12 Best Day Trips and Weekend Getaways from Boise, Idaho

Looking for a change of scenery? Check out these incredible day trips and weekend getaways near Boise, Idaho.

Last updated: June 8, 2024

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The best day trips and weekend getaways from Boise

The Best Day Trips and Weekend Getaways from Boise

Boise is the largest and most popular city in Idaho. Dotted with majestic trees, it looks immaculate in summer when green colors prevail. In spring, Boise allures with gentle blooming flowers, instantly becoming one of the best day trips from the surrounding areas. Fall, on the other hand, paints the city in various bright shades that may decorate the area well into winter months.

Boise, or the City of Trees as it’s locally known, has everything one ever needs for a memorable trip filled with cultural and historical treasures. At the same time, the capital of Idaho makes sure its outdoorsy visitors and locals don’t feel left behind. From hiking and biking the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt to exploring the areas nearby, the city ensures the best nature-infused day trips both within and outside its limits. 

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Shoshone Falls | Day trips and weekend getaways from Boise
Visit Twin Falls, Idaho, Guide - Roads and Destinations
Twin Falls | The best day trips and weekend getaways from Boise

The Best of the Best: 12 Irresistible Day Trips from Boise, Idaho

The capital of Idaho has earned its reputation as one of the most entertaining cities in the state for a reason. Yet, from time to time you long for different kinds of activities and new views to feast your eyes on. Boise doesn’t fail you even then, offering an array of the incredible day trips and weekend getaways.

Before you know, your car is stocked with snacks, the tank is full, and you are ready to hit the road. Boise may not occupy the central location of the state. But surrounded by a number of remarkable cultural and recreational day-trip destinations, the city only wins from this shortcoming.

Without further ado, here are the top 12 day trips and weekend getaways from Boise. 

Day trips and weekend getaways from Boise - Roads and Destinations
Bogus Basin is a perfect day trip from Boise for winter adventures


1. Bogus Basin 

40 minutes from Boise, Idaho

While some day trips from Boise require a few hours of driving, others sit right on the outskirts of the city. Bogus Basin is the right place to fit the latter category. The famous ski area is located in southwestern Idaho, just 16 miles from the capital.

Brimmed with fun outdoor activities, the Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is open all year round. It welcomes all kinds of visitors regardless of their ages and activity levels. 

Winter Activities

While you automatically assume that Bogus Basin works only for the memorable day trips from Boise in winter, think twice. The snowy season entices the majority of visitors, eager to test their athleticism at Alpine skiing, snowboarding, winter tubing, and Nordic skiing.

The Tubing Hill, offering an 800-foot downhill thrill, is one of the popular destinations in Bogus Basin. Not requiring any specific skills other than enthusiasm and a playful mood, it crowns any short day trips and weekend getaways from Boise. 

Speaking about winter outdoor activities that don’t make you look bad (not everybody can ski after all), the Glade Runner Mountain Coaster takes second place. Sliding downhill at high speed, screaming, and cheering your “travel” companions that share the same mountain coaster cart might be the best reason to escape Boise for a couple of fun-infused day trips. 

Fall, Spring, and Summer Activities

Idaho’s only mountain coaster, however, doesn’t cease its operations when the snow melts. The place as well as the entire resort keep connecting its visitors with nature at any season. Fall, spring, and summer bring back mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, trampoline bungee, and climbing walls.

One of the most beautiful day trips from Boise at this time, the area offers over 20 miles of hiking trails. The most popular of them is the 7-mile Around the Mountain Loop.

While sliding down the snow-covered slopes should wait until winter, chairlift rides at Mountain Star delight with panoramic views of the Sawtooth Mountains, the Boise National Forest, and even downtown Boise. Clearly, the season is not an issue when you long for a relaxing day trip from Boise to explore the hills of Bogus Basin. 

Day trips from Boise, Idaho - Roads and Destinations
Shoshone Falls is one of the most beautiful day trips from Boise all year round

2. Day Trips from Boise: Shoshone Falls

2 hours 5 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Similarly, Shoshone Falls joins the rank of the irresistible day trips from Boise to go on all year round. One of the largest natural waterfalls sits near Twin Falls, a little bit over 2 hours from the capital of Idaho. With its forceful streams and rainbows in misty clouds just above the water, the place looks magical. A couple of viewing platforms bring the waterfall closer to you, enabling you to gaze at this natural miracle for hours on end. 

