether seeking natural beauty or an abundance of recreational activities, “Hailey” is sure to provide an immersive experience like no other! The majestic Big Wood River snakes through the Valley, providing a lush backdrop to Hailey – an enchanting town located just 11 miles south of Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Sun Valley

Driving Time: 2 hour 45 minutes

Distance from Boise: 155 miles

Just down the road from Hailey, Sun Valley home to the infamous Sun Valley Ski resort is a nature lover’s paradise that offers an exciting range of activities, from skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to white-water rafting and mountain biking in the summer.

Sun Valley has some high end restaurants and art galleries for those who don’t feel like getting too adventurous.

Boise may be the City of Trees, but Sun Valley is known as the Winter Wonderland! The area is filled with high mountain peaks, lush forests and alpine meadows, offering a beautiful backdrop for your outdoor adventures.

The Sun Valley Resort has been delighting skiers since 1936 and is one of the oldest ski resorts in the United States.

Ski runs cater to all levels of experience and you can also take advantage of some excellent snowshoeing trails or try heli-skiing if you are feeling more daring.

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve

boise idaho day trips

Driving Time: 2h45m – 3h Directions
Distance from Boise: ~180-miles

Craters of the Moon is a US National Monument with other-worldly views of lava-covered landscapes. This protected area is great for hiking day trips outside of Boise because the vistas are breathtakingly unique. Hike along black lava trails and explore the flora and fauna unexpectedly thriving amidst these strange landscapes.

City of Rocks

Driving Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Distance from Boise: 210 miles

Situated amidst the noble peaks of Albion Mountain Range in Idaho, City of Rocks National Reserve is a paradise that extends across 14,000 acres.

The stunning reserve provides remarkable vistas featuring granite spires and distinct rock formations as well as ancient forests verdant meadows, and remnants from the California Trail.

City of Rocks is a popular destination for rock climbing and hiking, offering 100’s of routes which range from beginner to expert.

It is a great place for bird watching too—eagles, owls, hawks, and pileated woodpeckers can all be spotted in the area. City of Rocks also has numerous campgrounds that are perfect for families looking to explore this magnificent area, and it is an ideal spot for a day trip from Boise.

Wrapping up Incredible Day Trips from Boise

Boise, Idaho has many fun and easy getaways located close to the city. Be sure to check operating hours before embarking on your day trip from Boise, as all Idaho state parks are only open during daytime-hours. This is generally from 7 am-10 pm; however, some locations vary. For example, the Malad Gorge Unit operates only between 8 am-4 pm. 

Day trips from Boise are an easy way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Northwest since you don’t have to travel far to find hidden gems in the Gem State.

You might also enjoy:
15 Best Places To Visit In Idaho
11 Idaho Ghost Towns You’ll Never Forget
15 Boise Attractions You Can’t Go Wrong With
11 FUN Things To Do In Coeur d’Alene With Kids

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