15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Idaho

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dog is chilling at the shoshone falls park in twin falls in a dog friendly vacation in Idaho

Also known as The Potato State, Idaho is one of the largest producers of russet potatoes, the Idaho Potato. It is also one of the least populated states, with just 1.8 million people and 300,000 fur babies. Maybe that is because they use so much space for potato farming. Or it could be all the parks. The state has lots of recreational opportunities with 23 state parks, two state forests, 10 national forests, one national park, six wildlife refuges, and hundreds of county, city, and community parks.

In fact, the first national park in the US is located in Idaho as well as Montana and Wyoming. Yellowstone Park is well-known all over the world and is a popular place to visit during any season. The state is bordered by Canada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana with the Rocky Mountains, Snake River, and Hells Canyon.

With so much open space in Idaho, you know there are plenty of dog parks to visit with your pooch. In fact, there are more than 30 parks dedicated to dogs for off-leash fun. We chose 15 of our favorite dog-friendly vacation destinations to share with you here.


The city with the most people is also the city with the most dogs, of course. And that means it also has the most dog parks! Yes, there are 10 off-leash dog parks in Boise, which is a third of the dog parks in the whole state! In fact, several of the city parks are completely off-leash throughout during certain times of the day so he can run around all over the place as long as he is voice-controlled. Perfect for a dog and human getaway.

One of the most pup popular dog parks is Together Treasure Valley Dog Island in Ann Morrison Park, where he has five acres that include picnic shelters and a pond. Storey Bark Park has over two acres with agility equipment to play on. Those parks that are off-leash throughout include Winstead, Sunset, and Redwood.

After playing at the park, you can go enjoy a cold adult beverage and play some games at Space Bar Arcade where leashed dogs are always welcome. They have pinball, video arcade games, and virtual reality. It is the perfect place to end the day.


Pack up the kids and Fido and take everyone to Meridian for a fun weekend retreat. Not only does it have a huge waterpark but it also has an amusement park next door and a children’s museum too! Roaring Springs is the biggest with more than 20 water attractions including Camp IdaH2O with seven slides and more than 80 interactive features. There are also a dozen other waterslides, the lazy river, Leisure Lagoon, and more.  

Right next door, Wahooz has an arcade, bowling alley, mini-golf, and laser tag. And the Children’s Museum of Idaho has a variety of fun interactive things to do like an indoor farm where kids can milk a cow and a children’s theater where they can do a puppet show. But first, drop off your pup at Bellapoochie Pet Sitting because dogs are not allowed. 

Afterward, pick up your pup and take him to Storey Bark Park at Storey Park, right by the speedway. Just remember, the track gets loud during races. 

Boise National Forest

Covering 2.2 million acres in the middle of the state, Boise National Forest has some great places to camp. It is separated into five units including Mountain Home, Lowman, Idaho City, Emmett, and Cascade. The huge woods are host to 70+ campgrounds with more than 900 campsites. One of the largest is Shoreline Campground with 31 sites near Cascade. It has two loops next to Warm Lake with picnic tables, fire pits, a store, boat rentals, and showers. 

Almost all of the campgrounds have restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits although there are some that are more primitive with port-a-potties and no running water. You will also find more than 1,300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, equestrian, and ATVs. In winter, some are groomed for cross-country skiing. 

Fishing is also popular, with more than 250 lakes and 7,500 miles of streams. Bring your fishing gear and an Idaho fishing license. You can also bring your waterskis, kayak, or canoe if you want to play on the water. 

Coeur d’Alene 

Take your sweetheart and your cuddly buddy to Coeur d’Alene for a romantic stay at The Roosevelt Inn. The historic bed and breakfast used to be a schoolhouse but is now a cozy place to stay in a unique room with massage services, free homemade breakfast, games, and movies. They also have a bar, family rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Pets are an additional $55 a day but they get their own bed, bowls, treats, and their very own tennis ball. 

Then, you can take your two best buds to see the city from the air with Brooke’s Seaplane Service where you have a unique view of the Bitter Root Mountains, Fernon Lake, and the Spokane River. Another way to see the lovely city is by going to the lake. Lake Coeur D’Alene Cruises has a dog-friendly sunset dinner cruise that is perfect. 

Before going back to the Roosevelt, let Fido play off the leash for a while at Atlas Waterfront Dog Park. It has over 12 acres with a water dog area for the summer. 


For those who are on a tight budget, Nampa has several fantastic dog-friendly hotels with rooms starting at under $100! In fact, the Sleep Inn has an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and a hot tub for just $92 a night. After checking in, take your fur baby to Amity Dog Park so he can get rid of some of that excess energy from the trip. It has six acres with separate sections for big and small dogs, trails, water, shade, and lots of seating.