Interestingly, Shoshone Falls, which is often referred to as the “Niagara of the West” is even higher than the world-famous American-Canadian landmark. While you can leave Boise for a couple of the epic day trips to Shoshone Falls any time of the year, the waterfall is in its full glory in spring. The dam-controlled landmark gradually decreases its flows in fall and winter. 

TIP: Swimming near Shoshone Falls is not allowed. This, however, doesn’t mean that your day adventure includes only sightseeing. Centennial Waterfront Park in Twin Falls offers seasonal kayak rentals and, if needed, guided tours. With their help and equipment, Shoshone Falls is closer than you’ve ever thought. 

Places to visit in Idaho - Roads and Destinations
The best day trips from Boise: Sawtooth National Forest. Photo by Tim Peterson

3. Sawtooth National Forest

3 hours 20 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Some day trips from Boise are longer than the others. With more than 3 hours of driving one way, the Sawtooth National Forest is a challenging excursion. But it’s worth it to say the least. 

The Sawtooth National Forest is known as one of the most beautiful places in Idaho. The vast area encompasses mountains, lakes, and glacier valleys, offering a plethora of exciting outdoor activities all year round. From camping to hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating, canoeing, and rafting, your day escape from Boise will be filled to the brim. 

Deep snow covers the ground of the Sawtooth National Forest in winter, bringing such outdoor activities as downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Alpine wildflowers blanket high meadows in July and August, giving another reason to trade Boise for a couple of gorgeous day trips and weekend getaways in the wilderness. 

Day Trips from Boise: Sawtooth Scenic Byway

Occupying more than 2 million acres of land, the Sawtooth National Forest, however, is not a place that you can explore in one day or even a month. The Sawtooth Scenic Byway eases your task.

Running for 115.7 miles from Shoshone to Stanley, it alone can become the highlight of any day trip or weekend getaway from Boise to this remote area. The road winds around the immense area, swinging by such natural wonders as Black Magic Canyon and Redfish Lake

4. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

3 hours 35 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Sitting more than 3 hours away from Boise, Craters of the Moon is certainly a day trip you want to start as early as possible. The moon-like terrain of the area, however, makes you quickly forget about the long hours in the car. Filled with lava fields, cinder cones, and underground lava tubes, the area “transfers” you onto a new planet.

Things to Do at Craters of the Moon

Spend a day, exploring these natural wonders, hiking uphill, and even peering into vents of tiny volcanoes. Some trails, such as the Devil’s Orchard Nature Trail, accommodate wheelchairs and strollers, making your day trip easier to enjoy. 

The majority of the tourists, however, prefer to explore multiple places this part of central Idaho has to offer by following the park’s 7-mile Loop Road. The scenic drive starts near the Robert Limbert Visitor Center and takes you to the ample striking locations and cave trails.

Apart from the epic lava tubes and cinder beds, the Inferno Cone Trail enhances your visit with a steep climb up the side of a cinder cone. 

Day trips from Boise, Idaho - Roads and Destinations
Meridian is one of the most convenient day trips from Boise. Photo by Michael Tuszynski

5. Day Trips from Boise: Meridian

20 minutes from Boise, Idaho

The best thing about planning your day trips from Boise is that you can choose how far you want to drive. While the natural monuments take your breath away and instill awe in each and every of its visitors, small towns near the capital of Idaho are as irresistible as those wondrous heavyweights. Meridian, located only 20 minutes from Boise, proves it again and again.

Not particularly tiny as you would think, it’s known as the biggest small town. In fact, Meridian makes people talk about it as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. This means one thing: an abundance of attractions and entertainment for its guests and locals.

Things to Do in Meridian

The first place to explore in Meridian is Roaring Springs. The largest waterpark in southwest Idaho, it enhances your visit with ample waterslides and lazy river rafting.

The Village charms with its narrow cobblestone streets lined with trees, irresistible shops, restaurants, and a cinema. Located in the center of the city, the place reminds you of rural Europe rather than Idaho’s rugged region.

The European vibe prevails not only in the area, but also in the names of Meridian’s attractions. So Kleiner Park may mean “small” in German. In Idaho’s Meridian, it’s synonymous with concerts at an outdoor amphitheater on warm summer Thursday nights.

