Summer Fun in Sun Valley, Idaho: Best Hotels & More

Advisor - Meredith Alexander
Curated By

Meredith Alexander

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  • USA

  • Idaho

  • Sun Valley

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Mountains

  • Outdoors

  • Summer

river surrounded by green fields with mountains in the background
Curator’s statement

Most skiers know about the beauty of Sun Valley when it's a winter wonderland. But, this guide will show you that Sun Valley is an excellent summer fun destination - especially with older kids. The Ketchum/ Sun Valley/ Hailey region is small enough to explore in just a few days and dense enough to keep your family busy and active, even if you don't play golf or tennis. The mountain air is an instant de-stressor. The Americana vibe (think: a picturesque Fourth of July parade looks like it's straight out of a movie) will have you embracing cowboy culture.

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Where to stay in Sun Valley, Idaho

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Limelight Hotel Ketchum

Chic alpine hotel with refined rooms and luxury amenities in downtown Ketchum.

Sun Valley Resort

Part of the Sun Valley Mountain Resort, this elevated alpine stay boasts 17 restaurants and bars and three outdoor pools in picturesque Idaho.

Les Saisons Sun Valley

Luxe fully-furnished residences with rooftop pool access and a luxury concierge.

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Things to do in Sun Valley, Idaho

green meadow with mountains in the background during daytime

Hike: Take the River Run gondola up to the Roundhouse and hike your way back down amongst wildflowers and conifers. Rigorous exercise.

Gentle hike: Drive 10 minutes just north of Ketchum to Adam's Gulch and walk gently through the wilderness.

Fly fishing: Get a guide at Orvis Outfitters and they will suit you up from head to toe. Guides will drive you to a nearby fishing spot and spend the day (or half day) teaching you everything from casting, tying flies and catching some rainbow trout.

Archery: At Flight Archery on Main Street in Hailey, you can rent out the place for a family of 4 or a party of 20+. The owner will give you pointers. Private instruction is not extra and you can try your best Katniss imitation.

Bowling and arcade: In case you've had too much fresh air, the basement of the Sun Valley Lodge has a great game room and you can even order some food down there.

Skeet shooting: The Sun Valley Gun Club is very small and the instructors are incredibly knowledgeable. You only need about an hour to get your fill (and before your shoulder begins to ache), and it's easy to access across the street from the Lodge.

Tubing: Inner tubes are the most fun way to float down the Big Wood River. Water can be cold so go on a very hot day.

Bikes: Several outlets (Pete Lanes is one of them) will rent out eBikes for an effortless cruise down the bike path through town.

Ice skating: Even when it's hot and sunny, the outdoor ice rink is ready for you. And you can have a bite of lunch on the large patio overlooking the rink. Check the calendar to see if you are lucky enough to be there during a summer ice show.

Symphony: Bring a picnic and a blanket for the giant green lawn. Enjoy the music on a summer evening. So relaxing.

Hot springs: Six miles down a dirt road you will find the Warm Springs hot springs. Look up "Frenchman's Bend" on your navigation. Bring your swimsuit and towels.

Mini golf: The Sun Valley Golf Course has an 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course, so you don't have to take your game too seriously.

Day Trips from Sun Valley

About 90 minutes north is Stanley, Idaho, home of Redfish Lake. An incredibly beautiful place to spend a day on the water surrounded by mountains.

Places to eat & drink in Sun Valley, Idaho

two people sitting next to white plate with chips and toppings

The Kneadery: A standard, been there for 40+ years. Excellent giant menu. Great for breakfast.

NourishMe: A health food mini-market with a sandwich counter in the back. Some of the best sandwiches you will ever have - a completely lovely surprise!

Cookbook: A fine dining dinner experience in a little house covered with shelves holding... you guessed it, cookbooks!

Big Wood Bakery: Salads and sandwiches, healthy and delish. Breakfast and lunches. Be warned: sometimes the lines are long! Excellent GF cookies.

Rickshaw: Thai food in Ketchum, hits the spot. Ping Pong tables to entertain the kids (and adults) until dinner is served.

Java: THE breakfast spot, and for coffee lovers, the "Bowl of Soul" is reported to be the best coffee in all of Idaho.

Barrio 75: Mexican food with heaping plates of nachos, cold beers and churros for dessert.

Limelight Hotel patio: for happy hour/ dinner. Live music makes it feel like you are really on holiday.

The Warfield: Burgers and craft beers. GastroPub. Sit on the roof and watch the clouds float by.

LeRoy's Ice Cream Hut: Artisanal ice cream right in the middle of the Ketchum town square, with families relaxing on benches and kids skipping rope, you can pretend you are in Stars Hollow.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Best Things to do in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Advisor - Meredith Alexander

Travel Advisor

Meredith Alexander

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on nature escapes.