Welcome to Boise, Idaho, a hidden gem where family fun and adventure abound in every corner. Often overlooked as a family vacation destination, Boise surprises with its blend of urban charm and outdoor escapades, making it a perfect playground for families seeking a mix of relaxation and adventure. Nestled in the Treasure Valley against a backdrop of majestic mountains, this vibrant city offers a plethora of activities that cater to all ages and interests.

From the lush trails of the Boise River Greenbelt to the interactive and educational wonders of the Discovery Center of Idaho, Boise is a city that invites families to explore, learn, and create lasting memories together. Whether you’re looking for a serene day in one of the city’s many parks, a cultural journey through its museums, or an exciting outdoor adventure, Boise promises a delightful and unexpected family getaway. Join us as we uncover the multitude of family-friendly experiences that make Boise, Idaho, a must-visit destination on your travel itinerary.

Family Fun in Boise, Idaho

floating the Boise river

Floating the Boise river

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Boise, Idaho is the perfect spot for a family trip, or even just a family weekend getaway during the warm months. There are a variety of things to do in Boise. It is easy to get around and it’s a relaxing area.

Float the Boise River

I personally enjoyed floating down the Boise River.  (Some people even surf it, but we just float!)You can park your car at Ann Morrison Park and catch a bus. For a few dollars, the bus will take you up the river and drop you off at Barber Park. At the drop off point, you can inflate your raft or tube. You can also rent a raft or tube here. I recommend a raft because this river is very cold. It takes about two hours to float back down to the park. There are two small drops so you will have to hang on to your kids a few times. Don’t forget life jackets!

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Julie Davis Park

Julie Davis Park is a great place to go bike riding or roller skating. They have paved sidewalks all along the Boise River. The Boise Zoo is also located at this park. The zoo was okay. It is no way near as good as any of the zoos you would find in Washington or Oregon.

Ivywild Pool

This is a great community pool with a fantastic area for toddlers. It is inexpensive and makes for a great day out!

  • There are five other public pools in Boise. I have not tried them, but have heard good things about each of them.

Roaring Springs Water Park

Roaring Springs Water park is located right outside of Boise to the west in Meridian, Idaho. It is a good water park and they are pretty good about adding new stuff on a regular basis.

Boondocks Family Fun Center

Right next door to the water park is Boondocks Family Fun Center. The kids can putt-putt and play games.

Boise’s downtown area is nicely laid out and extremely clean. They have a farmer’s market on Saturday mornings during parts of the year that is fun to go to.

Tumble Time Gymnastics e8caee82b8b4bce06f4f9fa46babf1f0

We discovered this wonderful gymnastics gym, Tumble Time Gymnastics, in Boise, Idaho back in 2003 when our oldest was just two years old. They have a fantastic mommy and me program. They make gymnastics so much fun for all ages. The owners are great people and you can tell that they love what they do. Visit during their open gym time Mon- Thurs, 12-1 PM and Saturday from 11 AM – 1 PM.

 

Fly High Trampoline Park – Fly High Trampoline Park coupon

Morrison Knudson Nature Center 

Morrison Knudson Nature Center Boise Idaho

A couple of years ago, my family and I meet my parents in Boise, Idaho for a one-week vacation. Someone had recommended a park to my parents I had never heard of. This surprised me because we lived in the area for two years previously. Well, needless to say, it is worth hearing about. I can’t believe we had never heard about it before. I thought it was really neat and my kids did too. Better yet, it is free!
 
Basically, it is a park, but it has been built into an outdoor nature walk. They have built up walls with viewing windows along a stream so you can see the fish and other wildlife that is in there. We saw beavers, fish, ducks, birds, and squirrels.
 
Info from their website: The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center offers a one-of-a-kind fish and wildlife experience on a 4.6-acre site along the Boise River Greenbelt near downtown Boise. The Nature Center’s stream walk and education building provide a glimpse of Idaho’s many landscapes and abundant wildlife. The underwater viewing windows along the stream walk give visitors a fisheye view of the world.
 
 

Ann Morrison Park

Ann Morrison Park Boise Idaho

This park is so great it should have its own post. We used to hang out here all the time. We would bring our bikes or roller skates, play tennis, or just watch the kids play on the massive playground they have.

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If you want to float the Boise River along the green belt this is the park you need to be at in order to catch the bus. The bus never charged us for the kids and we were charged $1 or $2 per adult.

You can park at Julie Davis park, feed the ducks and then bike over to Ann Morrison Park along the Greenbelt.

There are always lots of people there playing horseshoes or cricket. I saw a lot of soccer teams out there playing. If you are visiting the area, it is a great park to take your kids to.

Boise Idaho

Boise Restaurants

An excellent kid-friendly Italian restaurant in Boise is Gino’s. They have several locations, including one in downtown.

The best Mexican food in the area that we were able to find was Rocca’s in Eagle, Idaho right outside of Boise.  

A good steak house is Cottonwood Grill, but I wouldn’t take the kids with you.

Dave & Buster’s – This is a great place for families. They have a huge arcade. 

Boise Hotels

The hotel we enjoyed the most while we were there was the Residence Inn by Marriott by the Boise mall.

Day Trips from BoiseSoldier Mountain

Soldier Mountain

Two hours from Boise is a small ski resort, Soldier Mountain. This happens to be Eden’s favorite place to ski in Idaho. They are open every Thursday through Sunday. See our review of Soldier Mountain Ski Resort.

Sun Valley Ski Resort

This bougie ski town is just 3 hours away. Here’s everything you need to know to visit: Sun Valley Ski Resort

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Magic Mountain

Another little ski resort not far past Twin Fallas. Magic Mountain Ski Resort Review

Pomerelle Ski Resort

Pomerelle Ski Resort is barely close enough to be a day trip but we love it, so I thought I would go ahead and include it. 

There are plenty of fun things to do with kids in Boise, Idaho! From the Zoo Boise and Discovery Center of Idaho to exploring local parks and caves, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. With so many great options, you’ll never be bored in Boise!

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Get Travel Insurance

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on any trip. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance. We use Travelex or Safety Wing (often cheaper).

Book Flights

I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner! My second favorite site to find flights is Momondo, another great site for finding cheap flights.

Book a Place to Stay

I recommend using Expedia.com or Hotels.com for most hotel bookings. I prefer to book directly with Marriott when I stay there because of their excellent military discount.

If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.

Rent Clothes

Rent clothes for your trip with Travel Style Expert for only $50 a month! The first 30 days are free!

Choose Activities and Tours

To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available.

When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals. If I am going somewhere in Mexico or the Caribbean I use Apple Vacations.

Rent a Car or Take a Lyft

More often than not Lyft is cheaper than Uber. Use my Lyft link for an $18 credit! For a car rental in any country, I recommend Discover Cars.

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