Tag Archive for: idaho

Snake River Wine Tours, owned and operated by Samantha Maxey, is southwestern Idaho’s premier wine tour operator. Due to Samantha’s incredible taste for hospitality, hard work and ability to make friends everywhere, Snake River Wine Tours was voted the #1 Best Wine Tour in the North America by USA Today in 2022 and 2023.

After moving to Marsing, Idaho, from the Midwest to be with her husband in 2016, Samantha got a job in the local hospitality industry at a winery. Over the next year, Samantha created personal Idaho wine country tours for family and friends, and quickly recognized the opportunity to turn her passion into a full-blown business. Taking that leap of faith in 2018, she launched Snake River Wine Tours with the purchase of their first Sprinter Van, and she quickly became an influential entrepreneur in Southwest Idaho.

Samantha now offers tours to over 20 wineries in the Snake River Valley Wine Region, each offering exceptional wines and unique tasting experiences in one of three vans in her fleet. Samantha takes exceptional pride in her guests’ experience and focuses on what’s most important: their wine tour experience. Meet Samantha and explore Idaho wines during your Southwest Idaho visit.

Owned and operated by Samantha Maxey, Snake River Wine Tours is southwestern Idaho’s premier wine tour operator, offering tours to over 20 wineries in the Snake River Valley Wine Region. Photo courtesy of Southwest Idaho Travel Association

For more information on Southwest Idaho, visit VisitSouthwestIdaho.org.

Randy’L Teton is a Shoshone-Bannock tribal member from the Fort Hall Reservation in southeastern Idaho. Teton attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art history with a minor in Native American studies.

While in college, Teton was chosen as a model for a new coin by New Mexico artist Glenna Goodacre. In 2000, the United States Mint released the new Golden Dollar coin to honor Sacajawea, a Shoshone girl from Salmon, Idaho, who guided the “Corps of Discovery” known as the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804-1806. Sacajawea became the first Indigenous woman on a U.S. coin, and according to the U. S. Mint, Randy’L is the youngest and only living model on U.S. currency.

Teton traveled the country promoting the Sacajawea dollar and Sacajawea’s story. One of the things she loves about promoting the Sacajawea coin is teaching others about the historical and modern history of Native Americans and breaking down common stereotypes of American Indians and women. In addition, Teton recently wrote a children’s graphic novel, “It’s Her Story: Sacajawea,” about Sacajawea’s journey from a tribal perspective.

Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Randy’L Teton posed as the model for the U.S. Sacajawea Golden Dollar, and is the youngest and only living model on U.S. currency. Photo courtesy of Southeast Idaho High Country Tourism

For more information on Southeast Idaho, please visit IdahoHighCountry.org.

Polly Bemis may not be a household name, but her legacy lives on in Idaho thanks to her tenacity and kindness in the remote and unforgiving Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

Born in Peking, China, in 1853, Polly arrived on horseback in Warren, a small mining town, in 1872. Her journey to the U.S. was long and traumatic after her parents, facing drought and famine, sold her to be a concubine.

After leaving her Chinese owner, she met Charlie Bemis, whom she lived with and nursed back to health after he suffered a near-fatal shot to the face in a gambling dispute. Polly managed Charlie’s boarding house while being the only woman living in Warren at the time.

The two married in 1893, helping Polly secure U.S. citizenship, and they built their lives homesteading. The couple’s ranch, nicknamed “Polly’s Place,” became a refuge for locals and travelers. Polly sold produce from her garden and served as an ambassador to the area until her passing in 1933.

The Polly Bemis Ranch is now a National Historic Site where travelers can visit via a jet boat or whitewater rafting trip to see her cabin and historical artifacts from her life.

Polly Bemis’s early life was marked with trauma, but her kindness and tenacity brought her marriage, happiness and a lasting legacy in Idaho’s remove wilderness. Photo courtesy of Idaho Department of Tourism

For more information on Idaho, visit VisitIdaho.org.

During the second week of August, Native Americans gather from all across North America in Fort Hall, Idaho, for the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival. Held annually since 1964, the festival is rated one of the best powwows in Indian Country. The amazing handmade regalia worn during the drumming and dancing competitions and the grand entrance are filled with symbolism often handed down over generations. Activities include handgames, art shows and parades, with opportunities to purchase Indian handcrafts and food. Don’t miss the Indian Relay Races – a heart-pounding horse competition where teams compete bareback.

Bear Lake Valley is known for its bountiful and completely delicious raspberry harvest that occurs in early August. A Thursday parade kicks off Raspberry Days, followed by a fair with craft booths, rides for kids, food vendors and live music all day long. And of course, Bear Lake’s famous raspberry shake is available at the fair. Unique to Raspberry Days is the Boat Light Parade on the intense turquoise water of Bear Lake, where boats are decorated with lights.

Held annually since 1964, the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival is rated one of the best powwows in Indian Country. Photo courtesy of Southeast Idaho High Country

For more information on Southeast Idaho, please visit IdahoHighCountry.org.

Every year, the city of Caldwell transforms into a real-life winter wonderland from the weekend before Thanksgiving until the first week of January.

