Enjoy a cozy Thanksgiving in Idaho this year. Thanks to the state’s strong family-friendly culture, kids are always welcome at holiday events and celebrations. From the glistening lakes and snowy mountains of Coeur d’Alene to the breathtaking river canyons in Twin Falls, Idaho offers some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the western United States. Most vacation rentals in Idaho grant you quick access to fun turkey trots and Thanksgiving festivities, so you can get the holiday season off to a great start.
The end-of-year holidays get into full swing in Boise over Thanksgiving, creating endless opportunities for family fun. Start the week before with the Boise Holiday Parade, which runs through downtown and past the Idaho State Capitol Building. On Thanksgiving morning, enjoy a jog in the Turkey Day Run; bring a non-perishable food item to be entered into prize drawings. Friday brings the annual Empty Bowls event on the Grove Plaza, and Thanksgiving weekend features the opening of the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Winter Garden Glow and the Canyon County Festival of Trees.
2. Coeur d’Alene
A Coeur d’Alene Thanksgiving is replete with lake views and crisp mountain temperatures. Local runners and walkers flock to the Coeur d’Alene Turkey Trot, one of the most relaxed events of its kind in Idaho. The race is free with a donation of non-perishable food, starts when participants are ready, and includes a meal of biscuits and gravy afterward. Thanksgiving weekend heralds the start of the city’s most popular tradition, the Coeur d’Alene Resort Holiday Light Show. If you want a black-tie Thanksgiving, book a seat at the Festival of Trees Gala, which happens the same weekend.
Thanksgiving festivities start early in Nampa at the annual Turkey Shoot, where adult/child teams take free-throw shots for chances to win frozen turkeys. On Thanksgiving day, earn your turkey dinner at the Struttin For Stuffin event, which features a half marathon, 10K, and 5K race. Local runners and walkers dress up in their most outlandish holiday costumes for the races; get into the fun with a themed team. The Nampa Rec Center also hosts Laps Before Naps, a free swimming event. The weekend after Thanksgiving, head to the Sunnyslope Wine Trail for festive tastings and winery tours.
4. Sun Valley
Enjoy your turkey dinner in the spectacular Idaho Mountains in Sun Valley. Thanksgiving usually marks the seasonal opening of the Sun Valley Ski Area, so you can enjoy a day or two on the slopes. If you prefer to stay on flat ground, drive a few minutes to Hailey for the annual Turkey Trot 5K Fun Run and Walk. In the afternoon, the Sun Valley Resort hosts a lavish Thanksgiving buffet complete with live music.
McCall, one of Idaho’s top vacation destinations provides crisp temperatures and snow-capped mountain vistas at Thanksgiving. For a no-fuss holiday dinner, the Shore Lodge offers a Turkey-2-Go option; alternatively, dine in at the lodge. Thanksgiving weekend brings a full schedule of events to McCall, starting with the magical Festival of Trees at the Fork Lodge. At a Pinewood Country Christmas, enjoy holiday music and treats while you browse locally made crafts. On Saturday evening, head to Art Roberts Park for the annual Downtown Tree Lighting with the town mayor, Santa, and a community choir.
6. Idaho Falls
Bring your giving spirit to Thanksgiving in Idaho Falls, which hosts the annual Race to Feed the Hungry; all profits go to the Idaho Falls Community Food Bank. Join more than 2,500 participants in Freeman Park for the fun 5K and 10K. Family registration rates are available, and kids are welcome. The Friday after Thanksgiving, bring three cans of food to the Annual Lights on Celebration Food Drive to receive a free sleigh ride through the Christmas lights at Mountain River Ranch. Saturday brings the annual Winter Lights Parade in nearby Ammon. After the parade, head to McCowin Park to enjoy free hot cocoa as you watch the lighting of Santa’s Village.
Enjoy wide-open views of farm fields on Thanksgiving in Rexburg, which sits near the Wyoming border.The day starts with the Upper Valley Turkey Trot 5K and 1-Mile race. Register as a family for a discounted entry, and wear your favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas costume. Afterward, pop over to the Rexburg Tabernacle for the annual Thanksgiving concert, where the “Turkey Choir” presents a program of music about gratitude.
With its lively college-town vibe, Pocatello is a fun spot to spend Thanksgiving weekend. Vacation rentals in the southern part of town are just minutes from the American Falls Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Fun Run. Choose from 2-mile and 5K walk or run options, and stick around after for a Thanksgiving raffle. On the weekend, head to Old Town for the Christmas Night Lights Parade to welcome in the season with floats, music, and kids’ activities along the parade route. Enjoy a ride on the Old Town Trolley, visit Santa at Station Square, and get great shopping deals as part of Small Business Saturday.
9. Twin Falls
Spend Thanksgiving perched on the cliffs of the awe-inspiring Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls. The weekend before, check out St. Jerome’s Annual Craft Bazaar for locally made artisan products and a home-cooked lunch. On Thanksgiving Day, head to the CSI Turkey Trot 5K to run or walk off a few calories before dinner. If you’re staying on the far east side of town, make the drive to Paul for the Mini-Cassia Turkey Trot, a flat, stroller-friendly 5K.
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