We had some really good friends visit us from Minneapolis, Minnesota this past week and decided to spend a few days with them in Sun Valley while they visited Idaho. Our family has spent a little time there so we had some ideas for what to do and where to take them but we tried to google suggestions and honestly came up pretty empty handed. So hopefully this little guide will be helpful if you plan a little getaway to Sun Valley with your crew of little kids.
Where to stay:
Sun Valley is full of Airbnbs and VRBOs and when traveling with littles, this is always our best bet. We love having space to spread out - especially when it comes to managing nap and bed time. We also love having a full kitchen to be able to feed our picky eaters and avoid spending tons of money at restaurants or with take-out. We have always stayed within walking or biking distance of the center of Ketchum but I'm sure staying closer to the Sun Valley Resort or in the nearby town of Hailey would be great too. Ketchum is packed with condos and some are especially kid-friendly and even provide pack n plays, toys and books, high chairs and more. Pro-tip: Make sure you read through all of the listing details so that you aren't surprised when you get there and it doesn't have A/C or a microwave or more than one bedroom - all things that have happened to us during other trips... oops.
What to do:
We love to ride bikes so we brought ours with us along with a bike trailer for our two youngest to be pulled in. Our friends rented another bike trailer from Sturtevants which has lots of different bike rentals and accessories - including kid bikes! It's a fun spot to shop around in too. If your family likes to ride bikes too, then Sun Valley has a lot of options for you!
There is a great, 20+ mile paved bike path that goes between the Wood River Valley communities of Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley that is super smooth and easy to navigate. Ketchum itself is very bike friendly with lots of bike lanes and racks throughout.
We rode our bikes from our Airbnb to the base of Bald Mountain. We were just a little too early for the gondola rides (they run during the summer from late June through Labor Day or longer) but still had fun running around and taking in the views from the base. If you're in the area on Tuesdays during the summer there is a small farmers market that takes place in the afternoon in the River Run parking lot of the Bald Mountain resort area. We got some of the yummiest popcorn and the SPICIEST salsa.
We also rode our bikes from Ketchum to the Sun Valley Resort. It's not too far and a pretty easy ride - just a little incline as you get closer to the resort. We even got to stop and pet some horses on the way! The resort has a lot going on and would be so fun to be able to stay at! We didn't have much time to explore but we did enjoy a little picnic by a pretty pond next to the Sun Valley Inn and passing by the outdoor ice skating rink. Definitely worth checking out the options and events calendar to see if there is anything that peaks your interest!
Another great, family-friendly option is getting out for a little hike! We knew our crew of littles couldn't handle anything too long or strenuous and had read that Adam's Gulch was a good option and super close to town. It's a longer loop but we just walked for probably 20 minutes and then the kids just enjoyed exploring and playing in the dirt and rocks. Next time we go we will definitely scope out some better, family-friendly trails! Pro-tip: Lots of hiking trails are also mountain biking trails so always be aware and ready to be passed by some bikers.
Probably the MOST little-kid friendly activity we did was play at the nice, big playground next to Ernest Hemingway Elementary School. The school is right next to Atkinson Park which has lots of green space (bring a soccer ball, football or a kite!) as well as the city's Department of Recreation. Pro-tip: If it's open, they have a public bathroom. There's even a little splash pad there if the weather is warm enough to play. My kids love the playground, swings, basketball court (we brought a ball) and the fun painted activities on the sidewalks next to the school.
Directly across from this park and playground area is Ketchum's Bike Park. A really rad little spot for learning some mountain biking fundamentals and a nice paved area next to it with fun painted "roads" that would be great for scooters or little bikes.
Another family-friendly activity is to walk up and down the streets of Ketchum and shop, shop, shop! Okay maybe that's more fun for the adults... But there is a toy store creatively named "The Toy Store" that's packed with fun stuff to look at and play with and makes for a really great bribe or time killer. ;) There's another "Toy Store" located in the Sun Valley Resort, too.
Honestly, this entire area is just so dang pretty that taking a drive is the BEST. We decided that before we headed back to Boise we'd drive just a little ways out of town to show our friends a really awesome view. Plug "Galena Summit Overlook" into your GPS, turn on some good road trip tunes and get ready for some really incredible mountain views.
What to eat:
Like I mentioned before, staying in an Airbnb with a full kitchen allows us a lot of flexibility and opportunity to make our own food and keep all of our snacks and drinks fresh. There are two main grocery stores in town - Atkinsons' Market located across from the city square and Village Market located off Main St. right as you enter town. FYI: Atkinsons' is a little fancier so don't be shocked by slightly higher than Boise grocery store prices.
On our first night in town we rode our bikes to Limelight Hotel and had dinner on their patio. They had live music going and a ping-pong table and cornhole set up with enough space for the kids to explore a bit without us stressing too much. They have a kids menu available with all the usual entrees (our kids shared chicken tenders and fries and a cheese pizza that was actually larger than expected).
On a previous trip we took with only a newborn baby in tow, we ate at Enoteca and it was one of the best dining experiences I think I've ever had. AMAZING pizza and pasta and I'm pretty sure we also got a dessert that was out of this world. If you can swing it, go!
Another spot I'd recommend is Wrapcity Cafe - a great spot for a delicious wrap, bowl or quesadilla. A win for everybody in the fam.
Because I'm a self-proclaimed "coffee snob" I have to recommend grabbing a coffee and checking out the fun, vintage clothing at Maude's Coffee and Clothing. It's got a really cool vibe and delicious coffee and pastries. If you love Java in Boise, you gotta try the location on Fourth and order the "Bowl of Soul" or choose from one of their amazing, made daily pastries or breakfast items. All of it looked SO GOOD.
A really good crowd-pleasing breakfast or lunch spot is Bigwood Bread Bakery & Cafe and/or their other restaurant called Wildflour Coffee + Cafe. (I didn't realize that there's a location in Garden City, too! Sweet!)
I'm sure there are PLENTY of other really awesome spots to eat and drink so if you go and try anything especially yummy or kid-friendly, let me know!
What did I leave out? Let me know if you have any questions or are looking for other recommendations for your next getaway to Sun Valley with little kids! Enjoy!