Hit the Hay Sun Valley Style
Home to Hollywood stars and Olympic athletes, Sun Valley visitors often expect lavish accommodations with white glove service and pillow mints. While five-star hotels and spa treatments abound, the Wood River Valley also attracts a thriving community of outdoor adventurers, ski bums and families, offering up a variety of lodging options for all types of travelers. So whether you’re looking for a diamond facial and mani-pedi, a week or two of #VanLife, or a back-to-nature camping experience with the kids, choose your own adventure this summer in Sun Valley.
Back to Nature
Not looking to spend an arm and a leg? Up the adventure with these inexpensive and down-to-earth lodging options.
A few miles south of Sun Valley, The Meadows offers RV sites with full hookups in close proximity to the bike path and Big Wood River.
Looking for the camping experience but will a few more amenities? Yurts are a great option for families and friends that want to up their traditional tent camping game. Galena Lodge offers three yurts in the Boulder Mountains, just north of Sun Valley, with premier access to hiking and biking trails. These are accessed by a hike, bike, or drive and are furnished with a wood stove, beds, cooking utensils and basic supplies.
Rent a Westfalia:
Live the #VanLife dream without the down payment and rent a Westfalia on Airbnb. Arrange to have the RV set up at a local camp spot and enjoy this modern-day and trendy lodging option, complete with a deck and solar shower.
Sleep in the Treetops:
Take to the trees like Swiss Family Robinson and rent a tree house in downtown Ketchum. These unique and affordable one-bedroom rentals are available on Airbnb and sleep up to three people. While the bathroom isn’t adjoined, there is a zipline to get you there. Cook your dinner at the outside urban kitchen and enjoy complimentary bikes to cruise around town.
Gather ‘Round the Campfire: Camping is a classic way to experience the beauty of Sun Valley and the surrounding five mountain ranges. Who doesn’t love roasting s’mores by the campfire after a day on the river or on the bike? The Sawtooth National Recreation Area campsites are mostly first-come, first-serve areas that offer a variety of sites close to town. Plan your vacation ahead of time and reserve sites in advance here. Call or stop by the local Sun Valley Ranger Station (208-622-5371) for a full list of these areas and to determine camp availability. Due to the abundance of snow this winter, high waters have made some of these sites temporarily inaccessible.
Comfortable, But Not Extravagant
For some, vacations include Wi-Fi, hot showers and the privacy that comes with an overhead roof. Far from “roughing it,” these comfortable accommodations won’t break the bank.
Tiki Bar Penthouse:
An affordable family or group rental on Airbnb, the Penthouse is located above the Board Bin in downtown Ketchum. This unique three-bedroom space features a beautiful outdoor deck, complete with a Tiki Bar, a loft play area accessible by ladder, a spacious kitchen, hot showers, Wi-Fi and bikes to cruise the streets. For the price of a night at the Limelight, you can have it all, and maybe a bit more.
Hot Water Inn:
New to Sun Valley, this nine-bedroom hostel is located at the base of Warm Springs ski area. With shared and private rooms, the hostel is an inviting way to meet new people and enjoy all that Sun Valley has to offer. Check the events schedule for live music, trivia and game nights. Grab a beer from the bar, sit back and enjoy. The Best Western: A traditional stand-by of summertime travel: Dotting highways and cities across the country, you know exactly what to expect during a stay at a Best Western property. In Sun Valley visitors have a choice between two: the Tyrolean and the Kentwood. The Tyrolean is an Austrian-style hotel, decorated with Austrian décor, proof of the town’s early European influences. Here, visitors enjoy complimentary breakfast, an exercise facility and an outdoor heated pool. The Kentwood, a Best Western Plus, is located in downtown Ketchum in close proximity to the lively nightlife.
A charming town classic, the Tamarack Lodge is a great value for travelers looking to stay in the heart of downtown Ketchum. This prime location offers great access to fine dining and boutique shopping at the foot of the mountains. In the summer, the Tamarack offers complimentary bike rentals to get around town and see the sights.
Treat yourself! The following options spare no expense, providing historic and even traditional western experiences for those looking to have it all and bring Fido along for the ride.
Sun Valley Resort:
For a taste of Sun Valley’s exquisite history, look no further than the Sun Valley Resort. Newly remodeled, the Sun Valley Lodge features more spacious rooms, complete with the old-time charm of its celebrated past. The Celebrity Suites pay homage to famous former guests, including the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood and Ernest Hemmingway, who penned the famed For Whom The Bell Tolls during his stay. The resort’s 20,000 square-foot spa (offering diamond facials!) includes a fitness center, yoga studio and an expansive outdoor pool and pool café, with gorgeous views of Baldy Mountain.
Rocky Mountain Ranch:
Nestled in the Sawtooth Valley just south of Stanley, Idaho, the Rocky Mountain Ranch features traditional western Idaho ranch accommodations with unparalleled access to mountain life activities. Cabins and lodge rooms include stone fireplaces, deep bathtubs and the original hand-hewn logs. Based at the ranch, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, white water rafting and horseback riding against the stunning backdrop of the jagged Sawtooth Mountains.
Located in downtown Ketchum, the new Limelight Hotel offers every amenity you might dream of, including pet-friendly rooms. Here, even Fido will enjoy five-star service. The spacious lounge area hosts live music, delicious dining options (we recommend the macaroni and cheese), a happy hour and rosé wine tastings on Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Bike rentals are conveniently located in the on-site Four Mountain Sports, along with a plethora of outdoor gear and accessories.
Rent a Private Residence:
For that home-away-from-home feel, rent a private and often luxurious Sun Valley estate on Airbnb. Perfect for a large family getaway, or for those seeking the privacy of a few acres of land, options range from in-town modern homes to more remote estates to the north. Words & Photos: Jesse Ambrogi-Yanson