Divine smell from food trucks nearby further approves your choice of Meridian as one of the most ravishing day trips from Boise. 

The summer nights also allure with classic auto racing at Meridian Speedway. For an easy day trip from Boise, there is nothing better than exploring mid-century bungalows and old brick storefronts in downtown Meridian.  

Visit Twin Falls, Idaho, Guide -- Roads and Destinations
Twin Falls | The best day trips and weekend getaways from Boise

6. Day Trips from Boise: Twin Falls 

2 hours from Boise, Idaho

Home to Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls deserves a couple of separate day trips from Boise or the nearby areas. Similar to Meridian, the city doesn’t impress with its size. The number of things to do and see in the area, however, exceed your expectations.

The highlights of the city are the stupendous Snake River Canyon and the epic Perrine Memorial Bridge. In fact, one can’t exist without another, at least when it comes to thrilling outdoor adventures. Whether you long for jumping with a parachute or zipping the Snake River, these two landmarks work harmoniously to ensure the best experiences in town. 

Water activities also await Boise’s daring daytrippers. From kayaking to stand-up paddle-boarding, Twin Falls offers great opportunities to explore greenish waters of the Snake River and even paddle all the way to Shoshone Fall.

READ MORETop Things to Do in Twin Falls, Idaho

7. Day Trips from Boise: Idaho City

56 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Idaho City is one the most irresistible weekend getaways and day trips from Boise for history buffs. This tiny city with a population of less than 500 preserves the legacy of the Gold Rush era in Idaho like no other cities.

Founded in 1862, Idaho City was once the most populated city in the entire Pacific Northwest. Yet when the gold dried up, the city also almost died. Today, it’s a solemn reminder of the bygone days. The town’s old structures still remind of the bustling city, Idaho City once used to be. 

Things to Do in Idaho City, Idaho

The best way to spend your day trip away from the hustle and bustle of Boise is by strolling around the city and letting the streets of Idaho City unveil their history and secrets. Next to the old structures, modern buildings slowly find their residency on the centuries-old streets.

The Boise Basin Museum goes into details of the area’s history, explaining how the Idaho Gold Rush influenced the city life. 

No day trips from Boise to Idaho City go by without shopping for local craft and artistry on Main Street. Dotted with authentic local shops, it’s the best place to hunt for unique furniture, jewelry, and all things antique.

The Idaho City Historical Area may be inferior to the lavish culinary scene of Boise, but it takes pride in enhancing your day trip with local delicacies. Trudy’s Kitchen and Diamond Lil’s Steakhouse and Saloon are just a few places to stop at when hunger forces you to take a break from shopping and sightseeing. 

Day Trips from Boise: Charcoal Gulch Trail

The Charcoal Gulch Trail takes you outside Idaho City, introducing you to the surrounding areas and allowing you to stretch your legs. While hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking keep the visitors busy in the warmer months, winter entertains with ample opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. 

Places to visit in Idaho - Roads and Destinations
Thousand Springs State Park is a must-take day trip from Boise. Photo by Intricate Explorer

8. Thousand Springs State Park

1 hour 30 minutes from Boise, Idaho 

For the most beautiful and diverse day trips from the city of Boise, don’t look any further than Thousand Springs State Park. Nestled in the jaw-dropping Magic Valley, the place promises panoramic views, hikes for all levels, horseback riding, rafting, and fishing.

The park consists of 7 units located a short drive from each other.

Things to Do in Thousand Springs State Park

Hikers often look for solitude along the Kelton Trail. Malad Gorge allures mostly outdoor adventurers, including the residents of Boise, that prefer relaxing day trips with plenty of easy hikes and scenic views. Fishing endeavors await the travelers at Crystal Springs, while historical structures at Ritter Island promise memorable day journeys for history buffs.

Regardless of the interests that drive people to this region of Idaho, Niagara Springs State Park pleases with its diversity and beauty. Home to the stunning Snake River Canyon, this area enhances your weekend getaways and short day trips with the spectacular views, such as multiple streams running down the canyon, that can be the biggest reason to escape Boise for a short while. 

