Life in Idaho

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Did you know that Idaho is called the Gem State? More than 70 precious and semiprecious gemstones are found here, making Idaho the world’s second largest resource for gems.

But there’s so much more that sparkles in Idaho.

With stunning landscapes, outdoor activities, vibrant cities, safe and welcoming communities, and quality educational and career opportunities, you’ll soon discover that gemstones are just one of the remarkable things waiting for you when you come to study and live in Idaho.

  • Discover Idaho
  • Cityscapes & Culture
  • Outdoor Activities

Discover Idaho

Located in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho spans 83,557 square miles and stretches from Canada to Nevada and Utah. It’s a big place with plenty of wide open spaces, and environments ranging from snow to sand dunes, rivers to rocky canyons, waterfalls to placid lakes.

Not only will you find two time zones, but you’ll discover a vast outdoor wonderland. In fact, Idaho has the most miles of navigable river in the US — 3100 miles! — as well as the deepest river gorge — Hells Canyon — in North America.

  • Northern Idaho: the panhandle of the state is bordered by Washington and Montana, with deep blue sky, emerald green hills, tree-covered mountains, and clear lakes.
  • Central Idaho: rugged mountains dominate the landscape
  • Southern Idaho: vast open lands and vistas of the Snake River Plain provide the backdrop to the larger cities

Video from Visit Idaho

While there’s so much to see, you won’t have to worry about sharing the view with lots of people. Idaho has one of lowest population densities in the United States and an overall state population of just 1.8 million.

In addition, the economy is vibrant with a range of industries including science and technology manufacturing, aerospace, energy, food production, recreation technology, and tourism. Idaho also ranks third for highest rate of small business growth in the US.

Downtown Boise, Idaho, on Study Idaho

Cityscapes & Culture

Idaho isn’t just beautiful wild places. Across the state, you’ll find concerts, festivals, arts, and more.

Boise, our capital city with a population of about 200,000 residents, is home to award-winning restaurants and wineries, shopping, attractions. The city’s playlist includes performing arts and culture, international cuisine, museums, and music venues, and festivals. Many smaller cities, like Sun Valley, have notable film, arts, and music festivals as well.

No matter the size of the city, you’ll find the small-town feel of a friendly people who welcome you to explore and discover what they love about Idaho.

Outdoor Activities

When you come study in Idaho, get ready to choose your outdoor adventure… but you don’t have to choose just one!

  • Skiing and snowboarding: 18 resorts, 18,000 acres, 28,000 vertical feet, including Sun Valley and Grand Targhee
  • River rafting, fishing, and boating: more than 3100 miles of navigable rivers and more than 2000 lakes
  • Hiking and backpacking: more than 50% of the state is public lands
  • Waterfall watching: more than 60 named waterfalls across the state
  • Road trips: 31 unique scenic byways criss-cross the state. Here are a just a few:
  • North America’s only multi-national scenic drive: International Selkirk Loop
  • Longest byway in Idaho: Northwest Passage Scenic Byway is 202 miles
  • Near Idaho’s tallest mountain: Peaks to Craters Scenic Byway runs alongside Mount Borah, 12,662 feet in elevation

Did You Know?

Fun Facts about Idaho

  • Shoshone Falls drops 52 feet further than Niagara Falls.
  • With 2.3 million acres, the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is the largest contiguous federally managed wilderness area in the United States outside of Alaska.
  • The total length of Idaho’s rivers and waterways (over 107,000 miles) could stretch across the US 38 times.