Over 1 million LED Christmas lights decorate the city, painting its streets in glowing reds, purples and blues. The more than 1 million holiday lights cover trees, buildings and bridges all over town, painting the city in a mesmerizing glow. Children, families and couples skate under the lights on a huge outdoor skating rink, and a singing Christmas tree stands tall on the corner of Indian Creek Plaza. Visiting Caldwell in the winter is a reminder of just how magical this season can truly be.

Indian Creek Plaza in downtown Caldwell is your holiday headquarters. Take the family to enjoy ice skating at Idaho’s only, and the seventh in the USA, ice skating ribbon. The ribbon is great for skaters of any ability with skate rentals available.

Every year, the city of Caldwell transforms into a real-life winter wonderland from the weekend before Thanksgiving until the first week of January. Visiting Caldwell in the winter is a reminder of just how magical this season can truly be. Photo courtesy of Southwest Idaho Travel Association

For more information on Southwest Idaho, visit VisitSouthwestIdaho.org.

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024. Formed during eight major eruptions over thousands of years, this unique landscape of lava flows and cinder cones resembles the moon’s surface, which made it the perfect training ground for NASA’s Apollo 14 mission. Anniversary events will be held May through September, and will include a focus on the park’s cultural Native American history, wildlife, research, geology and the night sky.

For an authentic rodeo experience, come celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Caldwell Night Rodeo with a full week of events, August 10-18, 2024. This professional rodeo features 600-plus contestants and seven thrilling nightly events held under the arena lights.

Idaho is home to the largest concentration of Basques per capita in the U.S. When it comes to celebrating their unique heritage and culture, the Basques know how to throw a party. Jaialdi, the six-day festival held every five years in Boise, returns in 2025 with authentic Basque food, music, games, performances and more.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Caldwell Night Rodeo in August 2024, featuring 600-plus contestants and seven thrilling nightly events held under the arena lights. Photo courtesy of James Babb

For more information on Idaho, visit VisitIdaho.org.

The vibrant city of Boise, Idaho, has one of the largest concentrations of Basque populations per capita in the U.S., and its lively Basque Block is the backdrop for the celebration of the culture.

Held each July, the San Inazio Festival honors the patron saint of the Basques. Thousands fill the Basque Block to watch athletes perform in Basque sporting events and see local musicians and dancers perform.

Jaialdi, the world’s largest celebration of Basque culture, is also held in Boise every five years. Jaialdi translates to “Big Festival” and brings visitors and performers from all over the world, with the next celebration taking place in 2025. Unconfirmed reports claim that it takes that long to recover from the celebratory dancing, musical performances, sporting events and authentic food and drink – truly an event that can’t be missed!

The vibrant city of Boise, Idaho, has one of the largest concentrations of Basque populations per capita in the U.S., and Boise’s Basque Block is the backdrop for the celebration of the lively Basque culture. Photo courtesy of Visit Boise

For more information on Boise, visit VisitBoise.com.

Towering over the southernmost part of the Owyhee desert are the Owyhee Mountains, a rugged range extending from Southwest Idaho to northern Nevada. The elevation varies from 2,000-8,000 feet (600-2,400 meters) above sea level. Nearly a half-million acres are protected by the U.S. government, making it one of the largest strongholds of undeveloped wilderness in the country.

When miners discovered silver in the mountains surrounding Hayden Peak, the once-sleepy settlement of Silver City transformed into a booming mining metropolis. Then, it was home to eight saloons, two hotels, six general stores and Idaho’s first-ever newspaper. When mines closed in 1942, the city faded into a boarded-up ghost town. Today, Silver City is one of the last towns from Idaho’s silver rush that hasn’t been developed or destroyed by wildfires. It looks nearly the same now as it did over 150 years ago … and it’s open to the public. Visit in late spring, summer or fall.

Past the rugged mountain peaks and ghost towns, three rivers cut through the Owyhee desert. Each of them is a crucial source of freshwater to 200-plus species – including trophy bass and world-famous brown trout – that call this place home.

Towering over the southernmost part of the Owyhee desert are the Owyhee Mountains, a rugged range extending from Southwest Idaho to northern Nevada. Photo courtesy of the Southwest Idaho Travel Association

For more information on Southwest Idaho, visit VisitSouthwestIdaho.org.

Sun Valley is known today as a winter escape for the rich and famous, but the area is rooted in Western culture. For over 150 years, sheep ranching has been a key part of Sun Valley’s identity. Sheep ranching was once such a major economic driver that the sheep population in 1918 boomed to 2.6 million, making Idaho more densely populated with sheep than humans.

Today’s numbers are much smaller, but the tradition lives on. The sheep still make their seasonal pilgrimage 1,000 miles (1,609 km) up the mountain into the Snake River Valley in the spring and retrace their steps come autumn back to the Wood River Valley. The return is celebrated each year at the Trailing of the Sheep Festival.

Further north in Idaho, Wallace and the surrounding area is the richest silver mining district in the world – earning the nickname “Silver Capital of the World.” The mining area was founded in 1884 after the discovery of silver, gold and other metal. Mining remains a large part of the economy, blending Wild West mining history with modern-day techniques, as it continues to produce silver and stay in harmony with the area’s sprawling mountain landscape shared by outdoor recreationalists.

, Wallace and the surrounding area is the richest silver mining district in the world – earning the nickname “Silver Capital of the World.” Photo courtesy of the Idaho Office of Tourism

For more information on Idaho, visit VisitIdaho.org.