Day trips and weekend getaways from Boise - Roads and Destinations
Winter day trips and weekend getaways from Boise, Idaho

9. Boise National Forest

From 1 to 2 hours 40 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Similar to the Sawtooth National Forest, the Boise National Forest takes care of all sorts of dreamy day trips. From hiking along the Stack Rock and Blue Lake Trails to enjoying rustic cabins scattered around the forested hills, the place keeps its visitors busy. Kayaking and rafting on the Payette River also falls into the category of the most popular activities in the region.

If adrenaline rush and gorgeous views aren’t enough to persuade you to spend a day or two in the Boise National Forest, then a short drive to Shafer Butte, about one hour from the capital of Idaho, surely makes this trip possible. Shafer Butte allures all mountain enthusiasts. Offering plentiful opportunities for downhill and cross-country skiing in winter and hiking during all other seasons, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Boise all year round.

For wildlife viewing, head to Elk Creek in the Bear Valley. Stolle Meadows festoon your day journeys with spring wildflowers and birdwatching.

Last but not least, the Boise National Forest pampers you with its natural hot springs. Whether you escape Boise for a day or plan multiple two-day trips to the area, be sure to stop at Kirkham Hot Spring. Located 1 hour 45 minutes away from the capital of Idaho, it astounds with several natural pools and small waterfalls at the bottom of wooden stairs. 

Day tips and weekend getaways from Boise - Roads and Destinations
Day trips and weekend getaways from Boise: Bruneau Dunes State Park. Photo by Intricate Explorer

10. Bruneau Dunes State Park 

1 hour 10 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Bruneau Dunes State Park allows you to leave Boise for a few days in the desert. Known for the longest camping seasons in Idaho, the place provides camping opportunities all year long. The majority of the campgrounds work on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserving campsites and cabins in advance is also possible.

The opportunity to connect with nature during any season is a sound motive to plan your day trips and weekend escapes from Boise beforehand. The biggest draw here are the sand dunes themselves. Rising up to 470 feet above the desert floor, the place has gained fame as the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America.

The park also includes a prairie, a lake, and marsh habitat where you can hike, fish, and swim. 

11. Day Trips from Boise: Nampa 

25 minutes from Boise, Idaho

Nampa is another easy day trip from Boise. One of Idaho’s most populous cities, it sits just 20 miles west of the capital along Interstate 84. Known as a cultural and historical hub, Nampa presents great sightseeing, dining, and shopping opportunities.

As the distance between these two cities is so short, you can start your excursions any time of the day. Even a late afternoon arrival still gives you enough time to explore antique shops in downtown Nampa downtown and learn about the history of American veterans’ at the Warhawk Air Museum

The history buffs frequently leave Boise for history-enhanced day trips at the Nampa Train Depot Museum. Originally opened in September of 1903, it’s been home to the Original Canyon County Historical Society since 1976.

Village Square charms with its antique shops. Village Antique that hosts about 25 local vendors in a two-story building is the most popular store in the city.

Day Trips from Boise: Lake Lowell

Similar to the green parks of Boise, Nampa promises an array of unforgettable day trips for its outdoorsy visitors. The best place to start with is Lake Lowell. This 14.5-square mile reservoir sits within the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, 5 miles southwest of Nampa.

Motorized water sports, fishing, and wildlife viewings entertain area’s guests all day long. In April, Lake Lowell becomes the prime destination for runners. Hosting the annual Lake Lowell Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K races, it gives an extra reason to plan some sporty day trips in Boise’s immediate surroundings. 

Day trips and weekend getaways from Boise - Roads and Destinations
McCall, Idaho, is a perfect day trip or weekend getaway from Boise for nature lovers

12. Day Trips from Boise: McCall

2 hours 20 minutes from Boise, Idaho

If soaking in mineral pools is your ideal pastime, then McCall is the place for you. Home to several hot springs, the area allures the visitors all year round.

The most popular pools here are Gold Fork Hot Springs. The place nestles about 30 miles south of McCall and pampers any daytrippers with 6 mineral pools. Temperatures of the hot springs range between 85 and 110 degrees, ensuring that you never feel cold even when it’s freezing outside. 

For the active day trips from Boise, explore the slopes of Brundage Mountain Idaho Ski Resort or hike in Ponderosa State Park.

Payette Lake engages McCall’s visitors in Idaho’s favorite outdoor pursuits, such as kayaking or swimming. On specific days in summer, the lake also entertains its guests with sunset cruises with live musicians. 

