This summer my family is visiting my parents in Southwestern Idaho. This is the second time in three years we’ve headed to see them. Both times we’ve been in genuine awe of Idaho’s beauty. It really is one of the prettiest places we’ve ever traveled! On our more recent trip, my parents took us into Central Idaho. They were sure we would love Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains. We did! It’s an area we hope to spend a lot more time. But our short visit (about 48 hours) allowed for a lot of adventure. We swam and canoed in a crystal clear mountain lake, watched and listened to the Salmon River rush by our hotel, explored an ice cave, saw the Oregon trail and Hagerman Horse fossil beds, and walked over lava fields. There was so much to see and do! Travel with kids to Central Idaho- play and adventure await.
Here are some of the places my family loved exploring in Central Idaho and places we’ll be heading to next time.
Travel with Kids to Central Idaho
Redfish Lake and the surrounding area of Stanley, Idaho is an exquisite place to spend time. The glacier fed lake is surrounded by the Sawtooth Mountains. Sandy beaches, boat rentals, hiking trails, camp grounds, and cabins surround the lake. We rented canoes, drank local beer and ate ice cream on the beach, saw an old friend from Bloomington (it is a small world), and the kids enjoyed time to just play in the sand. Crystal clear (and a little chilly), Redfish Lake was the highlight of our time in Central Idaho.
My family stayed a few miles away from Redfish Lake at the Redfish Riverside Inn. Our balcony looked down on the Salmon River, each room had a kitchenette, log cabin decore, and as it says on their website, it really was the perfect accommodation.
The Redfish Lodge (where we swam) offers cabins and camping. All looked impressive. Reservations are hard to come by, however, unless you book well in advance.
The Sawtooth National Forest, located in South Central Idaho, is a place to do all sorts of outdoor activities. Wildlife viewing, skiing in the winter, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, camping- our family will head back this way as soon as we can.
While I’m not sure I would advise heading out to just see the Shoshone Ice Caves, if you are in the area, it’s worth the stop. A 45-minute tour leads you over basalt lava rock into a 1000 foot long lava tube. The ice cave is the largest volcanic cave open to the public in the world. Bring a coat and hold on to little ones. A boardwalk (open with a handrail) that is a little slippery holds you above the icy water.
If your family is into fossils, you need to check out the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument. Similar to a zebra, the horse we know today evolved from the Hagerman Horse. Right across the street from the national monument is one of the places you can view the Oregon Trail. A few miles down the road at the Hagerman Visitor Center, a replica horse can be found, along with activities for children and information about the area. Be sure to check out their Junior Ranger Program!
Family Travel in Central Idaho
Be sure to check out ~
- Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
- Sun Valley- skiing and snowboarding
- Shoshone Falls
- Balanced Rock
Central Idaho will stay on our family’s bucket list. There is so much more we hope to see and do next time! Travel with kids to Central Idaho. Swim, hike, visit national monuments and forests and take in the adventure this breathtaking area has to offer.
Heading to Idaho- be sure to check out Southwest Idaho!
Do you have a travel bucket list? Head to the resource library. There’s one there for you! (Subscribe for access).