This week I wanted to focus on a city that tends to get passed over for bigger ones on the tourist circuit: Boise, Idaho. One of my all time favorite cities, it is an outdoor lovers paradise with a small town charm and friendly vibe. Visiting Boise is a great idea for families and anyone looking for year-round activities. From skiing and wine tasting to hot air balloon festivals and riding along the Greenbelt, these are five of my favorite spots for anyone visiting with kids!
Just 18 miles from downtown Boise is an easily accessible and non profit ski and recreation area that is great for a half day of skiing, a lesson for the kids, or some backcountry snowshoeing. Skiing is not known to be the cheapest sport to partake in, however Bogus Basin breaks that mold and offers some of the most affordable ski passes that you can find anywhere in the country.
In addition to winter sports, Bogus Basin also has year round activities, including hiking, mountain biking, summer tubing, and even a mountain coaster that will thrill even the youngest in the family. The mountain coaster takes you twisting and turning down 4,330 feet through the alpine forest and can be ridden by children as young as 3 (with an adult of course). Bogus Basin is a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and is definitely a must see spot when visiting Boise.
Fork restaurant in downtown is a great place to eat when visiting Boise. Not only do they make delicious cocktails, but they also support local, which is really important right now during these tumultuous times in order to help small businesses get back on their feet. They go out of their way to find local farmers, ranchers, wineries, distilleries and bakeries that they can support and bring into their restaurant. They have a small, but perfect kids menu with options such as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken tenders, and cheeseburger. They also have coloring books and fun little packs of wikki stix to help keep the kids entertained while parents enjoy a little downtime!
The Boise Greenbelt is a paved 25 mile path along the Boise river where residents and visitors can jog, walk, bike, and even rent electric scooters to whisk them through the city. Make sure to stop in Garden City and let the kids watch the river surfers in the summer and then grab a bite to eat at the nearby Sandbar restaurant while listening to some live music. If you keep heading Southeast you will run into Anne Morrison park where there is a great playground for the kids as well as Julia Davis park just a little further down where you can hop off the bike for a visit to Zoo Boise! There are also lots of places to pull off and let the kids throw rocks into the rive and its a beautiful place to be in Autumn! Just be careful, the river can move fast especially in the Spring! The Boise Greenbelt is a must stop when visiting Boise and the surrounding area!
Spirit of Boise – Hot Air Balloon Festival
If you happen to be visiting Boise around the first week of September, than you absolutely must check out the Spirit of Boise. It is a great hot air balloon festival that the kids will be in awe over as they watch the balloons rise into the air above the mountains. The mornings to see the festival are both cold and early so be sure to set your alarm and bring a jacket. It will be worth it though! They also have a kids day, so be sure to check the schedule!
Another great option if you are not an early riser is the Night Glow. One night during the festival they fire up the balloons and do a fun light show with the balloons lighting up to music! This is always a favorite among families, but it can be a late night as the sun does not set until pretty late in the Summer. It also gets pretty busy, so bring a blanket, chairs, and a picnic and get there early to get a front row seat!
Ste. Chapelle Winery is located in the Snake River Valley AVA just outside Boise. Many people don’t realize that the Snake River AVA is actually a shared viticultural area with Oregon and produces some excellent wines both in Oregon and Idaho. There are actually quite a few amazing wineries in the Treasure Valley area, however I chose this one because they have an adorable milk flight that you can order for the kids and an outside area that makes it easier for families. They also do concerts in the summer just below the winery that is a great family event! The best thing about Ste. Chapelle Winery though? The wine is really, REALLY good!!!
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