The colder months ignite McCall’s passion for winter activities, making it one the favorite day trips and weekend escapes from Boise for snowmobiling, Alpine, Nordic, and backcountry skiing. 

More Weekend Getaways from Boise

  • Crater Lake National Park. The deepest lake in the U.S., Crater Lake is a remarkable weekend getaway located in Southern Oregon, about 6 hours 30 minutes west of Boise.
  • Mount Rainier National Park. A crown jewel of Washington, Mount Rainier is another long weekend getaway from Boise (about 6 hours 40 minutes northwest), but so well worth it.

Day trips and weekend getaways from Boise, Idaho - Roads and Destinations
The best day trips and weekend getaways from Boise, Idaho


  1. Kathy Leone
    November 18, 2021 / 11:00 pm

    I am so surprised and shocked of how many people do not know of our beautiful mountain going towards Sun Valley. Before you get to Fairfield you’ll see a sign that points to the left by a large covered building that says, “Pine/Featherville. Across that is where they held The Country Music Festival. You follow the road and as it wraps around our mountain. You’ll come to a corner where you’ll get majestic chills from the beautiful view of our reservoir. The first area on your left is our Curlew Boat Dock with places to camp. Next is the old but memorable Deer Creek Lodge and right after is our amazing family who grows organic pick your own blueberries. They also make many homemade products. You’ll cross the bridge and come to one of my homes of many years living and I guess it’s called working but to us you’re just coming to our house…Pine Resort. What fun it is to be here on the weekend when we almost always have live local and sometimes famous guest who perform amazing music outdoors. We have a cafe with delicious homemade meals and desserts and a hotel with home away from home accomodations. Next is our Nitz Store where if you forget anything I can almost guarantee they have it. They’re the only establishment on our mountain that supplies gasoline. Also propane etc. Our next family is our Senior Center. If you take a day trip on Tuesday I’d encourage you to have lunch there for $5.00. The spread is beyond yummy with homemade desserts, coffee and great people who live with me up here. Next is our phenomenally serene Trinity hot springs. Our cousins offer a unique experience with organic ways to improve your health and relax. Such as individual or couple massage, work out classes or seminars to gain knowledge of how important it is to take time to relax and clean eating. Dana also has rooms or cabins to rent. You don’t want to ever miss their New Years Eve celebration. Which of course for this night only is for Adults only. Next you have to stop at Elk Lodge with our 18 hole golf course. I can’t even describe the beauty. A picture wouldn’t do it justice. Mr. David who once raised Black Angus and lived in the house that is now a quaint bar with taxidermy that you will see nowhere else and also outdoor seating in the back that overlooks the golf course. It is
    a magnificent sight to see. There’s also a pool with a slide and tennis or pickle ball court. To the side is a campground. Last but not really last is my other home Featherville Saloon (passed here is Baumgartner) What I love about Featherville is when you arrive it’s as though you’re back in time in an old Western. The drinks are cheap but great! We have all sorts of entertainment as well. Also hookup and dry camping. Next door is Cindy’s Cafe where her husband Pat makes the best homemade ice cream. Connected I’d that is our store. Brian sells gorgeous jewelry and mama makes homemade pizzas. We also have a motel. During different times of the year we all have live auctions where you’ll bid on unique one of a kind items. I would welcome you to come up and see us. We’re all family owned and operated and you’ll definitely become our family no matter where you stop or choose to frequent. There’s fishing, boating and gems galore up here. We even have a sister cousin who rents ATVs and such if you need! In the winter they take care of our roads so don’t let that scare you. Bring your snowmobile and alot of us from Pine will take a trip and visit our family at Fallcreek Lodge! The owners are party throwers so you’ll want to get a room and eat from their delicious restaurant. They even have a do it on your own karaoke machine. We have our amazing Sheriff Lucas who keeps our community safe and our own resourceful paramedics as well. (Just in case)There is so much I’ve left out but you’ll have to come sat howdy to get the full experience. FromBoise it’s less then three hours away. You’ll love our mountain so much you’ll call your own. Yours truly, Kathy Leone but my family call me Kat!

    • Zhanna
      December 11, 2021 / 8:46 am

      Hi Kat,

      Your home sounds amazing. It’s a pity we didn’t see it in person. But rest assured, it’ll be our next destination in Idaho. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

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