Idaho is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. It borders the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north and Washington and Oregon to the south. The state’s capital and largest city is Boise. Idaho is known for many things, such as beautiful nature wonders and precious gemstones that make it a unique destination.
This underrated state is home to a wide variety of attractions, including some of the most famous things in the country. From delicious food to awe-inspiring landscapes, Idaho has plenty to be discovered.
What Is Idaho Known For?
Idaho is best known for its potato production and is famously known as “The Gem State” for its rich source of gems. However, that is not all. Idaho is also home to a wide variety of landscapes and wildlife. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the state’s mountains, lakes, and rivers, while its cities offer a more urban experience.
Some of Idaho’s most popular tourist attractions include Yellowstone National Park, Shoshone Falls, the Idaho Potato Museum, and the World Center for Birds of Prey. From cultural heritage to historical sites and awe-inspiring nature, Idaho is a great destination regardless if you’re looking for adventure or simply want to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Here are some of the things that Idaho is known for and you can experience when visiting the state.
Food Idaho Is Famous For
No list of famous Idaho food would be complete without mentioning potatoes. This humble vegetable has been a key part of the state’s economy and identity for centuries, and today around one-third of all potatoes grown in the US come from Idaho.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy Idaho potatoes, but perhaps the most iconic is the baked potato. These are often served up huge and smothered in all sorts of delicious toppings.
The Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot is another must-visit for potato fans. Here, you can learn all about the state’s potato-growing history, see some unusual potato-themed items, and even try your hand at ‘potato stamping.
If you’ve never heard of huckleberries before, then get ready to have your taste buds blown away. These little berries are just plain delicious! They have a unique flavor that is often described as a cross between a blueberry and a raspberry, with a slightly tangy and floral taste.
Huckleberries can be found across Idaho and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. While they can be eaten raw, they are also used in a wide variety of dishes; everything from jams and jellies to pies and ice cream. You might even find them being used as a cocktail mixer or two!
If you’re keen to try and find some huckleberries for yourself, then the best time to go hunting is during late summer. Head on out into the woods and keep your eyes peeled – the berries can be a little tricky to spot!
Idaho is also known for being home to some of the best trout fishing in the entire country. The rivers and streams are teeming with these fish, just waiting to be caught by an expert fisherman (or woman!).
There is a diverse array of trout species, including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, bull trout, and steelheads. Each of these species has its own unique characteristics and can be found in different parts of the state.
The stunning natural beauty of Idaho’s rivers and lakes makes trout fishing a truly special experience. From the crystal clear waters of the Bear Lake to the majestic beauty of Priest Lake, Idaho’s waterways provide a breathtaking backdrop for anglers to enjoy while they cast their lines.
If you’re keen to try your hand at catching one of these slippery creatures, then there are plenty of guided tours and charter companies that can help you out. Some of them will even clean and cook your fish for you, so all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
History And Things Idaho Is Known For
The Gem State
Idaho is nicknamed ‘The Gem State’, and it’s not hard to see why. The state is home to a huge variety of different gemstones, including jasper, opal, garnet, and quartz. You can even go on your own gemstone mining adventure in some parts of Idaho!
Rockhounding is a popular pastime in Idaho, and if you’re lucky you might just find a few precious stones to take home with you. If you want to learn more about what to look for, then be sure to stop by one of the many rock shops in town. The experts there will be more than happy to help you out!
Found only in a handful of places around the world, the star garnet is Idaho’s state gem since 1967. These beautiful stones can be various shades of red, brown or purple, and each one contains a unique star-shaped pattern.
One of the best places to go hunting for them in Idaho is at the Emerald Creek Garnet Area in the Panhandle National Forest. Here, you can pay a small fee to dig for your very own garnets – what could be more fun than that?
Star Garnets in Idaho are special because of their rarity, unique appearance, and metaphysical properties. They are a treasured natural stone that is only found in a small region of the state and are highly sought after by gemstone enthusiasts and spiritual practitioners alike.
Idaho is known for being home to some pretty incredible lava tubes – cave-like structures formed by cooled lava flows.
These tubes can be found in a few different places around the state, but the most popular spot is Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. It’s a protected area that covers more than 1,100 square miles of land in central Idaho.
You can see a range of shapes and sizes such as cinder cones and spatter cones. Aside from their distinctive features and geological significance, the Lava Tubes in Idaho is also a window into the state’s volcanic history.
This unique landscape is definitely worth a visit, and you can even go exploring in some of the lava tubes if you’re feeling adventurous. Just make sure to bring a flashlight, as it can get pretty dark in there!
Duo Time Zones
Idaho is one of the few states in the US that is split between two time zones. Most of the state, including Boise, falls into the Mountain Time Zone. However, the northern part of Idaho is in the Pacific Time Zone.
The divide happens along the Salmon river in Riggins, across a bridge that is aptly known as the Time Zone Bridge.
This can be a little confusing for visitors, especially if you are traveling between the two areas. Just remember to check what time zone you will be in before making any plans!
Idaho is also known for its protected wilderness areas. In total, around 14% of the state is made up of national forests, and there are also several national parks and monuments.
This protected status means that Idaho’s natural beauty remains largely unspoiled. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities in some of the most scenic surroundings in the country.
One of the best places to experience Idaho’s wilderness is Sawtooth National Forest. This area covers more than 2 million acres and includes several mountain ranges, rivers, and forests. There are also over 800 miles of hiking trails, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Idaho is home to a number of what are known as ‘ghost towns.’ These are towns that were once thriving communities but have since been abandoned, usually due to factors such as economic decline or natural disasters.
One of the most well-preserved ghost towns in Idaho is Bannack. This former gold mining town was once the capital of Montana Territory, and today it’s a popular spot for history buffs and anyone interested in what life was like in the Old West.
