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15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

Idaho’s state nickname is the Gem State, and once you’ve seen Idaho you’ll realize how apt that name really is. Yes, there are gemstones and other natural resources, but a lot of Idahoans would say that the real gem in Idaho is the landscape. But even if you’re not a nature lover, you might still be drawn to the state’s economic opportunities. If you have questions about how a move to Idaho could affect your long-term financial plan, consider speaking with a financial advisor.

1. Boise State fans are hard core.

The Boise State Broncos football team has a lot of loyal fans in Idaho. You can see plenty of Boise State colors and jerseys on Idahoans, and game days draw big crowds. Idaho doesn’t have any professional sports teams, so a lot of fan energy is channeled into college and minor league athletics.

2. Idaho is rich in natural resources.

Idaho originally earned its nickname of the Gem State for its abundant natural resources and its scenic landscape. Silver, zinc, lead and lumber all come from Idaho and contribute to the state’s economy. And there are literal gems, too. Star garnets, jasper, opal, jade, topaz, zircon and tourmaline are all mined in Idaho.

3. Boise is a livable city. 

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

There’s a lot to love about Boise, Idaho. The city made SmartAsset’s 2021 list of the best state capitals to live in. People like the climate, the access to outdoor recreational activities, the low crime and the relatively low cost of living.

4. It’s all about Idaho fry sauce.

Idaho fry sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce that’s used for frying fish in the Gem State. Spiced with paprika, onion powder and mustard powder, the sauce is a distinctive part of the Idaho culinary landscape.

5. Agriculture is huge in Idaho.

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

Potatoes, barley, peas, trout, beets, onions, mint, plums and dairy products are all stars of Idaho’s multi-million-dollar agricultural sector. According to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the state produces nearly 200 different commodities and is ranked in the top of the nation for a handful of different crops and livestock.

6. Shoshone Falls will blow you away.

Located on the Snake River near Twin Falls, Idaho, Shoshone Falls is one of Idaho’s most famous attractions. At 212 feet, the Shoshone Falls are higher than Niagara Falls. Open from the end of March through September, Shoshone Falls Park costs just $5 per car to visit.

7. Idaho’s weather can be extreme.

Idaho has frigid, snowy winters and summers in the state can get pretty hot. The average low temperature in Idaho in December is just 25 degrees, while the average high temperature in July is 94 degrees.

Check out mortgage rates in Idaho.

8. If you love rafting, you’ll love Idaho. 

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

The Salmon River and the Snake River both offer plenty of world-class whitewater rafting for adventurous types. You can raft through forested canyons and take your lunch breaks on sandy beaches. Several companies offer multi-day guided rafting tours in Idaho, so if you don’t feel comfortable planning your own trip, you can put yourself in the hands of professionals.

9. Yes, potatoes are a big part of Idaho’s identity as a state.

Potatoes really are a touchstone of Idaho identity. If you’re moving to Idaho, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Idaho Potato Museum and enjoy the locally grown potatoes that the Idaho Potato Commission works so hard to promote. According to the Commission, “Idaho’s ideal growing conditions – rich, volcanic soil, climate and irrigation – are what differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.”

10. Idaho is a great place to live the American dream.

By a lot of measures, Idaho is a land of opportunity. The state made SmartAsset’s lists of the Best States for the Middle Class (2020) and the Best States for Homeowners (2020). So if you’re looking for a place to live the American dream, you could do much worse than Idaho.

11. Idaho residents love to get outside. 

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

Whether for camping, fishing, rafting, hiking or hunting, Idaho residents love to be outdoors. And with so much natural beauty all around, who can blame them? If you’re moving to Idaho, you’d be wise to take advantage of the vast swathes of wilderness in the state.

12. Homeownership rates in Idaho are high.

According to Census data, Idaho’s homeownership rate is one of the highest in the nation, at 71.5%. Given the state’s low population density it makes sense that most Idaho residents are homeowners in single-family dwellings rather than renters in multi-family buildings. If you’re ready to stop renting and become a homeowners, moving to Idaho could be the perfect next step.

Buying a home is a huge financial undertaking. As with any big life change, it can be a good idea to have a professional take a look at your finances and make sure you’re on track. We created a list of the top financial advisors in Boise, which is a great resource if you’re looking for an advisor, but aren’t sure where to start your search.

13. Huckleberries are everywhere in Idaho.

Idaho’s state fruit, the huckleberry, is a delicious and healthy berry that finds its way into lots of ice creams, jams and drinks around the state. During huckleberry season you can go berry-picking yourself, or just enjoy all the huckleberry items on local menus and the abundant berries in your local farmers’ market.

14. Idaho is famous for its caviar.

You probably don’t think of Idaho as a caviar hot spot, but the state’s sturgeon caviar is quite popular, and expensive. In fact, Idaho White Sturgeon Caviar is known in some foodie circles as the American Beluga. Sturgeon farms along the Snake River produce this delicacy, which you can sample (if it’s in your budget) after moving to Idaho.

15. Idaho leans red.

15 Things to Know Before Moving to Idaho

Politically, Idaho leans red. The state’s four electoral college votes reliably go to the Republican candidate and both of Idaho’s U.S. Senators are Republicans. So if you’re moving to Idaho from a blue state, you might come across more Republicans than you have in the past.

Bottom Line

Moving to Idaho is a great move for people who want access to beautiful scenery and a robust economy. If you love high-density, big-city living, Idaho is not the place for you, but if your dreams include homeownership and plenty of time outdoors, moving to Idaho is a solid plan.

Financial Planning Tips for a Move

  • A financial advisor can help you navigate big life changes like a cross-country move, or just help you to meet your financial goals in general. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you’ll be switching jobs during your move, your paycheck may end up looking quite different than it does now. Try using our paycheck calculator to estimate what your new take-home pay will be.

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