Another great park to enjoy with your pooch is the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. The free park welcomes leashed dogs and has miles of trails, picnic areas, boating, fishing, and horseback riding. During the winter, they also have cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snow-shoeing. Just remember to pack extra water and doggie bags. 

Inside the refuge, Lake Lowell offers plenty of opportunities for swimming too. Your pup will have to stay on a leash but he can still play in the water. 

Idaho Falls 

If you have an RV or just want to camp in a tent, pack up your camping gear and head to Idaho Falls on the Snake River. There are several campgrounds in town but the most pup popular is Idaho Falls Luxury RV Park because it has an incredible dog park. The fenced area is perfect for getting rid of the zoomies so you can relax around the campfire and roast marshmallows. They even have a jar of Milk Bones at the front desk and free bike rentals. 

Also, right on the river, the Snake River Campground has 158 campsites with full hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, showers, Wi-Fi, groceries, playgrounds, and it also has a dog park. There is also another dog park nearby called Snake River Animal Park that has a separate small dog section, picnic tables, and doggie pools. 

Get away from the campground for a while and go see a movie with your pup. The Motor Vu Drive-In welcomes pups as long as they are leashed outside the car. 

Yellowstone National Park

Everyone has heard of Yellowstone. It has some famous landmarks like the Old Faithful geyser and amazing mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and canyons. You and your pooch can do just about any kind of outdoor sport in Yellowstone National Park from camping, swimming, and hiking to skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding. Although a lot of the park is in Montana and Wyoming, you will find a good deal of it in southeastern Idaho, too near Idaho Falls. 

But one of the main draws to the park is its trails. In fact, the park has over 900 miles of hiking on its 2.2 million acres. Many of them are wild and rugged but there are also some that are easy and moderately challenging. The Packsaddle Lake Trail is 4.2 acres and is considered to be moderate with some uphill hiking. If you want something easy, try the 2.6-mile City Creek Beginner Loop near Pocatello.

For a unique experience, take your cuddle buddy on a float. The Big Springs River Experience is dog-friendly and they have everything you need to get on the water. 


Couples with dogs have enjoyed Caldwell for many reasons including the Koenig Vineyards, Ste. Chapelle’s Winery and Hat Ranch Vineyard and Winery. They are all dog-friendly and you can enjoy a romantic view while sipping delicious wine from their own grapes. Ste. Chapelle has even won awards for their wines. But the best one is Hells Canyon Winery & Zhoo Zhoo because they will pack you a picnic lunch to enjoy in their fields.

After, take your pup to Centennial Dog Park to play off the leash. Located at Whittenberger Park, the fully fenced dog yard is separated into three areas. One is for big dogs, one for little ones, and another for all dogs. It has lots of shade, seating, and doggie bags as well as water fountains and room for a game of fetch or frisbee.

When it starts getting dark, get everyone in the car and go see a romantic movie at Terrace Drive-In. They have double features with three screens and a concession stand where you can get popcorn, hot dogs, and other snacks. 


Hit the park this summer! Silverwood Theme Park has a total of 38 rides that include seven roller coasters and nine water rides as well as games, entertainment, shows, dining, and shopping on more than 400 acres in Athol, Idaho. In fact, it is the largest amusement park with a water park in the northwest. Some of the kiddie rides include Antique Cars, Flying Elephants, and the Frog Hopper. Older kids love the Roaring Creek Log Flume and the Scrambler. 

But the thrill rides are the main stars including Timber Terror, Panic Plunge, Spincycle, Aftershock, and Stunt Pilot. The Boulder Beach Water Park has several pools as well as a kiddie area called Polliwog Park as well as five awesome waterslides. You will have to leave Fido at doggie daycare. Try the Northwest Pet Resort where your pup may not want to leave.

If you can get him to go, you can take everyone to Seasons Restaurant, where they love dogs. You can get a variety of food, from crab sliders to brandied bread pudding. 


Another awesome city that has incredibly affordable rooms is Pocatello. There are over a dozen with four of them that have a pool. The Quality Inn is only $84 and has an indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and free breakfast. La Quinta has all of that plus they have a fitness center and family rooms. The Red Lion and Best Western both have all that and a spa with a hot tub too!

After you check in, take Fido to Katie’s Dog Park so he can get rid of some of that excess energy from traveling. It has a half-acre of fenced yard with a separate small dog area, benches, two water fountains, and waste stations with baggies. And it is free of charge. The Bannock Bark Park is also free and has several acres of off-leash space to enjoy.

If you both want to get some exercise, the City Creek Trail System has 22 trails from a third of a mile to 5.4 miles.

Heyburn State Park 

Located in northwestern Idaho, Plummer is home to Heyburn State Park and several lakes, including Chatcolet, Benewah, and Hidden Lakes. The St. Joe River also runs through the park so there are plenty of opportunities for water sports including swimming, fishing, boating, waterskiing, and wakeboarding. You can explore around and over the lakes by taking the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene, which has over 70 miles of dog-friendly trails.

