Rafting. Golfing. SUP. Shopping. Adventure is easier than ever in Meridian, centrally located for summer fun.
There are endless adventures to be had in southwest Idaho — but where you choose to set up your basecamp can make all the difference.
Whether you’re planning a day trip to Idaho’s wine country, boating at Lucky Peak or Lake Lowell, surfing the sand at Bruneau Dunes State Park, having a hoot at the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey, exploring the past in Idaho City, or trying one of the many ideas listed below, Meridian is the perfect starting point. It’s just minutes away from I-84 and in the middle of the action — not to mention home to countless hotel and restaurant options.
Ready to be inspired? Here are just a few of the many adventure options available when you choose Meridian.
Family Fun in the Sun
You won’t have to go far to make the kiddos happy: Idaho’s largest water park, Roaring Springs, is conveniently located in Meridian. This sprawling complex features more than 20 water attractions ranging from an endless river to heart-stopping thrill rides, and it’s the ideal place to play on a hot July day. Or, skip the extra sunblock and keep it cool indoors at Wahooz Family Fun Zone, which features a smorgasbord of activities — climbing walls, a bowling alley, arcade games, laser tag, and tons more.
Head Up the Hill
Bogus Basin is the Treasure Valley’s favorite place to ski, but the fun doesn’t stop once the snow melts. Both fat tire and mountain biking enthusiasts can barrel down more than 20 miles of hilly terrain. For a real technical challenge, take the chair lift to The Basin Gravity Park and work your way down the hill … then do it all over again. Not a biker? No problem. The Glade Runner Mountain Coaster offers plenty of freewheeling fun. Just hop on, take the wheel, and let gravity propel you through 4,330 feet of twisting turns and unbeatable hilltop views.
Floating the Boise River is the simplest of summer pleasures. Just rent an inner tube or raft from Boise River Raft and Tube at Barber Park and set off on your two-hour, six-mile adventure. This experience is great for kids and adults alike, but make sure you pick up personal floatation devices for children under 14 (it’s the law). Once you’re done, hop on the low-cost shuttle at Ann Morrison Park to head back to your car.
Stand-up paddleboarding has quickly become one of the best ways to experience the Treasure Valley’s many lakes, ponds, and waterways — most of which are accessible by the iconic Greenbelt. SUP enthusiasts flock to the 22-acre Quinn’s Pond, a little piece of heaven located between Fairview Avenue and Veterans Parkway in Boise. Nearby Esther Simplot Park is even bigger: 55 acres, 23 ponds, and endless opportunities for flat-water enthusiasts, swimmers, and anglers alike. Or, head toward the outskirts of Boise to Lucky Peak State Park, where the wide-open water of the Boise River is placid and perfect for an afternoon adventure.
Make a Run for Rapid Fun
The Main Payette River is roughly 45 minutes away from Meridian, yet it feels like the middle of the wide-open West. This beautiful stretch is known for its big, splashy fun, with rapids ranging from Class II to III — in other words, perfect for families or newbies. Book a trip with a guide for the best experience. The river trip should take about three fun-filled hours.
Hit the Links
Meridian’s 200-plus days of sun make it perfect for golfing — and during the summer, you can discover just how good 18 holes can be. BanBury Golf Course is located along a tributary of the Boise River in Eagle, just next door to Meridian, and is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 courses in Idaho by Golf Digest. Lakeview Golf Club in Meridian is insanely affordable ($39 for 18 holes during the weekend) and has a reputation for being friendly and welcoming to both novices and experienced players alike.
Satisfy Your Need for Speed
Once the calendar flips to July, the competition at Meridian Speedway really takes off. This quarter-mile asphalt track is home to some of the top races in the state, including six events during July alone. Tickets are super reasonable and the action is fast, which makes it a great evening option for both kids and adults.
Play at the Park
Meridian’s plentiful sunshine and high-desert climate (humidity has no home here) makes it perfect for a day in the park. Keep the kids busy at Settlers Park, which features a pond, tennis courts, baseball fields, horseshoe courts, and more. Sprawling Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park includes a recreation complex with everything you need for an afternoon of fun, from a splash pad to bocce to sand volleyball. Or, drive a few miles to Eagle Island State Park, which offers 545 acres of outdoor opportunities — including fishing, paddle sports, disc golf, and even a waterslide!
Drive Through History
Southwestern Idaho has miles of open road — and very little traffic to stand in between you and adventure. History lovers will especially enjoy the Western Heritage Historic Byway, which combines several bucket-list locations in one 90-minute drive. The byway begins in Meridian and ends at Swan Falls Dam and Park. Along the way, visit Celebration Park and its ancient petroglyphs; Cleo’s Ferry Museum and Nature Trail, which offers a peek into the ferries that once provided passage across the Snake River; and Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Conservation Area, where you can spot hundreds of raptors like owls and red-tailed hawks.
Too Hot to Handle? Try These Indoor Options
When the temps start blazing, head inside — Meridian offers plenty of air-conditioned options. Check out The Village for upscale shopping, fantastic restaurants, and even movies! Or, test your leisure skills at Big Al’s, where a cold beer can be the perfect companion to a bowling or arcade session. Escape to other worlds at Cinemark Majestic Cinemas or fly high at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park.
While You’re Here …
Why not try living the laid-back life of a local while you’re here? Check out these events for a taste of what Meridian is all about.
- Meridian Main Street Market: Nearly every town in the Treasure Valley has a farmer’s market, but Meridian’s has a twist: You’ll see kids selling their wares and fresh products, too. The market started as a way for young people to broaden their entrepreneurial skills, but has now expanded to local businesses, vendors, artists, and craftspeople who are beyond their school years. Expect plenty of farmer’s market staples such as fresh fruit and veggies, along with a whole range of concoctions and crafts — vendors include candy makers, purveyors of hand-blended spices, candlemakers, cake sellers, and coffee roasters. You’ll want to come hungry to take advantage of the on-site food trucks, too.
- Second Annual Surf’s Up! Christmas in July Fair: Is it ever too early to start shopping for holiday gifts? Get a head start at this unique fair that will feature a wide variety of vendors, a food truck rally, and even a cornhole tournament.