Why would anyone want to go to Idaho? Well. Apparently, some people do. Lots of them. Idaho lays claim to being the fastest growing state in America. In 2017 the population grew to 1.7-million, or by 2.2%. They can’t all be devoted fly fishermen or rugged survivalists. Even with the annual mega-influx of retirees moving to Florida, by comparison, it grew by only 1.8%.
With only about 19 people per square mile, Idaho gives you space to breathe. Even its most populous city, the capital Boise, only has about 1000 per square mile. In direct contrast, NYC has 8.55-million people with over 27,000 of them crammed into every square mile. Idaho has lots of room to roam.
Maybe it’s the fresh air or the lesser traffic or the combo platter that’s driving people there. As the state continues to grow so do additional opportunities which bring even more new settlers. But maybe. Just maybe. Many of the states newest residents did decide to check Idaho out and it was love at first sight. One visit and they decided they could never live anywhere else. It only makes sense since there is so much to love about the state.
Let’s take a peek around.
Located only 25-miles from Spokane, Washington and 10-minutes from Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls is surrounded by mountains and boasts 55 lakes, the Spokane River, and 30 golf courses all within a 35-mile radius. The 2017 census report has the population at around 32,000.
Post-Falls is considered the gateway to exploring the rugged wilderness of Northern Idaho so it’s a virtual paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. 78-acre Q’emiln Park is on the banks of the Spokane River and has a beach with a picnic area, a natural rock climbing wall, and 12 trails for hiking.
There are three breweries and a winery along with restaurants galore offering just about every imaginable cuisine. For those desiring a nightlife, there is no shortage. From a hookah bar to cigar bars to dancing the night away, Post-Falls has it all.
Hailey has been rated as one of America’s best top 50 small towns. Their annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival honors generations of Idaho sheep farming families, and Hailey also plays host to the annual Rocky Mountains Music Festival.
With a population of around 8,000, Hailey is home to the oldest courthouse in the state. It’s an active town and there is always something going on such as the Idaho State Fiddle Championships, cross-country skiing expeditions, and community get-togethers for no apparent reason at all.
For those seeking peace, quiet, and the serenity of nature, Featherville is the place to go. Located in the Trinity Mountains, Featherville is a warm and welcoming small town which embodies all there is to love about Idaho.
The Hayhurst B&B or the Featherville Resort will provide visitors with rustic charm and a cozy stay. Nice fresh vittles are served up at Cyndie’s Featherville Cafe and if a refreshing cocktail is needed at the end of the day, Featherville Saloon will gladly slide one across the bar.
The community often turns out for bbq’s where everyone samples one another’s tried-and-true famous personal recipes, and just the general sense of community which has been abandoned in many towns is very much alive and vibrant in Featherville.
It wouldn’t be fair to focus on only the smaller towns in Idaho when Boise has come into its own as a business and cultural center, and one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. Outdoor activities abound and are in perfect synch with an exciting city life. Within five minutes of the city line trailheads leading into wilderness areas can be found in addition to a 28-mile greenway loaded with everything a nature lover could hope for.
Boise is home to a minor league baseball team, basketball and hockey teams, and world-class rodeos, so sports fans can get more than their fill. If knocking a little white ball around a championship golf course is someone’s cup of tea, there is no shortage from which to choose.
The food scene in Boise is diverse with anything from swanky to pub fare, and at night the downtown district becomes a playground with live music venues and non-stop parties until the wee hours, sometimes spilling out into the streets. There are at least five performing arts groups and galleries and museums are plentiful with most of them being only a few blocks apart.
The entire Boise area is covered with micro-breweries and wineries. Idaho wines are gaining wide recognition in the world of connoisseurs.
Once home to Ernest Hemingway, Ketchum was at one time a wealthy mining community. Located in the heart of Idaho’s Sun Valley area, Ketchum is a popular year-round destination for vacationers. The actual population of permanent residents is only about 2,800 but the town is more than equipped to handle its many visitors.
The Sun Valley Film Festival and the Toyota U.S. Alpine Championships both take place in Ketchum. Guests in Ketchum have their choices of staying in modern condominiums, private cottages/cabins, ski lodges, or historic hotels.
Music events, skiing, ice skating, hiking, fine dining, horseback riding, golfing, bowling, camping, and so much more is available in Ketchum. One trip is all it will take for anyone to understand why this location is so popular.
Wallace is a photogenic wonderland. The entire city is on the National Historic Register and it’s like stepping back in time. In 2004 Wallace was declared the center of the universe. Wallace is an energetic community and serves as an additional gateway to some of Idaho’s more rugged terrain. The town is also known for its 125-year history of mining silver, producing 2.1 billion ounces of silver since 1884.
The annual Wallace Blues Festival is held here and even though the town’s population is only around 900, because of its many visitors there are plenty of good restaurants and locating accommodations is seldom a problem.
There is so much more to Idaho than it is commonly given credit for. Of course, there is only one way to find out for yourself why more and more people are calling the state home, and you know what that one way is…