Karyn Wofford is a freelance writer in the fields of travel, eco-tourism, and wellness. She’s an avid traveler and Georgia native. She grew up with a passion for travel, exploring everything from the mountains to the ocean, and continues to find new and unique things to do in the places she travels.
Read full bio
Idaho is a tucked away world of scenic landscapes that include majestic mountains, sparkling clear rivers and lakes. Whether staying in the urban paradise that is Boise, full of restaurants and modern hotels or venturing far north to a cozy lodge, there is likely going to be a lake in reach. From swimming, fishing, to boating, there’s a variation of water fun offered year-round for individuals and families. Out of all of the ones in the state, these are the most amazing lakes to visit.
Redfish Lake is about 11 miles from the town of Stanley. Located in the dramatic Sawtooth Mountains, the lake consists of immaculate alpine waters. In the summer, some people dive in, but keep in mind it’s still pretty cold! Parts of the lake are extremely deep so keep that in mind. Otherwise, fishing is considered to be incredible here. A couple of types of trout and salmon inhabit the water.
Priest Lake is in the northern panhandle of the state. White sandy beaches iconically surround the blue water and make for the perfect summertime escape. Huckleberries are ripe for picking in the surrounding area, but summertime isn’t the only season that draws guests. During the winter, an abundance of cross country skiing with the backdrop of that beautiful body of water await.
Stanley Lake is only 30 minutes away from the much larger Redfish Lake. At only 7 miles wide, it still deserves its own attention. Also located within the Sawtooth Mountains, it’s a pristine natural haven. While small, guests still come to recreate, whether it be fishing or paddling a small boat around.
Coeur d’Alene has been a little bit more commercialized than some of the more natural surrounded lakes of the state. But that doesn’t make it any less awesome! Resort property hugs the water, and boats scoot around all day long. During the holidays, a one of a kind light show takes visitors onto the water to see floating displays. The boat ride ends with a visit to Santa’s island!
Bear Lake is thought to be the Caribbean of the Rockies due to its striking blue hue. Half of this little paradise is located in Utah as well. Activities range from hiking, horseback riding, biking and so on, and a fish found nowhere else on earth, the Bonneville Cisco, is sought out by avid fishermen who visit the lake.
Alice Lake is yet another that is relatively close to Redfish. However, even the hosts at Redfish Lodge urge guests to take a hike up to this little beauty. If staying in Ketchum, a popular option is to take a couple of days to backpack up there. Be prepared to cross over streams and traverse rocky terrain. But oh is it worth it!
Pend Oreille is not pronounced the way that it looks. The usually named lake is Idaho’s largest, and staring down toward it is both awe-inspiring and bewildering. On top of that, it’s over 1,000 feet deep which makes it one of the deepest in the United States. A handful of parks reside around Pend Oreille, so it’s perfect for long picnics with the family. Boating and swimming are also popular here. And the lake is also famous for a massive species of rainbow trout.
Lake Cascade is frequently enjoyed by campers. A selection of spots is available to enjoy days by this wonderful lake. Only 75 miles north of Boise, it can be a great day trip or a mini weekend getaway. Visitors can cast a line for some salmon, or set out on a sailboat because these are two things Cascade is famous for!
Payette Lake sits on the edge of McCall, an adorable town famed for a winter carnival with ice sculpture competition, and an evasive Lake monster who’s been around for decades. Despite the legends, the lake still brings flocks of visitors every year, and some may actually even want to see the monster! The waters are perfectly clean, fed by glacial runoff and it’s just another incomparable natural site in Idaho.
Henry’s Lake is another Alpine gem a little outside of Rexburg or Idaho Falls. While people don’t come here to swim, they come here to fish all day long! An impressive variety of fish can be reeled by anglers. And you might just spot a moose taking a little bath! Be sure to keep your distance, as moose can be a little aggressive. Overall, Henry’s is a beautiful place to take in mountain serenity.