From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Idaho Falls is a great home base for visits to Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park, but you’ll find plenty to do within the city and surrounding area as well. Award-winning restaurants, natural attractions, relaxing spas, and hot springs, family-friendly events, and well-maintained sports facilities are just some of the many things that make Idaho Falls a great place to explore.
Whether you're a new transplant, long-time local, or just passing through, there's much to do and see in Idaho Falls! Let's dig in.
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
The Camas National Wildlife Refuge manages natural habitats for local and migrating wildlife. A designated viewing route with interpretive signs takes visitors past the ponds, marshes, and fields that are home to a diverse population of birds and other animals. Hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing trails wind through the refuge. Trail maps are available at an informational kiosk near the headquarters building.
This primitive park west of Idaho Falls is a great place for outdoor adventurers. Its topography comes from lava flowing through the area thousands of years ago. Best navigated using a four-drive wheel drive, the rugged terrain is popular with hikers, amateur geologists, and wildlife enthusiasts. Snake River flows through the canyon created by the lava and presents lots of opportunities for tubing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, boating, and fishing.
Once a summer retreat for the families of wealthy industrialists, Harriman is now part of the Idaho State Parks and Recreation system. Open year-round, the park has day-use shelters and places to camp overnight. Miles of clearly marked trails are used by hikers, bikers, skiers, snowshoers, and horseback riders. The park has a Jr. Ranger Program for kids with an activity book that can be picked up at the visitor center
The Snake River Trail is an easy point-to-point trail that runs for 4.5 miles through Idaho Falls. Most of the trail runs along the Snake River. Frequented by hikers and runners, the trail goes from Fish Pond in the south to Russ Freeman Park in the north part of the city. Dogs are welcome on the trail as long as they are kept on a leash.
This 11.1-mile trail loops through the Idaho Falls Greenbelt, a scenic area in the city center. Along the trail, you’ll find many of the attractions that makes Idaho Falls such a gem. You’ll pass by public parks with picnic shelters and playgrounds, historic monuments and memorials, and multi-use sports facilities.
The name of this trail is misleading because it’s actually only 9.6 miles long. It runs from the trailhead out to the main vent of the lava flow in Hell’s Half Acre Wilderness Study Area and back. Rated as a moderate trail due to its rugged terrain, it’s used by hikers and trail runners.
The Idaho Falls Greenbelt is situated right in the middle of downtown; the 11-mile scenic paved path loops around the Snake River. Go for a long run, roller-skate, or stroll around and watch all the people and dogs playing outside. The Greenbelt also features incredible wildlife sculptures and dozens of unique benches designed by artists around the shaded path.
The Pitmaster BarBQue Company has two locations in Idaho Falls. The Fremont location is open for breakfast on weekdays and both locations are open for lunch and dinner every day except Sunday. The Fremont Avenue and Hitt Road locations serve owner Rob Harding’s award-winning brisket, ribs, and pulled pork recipes with signature sides and salads.
For traditional Indian cuisine, visit Tandoori Oven on South 25th. Their menu has options for vegans and vegetarians as well as meat lovers. Chicken, lamb, and vegetable dishes are served with rice. The smell of naan baked in a clay oven wafts through the air as you sit down to lunch or dinner. Follow up your savory entrées and sides with a treat from their dessert menu. Indian favorites like kulfi, kheer, and gulab jamun will satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you’re in the mood for Thai food, head to Krung Thep Thai Cuisine on Shoup Avenue. Open seven days a week, this Thai restaurant and sushi bar lets you choose the level of spice in your food. Their rice, noodles, and a la carte dishes can be customized with your choice of tofu, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or other seafood. Dine-in, pick-up, and delivery options are available.
The Sandpiper is an upscale steak and seafood restaurant on the banks of the Snake River. Their daily seafood specials, cultivated wine list, and rich desserts have helped to make them “Idaho Falls’ favorite restaurant.” Whether you eat in their air-conditioned dining room or outdoors on the patio with fireplaces that take the chill out of the air, you’ll love the casual atmosphere cultivated by owner, Ron Obendorf.
