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.
Nampa is a city located in south-west Idaho. Although not the largest city within the state, it is the biggest city within Canyon County, with over 100,000 residents calling it home. Here, you’ll find fascinating and historical architecture, as well as numerous parks, museums, hiking trails, galleries, and other attractions.
Even those who have lived in the city for a decade would agree they haven’t experienced all that Nampa and its surrounding region has to offer, while for those new to the area – well, they’ve got a lot to look forward to as well.
Ready to discover the best of Nampa, Idaho? Let’s get started!
*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.
Nampa and its surrounding area are home to multiple state parks, helping you to get back to nature and leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city – even if only for a couple of hours. Here are our top picks within the region.
Eagle Island State Park plays host to both beautiful views and tons of opportunities for activities, including horseback riding, bike riding, and trails for hiking. The park borders the North and South channels of the Boise River. Additional attractions include volleyball courts, disc golf, and waterslides.
Lucky Peak State Park is a lovely retreat for an afternoon of swimming, boating, or biking. Conveniently close to Boise at only a ten-minute drive down the road, you can enjoy a quick escape for a picnic or walk along the vibrant Sandy Point Beach.
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge provides a peaceful oasis for both its visitors and the bounty of wildlife it shelters. A great destination for the avid birdwatcher (being the habitat of a sizable variety of species) and the casual nature-lover alike.
The ideal location should you and/or your family be looking for a lovely camping trip getaway weekend. With options for both campsites and cabins available, there’s something to suit everyone’s preference for staying in the great outdoors. It also houses the largest dune in all of North America, which itself offers sandboard rentals, hiking, fishing, etc.
At just over an hour’s drive from Nampa, Farewell Bend State Area offers divine waterfront views. If you’re looking for a camping destination with hot showers and electrical services accessible, Farewell Bend is the right stay; it’s a wonderful base camp that will allow you to explore the nearby area before settling comfortably in for the night.
One of the best ways to truly experience Nampa is by foot, so luckily, there are plenty of hiking trails in or near the city. These are some of our favorites!
Lake Lowell is a 5.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Nampa, Idaho that provides the chance to see a variety of wildlife and is good for all skill levels. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail, should that be a requisite demand for your group. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely stroll or a challenging climb, Lake Lowell is right for you.
A relatively short trail, Wilson Springs loop is just under a mile in length--great for a quicker stroll as opposed to a longer experience along a hiking trail. In addition to the draw of hiking, it also caters well to birdwatchers and has a few prime locations for fishing. Accessible to any skill level of hiker.
Whether you’re craving comfort food, fast food, or a fine dining experience, this area has it all. Ready to satisfy those post-hike cravings?
A reasonably priced modern but elegant restaurant with a rotating menu featuring a variety of their takes on American classics. Brick 29 also offers its “Craft Lounge” for the 21+ patrons, a bar that puts an emphasis on handcrafting every detail of your experience, from fresh juice made daily, to crystal clear ice.
Opened in 2006, this location is the first of three Jalapeño’s restaurants, each bringing traditional home-style Mexican dishes to Idaho. A family establishment, they pride themselves on their customer service, attention to detail, and authentic take on Mexican cuisine.
A breakfast joint open every day until 3 p.m., the Egg Factory includes all the American breakfast classic offerings; in addition, they cycle in rotating specials to spice up and reinvigorate old classics in creative ways.
Inspired and delicious Hawaiian cuisine brought to the great state of Idaho, this restaurant offers the standard bevvy of meats and sides, all prepared and presented in beautiful Hawaiian fashion. Visit Island Kine Grinds for a choice opportunity to experience a dash of Hawaiian culture in a fun, exotic setting.
This has to be the most beautiful restaurant here in downtown Nampa. The atmosphere is fun and fresh to the area; the tacos and margaritas are even better! Mesa offers a wide variety of tacos and cocktails to try, and the service is spectacular – you’ll always be greeted with a smile. It’s been a locals’ favorite Friday night hang-out spot since the day it opened back in 2017.
Located right across the street from Mesa Tacos, Pre-funk has been a fan favorite for many years. If you’re an on-tap beer fan, this is the place for you: they have a wide variety of brews and ciders, some local to the treasure valley (they also offer growler fill-ups for those on the go). It’s the best place to grab a cold beer on a hot summer day, or warm up with a great winter ale on those snowy Friday nights.
This diner, located in the historic district of downtown Nampa, is a tried-and-true staple. Stepping into this place is like stepping into a different, slower time, and regardless of whether you’re a repeat customer or a first-timer, you’ll feel like a member of the family at this burger joint. The menu offers a variety of soulfully cooked foods that pair great with delicious local beers, and the best part is that all of the ingredients in your meal will have come from local farms right here in Nampa!
After feasting and enjoying all that nature has to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Nampa’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!
Looking for some fun activities to do with children? Look no further! The following attractions are sure to satisfy even the smallest humans for hours on end.
