[lead]It might seem counterintuitive to escape to the high desert in the heat of summer, but Southern Idaho has tons of cool retreats. From underground cave exploring to tasty ice cream and refreshing pools, here’s our roundup of our favorite places to cool off. Its time to beat the heat and stay cool this summer in Southern Idaho. [/lead]

Shoshone Indian Ice Caves

This icon of roadside kitsch (perhaps you’ve passed the giant green dinosaur statue?) is, quite possibly, the coolest place in Southern Idaho in the summer. Lava flows in the area created an underground tube thousands of years ago that trapped and froze water, creating an icy cave that was used by earlier generations as an ice source. It was so full of ice, in fact, that figure skating pioneer Sonja Henie skated there on a visit to Idaho. Now a tourist attraction with a small museum, you can listen to an experienced tour guide tell you about the area’s volcanic landscape as you descend into the chilly cave. The cave is actually colder in the summer than it is in the winter, making it a great escape — and it’s fun for kids, too. 1561 N. Highway 75, Shoshone.

Shoshone Ice Caves, Lava Tube, Shoshone Idaho, Sawtooth Scenic Byway

Idaho’s Mammoth Cave

It may not be full of ice, but at 41 degrees the Mammoth Cave is a welcome refuge on blistering days. The owners of Mammoth Cave claim it is the largest volcanic cave in the world that is also open to the public. That claim is not hard to believe when you walk into the expansive cave! In fact, it’s so large that the U.S. government tapped it for use as a civil defense shelter during the Cold War (no pun intended). Its days as a shelter may long over, but you can see remnants of previous generations that explored the cave and used it. Names of settlers are carved on the wall, and ancient bones have been discovered inside. Eight miles north of Shoshone on Highway 75.

Miracle Hot Springs

Hot springs when it’s hot? You bet! Miracle Hot Springs chills its pool during the summer months. Try one of Miracle’s four outdoor public pools or rent a smaller soaking pool with adjustable temperatures. Feeling too relaxed to drive home? Miracle offers covered geodesic structures that can be rented by the night. 19073B U.S. 30, Buhl.

After you’ve soaked at Miracle Hot Springs be sure to take a dip in freezing water at Ritter Island! This Island is surrounded by chilly aquifer water. No matter the time of year, even on a 100 degree day, the water is around 50 degrees. One dip in the water is sure to cool you right off.

Ice Cream Havens

Ask a Southern Idahoan for an ice cream recommendation, and chances are you’ll be directed to Cloverleaf Creamery. The creamery now has shops in Buhl and two locations in Twin Falls. These shops feature products crafted from the milk of some very pampered cows; they all have their own names! That love and care for the cattle shows in the quality of the ice cream. Find Cloverleaf Creamery Farm Market Downtown Twin Falls, and inside Idaho’s first food hall, 2nd South Market.

Can’t satisfy your ice cream craving with an ordinary cone? Head on over to the Shoshone Snack Bar for what are billed as the world’s largest ice cream cones. Foot-tall confections that are bound to help you beat the heat. Nothing is more refreshing than an ice cream cone at the Snack Bar after a fun time touring the caves!