Boise is the capital of the state of Idaho, located by the River in the southwestern part. It is also the most populous city in the state, known for its scenic parks, delightful museums and a variety of other attractions.
Boise may not have a functioning train system, but it has a reliable bus service called Valleyride. There are also various car rental companies around the city if you want to drive around.
Despite the absence of trains, going on day trips from Boise is still easy because of its convenient road system. The highways easily connect to surrounding towns and cities, as well as nearby states.
If you’ve been in this vibrant Idaho capital for days and want a change of scenery, here are some of the best day trips from Boise, Idaho.
10 Best Day Trips From Boise, Idaho
1. Sunny Slope Wine District
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An easy day trip from Boise is the Sunny Slope Wine District, where you’ll find a dozen or so wineries.
Only 45 minutes away, it’s a happy surprise if you’ve been in Idaho and enjoying a lot of outdoor adventure.
Here, you get to take a break from the hiking or rafting as you walk among lush vineyards. It is like being in an entirely different country, even if the area is still nestled in the Snake River Valley.
Spread in picturesque landscapes, the vineyards enjoy a mix of volcanic soil and a temperate climate. These make the area excellent for grapes that are used for robust reds and delicate rosés.
Most of the wineries are family-owned and offer tastings. Support this local industry by getting a bottle or two to bring home with you.
2. Hells Canyon
Situated along the Idaho and Oregon border is the spectacular Hells Canyon.
The drive takes three hours but it’s definitely a worthy day trip from Boise. This is a popular destination for fishing and rafting enthusiasts, as well as for hikers and bikers.
The Snake River flows through this stunning water gorge, which is the biggest in America.
It’s also a great place for wildlife spotting, as you’d most likely see bighorn sheep, mountain goats or even black bears.
Jetboat or helicopter tours are also recommended if you want a different perspective of the area.
3. Snake River
Another fantastic Boise day trip that’s easily accessible is the scenic Snake River Canyon.
It is situated in the midst of breathtaking landscapes, comprised of a canyon, springs, and waterfalls. There’s a variety of options for touring the area.
One way is to go on a boat tour and cruise through certain stretches of the river to take in the scenery from the water.
You may also walk across the 500 feet high Perrine Bridge across the canyon or hike the 10-mile walking path at the Centennial Waterfront Park.
The hiking trails are at the southern rim of the river and have access to the springs, waterfalls and visitor center.
Located just 2 hours north of Boise is the picturesque resort town of McCall. This is an ideal day trip from Boise if you want to get away from the hustle for a while.
This small town is by the Payette Lake and surrounded by lush forests, perfect for relaxing walks and nature hikes.
If you’re in Boise in winter and want to have some fun on the ice, McCall is your perfect winter getaway.
This town is known to have the highest snowfall in Idaho, making it ideal for winter activities like skiing, sledding, snowboarding and more.
5. Bogus Basin
Another cool day trip from Boise is located just 45 minutes from the city’s downtown. Primarily known as a winter destination, Bogus Basin is slowly emerging as the place to go even in summer.
If winter is for skiing, sledding, and snowboarding, the ski area transforms into a gorgeous biking and hiking trail during summer.
There are also disc golf, live music performances and running events here during warmer months.
From the mountain, visitors can enjoy sweeping views of Boise and nearby areas.
From Boise, Caldwell takes around 30 minutes by bus.
This small but flourishing town is still part of the metropolitan area of Boise, Caldwell is known for its annual festivals such as the Indian Creek Festival and the Winter Wonderland Festival.
This is a scenic town with a lovely central area to wander around in and see the sights.
A family-friendly town, this makes for a memorable day trip from Boise.
Some of the best places to visit in Caldwell are the Babby Farms, the Glen L. and Ruth Evans Gem and Mineral Collection, Our Memories Museum and the Whittenberger Planetarium.
7. Craters of the Moon
It takes three hours to reach this strange yet scenic destination if coming from downtown.
However, a day trip from Boise to this area is truly worth it. The Craters of the Moon is said to have originated from eight massive volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago.
The result is an otherworldly lava field that spans miles.
Listed as a National Monument, Craters of the Moon National Monument has a visitor’s center that’s a must-visit. It features displays, exhibits, and films about this stunning area.
The warmer months are the best times to visit, as visitors can enjoy the hiking trails suited for different fitness levels.
If you have a car, try the scenic loop that spans 7 miles, where you’ll be treated to incredible views of this monument and surrounding areas.
8. Idaho City
Idaho City is an easy Boise day trip that only takes an hour to reach by car.
Known as the gateway to the Sawtooth Mountains during the Gold Rush, a walk through this historic town is like being in an open-air museum.
Around this western city, you’ll still find remnants of its rich logging and mining history. Savor your visit to this rugged town and take in the western vibe.
Walk on old-fashioned wooden sidewalks, or spend time at the Boise Basin Museum. A must-try is the sarsaparilla which you can get at the local saloon.
Still a part of the metropolitan area, Meridian is a village that has a lot to offer for those on a day trip from Boise.
It’s just under thirty minutes from downtown Boise by bus or car and known for being family-friendly as well as a foodie and shopper’s heaven.
A must visit here is the downtown area that’s home to various restaurants that serve up tasty treats.
Meridian is also known for its recreation areas that are best for families.
For nature lovers, the village has numerous parks and green spaces perfect for relaxing strolls. For the more adventurous, a must-try is the hot air balloon ride at Lake Harbor, especially at sunset.
10. Thousand Springs State Park
The stunning geography of Thousand Springs State Park easily attracts visitors looking for a scenic day trip from Boise.
From the city’s downtown area, this stunning park is less than two hours away from Boise.
Known to have one of the largest spring areas in the world, this park is characterized by historic sites, springs and waterfalls and volcanic landscapes.
It is a haven for nature lovers, a place that’s ideal for hiking, biking, a bit of fishing and even picnics.