Idaho is a very interesting place to visit. The state actually offers quite a bit in terms of things to do and see. There are a wealth of natural attractions to check out when you go there. Idaho is also home to some fascinating history. Not all of it is right there out in the open where everyone goes either. Some of it goes unnoticed or is a little out of the way. Here is a look at five awesome off the beaten path attractions the state of Idaho has for you.
Old Idaho State Penitentiary
If you love history, you will love a visit to the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site. Built in the early 1870s just east of Boise, this was the original territorial prison used prior to Idaho even becoming a state. Walking into this facility really is like walking back in time.
When you cut across the panhandle of Idaho on Interstate 90, you may no know it but you are driving right past the oldest building in the state. The Cataldo Mission, also known as the Mission of the Sacred Heart or the Old Mission, is found just east of Coeur d’Alene right within Old Mission State Park. This is a very cool looking building that was built in a Greek Revival and Colonial style way back in 1848. It has been a National Historic Landmark since 1961.
Hells Canyon Dam
One of the most dramatic places you can visit in Idaho is Hells Canyon. This stretch of the Snake River that sits right on the Oregon-Idaho border is stark in appearance but comes with so many visual benefits. Hells Canyon Dam is a historic facility and adds so much to the area, including water recreation. You can view the dam from a scenic overlook but the best way to check it out is by seeing it up close from the river as part of a jet boat tour. This really is an unforgettable view and experience.
The most popular ways to travel on an east and west route across Idaho is on either Interstate 90 in the north or Interstate 84 in the south. If you are making the run across the state, try Highway 12 which runs from Lewiston, Idaho to Missoula, Montana. This is a populare route with motorcycle groups because of the scenery. There are plenty of scenic turnouts and viewpoints you can check out along the way. The thing you get treated to on Lolo Pass are views that most people never get to see.
Snake River Wine Country
Taking a wine tour can be a relaxing and fun way to experience an area. It also has the added benefit of giving you a good opportunity to find some great tasting wines. Visiting the boutique wineries in the Snake River Wine Country like Huston Vineyards, Koenig Winery and Distillery, HAT Ranch Winery, and Fujishin Family Cellars is the perfect way to get a true taste of the area.