Something about Idaho just feels like home—it’s not over-the-top touristy, there’s a variety of climates to fit your preference, and each town has its own unique charm. Thanksgiving in this gorgeous state is enriched by lush foliage and various style mountains, from the smooth and rolling to the dramatic and jagged. So if you’re looking for a great getaway, these Idaho towns, and the welcoming people dwelling in them, fit the bill.
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Like many cities, Boise features a marathon on Thanksgiving, called the Turkey Day 5k Boise, which can be a great way to work up an appetite for a big dinner. An abundance of restaurants and food joints offer delicious staples for your meal, or you could fish one of the countless prime spots instead of opting for a bird. Boise has got plenty of attractions to explore and is beautiful this time of year.
Sun Valley & Ketchum
Ketchum and Sun Valley are one and the same, with downtown offering plenty of artisan restaurants, and Sun Valley Resort whipping up an extravagant, yet traditional Thanksgiving buffet. The holiday also marks the season-opening for the slopes, so there’s a lot to celebrate. Travel up the road for a few minutes to reach the rustically magnificent Galena Lodge, which serves as a chill-out hub for those hitting the Nordic skiing trails. On Turkey Day, they too will be serving up a feast to the same caliber of their amazing daily dishes and treats.
Defined by the massive body of water it surrounds, Coeur d’Alene is a picturesque, waterfront, fall escape. Join in on the Turkey Trot by simply donating non-perishable food items—biscuits and gravy reward runners at the finish line. Coeur d’Alene Resort also features the biggest and best holiday lights display on water, which consists of riding a boat out on the lake to catch a premium glimpse of the Holiday Light Show.
Nestled in a canyon in central Idaho, Riggins has a differently breathtaking atmosphere. Deeply set grounds are surrounded by rocky hills dotted with colorful trees along the rushing Salmon River. Salmon Rapids Lodge sets right on the water with a traditional cabin feel and is a picture-perfect place to spend the Holidays. Nearby River Rock Cafe and Seven Devil’s Steakhouse have been known to prepare elaborate Thanksgiving feasts.
What better way to kick of Turkey Day than a Fishing Derby? Fishing enthusiasts, from the experienced to beginners, venture onto the waters of Lake Pend Orielle in hopes of catching the biggest prizewinning trout—so you know there will be more than turkey on the dinner table. Sandpoint is an all-around cozy place to spend the autumn break; grab an organic pumpkin spice latte at Understory Coffee or travel to the top of Schweitzer Mountain Resort to cap off your stay.
Okay, this place is the stuff fairytales are made of—sitting near the Canadian border, the chilly mountainous town is pristine and unspoiled. Three Mile Cafe channels the spirit of Thanksgiving by offering 500 hungry folks a free holiday dinner at their truck stop eatery. If there were a perfect small town, this might be it.
Puerto Vallarta, a restaurant in Pocatello, is known for welcoming anyone who does not have anywhere to go, a place at their table. That means anyone will be able to share a meal of turkey, rolls, yams, gravy, ham and pie. Southeast Idaho is scenic with long stretches of land, yet some beautiful spots with mountain hills. The biking terrain is amazing, making for a great outing before the feast.
Moscow’s more gentle mountains mean the weather isn’t likely as nippy on Thanksgiving—a lot of color remains on the trees which pepper the hills that extend seemingly forever. From free community dinners and dances to the Turkey Leg Run race complete with donuts and cider, Moscow is the place to be if you like lots of opportunities for socializing and making new friends.
McCall as a whole has breathtaking scenery and an abundance to experience during autumn, but for Thanksgiving, you want to be at the Shore Lodge. Since 1948, guests have gathered for the holiday dinner at the lodge’s tables, enjoying organic roast turkey, Pacific king salmon and some of the best pumpkin pie money can buy. Wind down from the festivities at their lavish Cove Spa, accented with naturalistic pools and serene nooks. The following day, the Festival of Trees at Northfork Lodge kicks off with a glistening display of Christmas décor, auctions and artisan products, so visitors can begin gift shopping as soon as possible.
Nampa is all about the community. The Struttin For Stuffin race kicks off at Skyview High School, and everyone is hoping they’ll win a free feast for their gathering later in the day. Speaking of community, the town west of Boise prepares and serves thousands of tasty meals to hungry families. If you’re interested in enriching your Thanksgiving day, consider volunteering through organizations like Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.