You can also rent a bike and pedal around the lakes or rent a kayak to paddle on them. Actually, if you have your own boat, you can go sailboating, use a speed boat, or cruise the lakes with a pontoon boat. Each lake also has its own campground with between 30 and 40 sites. Most are dog-friendly and some have utilities. 

For a shorter hike with stellar lake views, try the Indian Cliff Trail. The three-mile trail is moderately challenging, with a 560-foot elevation gain. Don’t forget to bring extra water and doggie bags.

Twin Falls 

With almost 52,000 people and 8,600 dogs, Twin Falls is one of the larger cities in the state and is located in southern Idaho. It gets its name from the renowned Shoshone Falls, also known as the Niagara of the West. It consists of two identical waterfalls 212 feet high, which is 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls. It is the perfect place for a weekend with your pooch so you can walk along the Snake River and see the amazing waterfalls. 

Shoshone Falls State Park is also in Twin Falls and has more than 200 acres of recreational space for hiking, biking, picnicking, and just hanging out. There are boat docks, barbecue pits, a concession stand, and playgrounds, too so everyone has something to do. Centennial Waterfront Park is also on the river and has guided boat tours. 

After playing all day, stop at the dog-friendly Milner’s Gate Idaho Craft Brewery and Restaurant. You can enjoy some crafted brews with some pub food, and your pooch can enjoy a bowl of water and some treats. 

Caribou-Targhee National Forest

Near Yellowstone, in Idaho Falls, the Caribou-Targhee National Fores has more than three million acres to explore and enjoy with your furry friend. It is separated into several smaller sections that include 20 different counties and two wilderness areas, the Jebediah Smith Wilderness and Winegar Hole Wilderness. Being so huge, you probably want to camp, and with more than 45 campgrounds, you have lots to pick from, whether you want a fancy RV site with utilities or a backwoods dirt road with no water or restrooms.   

Hiking is also popular, and there are 10 trails to explore with your fur baby. Just remember to pack plenty of water and doggie bags and pick up after your pup. If you come during the winter, you will find a variety of winter sports like ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. During the summer, you can go swimming, fishing, boating, and floating on one of the rivers or lakes in the forest. 

You will also have easy access to Yellowstone National Park because the park’s west entrance is inside the forest. 


Speaking of winter, don’t forget your snowboard or skis if you go to Sandpoint. The Schweitzer Ski Resort is located in the Selkirk Mountains way up in northern Idaho by the Canadian border. The main summit has an elevation of 6,400 feet with a vertical drop of 2,440 feet. There are over 90 named ski runs and open bowls to enjoy, with almost 3,000 skiable acres. The longest is Little Blue Ridge Run, at 2.1 miles. 

Although your dog is not allowed on the slopes, they are welcome at Selkirk Lodge. The charming place has pools and hot tubs open year-round as well as a restaurant and spa. Your pooch will be allowed on cross-country ski trails and terrain parks with tubing but make sure you dress him in layers to stay warm. Even snow dogs get cold. 

After working up an appetite, take Fido to The Fat Pig, which is always dog-friendly to leashed dogs. You can get a cold beer and a burger and fries as well as duck nachos and other unique eats. 

Lake Cascade State Park

Located in central western Idaho in Valley County, Lake Cascade State Park can be found in Cascade, Idaho. This fantastic park has lots to do on its 500 acres, including camping at one of the 279 campsites. You will also see a lot of windsurfers and sailing going on in this windy section of the state. Fishing is always good with coho salmon, rainbow trout, and bass. And with 86 miles of shoreline, you have ample opportunity to throw out a line, splash in the water, or launch a boat. 

Many people come to the park for hiking as well. There are only two named trails. One is Crown Point Trail, which is almost three miles on an old railroad bed. It runs all along the lake giving you some awesome views and selfie opportunities. The other is the Park Loop Trail, which is 1.2 miles running from the Van Wyck Boat Ramp to the Ridgeview Campground. 

During the winter, these trails are also great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. But make sure everyone is bundled up. 

The Final Woof

You will not have any trouble finding a place to stay in Idaho with your cuddly canine companion because there are almost 2,000 vacation rentals that allow dogs, including 50+ campgrounds and 230 hotels. You will also find close to 500 pup popular eating establishments, 32 dog parks, and three dog beaches, as well as 100+ hiking trails that welcome dogs. More specifically, if you are looking for somewhere to take the whole family, Meridian has a waterpark, amusement park, and children’s museum and Athol has the largest amusement park in the northwest. For a winter trip, Sandpoint has a mountain with more than 90 trails and a dog-friendly lodge. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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