People tend to spend a lot of time looking forward to the summer months in order to have road trips and explore the outdoors, but forget about all of the adventure that winter has to offer. There are those of us that prefer a toasty winter coat and a steaming mug of fresh hot cocoa over sunburns and itchy bug bites. After all, humankind conquered winter long before AC was invented. Winter is the original time of year for adventure. Your crops were dormant and many of your trade routes were snowed over. With little else to do around the homestead, it was time to create your own adventures and activities to pass the time and ward off cabin fever. We’ve put together an authentic Idaho-centric winter adventure guide that will keep you and your family entertained from now until springtime. Enjoy!
First Event: Take an Epic Idaho Road Trip. Recommended in November.
Get the family ready for a road trip like no other. It starts in Boise and loops around the entire state and ends back in Boise. The trip is about 40 hours of driving over 10 days. You will travel from Boise north to McCall, Lewiston, and finally Bonners Ferry in the panhandle. Then you will loop east and south down to Salmon to Idaho Falls then to Twin Falls and Stanley while finally looping back to Boise from Stanley. This trip is such a good showcase of Idaho and everything she has to offer. The complete guide can be found here from the Visit Idaho website. That PDF lays out the entire map and details every leg of the journey. It also includes recommendations for great places to eat and stay along the way!
This is such a great road trip that will help you and your family enjoy so much of what Idaho has to offer that will be unlike any other family vacation they’ve seen before. Pack up the ol’ station wagon and head out! You’ll be glad you did.
Sleigh Ride Adventures: Mid to Late December
Nothing says “Christmas Time” quite like a sleigh ride. The family is going to love dashing through the snow in these fantastic and authentic horse drawn sleigh adventures. There are many great places in Idaho to enjoy a transcendent sleigh ride this winter, but our favorite is in Garden Valley at Idaho Sleigh Rides.
Believe us, it’s worth the journey from Boise to spend an enchanted winter evening peacefully gliding along the snow, bundled up tight in your winter jacket and mittens as the sleigh bells ring off the trees. After your sleigh ride, you are treated to an authentic dutch oven dinner with a side of homemade bread and warm cider. As you’re enjoying your dinner, they will also provide live music. Besides actually meeting Santa Clause, it doesn’t get much more Christmas than that!
The Great McCall Winter Carnival: Late January
You’ve never seen a carnival like this! McCall is home to a lot of things. Celebrities like Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger may live in the slightly swankier Sun Valley, but the real party happens in McCall every year. Get the family to McCall this year and see what some people call the “Winter Mardis Gras” is a celebration “of all things winter” according to the McCall Chamber of Commerce website.
McCall Winter Carnival Dates: January 25, 2019 – February 3, 2019
Theme: Legends, Myths and Superheroes
“During Carnival, enjoy our famous snow sculptures, Torchlight and Mardi Gras Parades, live music, daily events spanning everything from comedy shows to art auctions, snowbike races to the Monster Dog Pull and much more.”
The Winter Carnival is a great time to celebrate and say goodby to winter in one last hurrah! It’s a perfect last stop on your Idaho winter adventure tour.