Discover popular Idaho destinations
True skiers and snowboarders – and those just starting out – love Sun Valley, Idaho, the United States’ first winter resort. What was originally established to emulate Switzerland’s St. Moritz, the beloved resort now welcomes discerning active travelers any season of the year. Join the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Marilyn Monroe to take advantage of fresh powder in January and incredible hiking in August. Sun Valley vacation rentals allow for full immersion into the small-town atmosphere of the area, a place where out-of-town visitors feel like welcomed members of the local community.
There’s something so appealing about the half-hidden nature of Sun Valley. Here in central Idaho, those who seek pristine nature can find it, those who crave invigorating mountain adventure are challenged and those who want to check out local art or enjoy a symphony concert can do that, too. Celebrities and heads of industry are known to own second (or third!) homes here, lavish mountain-inspired residences where they can slip away from everyday stressors and re-energize in fresh, alpine air. Many of these private residences are available for visitors year-round so that they, too, can savor that Sun Valley serenity – a place with no pretension and all the outdoor play you could want.
Sun Valley is most known for its outstanding skiing. This is where the world’s original chairlift was born, giving 400 skiers per hour a ride up the slopes, compared to the 30,000 skiers per hour who can now whiz up the mountain on the Roundhouse Express Gondola. While the snow isn’t as epic as some resorts in Wyoming or Colorado, it is more than sufficient for the swanky clientele who adore the resort for its history – and its amazing lack of lift lines. Impeccably groomed trails, long runs, little to no wind and advanced snow-making equipment make for excellent skiing conditions for all ages and abilities.
Fast-forward to summer and visitors are treated to all of Idaho’s rugged, natural beauty. Outstanding hiking and mountain biking on crenulated mountains, as well as whitewater rafting and excellent fishing on rushing rivers, are among the many outdoor pursuits on tap in the warmer months.
Summer brings with it a stimulating lineup of festivals and events, including the Sun Valley Film Festival, attended in the past by Hollywood legends such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Clint Eastwood. Unsurprisingly, those with a penchant for outdoor recreation also place a high value on mindfulness and self-care – the Sun Valley Wellness Festival knows its audience and has set up shop here for the past 25 years. As one of the top wellness festivals in the United States, it offers live speaker presentations, movement classes, workshops and the opportunity to pick up the latest in wellness products and apparel. From wine auctions to writers’ workshops, Sun Valley summers are always alive with something inspiring to do.
For full immersion into the Sun Valley outdoor lifestyle, there are vacation rentals for every group size, style, interest – and ages. Sun Valley is the quintessential family getaway spot, with ample parks and playgrounds, skate parks, ski and snowboard lessons, ice skating, sleigh rides, swimming and even bowling. Reconnect and share laughs on the slopes, on the hiking trails and over lively, family-style meals.
Whether schussing down powdery slopes or hiking to new heights, Sun Valley guests come home hungry. While many Sun Valley vacation rentals woo amateur chefs with their state-of-the-art kitchens, there are also so many great eateries in town that you’ll want to leave the cooking to someone else some nights. Start your day with coffee and homemade pastries, then leave lunch to the mountainside lodge – after all, there’s fondue at 8,000 feet. Dinners might mean gigantic Idaho potatoes, sushi, steak or meatless Asian fusion tapas. Between Sun Valley and nearby Ketchum, there are more than 50 restaurants and nightlife locales. Or, go ahead and use that gourmet kitchen – but first, pick up local ingredients at the Wood River Farmers’ Market.