You can explore the abandoned buildings, many of which have been left exactly as they were when the town was deserted, and even go panning for gold in the nearby river.
Cities And Travel Destinations Idaho Is Famous For
The capital city of Idaho, Boise is located in the southwestern part of the state. Home to over 200,000 people, Boise is best known for its beautiful natural surroundings since it is nestled in the foothills of the impressive Rocky Mountains.
From hiking and biking to skiing and snowboarding, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Boise across various seasons. Best of all, you don’t even need to go all the way out to enjoy the nature.
Outdoors enthusiasts will love exploring the Boise River Greenbelt, a 25-mile network of trails and parks that follows the Boise River through the city.
However, this vibrant and friendly city also features rich cultural heritage and has a wide range of attractions to keep visitors entertained, including museums, art galleries, and parks.
Despite its growing population, the city is often known to have a small-town feel, with a strong sense of community and neighborliness.
If you’re interested in learning about the state’s history, be sure to visit the Idaho State Historical Museum.
Nearby Boise you will find the city of Nampa. It is the third most populous city in he state, home to over 100,000 people. Nampa is a great place to visit if you’re like to explore a vibrant arts and culture scene.
The bustling downtown district is littered with unique shops, restaurants, attractions, and galleries. From the Warhawk Air Museum to the Train Depot Museum, there are plenty of things to see and do in Nampa.
Located in the heart of Treasure Valley, the city is also surrounded by several parks and recreation areas, including Lake Lowell and Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. You can take advantage of the vast open space, farmland and scenic vistas on your trip.
For a taste of the local food scene, be sure to visit one of Nampa’s many farmers’ markets. Here, you can find fresh produce, local honey, artisanal cheese, and much more.
Located in Eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls is the largest city outside of the Boise metropolitan area. It is home to over 60,000 people and often seen as the commercial and cultural hub for this region of the state.
This picturesque city is situated on the banks of the Snake River which is why you will find plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities. Many visitors come to enjoy the parks and hiking trails in the surrounding area.
That said, there is also no shortage of historic landmarks and cultural attractions across the city. The Museum of Idaho, Colonial Theatre and East Idaho Aquarium are just some of the popular ones.
Of course, we cannot forget the Idaho Falls River Walk and Greenbelt Trail, which showcases the beauty of the nature.
Architecture And Landmarks Idaho Is Known For
Idaho is home to Shoshone Falls – one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the entire country. This natural wonder is located on the Snake River, 900 feet wide, and at 212 feet tall, it’s even taller than Niagara Falls!
The sheer size and impressive power of the falls are enough to take anyone’s breath away. The area is also popular for the many recreational opportunities it offers.
You can hike along the rim of the canyon for stunning views of the falls, or take a boat tour to get up close and personal with the cascading water. There are picnic areas, fishing spots, and hiking trails as well, making it a famous destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
In addition, Shoshone Falls is also known to be an important cultural site for some Native American tribes, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. This natural landmark have played a significant role in their spiritual and cultural traditions, and is considered sacred.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during the spring, you’ll be treated to a spectacular sight as the water thunders over the edge of the falls. It’s truly an unforgettable experience and one that you’ll never forget!
This is one of the deepest gorges in North America at around 8000 feet and is located on the border between Idaho and Oregon. That makes it deeper than the renowned Grand Canyon. It is no wonder why this is one of the famous landmarks in Idaho.
Throughout the canyon, you can enjoy spectacular views of towering cliffs, rushing rapids, and deep blue waters of the Snake River. This is a popular spot for hiking, camping, and rafting, and there are plenty of tour companies offering guided trips into the area.
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a whitewater rafting trip? You’ll need to be prepared for some big rapids, but it’s an unforgettable experience. Of course, you can also take a more relaxing boat or fishing trip on the water.
Apart from being an adventure and outdoor destination, the area has actually been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. It is therefore home to several important archaeological sites that offer insight into the lives and culture of these early inhabitants.
Arco Idaho And Atomic City
Famous for being the first city in the world to be lit by nuclear power, Arco is an interesting place to visit for anyone interested in energy or science history.
There are a few museums in town relating to this topic, including the Museum of Idaho’s Atomic Energy Exhibit, which tells the story of how Arco came to be powered by nuclear energy.
In a contrasting story, you can visit the nearby Atomic City – a small town with a big history. This is where the US government conducted much of its nuclear research during the Cold War and is sort of like a ghost town today.
Many More Things Idaho Is Known And Famous For
These are just a few of the things that Idaho is known for – there are plenty more to discover! From potatoes and huckleberries to star garnets and lava tubes, this state has plenty to offer visitors. Whether you’re looking for some delicious food, a challenging fishing trip, or a chance to find some hidden gems, you’ll be sure to find the adventure in Idaho.
Now that you know a little more about what this interesting and unique travel destination is famous for, plan a trip and uncover more things that Idaho is known for.
FAQ ABOUT IDAHO
What is unique about Idaho?
If there’s one thing that is most unique about Idaho, it has to be the breathtaking natural landspace that features mountains, rivers, forest and lakes. The diverse and scenic terrains are what makes the state an outdoor lover’s paradise with endless opportunities for adventure sports. That said, Idaho is also known for its star garnet and potatoes, reflecting the significance of its mining and agriculture industries.
What are 5 facts about Idaho?
These are some quick statistics, and you can read more about fun facts about Idaho here.
- Capital: Boise
- Population: 1.7 Million (39th Populous State in the U.S)
- Land Area: 83,569 sq mi / 216,443 km² (14th Largest in U.S)
- Nickname: The Gem State
- Abbreviation: ID