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The Best of East Idaho: Our Favorite Outdoor Activities, Restaurants and Shops!

June 16, 2021  —  Written by Julia 

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Chris is an Idaho local (lived here since he was 5!) and I’ve lived here in southeast Idaho for 15 years! It’s a beautiful slice of heaven and we have loved our time here. The pace is slower. The views are wide. The air is crisp and the scenery is breath-taking. We actually get a lot of readers asking for recommendations of where we like to go, what we like to do, and of course, where we like to eat, so this is the guide to all of that! Southeast Idaho may not be your first thought for a visit, but if you ever find yourself in the area–or seek it out (you should!), we thought it would be nice to compile a list of our favorite things we’ve done here.

Honestly, making this list is leaving me a little sad because aside from family and friends, these are the things that made us fall in love with Idaho in the first place, and are what will make us excited to come back and visit. So here’s our recommended, must-do, must-see great outdoor places, as well as the best bites, and one-of-a-kind shopping.

The Great Outdoors:

  • The Greenbelt in Idaho Falls is a 10.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail perfect for running, walking and biking. It is all paved and good for all skill levels and is surrounded by beautiful scenery, restaurants and waterfalls!
  • Warm Slough float (Rexburg)
  • Ashton River Float, rent a raft at Rapid River Rentals and they will actually shuttle you to the river and pick you up! It’s about an hour and a half-2 hour float and STUNNING the entire way.

  • Cress Creek Hike–an easy hike–even for kids! Beautiful views.
  • Bear World–Bears. Everywhere! Also, there’s an amusement park and petting zoo for kids at the end that’s included!

  • Packsaddle Lake
  • Mesa Falls

  • Glamping at Moose Creek Ranch–No electricity, but there’s the cutest wood burning fire in every clamping tent and the hospitality here is unmatched.

  • St. Anthony Sand Dunes
  • Civil Defense Caves for some spelunking!
  • Rigby Lake
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Island Park–a beautiful place to rent an airbnb and stay in the woods for a bit! A great place for 4 wheeling and snow machining, too!
  • Drive through the Palisades, especially beautiful in the fall! – be sure to stop for some “world famous square ice cream” in swan valley at the gas station on the left (NOT at the ice cream shop on the right)
  • Grand Targhee
  • Heise Zipline
  • Lava Hot Springs

Food:

  • Idaho Falls Farmers Market (Saturdays, 9am-1pm May-October)
  • Krung Thep (I love the tofu salad and Chris’s favorite pad kra praw with chicken or crispy duck if they have it!)
  • Snakebite A staple in downtown Idaho Falls. Can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
  • Smokin’ Fins (the mango shrimp tacos, and halibut are incredible!)
  • Snow Eagle Brewing (if the house salad is good–and it’s incredible!–then you know everything is going to be good. They have EVERYTHING from sushi to burgers and salads.
  • Tandoori Oven
  • Blue Hashi–Chris’s favorite sushi place for the last decade. He always gets the “Vision roll” which is the chef’s special that he makes up and is different every time and is always over the moon about it.
  • Mac’s Snow Shack, Ammon (Hawaiian snow cones with ice cream)
  • Piehole–a fun pizza place in downtown idaho falls.
  • Teton House, Menan–A small restaurant made from an old bank in the middle of nowhere. The food is incredible!
  • Teton Thai in Driggs: We DREAM about this thai food. It’s so memorable and delish.
  • Forage Bistro in Driggs
  • Blisters–This is an incredible bbq place located in a gas station in Rexburg. Get the fried green beans and sweet pork and smoked turkey! Their fries and fry sauce are amazing, too!
  • Big Jud’s–Home of the 1 and 2 pound burger. I believe it was on that show Man vs. Food!
  • Pick Me Up— a great soda shop that is sweeping the area. The cookies are good, too!

 Shopping (East Idaho isn’t known for its shopping, but here are a few places to hit!)

 

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What do you think?

  1. I live in Oregon, and have only been to Boise. This makes me want to visit more of Idaho! Putting in on the list! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amanda Bradshaw says:

    We had a family reunion last weekend and thanks to your recommendation, rented rafts from Rapid River Rentals and floated the river! It was so much fun! Thank you!

  3. Ashley says:

    I’ve never been to snow eagle brewing and have lived here for 5 years! We will miss you here! Best of luck

  4. Thanks for this post! We happened to be coming through Driggs, ID today for a hot air balloon ride and we stopped at Teton Thai thanks to your suggestion! It was awesome! Also came home through IF and tried SnakeBike and I think that is the best restaurant burger I have ever had! Fabulous suggestions! Thanks so much!

  5. Monica says:

    I don’t know why I am so drawn to the photo of the Farmers Market! It’s just lovely!

  6. Candice says:

    The square ice cream at the gas station is not great. Ice crystals and always seems old. We now only stop at the ice cream place on the right in the little red building . The ice cream is ten times better and they now also carry pizza made from Papa Tom’s pizza crust (local pizza place). Curious why you don’t recommend the ice cream place on the right? So much better.

  7. Samantha says:

    I grew up in Idaho Falls and lived there until 3.5 years ago when I moved to Oregon. I also call it snow machining and people give me the weirdest looks. I loved your list and agree. Island Park is one of my favorite places!

  8. Christina says:

    Perfect timing! We’re actually from Durham, NC and visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton next week! We’d love to have a meal in Idaho; are any of the above places convenient? Thank you! And welcome to NC. :). We’re glad you’re (almost) here.

    • Chris says:

      Teton Thai and Forage are both in Driggs, which is the gateway town to Targhee (the Idaho-side resort in the Teton mountain range). If you’re on this side of the mountains, those are great options!

  9. Heather says:

    Thanks for giving Idaho some love. It’s been wonderful seeing it through your eyes. Our country really is so diverse and beautiful, all states in their own way. Good luck with your move!

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