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The Road Bell Traveled: Boise (ID)

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

DESTINATION: Roystone Hot Springs

NEAREST TOWN: Emmett, ID + Boise, ID

ELEVATION: ~ 2,360 feet


WEATHER: Clear, sunny, and very hot

TEMP RANGE: low 48º – high 104º

DATE ARRIVED: Monday May 31st

DATE DEPARTED: Wednesday June 9th

I doubt many people have closed their eyes, thrown a dart at a map, and shouted, "Heck yeah! We're going to BOISE!" It certainly isn't high on my priority vacation destinations, and our only experience with the state of Idaho consisted of a couple of passes through Coeur d'Alene on our way to Yellowstone a few summers back. But recently, Matt has a bee in his bonnet to consider Idaho a possibility for a future homestead... so... here we are.


5/31/21 Arrived at Roystone Hot Springs and got settled in. Mountain time in Idaho. Sites are somewhat close and very exposed to the blazing sun. Strong winds blowing through.

6/1/21 Drove to nearby town of Emmett for groceries and lunch. It is very hot and dry in this part of the state. Allergies acting up a lot. This part of the country is referred to as scrub-steppe.

6/2/21 Made some calls to arrange the next few campgrounds. Extended our stay here for a few extra days since we literally have nowhere to go after this. Extremely uncomfortable, but the pretty landscape and gorgeous night sky make up for it.

6/3/21 Unbearable allergies and heat continue. Decided to stay at a hotel for a couple of nights in Boise to see the sights. Disappointed in the Boise Art Museum's exhibits, but stumbled upon a lovely rose garden and giant statue of Abraham Lincoln. Bell asked to take a paddleboat ride.

6/4/21 Visited the Boise Zoo– another bust. The highlight of the day was paella at the Basque Market. Afternoon visit to the Discovery Center of Boise to see the traveling Titanic: The Artifacts exhibit.

6/5/21 Delicious breakfast at Tin Roof Tacos. Fun stop at the Idaho State Museum as well. Sad to have to leave before we finished. Drove back to campground and tried to keep cool in the 100º heat. Our battery-operated wax candles literally melted.

6/6/21 Weather slightly improved. Allergies still a nuisance. New neighbors arrived with a heavy smoking habit and loud conversations outside our window. Mental battle between keeping windows closed for silence versus open for breeze.

6/7/21 Drove into Emmett hoping to find a hardware store for a third fan. Teriyaki for dinner.

6/8/21 Visited Black Canyon Park for a swim in the lake. Water too cold. Took laptop to finish some work projects. Trying hard to keep it together. We've already changed our plans once and I don't want to do it again. ;(

6/9/21 Decided enough was enough of the blazing heat, arid climate, and terrible allergies. Packed up and drove west over the state line to Ontario, Oregon for another hotel stay. Heading back north to Washington yet again. Changing plans for the third time.


Activities Nearby

Four parks are located near the Payette River off State Highway 52, approximately 5 miles northeast of Emmett. We visited Black Canyon Park to enjoy an afternoon at the small beach and picnic tables. I actually took my computer and finished some work projects while Isabella played in the water and built a sandcastle. This area is set back from the Boise metro area, and gives a more authentic small-town feel.

Julia Davis Park boasts several stops in one: Boise Art Museum, Zoo Boise, Discovery Center of Boise, and a fun paddleboat stop. A small rose garden and the two history museums are also located on the grounds (Idaho State Museum and Idaho Black History Museum). There is more to do than can be done in a single day, so pick your favorites or plan for a second day.

We didn't get a chance to visit Hulls Gulch / Camel's Back Reserve, but I suspect we would have liked the hike and views. From the website: While this area contains numerous important environmental values such as rare plants, wintering range, and riparian corridors, it is also the heart of recreation in the Foothills and is a critical linkage in the Ridge to Rivers trail system.

The last stop we'd planned was the Old Idaho Penitentiary, but we cut our trip short by a couple of days and didn't get out there. Located toward the northeastern part of the Boise metro area, the Old Idaho Pen was built in 1872. The historic site features thirty buildings, and visitors can relive the Old Pen’s exciting past of daring escapes, scandals and executions.



• Tucked into a corner of downtown Boise is a few-blocks collection of ethnic shops and restaurants referred to as the Basque Market. This was a term I was vaguely familiar with, but a quick turn to Wikipedia cleared up the definition: the basques are a southwestern European group characterized by a shared Basque language, a common culture and shared genetic ancestry. Basques primarily inhabit the western end of the Pyrenees, between northern Spain and southwestern France. We thoroughly enjoyed browsing the shops while waiting for the weekly "Paella on the Patio" lunch, every Wed and Sat at noon. Delicious!

• One of our last stops –almost an afterthought– was the Idaho State Museum. The museum's website isn't exactly eye-catching, and I wasn't aching to learn more about Idaho, but the Google listing had numerous photos and it wasn't very expensive, so we gave it a shot with about an hour to spare. Big mistake! This museum is a treasure trove of unique and exciting science and history, well put together, and very interactive. We could've easily spent a few hours here... don't miss it!


Bell's Eyewitness Report


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