When Boise's temperatures soar in summer, several thousand people can float the downtown stretch of the city's namesake river in a single day.
For a nearby, uncrowded alternative, try the waterway's Eagle Island route, about 6 miles west of downtown Boise. Within minutes, floaters trade the buzz of traffic for the gentle rush of the river flowing past willow trees, as red-winged blackbirds dart overhead and weasels scamper along the banks. After your refresher, drive on to Eagle and browse the shops in the town's historic district.
Boise River float. WHAT: Boise River Tours offers mellow two-hour trips complete with a riverside snack stop. WHEN: Trips offered daily through October. HOW MUCH: From $40, reservations required. WHERE: Tours usually meet at the Glenwood Bridge; afterward, take a shuttle back to your car. www.boiserivertours.com or 208/333-0003.
The Blue Moose Café. WHAT: Try the signature Maytag salad with roast chicken, blue cheese, dried cranberries, and apples. WHEN: Lunch Mon-Sat, dinner Fri (reservations required). HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 79 E. Aikens St.; 208/939-3079.
Wild West Bakery & Espresso. WHAT: Grab a quick drink or dessert to go at the oldest and friendliest coffeehouse in town. Our favorites? Giant sticky buns studded with walnuts, cinnamon-peach scones, and crispy palmier cookies. WHEN: Breakfast and lunch daily. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 83 E. State St.; 208/939-5677.
The Artisan Gallery. WHAT: A small gallery selling Idaho landscapes painted in oil and watercolors, plus jewelry and contemporary crafts. WHEN: 10:30-5 Tue-Fri, 10:30-3 Sat. WHERE: 32 N. First St.; 208/939-5889.
Second Avenue. WHAT: A downtown consignment shop with high-quality furniture and housewares. WHEN: 10-6 Mon-Fri, 10-5 Sat. WHERE: 222 E. State St.; 208/938-4383.
Orville Jackson's Eagle Store. WHAT: An old-fashioned one-of-everything store marking its centennial next year. Check out the mini museum of early medicines. WHEN: 10-5 Mon-Fri, 10-4 Sat. WHERE: 50 E. State St.; 208/939-6511.
INFO: Eagle is northwest of downtown Boise. Take Boise's State St. west 9 miles to Eagle Rd., then head north. For details, contact the Eagle Chamber of Commerce (www.eaglechamber.com or 208/939-4222).