The state of Idaho is located in the Western region of the United States of America. It is a landlocked state that is bordered by other states of the USA including Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The state also borders Canada in its north and is adjacent to the Canadian province of British Columbia. The largest and the capital city of the state is Boise.

What is considered North Idaho?

North Idaho is also locally called Idaho Panhandle. This region of the USA and the state includes 10 counties located in the northernmost region of Idaho. These counties include Boundary, Bonner, Benewah, Clearwater, Kootenai, Idaho, Lewis, Latah, Shoshone, and Nez Perce. 

Washington is located in the east of the Idaho Panhandle. British Colombia province of Canada is located in the north of Idaho Panhandle while Montana is in its East. The Inland Northwest region includes Idaho Panhandle and Eastern Washington.

What cities are in North Idaho?

Some of the most well-known towns in North Idaho are:

  • Coeur d’ Alene
  • Post Falls
  • Sandpoint
  • Bonners Ferry
  • Priest Lake
  • Hayden
  • Wallace
  • Bayview
  • Spirit Lake
  • Kellog
  • Sagle
  • Dover
  • and more…

Each of these towns offer different things to their communities! Coeur d’ Alene for example is one of the largest cities in North Idaho and offers plenty of shopping , jobs, and housing. Meanwhile smaller towns like Sandpoint offer a more tourist orientation, giving a ski, or lake town feel.

If you are on the hunt for outdoor living, with small populations, you can’t go wrong with Bonners Ferry, which isn’t too far away from the Canadian border.

North Idaho and not Northern Idaho

Many people wonder why the region is called North Idaho and not Northern Idaho. Unlike states including North Carolina and North Dakota, North Idaho is not a state. Therefore, common sense suggests that it should be called Northern Idaho. 

According to one theory, it is because the people in the region of North Idaho take special pride in their region. Another view states that people here do not want to use the long words and therefore have shortened the name to North Idaho.

However, there are more substantial theories as well for the name North Idaho. The settlers of the area were people who were essentially miners, lumberjacks, hunters, and trappers. People of the region are also called North Idahoans. They have always protected their mountain resources and have had a more rugged lifestyle. These are the special attributes and cultural aspects of the region that make it a separate entity.

There is some friendly competition between the people living in the Northern and Southern regions of Idaho. It is a kind of natural competition. 

This competitive culture and aspects of upbringing may start as early as the early childhood days. Students grow up in their schools and colleges and take part in competitive sports activities and other recreational activities. They tour the whole state from the South to the North and are exposed to cultural and regional variations.

What is the difference between North & South Idaho?

The differences between the northern and the southern regions of Idaho are cultural and beyond. The Southern part of the state contains most of its deserts and planes and is more agricultural.

North Idaho has many of the rivers and lakes of the state, as well as more woods and timber. The planes of the southern part of the state make it suitable for the big cities and large populations. 

It is the reason why the southern section of the state has the higher population and the biggest cities in the state. The northern section of Idaho has less population and relatively smaller towns. There are also certain economic differences. Agriculture and industry are the economic strength of the southern region while the economy of North Idaho is based on tourism and natural resources.

There are many differences between the southern and the northern parts of the state of Idaho.

These differences are cultural, geographic, and economic. Below are a few more important differences between the two parts of the state that bring to North a kind of separate identity.

  • North Idaho runs on the Pacific Daylight System. South has the Mountain Daylight System.
  • North Idaho is called “snow belt” while South Idaho is called “banana belt”.
  • People of the North are regarded as ultra-conservative, while those in this Southern region are more neutral politically.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most northern town in Idaho?

Bonners Ferry is the most northern major town in Idaho. It is located in Boundary County, on the Idaho-Montana border. Bonners Ferry is a beautiful, historic town with a population of just over 2,500 people. The town is situated on the Kootenai River and is surrounded by mountains and forests. Bonners Ferry is home to several unique businesses, including a museum, an art gallery, and a winery. There are also several parks and trails in the area. Bonners Ferry is a great place to visit if you want to experience the beauty of Idaho.

Can you drive into Canada from Idaho ?

Yes, you can drive to Canada from Idaho. There are a couple of crossings where you can legally enter Canada with your vehicle. The two mains ones are Eastport-Kingsgate and the Porthill crossing. If you’re planning to drive into Canada from Idaho, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the required documents.


The distinct and unique cultural, economic, geographical, and demographic aspects of North Idaho bring to it a unique identity. It is called locally North Idaho or Idaho Panhandle without being an actual state of the USA.

The population of the region comprises most of the native people of the state. The North Idahoans are known to take pride in their culture and have a good competitive spirit. They do not mind taking a title that separates them from the rest of the state.