The 5 Best Places to Camp in Idaho this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: January 24, 2023
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If you are looking for a weekend getaway or are visiting Idaho, there are many attractions you don’t want to miss. There are 30 state parks with everything from dunes to waterfalls. You have to find time to soak in the famous hot springs at some point along your trip. Want to camp with a 9-hole golf course and winery on site, then there is a place for that too. Here are the 5 best places to camp in Idaho this summer!

1) Sawtooth National Recreational Area

Redfish Lake in Sawtooth National Recreation Area is one of five camping areas.


The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (NRA) is located just NE of Boise on 776,000 acres of land. Enjoy the mountains and forests with over 700 miles of trials. Plan to hike up to one of the many alpine lakes and hike to lookouts at over 40 different peaks. The NRA is perfect for hiking, biking, boating, and fishing. For camping, there are over 58 different campgrounds throughout the park, including Wood River, Alturas Lake, Redfish Lake, Hwy 21 Complex, and the Salmon River Campground. Each campground has a variety of sites accommodating RVs and Tents. Some require reservations, while others are first come, first serve.

Here are the details about one of the most popular, Alturas Lake Campground. Don’t forget to bring your fishing gear for fishing on Alturas Lake for bull trout and Kokanee Salmon!

LocationJust NE of Boise, on the shores of Alturas Lake
Nearest CityStanley and Ketchum, Idaho
RV/Tent sites28 sites, non-electric, 40ft max RV, some on the lake
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesVault toilets and drinking water
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestLakeview camping sites are within walking distance of the lake!

2) Ponderosa State Park

From tent camping to deluxe cabins, Ponderosa State Park has it all.

© Aslanian

On the SE shores of beautiful Payette Lake is the Ponderosa State Park. This 5,330-acre lake is a recreational lake for boating, swimming, paddling, and fishing—fish for rainbow, cutthroat, lake trout, and good-sized Kokanee salmon. The campground offers three different loops, with some sites having lake views. There are Lakeview Deluxe cabins as well as RV and tent sites. The Lakeview cabins are named after some of the common wildlife in the park.

  • Mule Deer: Sleeps 4, queen bed, queen fold-out sofa, ADA accessible with ramp, bathroom with full tub
  • Moose: Sleeps 2, queen bed, ADA accessible with ramp, bathroom with roll-in shower,
  • Bear, Wolf, Fox: Sleeps 2, queen size bed plus loft, can bring an air mattress to add to sleep in the loft.
  • Eagle, Owl, White-tail: Sleeps 6, single level two bedroom cabins, one queen in the first bedroom and a queen and full in the second
  • Elk: Sleeps 6, largest of the cabins, queen bed and queen fold-out on the main floor, queen and fold-out in the loft
LocationSE shores of Payette Lake, 100 miles north of Boise
Nearest CityMcCall, Idaho
RV SitesYes, some with electric and water
Tent SitesYes
Deluxe Lakeview CabinsYes, 1-2 bedrooms with a private bathroom
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestRight on the shores of Payette Lake.

3) Lake Cascade State Park

Lake Cascade Idaho
Lake Cascade is amazing for fishing rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and Coho Salmon.


Located around the shores of Lake Cascade, this state park has 10 different campgrounds to choose from. The park is great for hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting (nearby), and fishing. Smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and Coho Salmon are some of the best fish on the lake. The lake is large enough to accommodate windsurfers as well. Some campsites have views of both the lake and the North Fork Mountains. What a nice way to start your day – with a cup of coffee overlooking the mountains at your campsite.

LocationAlong the shores of Lake Cascade
Nearest CityCascade, ID
RV SitesYes, Poison Creek and Ridgeview have full hookups
Tent SitesYes, at all of the campgrounds as well as two primitive camping areas
Yurts3 large yurts are the Osprey Point Group Yurt Camp, sleeps 30 total
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes, during the summer, not in the winter
What makes it one of the best10 different campgrounds to choose from!

4) Lava Campground

raccoon fidgeting in the trashcan
Be sure to keep your food locked up, so you don’t get a visit from a curious raccoon!

©Jillian Cain Photography/

Idaho is known for its Hot Springs, and Lava Campground is located right in Lava Hot Springs, ID. This area is for the adventurous with ATV and Dirt Bike trails, a zip line park, and River Tubing (with some rapids!). Or, if you want to take it easy, visit the Hot Springs Lava Hot Springs Swimming Pools and Hot Pools (with temperatures around 102°-112°). Nice!

The Lava Campground has some unique accommodations for something a little different. Besides RV and Tent camping, they have Retro campers (including some with king-sized beds) and Glamping Tents (beds included). Many sites are right along the creek, so keep your food tucked away, so you don’t get a nighttime visit from a raccoon (or bear)!

LocationIn the SE corner of Idaho
Nearest CityLava Hot Springs, ID
RV Sites120 standard RV Sites
Tent Sites43 tent only
Picnic Tables at each siteYes, new ones!
Fire Pit at each siteYes, new ones!
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, camp store, playground
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestDid you see the part about the Hot Springs being 102°-112°?

5) Crossings Winery and RV Park (Y Knot Winery)

Mustang Grapes
At the Crossings Winery and RV Park, you can play a round of golf, tour the winery and then enjoy dinner at the on-site restaurant.


In an article in Readers Digest, the Crossings Winery and RV Park (now called Y Knot Winery) was rated the best place to camp in Idaho, maybe because they offer wine tasting seven days a week! This RV park is set on one of the oldest wineries in the state and offers tours of the winery on the weekend. Another nice feature is the on-site restaurant and tavern (with a buffalo mounted on the wall), not exactly roughing it! There is also a 9-hole golf course, your camping trip is sure to be amazing!

LocationOverlooking the Snake River Valley
Nearest CityGlenn Ferry, ID
RV SitesYes, water/electric/sewer and cable
Tent SitesNo
Cabin Rentals2, queen-sized bed, private bath, porch
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, winery, tavern, restaurant, golf course
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestGolf, dine, wine, camp… repeat!

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Lake Cascade Idaho
Lake Cascade is the fourth largest lake in the state of Idaho and known for great ice fishing
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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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