Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho.

6 Best Towns In Idaho To Visit In 2024

Idaho is an outdoor lover's paradise, overflowing with forested mountains, alpine peaks, stunning wildflower meadows, river canyons, plains, and deserts. The unspoiled nature areas promise spectacular views of pristine lakes and wildlife habitats. The small towns explode with their unique beauty, not only from the natural surroundings but also from storied histories, local businesses, and bustling communities. The state is appealing no matter the time of year and is known for its dark skies, which are ideal for stargazing, scenic byways, and icy waterfalls. The best towns in Idaho to visit in 2024 promise unrivaled adventures and experiences, whether it is in the great outdoors or events, festivals, and local excitements.


A moose statue in Ketchum, Idaho.
A moose statue in Ketchum, Idaho.

Ketchum is a picture-perfect Idaho town in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, home to crystal-like waters and plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails. Ketchum hosts several annual events, such as the Wagon Days Parade in September, featuring the original Lewis Ore Wagons, and the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in October, honoring the migration of sheep.

Notably, the International Dark-Sky Association brands the town a Dark Sky Community, meaning it is an optimal location to view the sparkling stars in the sky. On April 8, 2024, there will be a 49 percent magnitude solar eclipse. It is the perfect time to enjoy a camping trip to town with a cozy sleeping bag, eclipse glasses, and a telescope in tow.


People having a great time along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, Idaho.
People having a great time along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, Idaho. Editorial credit: Kirk Fisher /

Sandpoint is one of the most adorable small towns in Idaho, conveniently located between the Rocky Mountains and Lake Pend Oreille, one of the most beautiful lakes in Idaho. The town also houses Schweitzer, Idaho's largest ski resort, which happens to be the perfect place to visit during the annual Winter Carnival from February 16 to February 25, 2024. Other events include the Sandpoint Home & Garden show in April, the Music Festival at Sandpoint from July 25 to August 4, 2024, and Beerfest in July, where locals and visitors alike may test local brews. For history enthusiasts, the third weekend of May is the optimal time to visit to attend the Lost in the 50s tradition, featuring classic cars, dances, and plenty of parades.

Lava Hot Springs

The resort town of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.
The resort town of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.

The town of Lava Hot Springs sits along the Portneuf River, where many choose to float and enjoy a relaxing day. The town is most famous for its hot springs, which are especially enjoyable in the cooler months, and known for their healing properties. Ziplining at the Lava Zipline and Ropes course is a popular summer activity, as is golfing at the Lava Hot Springs Golf Course.

Each year, in the first week of February, Lava Hot Springs hosts the Fire & Ice Winterfest, featuring beer and wine tastings, a run down the main street, and a chili cook-off. The 2024 solar eclipse is also visible in the town of Lava Hot Springs, reaching a magnitude of 54 percent, perfect for a unique and unforgettable experience with the whole family.


The marina at McCall, Idaho.
The marina at McCall, Idaho.

McCall is one of the coziest small towns in Idaho, and it is especially attractive in the winter months. In winter, travelers enjoy the Nordic skiing routes in Ponderosa State Park and the nearby Tamarack Resort. The annual Winter Carnival takes place on the last weekend of February in 2024, featuring live music, ice sculptures, a beer garden, dog sled races, and more. McCall Ale Trail is an exciting summer destination known for its scenic valleys and wildlife. Plus, the trail is known for housing three craft breweries, which is ideal for tasting local brews and enjoying the scenery. From mid-June through September, visitors and locals may stop by the Farmers Market each Wednesday and Saturday to enjoy locally grown and handcrafted goods.


Downtown Salmon, Idaho.
Downtown Salmon, Idaho. Image credit: Jimmy Emerson DVM via

Salmon is the ideal destination for a weekend getaway on the outskirts of Frank Church River, which is a notable location for fishing and boating trips. The Discovery Hill Trails are an excellent outdoor destination year-round, ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and disc golf. ATVing in Sacajawea Motorsports Park is also popular, while many visitors also kayak and boat along the river. There is also the Salmon River Scenic Byway, which winds through Salmon-Challis National Forest, the fourth largest national forest in the western US, featuring breathtaking views along the way, as well as several hot springs. Throughout 2024, several events are worth the trip, including Nine-and-a-Half Hours of Disco on May 1, Shakespeare in the Parks on August 1, and Bands & Brews on August 3.


Main Street in Wallace, Idaho.
Main Street in Wallace, Idaho.

Wallace is an unforgettable small town in the Rockies, continuing its role as the world's largest silver producer. In fact, the entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places, famous for its living history. There are also underground mine tours and the Northern Pacific Depot Railroad Museum that add to the town's historic appeal. For outdoor adventurers, over 1,000 miles of mining, logging, and Forest Service roads have been transformed into a mountain bike, ATV, and snowmobile trail system. Wallace also overflows with annual events, including the Leadman Triathlon at Silver Mountain Resort and the Historic Wallace Craft Beer Pub Crawl in April, as well as the Wallace Blues Festival in July and the Huckleberry Festival & 5k Fun Run in August.

Enjoy A Trip To Idaho In 2024!

The state of Idaho explodes with charming small towns, each of which boasts its own opportunities for adventure and excitement. Sparkling night skies, scenic byways, gorgeous wildflowers, and natural beauty abound in Idaho, alongside local events and happenings. From the Blues Festival in Wallace to the breathtaking eclipse in Lava Hot Springs or Ketchum, the small towns of Idaho promise unique experiences in 2024, making them the place to be this year. 

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