September 29, 2022

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Travel Finishes First

Weekend getaways close to Boise for Memorial Day Weekend

5 min read

Fred Choate’s “Shoshone Falls.”

Fred Choate’s “Shoshone Falls.”

Provided by Fred Choate, the artist

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Memorial Day in Idaho

It’s Memorial Day weekend! Here is where you will find things to do, tributes and more ways to mark this holiday celebration of our military and those who gave their lives in service of our county.

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Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember military members who died while serving the United States, and the country’s unofficial start to summer, but the three-day weekend also offers a chance to get out of Boise.

Yet with prices at the pump still above the national average in Idaho — gas currently costs $4.68 in Ada County — deciding to pick yourself up and take a trip for the weekend isn’t as simple as it used to be.

Fortunately, a weekend trip that doesn’t break the bank is possible. Read on for some weekend getaway ideas that aren’t too far from home and won’t empty your pockets. The average cost in gas is using the average price of gas in Ada County for a car that gets 25 miles per gallon.

Stanley

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A portion of an alternative route for a trail between Stanley and Redfish Lake proposed by property owner Dave Boren still offers a spectacular view of the Sawtooth Mountains. Scott McIntosh [email protected]

Distance from Boise: 113 miles

Average cost in gas for a round trip: $42.31

Price range for accommodation per night: $110-$175

Idaho and camping go hand-in-hand, but there are plenty of lodging options that’ll keep a solid roof over your head in the Gem State, too.

Just under a three-hour drive from Boise, the town of Stanley is perfect for a weekend getaway to enjoy the sights and sounds of Idaho while also benefiting from a wide range of lodging options. If you love camping, the Stanley Basin area has 11 camping grounds that can be reserved in advance.

Although the city of Stanley is small within itself, its location at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains offers quick access to Idaho’s beauty, including walks along the Salmon River, the 4.5-mile Fishhook Creek Trail, and Redfish Lake and the Redfish Lake Lodge.

The city is also located within the Sun Valley, which while best-known for its skiing, offers great opportunities for golfing, biking, fishing and rafting in the summer months.

Craters of the Moon

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Idaho’s Craters of the Moon National Monument is starkly beautiful. This limber pine atop Inferno Cone frames Big Cinder Butte, one of the world’s largest purely basaltic cinder cones. Katherine Jones [email protected]

Distance from Boise: 170 miles

Average cost in gas for a round trip: $63.65

Price range for accommodation per night: $15 for camping, $75-$85 in Arco

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve will make you forget you are in Idaho for a moment and take you to an alien planet. The 1,100-square-mile national park was formed by molten lava fields nearly 15 million years ago, and is just under three hours away from Boise.

Within the park — which is around the same size as Rhode Island — visitors can enjoy a number of attractions such as the Inferno Cone, the Spatter Cones and Devil’s Orchard Nature Trail. The National Park Service recommends that hikers remain on trails in the national park because the lava flows can be easily damaged, and that a GPS, map or cell phone should be carried at all times. Pets are also allowed in the camping grounds and on paved roads but not on the hiking trails.

Currently, any caves or cave trails are closed due to winter snow damage, according to a park advisory.

Visitors can camp at the Lava Flow Campground on a first-come-first-serve basis. Lodging is also available about 20 miles northeast from Craters of the Moon in Arco.

McCall

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Goose Lake near McCall, Idaho. The Idaho Statesman

Distance from Boise: 108 miles

Average cost in gas for a round trip: $40.44

Price range for accommodation per night: $82-$236

Just over a two-hour drive from Boise, McCall is another small town that will put you right in the middle of Idaho’s beauty. The city sits right on the banks of Payette Lake, which offers a trifecta of beautiful mountain views, beaches to relax on, and watercraft rentals. Two to three seat jet skis are available for $265 for four hours or $365 for eight hours, while larger boats are available for $400 an upward. Life jackets are provided upon rental.

McCall is also within easy distance of several mountain ranges, which means access to both fishing and birding as well as trails, biking and even rock climbing. Those who enjoy a beverage between their walks can embark on the McCall Ale Trail, which will guide hikers to 10 different restaurants and brewery’s throughout the day.

As for lodging, McCall offers it all: Hotels, campsites, RV spaces, mountain cabins and lakefront homes. The McCall Chamber of Commerce offers an extensive accommodations list on its website as well more information about cheaper RV and camping options.

Twin Falls

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Water crashes over Shoshone Falls in southern Idaho on Saturday, August 3, 2019. Kayaking up the Snake River offers a different view of the 212-foot waterfall. Max Graham

Distance from Boise: 128 miles

Average cost in gas for a round trip: $47.92

Price range for accommodation per night: $79-$196

Twin Falls is a two-hour drive from Boise and earned its name because of a pair of historic waterfalls on the Snake River. Only one of those waterfalls still flows, but venture a little farther from the city, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.

On the edge of town, there are Shoshone Falls, Perrine Coulee Falls and Pillar Falls, which all offer hiking and trails, picnic spots and other recreational activities.

The Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce offers a list of affordable hotels and motels for a quick weekend getaway.

This story was originally published May 26, 2022 8:00 PM.

Shaun Goodwin is a service journalism reporter at the Idaho Statesman. If you like stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a subscription to our newspaper.
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