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10 Summer Bucket List Items to do in SE Idaho

If you have yet to explore Southeastern Idaho, you’re missing out on one of the best hidden gems in the country! Southeastern Idaho is a unique area with more to offer than meets the eye. 

Working from North to South these 10 items need to make it on your summer bucket list: 

1. Island Park

Located at the top of the state on the border of Montana and Wyoming, Island Park is a can’t miss destination. There is no specific activity listed for Island Park because it's your choice how to spend your time in this beautiful city! During the summer Island Park is filled with activities for everyone. Biking trails, famous fishing, boating, hiking, floating the river, ATV & Razr riding, camping, horseback riding, and more are awaiting for you when you visit!

2. Upper Mesa Falls 

Standing at approximately 114 feet tall (about the size of a 10 story building) and 200 ft wide, Upper Mesa Falls is a sight you will never forget. Complete with a short (about 1 mile) nature trail and the Mesa Falls Visitor Center, Mesa Falls is a perfect day trip. Be sure to pack a lunch and have a picnic by the falls.

3. St Anthony Idaho Sand Dunes

The St Anthony Sand Dunes are a whopping 10,600 acres of white quartz sand. Owned by the Bureau of Land Management, these sand dunes are open to the public during the summer. (Check the BLM website for closure information) Not only offering a breathtaking view, the sand dunes also offer a lot of different activities including camping, hiking, climbing, off-roading, swimming, wildlife viewing, and even sand sledding. There are no facilities at the dunes, so be prepared with your own activity of choice and plenty of water!

BLM Website:

Some of Sacre Bluu's photos are taken at the Saint Anthony sand dunes.

4. Yellowstone Bear World

Located between Rigby and Rexburg is Yellowstone Bear World. This fun stop has become a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Yellowstone Bear World offers up close views of Yellowstone’s most famous animals all from the comfort of your car, or on their open top tour bus! Be aware of the precautions and warnings that can be found on their website beforehand, and enjoy seeing bison, elk, mountain goats, moose and of course, bears!

5. Huckleberry Picking

One of the Pacific North West’s best kept secrets is where to pick huckleberries. If you talk to a local, you know that huckleberry patch locations are kept quiet in order to keep their stash of purple fruit to themselves, and with good reason! Huckleberries are only in season for a short time. The huckleberry capital of the world is in Victor, but if you take a few steps off of most hiking trails in the area you might be able to nab a few berries for yourself. 

6. Idaho Falls Greenbelt

As Idaho Falls continues to expand, so does their greenbelt! The green belt can be enjoyed multiple ways: walking, running, biking, or hop on a rental scooter and see the beauty of the Snake River. Around the river you can see multiple sculpture benches made by local artists as well as plant installations from the parks and recreation department. The main river loop is about 2 miles and only has one significant uphill section.

7. Square Ice Cream

Located in beautiful Swan Valley, Rainey Creek Country Store is locally famous for its delicious square shaped ice cream cones. With tons of different flavors to choose from you’ll have a hard time narrowing it down to just one. Take some time while you’re there and enjoy the scenic views of Swan Valley. 

8. Float the Portneuf River

Another favorite activity for local adventurers is to float in a tube, kayak, canoe, or raft. Often floating can be done in rivers, creeks, and even some canals and sloughs. The Portneuf River, located in Pocatello, has been dedicated just for that. With multiple entry points you can choose just how long you want to float. Be cautious though, floating isn’t without risk. Always try to float with someone who has been there before and can help warn you of potential dangers. 

9. Lava Hot Springs 

Although Lava Hot Springs has incredible zip lining, food, and hikes the real draw is it’s namesake- the hot springs. Idaho has multiple natural hot springs, but one of the most developed commercial hot pools is Lava Hot Springs. With two separate pool areas you have the option to soak your cares away or play all day in their Olympic pool and water park. 

10. Bear Lake

Uniquely situated, Bear Lake is split in half between Idaho and Utah. The blue color of this lake is unmatched and paired with its sandy beaches it will transport you to feeling like you’re on an island getaway. The cities and communities around Bear Lake provide delicious food (huckleberry shakes!), cozy stays, and more outdoor activities than you could fill your summer with! 

Remember, you can find each of these places on the custom Google Map below-

SE Idaho Summer Bucket List 2021

While you may not be able to go to every event or activity this summer in Southeastern Idaho, these ten are sure to make your highlights. 

For more fun ideas to explore and learn more about Southeastern Idaho follow along on Instagram @HelloSEIdaho 

-Kelsie Housley