Dixie’s Diner came out on top in the local American food category in Idaho Falls Magazine 2019 Dining Awards. This 50s-style all-American diner is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All-day breakfast, homemade chili, burgers fresh off the grill, and hearty dinner specials are just some of the hearty choices available on their extensive menu. For a sweet treat, try one of their signature shakes. Can’t decide which flavor to choose? Ask your friendly waiter or waitress for recommendations.
Idaho Brewing Company, affectionately known as IBC, is a hidden gem in Idaho Falls. Located just off the Greenbelt, the brewery has excellent beers they brew onsite. Their taps offer year-round favorites like the Black Lager and the Highland Scotch Ale, as well as rotating seasonal brews. Walking onto their patio is akin to entering a garden oasis; it’s full of flowers, hanging lights, and intimate seating. Go there for seasonal live music, the Park Avenue Grill food truck, and, of course, excellent Idaho beer.
The Snakebite is a beloved Idaho Falls downtown restaurant. You can sit outside and enjoy the downtown vibe as you eat, or sit inside and enjoy the rotating local artwork and expansive windows. Head to the Snakebite for the great selection of local beers on tap, locally sourced beef, and insanely good sides.
Tautphaus Park is home to the Idaho Falls Zoo, known as “the best little zoo in the west.” This accredited zoo has more than 130 species from five different continents and promotes conservation through its educational programs and events. Their family programs include the Zoorific Family Fun Days, on-site and off-site nature events, behind-the-scenes tours, a popular penguin interaction program, Bat Night at the Zoo, and seasonal visits with Santa and friends.
Are your kids budding artists or performers? Cultivate their creativity with a trip to the ARTitorium on Broadway. The ARTitorium has hands-on activities, interactive exhibits, and imaginative attractions for toddlers to tweens. They offer drop-in art nights, parent play dates, and a Time for Tots program that give families the opportunity to experience the world of art together.
Blast Off! is an all-in-one family fun zone with a 4500 square foot playground, an arcade, a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, a climbing wall, and laser tag, Phazer Tag, and Bazooka Ball arenas. A candy bar, specialty drinks, and build-your-own pizza options will refuel you for more action-packed adventure!
For a unique date night, bachelor/bachelorette party, or team building event, head to Guns N Gear’s indoor axe throwing range. The first and only venue of its kind in Idaho Falls, the range provides a safe environment where you can try your hand at this popular Canadian pastime. An Axe Master will teach you the basics of axe throwing in a 10-15 minute safety course after which you can compete against your friends, family, or co-workers in this ancient game of skill.
Evening painting parties at Grape Van Gogh are for adults who want to channel their creativity while sipping on a glass of wine. These BYOB (bring your own beverage parties) are held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Idaho Fall studio on Pancheri Drive. Light snacks and expert instruction are provided to all participants, who are required to register in advance on Grape Van Gogh’s website.
Hurricanes is the hottest entertainment venue in Idaho Falls! Some of the best amateur and professional performers have taken the stage at Hurricanes. If you’d like to join their ranks, grab the mic on karaoke night and step into the spotlight! Whether you come to see scheduled acts, dance the night away, challenge a friend to a game of darts or pool, or just order a cocktail and enjoy the lively atmosphere, Hurricanes is sure to become one of your favorite hangouts.
Pickleball is a mashup of ping pong, tennis, and badminton. Played on a small court, this fun game is perfect for all ages and is quickly growing in popularity. The city’s Recreation Center has a pickleball court you can use for only $3 per person ($2 for children under 12 and seniors). All of the equipment you need to play this low-impact sport is available for checkout.
Discover what makes Idaho great through engaging exhibits and educational events at the Museum of Idaho. Hands-on STEM activities, Discovery Days, meet and greets with scientists, and semi-annual sleepovers will keep kids’ curiosity piqued. Parents can enjoy the museum once the kids go to bed with adults-only after-hour events like science-based scavenger hunts, trivia nights, and haunted history tours. Admission is only $12 for adults and $10 for kids up to 17 years old. Family and senior discounts are available.
Melaleuca Field is the home to the Idaho Falls Chukars, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Kansas City Royals. Modern stadium seating, local personalities who announce the games, and its prime location just blocks away from the Snake River makes Melaleuca Field a fan favorite! You can buy tickets for the games by phone, at the gate, or on the Minor League Baseball website.
