The Absolute Best Camping Near Boise

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: October 5, 2022
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Whether you are looking at some lakeside camping on Lucky Peak Lake or you want to stay in an established RV Park right in town, there are several great camping options in, and around, Boise, Idaho. Bring your fishing gear for fishing at the local lakes and rivers, and pack a picnic lunch for some backpacking through some of the state parks. Read on to find out about the absolute best camping near Boise!

1) Near Lucky Peak State Park

Only 20 minutes southeast of downtown Boise is the beautiful Lucky Peak Lake. The lake is along the Boise River and connects with the Arrowdock reservoir as well forming a large waterway for boating, swimming, fishing (Kokanee and rainbow trout) and more. The Lucky Peak State Park is located around the lake with three separate areas including Discovery Park, Sandy Point and Spring Shores. There is not a campground in Lucky State Park but there are several very small campgrounds located near the park. Most of the campgrounds are very primitive with limited amenities. Some have outhouses and water while others do not have any potable water. With only a few campsites at each spot you can imagine you will have a private, peaceful stay!

LocationSE of downtown Boise
Distance from downtown Boise20 min (10 miles)
Deer Flat5 primitive sites, located along the North Fork of Deer Creek
Goose Neck BayPrimitive sites
Mack’s Creek Park15 sites, located on the Boise River Arm of Lucky Peak Lake
Irish Creek Dispersed CampgroundPrimitive sites, stone fire rings dispersed in the area
Cottonwood Campground3 sites, just north of the reservoir along Cottonwood Creek
Willow Creek9 sites, north end of  the Arrowrock Reservoir
AmenitiesOuthouses, some have water
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsFirst come first serve, some are free
What makes it one of the bestBasic camping with many sites right on the shore.
A pair of bright-red sockeye salmon

Lucky Peak Lake is an angler’s delight, filled with Kokanee, also known as sockeye salmon.

©Vasik Olga/Shutterstock.com

2) Mountain View RV Park

The only RV park located right in Boise is the Mountain View RV Park, just south of Hwy 84. So you can spend the day exploring the Julia Davis Park along the river. Here you will find the Art Museum, Idaho State Museum and the Zoo Boise. The zoo has 200 animals to visit including Nile crocodiles (one of the largest crocodiles next to saltwater crocs), Magellanic penguins (from South America around the Falkland Islands) and a favorite, the black-tailed prairie dog town. Stop at a restaurant or brewery for some fine dining before heading back to your campsite.

Mountain View has 60 campsites that are all conveniently pull-thrus! All of the sites have full hookups, a large asphalt pad and green lawn area. There are restrooms and showers available for guests as well as a laundry facility. Be aware that the campground is between a busy highway and the airport so expect some city noise but the proximity to downtown makes up for it. Stay for a weekend, week or monthly rentals are available as well.

LocationSouth of downtown on the other side of Hwy 84
Distance from downtown10 min (4 miles)
RV sites60 sites, all pull-thru all full hookup
Tent sitesNo, not available
CabinsNo, not available
Picnic Tables at each siteNo, but asphalt pads and front of side lawn
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, coin operated laundry
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestOnly 4 miles to downtown Boise!!
prairie dog in burrow

The Zoo Boise features a black-tailed prairie dog town.

©iStock.com/Jon Marshall

3) Boise/Meridian KOA Journey

About 15 minutes west of downtown is the Boise/Meridian KOA campground. This is the perfect place to stay if you are heading to the Meridian Speedway, Roaring Springs Water Park or Wahooz Family Fun Zone with laser tag, bowling, mini golf, go carts and arcade. The Speedway is just a couple of blocks away, an easy walk and the water park and amusement center is a short drive on the other side of the highway.

