Looking for a cute town to visit? Look no further than Idaho! A state known for its rugged natural landscapes of lakes, canyons, and Rocky Mountains. This varied land lends Idaho the official nickname the "Gem State." Not only does Idaho's natural beauty reinforce this nickname, but so does its hidden gem quality. Idaho has a lower population and population density in comparison to the other 51 states. Idaho's cute, small towns have a cozy, at-home feel. Below are the seven cutest small towns in Idaho. The unique character and atmosphere make for a memorable visit at each location.
Situated in the northern part of Idaho is Sandpoint. It sits in the shadows of towering mountains atop a giant lake. Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho's largest lake at 43 miles long. Sandpoint sits on its north shore, surrounded by three major mountain ranges. Sandpoint is picturesque, possibly why USA Today named it the nation's "Most Beautiful Small Town."
Visitors get to enjoy four full seasons of outdoor activity and fun! The city is home to theme parks and recurring cultural events. Schweitzer Mountain ski resort serves as an impressive backdrop to Sandpoint. The ski resort features a 6,400-foot mountain that receives several hundred inches of snowfall each winter.
Sandpoint's waterfront downtown is charming, with many local galleries and shops. The lake is ideal for a peaceful boat ride, trophy fishing, or enjoying miles of forested trails. Sandpoint City Beach Park is inside the town. The family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible sand beach features calm water where visitors are invited to relax and soak up the scenery.
The tiny town of Wallace is in Idaho's northern Silver Valley mining district. Wallace is a memorable and historic town for a few reasons. It is the world's largest silver producer—making it the richest mining town still in existence.
In 2004, the mayor declared Wallace the "center of the universe" due to its unique location where four streams and five canyons converge. Silver Mountain and Lookout Mountain are two towering mountains within ten miles of Wallace.
Several blocks of Wallace are on the National Register of Historic Places, making its downtown a historic district. The Wallace Mining Museum focuses on local mining history and exhibits. Visitors can book underground mine tours at the town's Sierra Silver Mine.
Have a quiet stay in the friendly small-town vibe or visit the more exhilarating ski resort for some adventure. Silver Mountain Resort is roughly twenty miles east of Wallace and is the place to enjoy ample mountain activity.
Located in eastern Idaho, four miles west of the Wyoming border, is Driggs. This charming little mountain town is en route to two of Wyoming's most iconic national parks. Grand Teton National Park is south of Driggs in Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park extends through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
Driggs is west of the Teton Mountain Range within the Teton Valley, at the headwaters of the Teton River. A rural area, the economy is driven mainly by agriculture and ranching. Driggs' unspoiled natural beauty makes it a quiet place to observe wildlife, ride horses, or fish. The community emphasizes outdoor activity. The Teton Valley Trails and Pathways group promotes the use of trails and pathways that connect the community, focusing on non-motorized transportation.
The town hosts free annual events, including Winter Snowfest, which involves a snow sculpture competition. Also notable is the Teton Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, which takes place in June.
Ketchum is in central Idaho in the heart of Wood River Valley. Two mountain streams, Trail Creek and Warm Springs Creek, join the Big Wood River in Ketchum. The cute mountain town is picturesque, with a rich history, endless hiking trails, and world-class skiing.
Every Labor Day weekend, Ketchum hosts the Wagon Days festival, a themed carnival which pays homage to the local mining era. The pinnacle of the event is a parade of old west wagons, stagecoaches, and horseback riders. The Trailing of the Sheep festival is another exciting cultural event. This sheep parade reflects the town’s agricultural history as a sheep flocking and trading center.
Ketchum has a thriving arts community. The town hosts a music festival and writers’ conference, a state-of-the-art theater, and a public art program that reflects the community’s enthusiasm and appreciation for all art forms. Novelist Ernest Hemingway, an avid outdoorsman, adored the area. He lived and later died in Ketchum.
Situated in the eastern part of the state is Idaho Falls. The Snake River winds through the heart of town, giving it a unique quality. This natural feature has inspired local art movements and lends way to ample green space. The city’s River Walk circulates the river, leading to a scenic outlook of the town's falls.
A charming town, the community is dedicated to arts and expression. Idaho Falls is home to multiple venues for performing arts. The city hosts annual art events and public art displays and murals throughout the town. These include "Art You Can Sit On"—decorative benches resembling fantastical shapes.
Visitors can explore the downtown, filled with untouched historical buildings used for commercial purposes today. Many of these buildings feature turn-of-the-century styles such as Art Deco, Neo-Renaissance, and Neo-Georgian architecture.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, located in Sportsman's Park, sits on a rocky island in the Snake River. Visitors can cross to the island to a beautiful garden that celebrates the sister city, Tokai-Mura, in Japan.
Notable for its historic center, visitors can enjoy walking tours to see buildings listed on the National Historic Registry that date back to the late 1800s. The downtown is an eclectic mix of the past and present, featuring over 200 locally owned businesses. The exhibits are home to the Bannock County Historical Museum and focus on local and regional history.
The Portneuf River, which runs west of the city, is a 124-mile-long tributary of the Snake River. The Portneuf boasts top-notch fishing, kayaking, tubing, and rafting.
There is never a dull moment in Pocatello! Visitors can explore the nearby mountains, local recreation areas, and the town's many cultural attractions, including the Idaho Museum of Natural History and the local Zoo.
In southern Idaho, near the Nevada border, is Twin Falls. The town is on a broad plain at the south rim of the Snake River Canyon. Twin Falls is the location of the failed attempt by daredevil Evel Knievel to jump across the canyon.
Twin Falls is a scenic town known for its waterfalls, including the impressive Shoshone Falls. Dubbed the "Niagara of the West," the falls are 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide. It is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States.
Other nearby falls include Lower Salmon Falls, Upper Salmon Falls, and Caldron Linn.
Visitors can also indulge in the town's many outdoor recreation areas. These include more than thirty different and unique parks and trails, covering over 1,650 acres of land. A popular activity is a scenic drive to see the Snake River Canyon. The canyon overlooks are located just south of the bridge Perrine Bridge or at Shoshone Falls. Visitors can walk or drive across the bridge or watch as BASE jumpers leap off the bridge and parachute down into the canyon below.
Idaho is home to rugged natural terrain. It is a state blessed with towering mountains, flowing rivers, desert-like plains, and deep canyons. The state is clearly an outdoor playground for all seasons, making it the ideal home to many ski resorts. Memories and mementos of The Gold Rush remain in many of Idaho's historic towns, monuments, and museums. Visitors keen on history can learn more about the state's mining legacy, still an essential facet of its economy today. These seven of the cutest small towns in Idaho are well worth the visit!