It’s been three long years since we’ve been there and we’re itching to get back! 

The unofficial start of summer is upon us and maybe you haven’t locked down where you’d like to go on vacation yet. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be a full blown vacation. You could burn a PTO day, pack the family up on a Friday and hit the road for a long weekend somewhere beautiful in Idaho! 

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Well, you’ve got a lot of places to choose from! Nicknamed the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” Idaho has been named home to one of the most beautiful freshwater beaches in the country. 

Photo by Brandon Nelson on Unsplash
Photo by Brandon Nelson on Unsplash
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Too far to travel? There are three equally beautiful blue lakes within a two hour drive from Boise. The water is typically pretty chilly, so they’re a fantastic place to head on one of those hot summer days that reaches over 100 degrees! 

YouTube/Adventures of A+K
YouTube/Adventures of A+K
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Speaking of cooling off, if being on the water isn’t your thing, how about visiting an Idaho cave that’s a chilly 28 degrees year round? Yeah, we’ve got that too.

YouTube/Sophia Doumani TV
YouTube/Sophia Doumani TV
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And then there’s the Palouse in Moscow! Conde Nast Traveler named it one of the 50 most beautiful places in the United States.  

Photo by Caleb Riston on Unsplash
Photo by Caleb Riston on Unsplash
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These natural wonders are all incredible in their own way, but they’re not the one that landed on 24/7 Tempo’s list titled “The Most Beautiful Natural Wonder in Every State.” Idaho’s spot on the list went to the Sawtooth National Forest. In picking the forest they said: 

“The Sawtooth National Forest is home to over 300 alpine lakes amongst dozens of 10,000 foot snow-capped peaks, and over 700 miles of trails. While Sawtooth is a haven for all types of outdoor sports and activities, those who wish to see it firsthand from the comfort of a vehicle can drive the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway.”

We’re not much for camping or hiking anything tougher than Table Rock, but we can absolutely vouch for the beauty of the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway. It’s beautiful to drive, but our favorite way to experience it is a mixture of driving, running and screaming our heads off as our teammates cover almost 62 miles of the Sawtooth Relay. 

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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The 12 leg relay race takes teams from Stanley Elementary onto the scenic byway, up to the tippy top of the Galena Summit before plummeting runners back down to Atkinson Park in Ketchum. It’s impossible to put the memories you create by putting a team together into words and it’s something we’ve been missing so very much. 

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, they haven’t been able to hold the race since 2019 but are hoping to be back in action on June 10, 2023. You don’t need to be a world class marathoner to do the relay. Teams of all abilities show up on the start line to conquer the beautiful mountain challenge.  If you’re interested in forming a team for next year, click HERE and keep that bookmark handy.

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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Of course, one of our favorite parts of relay weekend (you know…on top of the beautiful scenery) is carbo loading pre-race and refueling post race at the tasty restaurants in Ketchum. The small town was actually named one of the “7 Small Towns in the U.S. That Are Secret Food Destinations” by Conde Nast Traveler. If you find yourself visiting the Sawtooths and are looking for some delicious meals, here are some places that you absolutely shouldn’t skip! 

10 Ketchum Restaurants You Must Visit During Your Next Trip

Conde Nast Traveler included the Wood River Valley's Ketchum on their list of "7 Small Towns in the U.S. That Are Secret Food Destinations." According to Trip Advisor, these are the 10 highest-rated restaurants that you can't miss while you're there!

15 Small Town Idaho Restaurants That Are Worth the Drive

There's no shortage of good food in the Treasure Valley, but when you're traveling and driving through some small Idaho towns where are you going to grab something good to eat? Perhaps one of these hidden gems! You may just fall in love with them so much that they actually become a destination for you!

The 7 Magnificent Wonders of Idaho Are Absolutely Jaw Dropping

Without a doubt, Idaho is one of the most beautiful states in the country. It's hard to pick just seven things that truly highlight its beauty, but this is our best shot!