The KOA has plenty of activities right at the campground as well. There are RV sites with a nice paved patio with picnic table and grill and there are Tent sites with a similar set up. The RV sites are either back-in or pull-thru and have full hookups while the tent sites have water and electric. Enjoy some time in the indoor pool and hot tub or drive over to Fuller Park with a nice walking/jogging trail around the neighborhood lake. Bring a picnic to enjoy at the covered picnic shelter while watching the ducks and geese in the lake. The KOA in Meridian is definitely one of the absolute best places to camp near Boise!

LocationWest of downtown in Meridian
Distance from downtown15 min (11 miles)
RV sitesYes
Tent sitesYes
CabinsNo, not available
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, indoor pool, hot tub
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestClose to all the attractions just west of Boise!
Idaho Map

The

Boise/Meridian KOA Journey

is about 15 minutes from downtown Boise.

©Peter Hermes Furian/Shutterstock.com

4) Boise Riverside RV Park

For an urban campground that feels like you are more out in the country you can stay at the Boise Riverside RV Park. It is just northeast of the downtown area right on the banks of the Boise River. The campground has river access so you can bring your fishing gear and cast a line. See if you can catch your dinner with largemouth bass, brown trout and Chinook salmon all common catches. If you love biking you can take the Greenbelt trail for miles along the river for some of the best scenery. You can even rent a tandem bike at the campground to try something new! The campground is also located right next door to Memorial Stadium where you can catch a baseball game of the Boise Hawks.

The park has RV and tent sites with many of the RV sites being pull-thru with full hookups. You have amazing views of the Sawtooth Mountains right near the river. There is one log cabin that visitors can rent that has a queen size bed and sleeps two (no water or sewer, restrooms nearby). A scenic place to camp so close to the city!

LocationNW of downtown right on the Boise River
Distance from downtown15 min (6 miles)
RV SitesYes, pull-thru sites with full hookups and back-in sites with water/electric
Tents sitesYes, tent camping is allowed
Log Cabin1 Log cabin is available
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry
Pet FriendlyYes (not in the cabin)
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestBest riverside camping near Boise.
Chinook salmon has a long, tapered body with a blue-green back, a silver sheen on their sides, and a white belly.

Anglers at the Boise River frequently catch Chinook salmon.

©Kevin Cass/Shutterstock.com

5) Shafer Butte Campground

For a much more primitive camping experience you can stay at Shafer Butte Campground up in the Boise Ridge Mountains. The campground sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet! Although it is only about 20 miles from downtown it takes a while to drive up through the mountains to get to the campground. There are seven sites available with picnic tables and fire rings at each site. Park in the parking lot then haul your gear a short walk to your campsite. Be sure to bring enough water for your whole stay as there is not water available. There are picnic tables and fire rings on site as well as a vault toilet.

You can access the Mores Mountain Nature Trail right from the campground for a day hike or some backpacking. The Mores Mountain Loop takes about an hour and fifteen minutes unless you pack a picnic lunch and have a nice picnic at the top of Mores Mountain. Depending on the time of year you will be treated with hills of wildflowers in yellow, purple and white with butterflies flying from flower to flower. Also keep an eye out for hawks and eagles at the summit before heading back down to the campground. You can see why Shafer Butte is one of the best places to camp near Boise!

LocationNorth of downtown in the Boise Ridge Mountains
Distance from downtown55 min (22 miles)
RV sitesNo
Tent sitesYes, 7 tent only sites, short walk from the parking lot
CabinsNo
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesVault toilets, no water…bring your own
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsBoth, reservable and first come first serve
What makes it one of the bestCamp and hike to the top of a mountain!
bald eagle perched on column

Bald eagles are just one of the birds you may spot in the Boise Ridge Mountains.

©iStock.com/emranashraf

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © FedBul/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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Sources
  1. Idaho Parks and Recreation, Available here: https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/lucky-peak/
  2. Boise RV Park, Available here: https://www.boiservpark.com/
  3. KOA, Available here: https://koa.com/campgrounds/boise/
  4. Boise Riverside RV Park, Available here: https://www.boiseriversidervpark.com/home
  5. Forest Service USDA, Available here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/boise/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=5087&actid=29