Only 55 cities in the entire United States were picked to be on this list, which means these two Idaho towns are in an elite club! 

Over the past few months, we’ve done a little traveling. First to Seattle. Then to Portland. After each trip, we came home incredibly grateful to live in Idaho. Why? Well, because compared to these two places Idaho’s “big city” is absolutely beautiful. Downtown Boise is clean. It’s vibrant. There are no boarded-up windows or graffiti. It’s great. 

But we’re not comparing big cities today. We’re comparing charming small towns with historic downtowns, breathtaking lakes and spectacular mountains. These were the types of traits Architectural Digest searched for while putting together their recent list of the “55 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America.” They found an abundance of those things in two Idaho towns. 

Which small towns in the Gem State made their list? The first one you’ll find in the Wood River Valley! 

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

We’re not sure if Architectural Digest put their list in any particular order, but if you scroll to the twentieth picture on the list, you’ll see a familiar photo of Ketchum. In selecting Ketchum, they said: 

“In the heart of Idaho’s Sun Valley, this town is an outdoors utopia, with snow sports, fishing, rock-climbing, and more. Four gorgeous alfresco hot springs are nearby and open for soaking.”

We’ll be honest. We’ve never really done any of those things while we were in the area. Instead, we pounded the pavement and took in the gorgeous scenery over the final legs of the Sawtooth Relay. Coming down from the Galena Summit sure does beat up your legs, so if the incredibly fun (and challenging) relay race returns in 2023 maybe hitting one of those hot springs afterward wouldn’t be such a bad idea! 

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

Keep scrolling and you’ll see a beautiful sunset photo over Payette Lake when you get to their 34th photo. McCall also found itself on the list. In choosing McCall, the magazine said: 

“Its outdoor activities year-round ranging from fly fishing to cross-country skiing, this resort town (home to quite a few wellness properties) on the southern shore of Payette Lake also hosts an annual Winter Carnival and, in 2018, launched its first sled-dog race.”

It’s all true, but we can’t help but wonder how they stumbled upon McCall. We want to believe that it was local celeb, Aaron Paul, that introduced Architectural Digest to just how wonderful one of our favorite small Idaho towns is! After all, they did show off his McCall home on their YouTube channel in 2020. Didn’t get a chance to take a look around? Take a look! 

KEEP READING: Sneak a Peak at McCall Winter Carnival's 19 Marvelous Snow Sculptures

After a year away, McCall Winter Carnival returned in 2022! These were 19 of the sculptures artists put together.

McCall's Most Expensive Home Has Two Tremendous Private Beaches

Built in 2002, this incredible home is located on the east arm of Payette Lake (the side with the dirt road.) It costs nearly double the price of the second most expensive home on the market in August 2022.

Feel Like a Millionaire When You Stay At This $1600/Night McCall Airbnb

Known as "The Seasons," this McCall property is one of the most extreme rental properties we've seen in our favorite lakeside town. Sure, the rental price is high but that indoor pool might just be worth it!