There’s plenty to do in Boise, but sometimes, there’s nothing like hitting the open road for a quick day-cation. These destinations are the perfect distance to pack up a nice lunch, maybe your hiking shoes or fishing pole, and spend a pleasant afternoon at. They are all close enough that you won’t need to worry about accommodations or filling up the gas tank more than once.
Below, we’ve shared our favorite day drive destinations that are less than 3 hours from Boise and a few points of interest to explore while you visit.
East of Boise
There are two routes that take you east out of Boise. Heading east out of Boise via Highway 21, once you pass Lucky Peak reservoir, you’ll quickly begin winding through the mountains and trees. Or, eastbound on I-84 — the main interstate through southern Idaho — efficiently allows you to move to eastern Idaho in no time.
Idaho City - 1 hour
Historic downtown Idaho City
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Stanley - 2 hours 50 minutes
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Mountain Home - 50 minutes
Bruneau Sand Dunes
Twin Falls - 2 hours
Canyon Rim Trail
Sun Valley/Ketchum - 2 hours 45 minutes
Ernest Hemingway’s last home
Ski or snowboard at Sun Valley Resort
West of Boise
Similar to heading east from Boise, take I-84 west to discover what’s just across the border. Only 57 miles from the center of the Treasure Valley, eastern Oregon is a frequently visited location by Idahoans. From this route, you can break off into smaller highways that bring you to quaint, little towns with pioneer history.
Baker City, Oregon - 2 hours
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Sumpter Valley Railroad
North of Boise
To head north out of Boise, take either Highway 55 or 16. If you’re looking to head into the middle of Idaho’s center, both of these roads will take you there, with endless breathtaking views. Much of Idaho’s best outdoor recreation can be easily accessed via this direction.
Emmett - 50 minutes
3 Horse Vineyard
Fruit picking at a local orchard
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Cascade - 1 hour 40 minutes
Kelly’s Whitewater Park
McCall - 2 hours 30 minutes
Ponderosa State Park
Brundage Mountain Resort
South of Boise
As a high desert area, the southern lands from Boise have some fantastic scenery filled with sagebrush, juniper trees, and evidence of the indigenous peoples and miners that once called that valley home. You won’t need to search hard for proof of the former inhabitants, and usually, a hand roadside sign will share the history of the native tribes, Basque people, or other settlers who left their mark (literally).
Marsing - 45 minutes
Sunnyslope Wine Trail
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Swan Falls Dam
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Jordan Valley, Oregon - 1 hour 30 minutes
St. Bernard Church
More Scenic Drives in Southern Idaho
All year round, Idaho has some stunning landscapes and vistas to behold, many of which are easily accessible by car, trail, boat, or plane. By far one of the most striking times to take a scenic adventure in Idaho is in the fall when the deciduous trees are shedding their leaves, and their color contrasts loudly against the deep, emerald pines.
Check out our blog on the best scenic drives in the fall here,
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