If you are looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Idaho this summer, then you’ll want to hurry and reserve your camping spot as soon as possible. We know you’ll be ready to say “Please, pass the smores” with this list of camping hotspots this summer.

Many of Idaho’s high-profile camping destinations can be reserved through recreation.gov. or Idaho States Parks and Recreation.  Keep in mind that these destinations fill up fast as they are available for booking at least six to nine months in advance. However, you might still get lucky to get a spot, but you’ll want to check and reserve sooner than later.


Payette National Forest

Ponderosa State Park in McCall is located only a couple of hours from Boise. This State Park offers a beautiful campground with camping located within short walking distance to the lake. Cabin rentals are available as well. Check out this short video to see the natural beauty this place has to offer.


Grouse Campground on Goose Lake north of Brundage Mountain is also a beautiful place to try if you want to escape the crowds of McCall.


Upper Payette Lake. Fishing, canoeing, hiking, and biking (there's a 1-mile paved trail) are among the popular activities at this gorgeous spot in the mountains 19 miles north of McCall. It's a no-wake lake. Half of the campground is available on a first come, first served basis.


Cold Springs Campground is less than a mile from Lost Valley Reservoir, which offers quality fishing and a chance to see the rare Northern Idaho ground squirrel. It's 10 miles west of New Meadows.


Sawtooth National Forest

Redfish Lake in Stanley, Idaho is beautiful and only a few hours from Boise. This is a popular summer camping destination however, there are still options if you can’t find camping around Red Fish Lake itself or the Lodge. Here are a few other campgrounds to consider checking out Sunny, Gulch, Chinook, Glacier View, and Outlet.


If you are looking for first come, first serve give Heyburn and Sockeye Campgrounds a try, or beautiful Alturas Lake Inlet Campground. Alturas is located about 25 miles south of Stanley. It's a quieter, less-commercial setting than Redfish Lake.


Boise National Forest

Lake Cascade, this campground offers individual campsites as well as 10 developed campgrounds. There are several day use areas, and six boat launch ramps as well.


Shoreline at Warm Lake (near Cascade), Big Trinity Lake (highest drivable area in Idaho) and Sagehen Creek (near Smiths Ferry).


South Fork Boise River

If you want to plan a quick weekend camping trip, then the South Fork of the Boise River is your place.


There’s nothing fancy or complicated about camping along the 12-mile stretch between Anderson Ranch Dam and the Danskin access point. From driveway to the campground, you can arrive in less than two hours. No-fee camping is first come, first-served and spots are primitive, though a few restroom facilities are scattered along the dirt road that parallels the South Fork.


Getting there: From Mountain Home, take US20 to Anderson Ranch Dam Road, and turn left onto the dam. Turn left after the dam, head into the canyon and look for marked camping spots on the left.


Middle Fork Boise River

The campgrounds along the Middle Fork of the Boise River feel like another world away and it’s only a 50-some mile drive from Boise. If you’re willing to drive the windy, bumpy, sometimes-sketchy road between Arrowrock Dam and Atlanta, you’re rewarded with more than a dozen public hot springs (plus the private Twin Springs Resort), fishing, mountain biking, and hiking.


A few basic Forest Service campgrounds dot the way, as well as some primitive sites. Troutdale Campground has five sites on a first come, first serve basis, picnic tables, and a toilet.

Upstream, Ninemeyer Campground is an eight-site, no-fee campground with no amenities — unless you count its proximity to great hot-springing.


Looking for Adventure

If you are interested in Idaho adventures no matter what time of year it is you’ll want to check out Stueby’s Outdoor Journal. Hopefully, you are inspired to book your next Idaho adventure and get out and enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer. Happy travels, camping, and trails to you!