The City of Lewiston's culture is based on its historical industrial roots in logging and timber. Tracing its history back to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Port of Lewiston offers a variety of recreation opportunities for outdoor lovers. During the summer, visitors enjoy fishing, swimming, whitewater rafting, kayaking, golfing, camping, and bicycling. Less than 100 nautical miles downriver (136 kilometers or 85 miles by air) is the deepest river gorge in North America, Hells Canyon, where active people can raft or jet boat the river and see 2500-year-old carvings on the canyon walls. Visitors who want to stay in the city will enjoy the Clearwater River Casino or the Nez Perce County Historical Museum. The most famous attraction near the Port of Lewiston is Hell's Canyon.
The Port of Lewiston has a semi-arid climate with hot dry summers and cold winters. Temperatures range from an average high of 31°C (87°F) in July and August to an average low of -2.2°C (28°F) in January. Getting almost 13 inches of precipitation each year, the summers (June through September) are very dry. The Port of Lewiston gets 12.5 inches of snow, with most of it falling in December and January.
About five nautical miles downriver from the Port of Lewiston on the Snake River, Hell's Gate State Park is the gateway to Hell's Canyon and to the State of Idaho's Lewis and Clark country. The most popular activities at Hell's Gate State Park are camping and hiking. Jet boat trips into Hell's Canyon also depart from the docks in the park. The park is fairly busy into the month of October when hunters and fishers come to the valley. The three loops (Cottonwood, Birch, and Aspen) in the park are open through September. In October, residents and visitors look for the Haunted Hay Ride when they board straw-covered wagons to ride through the park. This Port of Lewiston park offers a big beach and day area with shade trees and miles of trails. There is also a covered shelter that can house as many as 300 people and can be reserved.
Hell's Canyon is 16 kilometers (ten miles) wide, and it follows the border of eastern Idaho and western Oregon. It is up to 2.4 thousand meters (almost eight thousand feet) deep. Carved by the Snake River, most of Hell's Canyon is not accessible except by the river. The breath-taking scenery of Hell's Canyon also contains petroglyphs as well as abandoned prospectors' cabins and homesteads. Travelers can take half-day, full-day, and overnight jet boat trips into the canyon from the docks in Hell's Gate State Park at the Port of Lewiston. They can also raft through the canyon.
The non-traditional Nez Perce National Historical Park, with headquarters at the Nez Perce Reservation about 15 kilometers (almost 10 miles) east-northeast of the Port of Lewiston, covers 38 sites in four states (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana). The sites tell the story of the Nez Perce people. The park has thirty-eight sites in four states - Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington - that tell the story of the Nez Perce Nation. Some of the sites are battlefields where the Nez Perce defended their land from US settlers and troops. Other sites capture the traditions and legends of the people, including petroglyphs and pictographs. Visitors can visit the spot where Lewis & Clark built canoes in 1805. Sacred burial sites and cemeteries are open for respectful visits. These archaeological and battlefield sites are protected by both federal and state law, and the cultural importance of them demands sober respect.
About five miles to the east of the Port of Lewiston on Highway 12 is the Clearwater River Casino and Hotel operated by the Nez Perce Nation. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the casino offers 50 hotel rooms with all the luxuries on the Clearwater River. The over 1.8 thousand square meter (20 thousand square foot) casino contains 400 video gaming machines, an area with 250 seats for bingo, and progressive slots with up to million-dollar jackpots. The complex offers food at a buffet, a deli, and the Oasis Lounge. The Riverside Grill is open 24 hours a day serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Nez Perce County Historical Museum in the Port of Lewiston captures the history and heritage of the city from the indigenous Nez Perce through Lewis and Clark to modern times. Visitors to the museum will learn about the geology of the area, the Nez Perce, the Lewis & Clark expedition, the Camas Prairie Railroad, Lewiston's founding and pioneers, and river navigation in the Port of Lewiston. Displays focus on the 1877 Nez Perce Indian War, the area's agricultural and timber industries, Lewiston's law enforcement and fire department, the city's economic development including the growth of the Port of Lewiston, its role in baseball history, World Wars I and II, and the Great Depression.