One day I came across Visit Southern Idaho’s Instagram account and immediately added it to my bucket list of places to visit. My family loves the outdoors and it has so many activities we enjoy doing. We got the opportunity to spend five nights when Visit Southern Idaho invited us to explore and these were some of our favorite things to do in Southern Idaho.
Where to Stay When Exploring Southern Idaho
When visiting Southern Idaho we found it best to base ourselves in Twin Falls. The city has grown a ton and here you will have some of the best options for hotels and Airbnbs. There are also tons of restaurants, bars and even shopping so it’s a good place to be if you forgot an important item at home and need to grab something at Target.
How to Get to Twin Falls, Idaho
There is a regional airport 5 miles south of Twin Falls, Magic Valley Regional Airport but it was actually more convenient for us to fly into Salt Lake City airport in Utah and make the 3 hour drive from there to Twin Falls. The reason is because from Miami we could get a direct flight whereas to fly into Twin Falls we’d not only have 2 connections making the journey 3-6 hours longer than a flight to Twin Falls but the flights would also cost us about $300 more per person. As an alternative you can also fly into Boise, Idaho (if you won’t have to make a connection to get here) and make the two hour drive to Twin Falls.
Things to Do in Southern Idaho
Boat Ride and Kayak to Shoshone Falls
You cannot visit Southern Idaho and not see Shoshone Falls. While there are quite a few viewpoints where you can look down into the falls, the best way to capture all of its beauty is from the water. You can paddle board here but we preferred kayaking so we booked a tour with AWOL Adventure Sports. We chose the boat ride and kayak so we’d avoid the full 8 miles of kayaking and just kayak 4 miles round trip from Pillar Falls. AWOL Adventure Sports is located right in Twin Falls and tours with them should be on every list of things to do in Southern Idaho.
White Water Rafting in Hagerman
Southern Idaho has some amazing opportunities for white water rafting, 35 minutes from Twin Falls in Hagerman. It was our first time and we are so happy we went with Idaho Guide Service. Daniel, the owner and our guide was absolutely amazing. We did this in late July and the path we took was considered Class 3. Our kids were 6 and 8 at the time of our visit and Daniel let us know they have taken kids as young as 3.
The entire trip is about 3 hours which includes a stop for lunch. They provided sandwiches, fruits, chips, cookies, water and soda but you can also bring your own food if you have dietary restrictions. What we loved most was it wasn’t just a rafting trip. When we weren’t going through the white water you could hop into the river to swim or play rodeo. Rodeo is where you stand on the front of the raft and your guide spins the raft around and you see how long you can hold on before falling into the water.
Walk Behind Perrine Coulee Falls
We’ve personally never had the opportunity to walk behind a waterfall so this was pretty cool to us. On the way to the parking lot of Centennial Waterfront Park on the side of the road is Perrine Coulee. It’s a very easy walk and we saw people of all ages and fitness levels doing it. Be sure to wear a waterproof jacket for when you’re behind the falls as of course you’ll get a little wet. Since it’s in the same location as AWOL Adventure Sports it makes sense to do this before or after you kayak to Shoshone Falls.
Watch Basejumps Jump Off the Perrine Memorial Bridge
Southern Idaho is one of the top BASE jumping destinations on the planet so it has to be on your list of things to do in Southern Idaho. We chose to just watch the base jumpers jump off the bridge but if heights don’t scare you, you can also tandem jump with some of the best base jumpers in the world here. The activity will cost you though as the most well known tandem jumper charges $400 for you to join him. It’s located right in Twin Falls.
Tour the Shoshone Ice Cave
Roughly 45 minutes North of Twin Falls are the Shoshone Ice Caves. They are one of the largest known lava ice caves in Idaho. They offer walking tours through the cave daily from May 1-September 30th (they’re closed the rest of the year). Even though it will most likely be in the high 90s if you visit in July like we did, you’ll need a jacket for the caves as the temperature averages 27 degrees! There are also about 80 stairs you need to climb to get into the cave so it’s not accessible for strollers or wheelchairs.
Before or after your tour you can purchase geos from the gift shop and then crack them with hammers at the station outside. There is also a gem mining station.
Explore Lake Cleveland
Lake Cleveland was the furthest thing we did from Twin Falls, 90 minutes away but still in Southern Idaho. Since we visited in July we caught the wildflower bloom and enjoyed the gorgeous Purple Lupine and Christ’s Indian Paintbrush flowers.
Whether you come during wildflower season or not you can also rent kayaks or canoes to take on the lake. Some people also swim in the lake as well, our girls put their feet in and it was a great way to cool off!
Further up the mountains by Lake Cleveland is Mt. Harrison, the tallest peak in the area. You can stop by and enjoy the scenic view from the lookout point.
Go Ziplining through Centennial Waterfront Park
If you want some thrills while in Southern Idaho but base jumping is just a little too much for you, go zip-lining. At Centennial Waterfront Park through the same company we used for our Shoshone Falls tour, AWOL Adventure Sports, you can book a zip-line tour. The two hour tour takes you through 4 different lines of varying heights and lengths. If you’re doing it in the summer I recommend the earliest or latest tour to beat the hot sun.
Explore City of Rocks National Reserve
An hour and a half outside of Twin Falls but still in Southern Idaho is City of Rocks National Reserve. It’s beautiful as a great place for hiking and rock climbing. You can camp here, both tent camping and RV Camping but we just did a day trip and still had a lot of fun.
The Creekside Towers trail gives extensive views of the park. Be sure to also check out Window Arches Trail. It’s a very short hike so perfect for kids but it also has this beautiful arch.
What to Eat in Southern Idaho
We definitely didn’t go to Southern Idaho expecting the best food but we had some good meals. Here are some of the best places we ate in Twin Falls and the surrounding areas.
Twin Beans Coffee Co.
Black Bear Diner
Nostalgia Coffee & Cafe
2nd South Market (Food Hall)
The Best Time to Visit Southern Idaho
The best time to visit Southern Idaho is May to September. These are the warmest months and it will allow you to truly enjoy the beauty Southern Idaho has to offer. We visited at the end of July and while it was hot, being from Miami it was still cooler than home and no humidity so a win for us!
We had an amazing time in Idaho. The state is gorgeous and there are so many things to do in Southern Idaho, we hope to return to enjoy more of the area. Did you find this article helpful? If so please share it!