Northwest Science Museum is a creationist museum in Idaho (as opposed to explicitly evolutionist). The museum aims to present both the Biblical and Evolutionary world-views side by side allowing each visitor to come to their own conclusion based on the evidence. An excellent educational journey for the critically minded of all ages.
Lakeview Park is Nampa’s oldest and perhaps most scenic park; the picturesque Lakeview Park is more than 44 acres in size. Lakeview is a landmark community park and visitors will enjoy the mature trees and attractive scenery. Available for reservation are two covered picnic shelters with power and water. Activities available include basketball, horseshoe-throwing, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and much more.
Whether it’s date-night or you simply find yourself wandering around the city long after the sun has gone down – here are our top activities to enjoy in Nampa during the darker hours.
The Ford Idaho Center is the premier Multi-Event Complex in the Pacific Northwest. Attend a concert, convention, sporting event, trade show, or an equestrian show, and you will be treated to a first-class experience at the Ford Idaho Center. Located just twenty minutes away at the Boise Airport, the Ford Idaho Center is truly at the Crossroads of the Northwest.
Ever had the desire to test your Sherlock Holmes instincts? Labyrinth Escape Games is the right destination for you. The venue plays host to a variety of “escape rooms”, the ever-popular phenomena where a person or party has to challenge themselves by solving the mysteries of the contents within a puzzle room of sorts. Labyrinth offers fun for the whole family with numerous themed escape rooms, available by reservation.
Want to hit the town without it costing you a small fortune? Nampa is full of fun and interesting attractions, including those that cost just a few dollars for you to enjoy. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the city “on the cheap”.
The Warhawk Air Museum was brought to life in 1989 by its co-founders John and Sue Paul as a place to preserve military aviation history. The museum has since become an educational destination for over 5,000 school-age children and 25,000 visitors annually. An informative real-life look into the American military history of aviation.
The Canyon County Historical Society was established in 1972 as a coming together of preservationists aimed at saving the Nampa Train Depot from demolition by Union Pacific. Since 1976, it has become a community storehouse of local treasures displayed in the Nampa Train Depot Museum. Having acquired the Our Memories museum in Caldwell in 2007, it continues to seek out history to protect and share. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the museum is fueled by passions for history, and those with a mind for such will find themselves right at home.
Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Nampa? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in the city that won’t cost you a cent.
A curious and mind-boggling antique shop, Rusty’s specializes in the odd, the unusual, and the fantastic. Ideal for the inquisitive, a trip to Rusty’s may mean leaving with an item you had never even imagined existed, and if nothing else, it’s guaranteed to be reminiscent of a trip down the rabbit hole.
A quintessential example of the expansive natural beauty ubiquitous in Idaho, the Wilson Springs fishing ponds in Nampa are a great example of the gorgeous scenery nestled all across the state. This is a premier destination perfect for a peaceful family outing that nature lovers of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy--whether you’re in the mood to fish or not!
Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Nampa has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.
Known for its friendly service, calm environment, and high-quality product line, the Bella Mer spa is the ideal gem to compliment the gorgeous natural landscapes with soothing, peaceful relaxation. Of particular note, Bella Mer accentuates its dedication to its premier products, from body oils to salt scrubs; in doing so, it intends to take a spa day experience from great to transcendent.
Departing from the traditional, Eastern-minded backdrop of the general spa retreat, Moon Blossom Day Spa combines all the usual spa offerings (by a highly skilled team) with the charm of a rustic, cozy setting. A peaceful escape in the heart of Nampa, Moon Blossom offers not only spa therapy treatments, but also a number of options of a specialty salon.
If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Nampa is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.
With all the offerings of a standard fitness center, Nampa Recreation Center takes exercise to a whole new level. With rock climbing, multi-tiered water slides, sports courts, pools, spas, and more, this trip to the rec center is far from the ordinary.
Elevate Mind Body Studios terms itself as a one-stop shop for all things fitness, health and wellness. Driven by the intent to combine all aspects of bodily wellness in a single locale, it has created a facility to meet every set of exercise needs at a price that anyone can afford, including access to personal trainers as desired. Be certain to look into their extensive selection of group exercise classes, ranging from pilates and yoga, to body combat and bootcamp strength training.
Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend weeks within Nampa without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.
Named for the natural craters formed by volcanic activity, Craters of the Moon is a volcanic wonderland, enormous and thrilling to explore. Start at the Visitor Center for informative exhibits, films, and advice from staff. With experience opportunities ranging from 30 minutes to full day endeavors, the hiking, driving, walks, and exploration of the unique natural expanse is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
A scenic drive less than 2 hours from Boise, Twin Falls is a city with a wide range of tourism to-do’s. With gorgeous, breathtaking natural settings in Shoshone falls and Perrine Coulee Falls (hence the Twin Falls moniker) as well as the Snake River Canyon Rim trail, nature lovers will have plenty to see and explore. Additional offerings include fine dining, ziplining, museums, Evil Knievel jump monuments and sites, and historic bridges, making Twin Falls an excellent day trip venue with something for everyone.
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 Nampa that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Nampa? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.