Got a frisbee? Head to Freeman Park for a game of disc golf. Available for individual use or club play, this 18-hole course is well-maintained with a good mix of short and long holes. The first hole is near the parking lot across the street from the Idaho State Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A course map and scorecard are available for download from the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department website.
Amateur anglers (and professionals, too!) will love fishing the waters in and around Idaho Falls. Visitors and residents can fish from the kid-friendly stocked ponds in Ryder Park, try their luck at Ririe Reservoir, or cast a line in the Snake River. If you need to top off your tackle box, Snake River Bait Co. and Jimmy’s All Seasons Angler have everything you’ll need for a successful fishing trip.
The Idaho Falls River Walk trail runs along the Snake River from the historic downtown area to Snake River Landing. Built for bikers and pedestrians, this paved recreational trail takes you through the greenbelt and several public parks, past the falls that gave the city its name, and ends at the pier at Snake River Landing. If you’ve worked up an appetite, you can grab a bite to eat at Stockman’s Restaurant on the pier before pedaling back north.
Take a deep breath and exhale your cares away at Xhale Day Spa. Book one of their signature Swedish massages, a specialty prenatal massage, or a deep tissue massage to work out those chronic aches and pains. In addition to massages, this soothing day spa offers facials, eyelash extensions, manicures, pedicures, and waxing services.
Your skin will thank you when you make an appointment at Spa Noel. This aesthetic day spa offers hydrating facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, waxing, and ProCell Microchanneling. You can also book their eyebrow and eyelash tinting services or schedule a spray tan for that golden glow. A full line of IMAGE Skincare products is available to keep your skin looking its best between visits.
Trubeauty provides waxing, permanent makeup, and skin care services by appointment only. Rejuvenate your skin with the latest treatments and techniques including microchanneling, hydrodermabrasion, dermaplaning, and chemical peels. Make your morning makeup routine easier with semi-permanent eyeliner or microblading and shading for your eyebrows. Hair removal services for your face and bikini area will leave you feeling confident and ready for anything. Book an appointment with Trubeauty today for any of their professional services and walk out feeling relaxed and refreshed.
The Apple Athletic Club is more than just a gym. Known for being the best fitness facility in Idaho Falls, this massive health club has state-of-the-art weight and cardio equipment as well as multiple tennis courts, swimming pools, and racquetball courts. They also offer fitness and nutrition classes, personal training and weight loss programs, high-intensity workouts, and clinics for a variety of sports. You can try the club for free or sign up for a membership plan on their website or at the facility.
Elevate your workout with an aerial yoga or fitness class at Elevation Floating Fitness. Private instruction, group classes, yoga parties, team building events, and even an inspirational book club make Elevation an uplifting place to be. Pay-per-class pricing or punch cards for multiple visits are available at the studio, and you can register for classes in advance on their website.
Maltese CrossFit was the first dedicated CrossFit training facility in the area. Their industrial facility has over 10,000 square feet of space for individual workouts and group classes. They even have a kids program that teaches the basic exercises and techniques that are the foundation of CrossFit. They offer a wide range of punch cards and packages and your first class is free if you want to try them out before making a commitment.
The St. Anthony Sand Dunes are just 45 minutes northeast of Idaho Falls by car. With over 10,000 acres of dunes that reach up to 400 feet tall, the dunes are a popular spot for off-roading. Vehicle rentals are available in the city of St. Anthony and fees are assessed at the Egin Lakes Campground.
The dunes are also great for hiking and horseback riding. Winter visitors might get to see the herds of elk, deer, and moose that call this Bureau of Land Management property home.
For a day of rest and relaxation, head out of town to Heise Hot Springs in Ririe. This privately owned resort area has mineral springs, a heated pool, a well-maintained campground, a 9-hole golf course, ziplines, and a pizza parlor. Open year-round, the resort is fun for the whole family at an affordable price.
Eight miles outside of Rexburg is a natural lazy river known as the Warm Slough. Its gentle current carries you about a mile down the river to a sandy spot where you can get out and make your way back to your car. Depending on how high the water level is, the trip can take anywhere from about 45 to 90 minutes.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Idaho Falls that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Idaho Falls? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.