Idaho is an outdoor recreation hot spot with more than 25 state parks, and too many lakes, rivers and wide open spaces to count. The Gem State includes thriving industries such as technology, agriculture, health care and energy. If you’re interested in living in the great State of Idaho, here is some basic information about the state to get you started.
Climate: Mild in Winter, Toasty in Summer
Contrary to what you might think, Idaho has a relatively mild climate compared to its northern sister states. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, humidity and precipitation are rampant in the winter, which means temperatures aren’t as low as other northern states. Average temps in the summer range from a toasty 88 to 92 degrees while the winter norms are 33 to 42 degrees – below zero days are unusual.
Great Places to Live: Boise, Meridian and American Falls
There are many great places to live in Idaho. Below are three that take the cake.
Meridian is Idaho's third-largest and fastest-growing city. Located just north of Boise, it is home to the Meridian Speedway and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. It’s also home to Scentsy, a popular candle warmer company, and Blue Cross of Idaho is located here.
American Falls is the first American city to be entirely moved. It was once a thriving, active hub located on the west bank of the Snake River, but during what was easily the largest government relocation of its time the town was moved to avoid flooding. It’s also intentionally laid out on a diagonal so that "the sun shines in every window." Today, its top-rated school system, bird watching and safe community make it a great place to live.
Boise is the capital of Idaho and its most populated city. Downtown Boise is full of culture and attractions such as the Boise Art Museum, Zoo Boise and Egyptian Theatre. You can also take in the Idaho State Capitol. Boise is home to the Boise State University fighting broncos, whose football team is a city landmark.
Nature Overload and Adventure Galore
If you’re a nature lover or an explorer, you will love all that Idaho has to offer. Check out Snake River Hells Canyon for jet boat tours, fishing, camping and hiking. The river is known for its powerful whitewater rapids and waves, perfect for a wet and wild adventure. Another historic show stopper to check out is Balanced Rock State Park. The famed “Balanced Rock” stands over 48 feet tall and is 40 tons. The rock balances on a pedestal of only 3 feet! Aside from nature, taking in a Boise State football game at Albertsons Stadium is a must.
Cost of Living: A Tad Higher than the National Average
The median home cost in Idaho is $173,900, just a touch higher than the national average of $170,100. The media age of Idaho real estate is 31 years, and home appreciation is up nearly 6 percent over the last year.
You Need a Car, but You'll Have a Short Commute
The average commute in Idaho is about 20 minutes, with 77 percent of commuters driving their own car. Mass transit in Idaho is less than abundant, although all the major cities do have bus systems. Less than 1 percent of people use mass transit in this state.
Top Industries and Employers
The top industries in Idaho include manufacturing, health care, tourism and agriculture. Top employers in this state include publicly traded semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, American yogurt brand Chobani and the state’s largest health-care organization St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise.
Education: Idaho Boasts Three Top Universities
Idaho has three top universities, including the University of Idaho in Moscow, the state’s first university, Idaho State University and Boise State University. It also has three regional community colleges and a handful of private institutions, making this state a great option for post-secondary education.