Get off the beaten path with a Christmas vacation in Idaho. Snow falls liberally in many Idaho towns, turning the brilliant blue waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the pine-topped mountains of Wallace into a winter wonderland. Idaho’s friendly cities go all out for the holidays, welcoming visitors with dramatic light displays and community-oriented festivities. As you search for the perfect Christmas getaway destination, check out Idaho vacation rentals in these beautiful towns.
1. Coeur d’Alene
One of Idaho’s most beautiful vacation destinations at any time of year, Coeur d’Alene is downright magical when the snow falls. Spend your Christmas vacation cross-country skiing through the pines in the Panhandle National Forest, or head over to Silver Mountain for downhill skiing and snowboarding. As the holiday draws near, see more than 1.5 million lights reflecting off of the water at the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Holiday Light Show. The best way to see the show is aboard a holiday boat ride with Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises, which features a visit to Santa at his North Pole Toy Workshop and a trip past America’s tallest floating Christmas tree. If you need a tree for your vacation rental, take a sleigh ride into the forest to pick out your favorite pine at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in nearby Sandpoint.
Compact and exceptionally family-friendly, Boise is a fantastic holiday destination. The biggest airport in Idaho sits a few miles from the city center, so vacation rentals downtown or in the charming North End are just minutes away. Get your trip off to a festive start with the breathtaking light displays at the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Winter Garden aGlow. Then, check out the Downtown Boise Holiday Parade and wander by the enormous Christmas tree in front of the capitol building. When the temperatures drop, head indoors to the Boise Centre to wander through a forest of spectacularly decorated pines at the Festival of Trees, and stay to watch the continuous lineup of music and dance performances.
3. Sun Valley
Sun Valley’s adorable, alpine-inspired downtown glows with Christmas lights each December, and Victorian carolers create a magical atmosphere. During the day, ride the lifts up Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain to ski with a view of the valley. Sip mulled wine at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in mid-December, and enjoy a special twist on a holiday classic at the Nutcracker on Ice Show. On Christmas Eve, watch the torchlight parade and stay for the fireworks that light up the sky above the village, welcoming Santa to town.
The Christmas spirit is palpable in Lewiston, a riverfront community on the Washington-Idaho border. Walk through an awe-inspiring forest of trees wrapped in Christmas lights in Locomotive Park, the centerpiece of the town’s annual Winter Spirit festival. Sip cocoa by the crackling outdoor fireplace and watch live music and dance performances before heading to the kid-friendly Cookies With Santa event. When you’re ready to head indoors, shop for gifts, decorate cookies, and enjoy family games at the Christmas Extravaganza.
Wallace, a tiny village tucked between tall mountain peaks, is a breathtaking Christmas destination; each year, elaborate decorations deck the historic stone buildings downtown, and lights glow softly against the pristine snow. The season starts with the Yuletide Lighting Festival, when Santa arrives on a fire truck. Join locals in the traditional Winter Walk to check out the light displays, caroling as you go and stopping to warm your hands at multiple outdoor fires. For a day of kid-friendly fun, visit Santa’s Workshop and check out the Holiday Pet Pawrade.
The Winter Wonderland event takes over downtown Caldwell each year, transforming Indian Creek into a sparkling masterpiece of Christmas lights. Roaming carolers provide a festive soundtrack, and the Kid Zone delights little ones with a petting zoo and Santa’s Workshop. For train enthusiasts, the Caldwell Model Railroad club hosts an open house with kids’ holiday train rides, free snacks, and children’s games. Pick up last-minute gifts at the Caldwell Christmas Bazaar, and watch festive, light-bedecked floats at the legendary Treasure Valley Night Light Parade. A short drive away, experience the snow-covered Idaho wilderness with a day of skiing and snowboarding at the beginner-friendly Bogus Basin ski area.
Nestled on the shores of the crystal-clear Payette Lake, high in the Idaho mountains, McCall welcomes Christmas visitors with blankets of snow. This winter wonderland is the perfect spot for outdoor family activities. Go snowboarding at Brundage Mountain, try cross-country skiing through old-growth trees in Ponderosa State Park, or enjoy snow tubing at The Activity Barn. For a little relaxation, go for a soak in one of the area’s three natural hot springs. Get into the Christmas spirit at Light Up the Night event at Brundage Mountain, where you can decorate cookies, watch the torchlight parade down the mountain, and end the night with a slope-side fireworks display. Be sure to stop by The Christmas House, Idaho’s largest Christmas store, to pick up wreaths and decorations for your vacation rental, and explore elaborately decorated pines at the Festival of Trees.
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