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Free and Cheap Things to Do in the Boise, Idaho Area

One state I have yet to visit is Idaho. I had no idea the state offered such a diverse choice of activities. I’d love to visit ALL of the places listed below that are free or cheap things to do for family travel, budget travel, or any kind of travel. Heck, you don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy these affordable attractions and activities – those of you that live near these areas should check them out. – CajunMama

Free and cheap things to do in southwest Idaho - flickr image by Photos of Nature's Calm

Head to Southwest Idaho to experience a family and budget-friendly getaway that offers a blend of all the best experiences—delicious cuisine, rich culture, active adventures in the summer and winter and as many scenic views as unique encounters. The region encompasses Lucky Peak State Park, Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area, Idaho’s Wine Country, additional state parks, including Three Island Crossing (historic wagon train ford on the Snake River), Bruneau Dunes State Park (home to North America’s largest single sand dune), Celebration Park (former wintering ground for the Paiute Indians features a large concentration of petroglyphs and campsites) and more, all within a 100-mile radius.

Boise and Southwest Idaho offer diverse options for everyone in the family without breaking the budget. Families will love exploring the region aboard Thunder Mountain Line’s themed trips such as Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Teddy Bear Story Time. Many area theaters, including open-air Starlight Mountain Theater, offer a chance for bonding and entertainment. Animal enthusiasts must see the new Condor Corridor exhibit at the World Center for Birds of Prey and Zoo Boise’s Wallaby Walkabout.

Idaho’s capital city serves as cultural and culinary center for a variety of cuisines, including French, Italian, Basque and Asian. Boise is home to the largest per capita concentration of Basques outside of the Basque homeland. Today, Boise’s historic Basque block is a popular location for events and exploring, with the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and Basque market. The Basque Market offers culinary classes and wine tastings monthly; visitors can participate alongside local residents in learning to make tapas, such as mussels in saffron cream sauce and crab tartlets.

An open-air farmers’ market, the Capital City Public Market, includes foods and wares from farms, bakeries, and artisans. The Market encourages fresh local produce and at least 75% of the products sold must have been grown or produced by the vendor and the remaining 25% of the vendors may resell or consign produce obtained only from other local growers. A similar principle applies for the specialty foods vendors and artisans. Additionally, ongoing events such as Chef at the Market, Art Under the Stars and a Holiday Market enhance the culinary celebration in the capital city.

Outdoor adventures, including the newly opened, and free, Kelly’s Whitewater Park in nearby Cascade, hot air ballooning, hiking the sand dunes of Bruneau Dunes State Park, hunting, fishing, and more are all easily accessible in and around Boise, for all ages and skill levels. The Boise River Greenbelt stretches 25 miles along the Boise River connecting city parks and providing a place for family or individual biking, rollerblading, jogging or a leisurely stroll. The Payette River Scenic Byway is a great place for a mini-road trip with options for floating, cross-country skiing, camping and more. The Boise CVB and Southwest Idaho Travel Association websites share a diverse selection of specialty packages—family, romance, dining/shopping/entertainment, sports, outdoor adventure and more.

The City of Trees is an exciting city with unique attractions, spacious parks, a riverfront Greenbelt, a vibrant downtown, and excellent air service in the heart of a recreation and scenic wonderland. Year-round adventures abound in Southwest Idaho. Plan now for a value vacation packed with winter fun at www.boise.org or http://www.visitsouthwestidaho.org/.

This content was provided by Amy Williams on behalf of the Boise/Southwest Idaho area.

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  1. What a great piece on Idaho! I actually currently live here and try to go out and find new and fun things to do. Feel free to check out my blog to see some photos of some different places 🙂

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