If you look at a map of Idaho, it may appear to be wedged between Washington and Montana, but when you cross the Idaho border, the great expanse of natural beauty makes it a territory uniquely its own. Larger than all of New England, the geography of Idaho is varied with such rivers as the Columbia and Snake, mountains such as the Sawtooth Range, and spectacular lakes such as Lake Coeur d'Alene. To the north, the arts community of Sandpoint draws travelers with its annual Festival at Sandpoint; to the south, the capital city of Boise is a population hub with an eclectic mix of restaurants and accommodations for business and pleasure travelers. Central Idaho's Sun Valley is a popular ski and entertainment destination.
Virtually all cities in Idaho enjoy a mild climate, especially in the northern part of the state where the marine influence of the distant Pacific moderates temperature extremes. The southwestern portion of Idaho experiences more variation, yet throughout the state drastic weather patterns are rare. The economy is largely supported by agriculture, with the potato crop being the chief export. Other jobs in Idaho are linked to such industries as lumber, paper production, and other manufacturing. According to the Idaho tourism board, the state's cost of living and crime rate are among the lowest of the 11 western states.
Crime rates in Idaho cities are almost 40% less than the rest of America, making Idaho a very safe place to live. The cost of living is about 5% less than the national average, with housing coming in more than 10% less than average.