Enjoy a family weekend itinerary in Jerome, Shoshone and Gooding. You’ll visit parks, beautiful nature, and learn history about Idaho!
Day 1 – Jerome
Start your day off with some fun and let the kids play at North Park! There is a large play set, lots of grass to run, and a skate park! Interactive toys are also lined up near the play set, these are even fun for adults to try out! After all the morning energy has been burned, feed the mind with some history. Head to the Jerome County Historical Museum. See artifacts that were found in Jerome years ago. Exhibits also include the Hunt Japanese American Relocation Center and the North Side Irrigation Project displays. There are books and goodies for purchase on location.
Once you’ve filled up on interesting facts, fill up on delicious food at the Mountain View Barn. This beautiful building hosts events such as meetings, weddings, parties, farmer’s markets, and more! The coffee shop is open 9am-2pm most days and serves breakfast and lunch. On the opposite side of the barn is a little shop filled with handmade items from around the region. There is no better place to enjoy a tasty meal than in a beautiful, historic barn!
Next, take a hike on the Jerome side of the Snake River Canyon! Mermaid Cove is a lovely waterfall to check out. The trail starts on Yingst Grade, and is a well maintained trail that descends all the way into the canyon. The first waterfall area takes just a few minutes of walking before you will see its bottom half sliding down rocks, under the trail. It is located above the main trail, and even provides a swimming hole if the water isn’t rushing too quickly. Continue down the canyon another switch back to see the other half of the waterfall. It is extremely beautiful at golden hour/sunset to see the entire canyon glowing orange. The trail leads to the river below, where you can explore multiple trails and fishing spots.
Camp in a tent, rent a cabin, or stay in the RV at Jerome’s KOA. Sit around the campfire to enjoy some stories and s’mores with the family, or take a swim in the pool located right in the campground. There is a dog friendly park area to let the dogs run. Breakfast is served in the morning, and food is available to order for dinner as well. The KOA is a peaceful place where many travelers enjoy a stay.
Day 2 – Shoshone
Take a drive through the lava fields of Southern Idaho and head to Shoshone. Visit the Mammoth Cave to see one of the largest volcanic caves in the world! It truly is remarkable. The cave provides a bridge walkway for visitors to stay on. Grab a lantern and descend into the dark cave below earth’s surface. No tour guides are necessary as it is a self guided cave. Take your time studying the rock formations, but bring a coat because it stays about 41 degrees year round! Next to the cave is the Shoshone Bird Museum. Check it out to see impressive and somewhat eerie taxidermy work. The cave is open 9am-6pm during the summer months.
Get all your souvenirs at the Bear Claw Trading post! They have very unique items to remember your trip, and to gift for family and friends. Find Mexican pottery, animal bones, Native American pottery, rocks, jewelry, and more! Just across the road is a tourist destination for people world wide!
The Shoshone Indian Ice Caves are a must see on this trip. A 1,000 foot lava tube loaded with history is actually filled with ice! The bottom of the cave is lined with 8 to 30 feet of ice year round. Take a tour with the educated historians and walk above the ice on the wooden bridge through the cave. Don’t forget your jacket, the below freezing temps last even on the hottest days of summer. The guided tour also includes walking above the lava fields and many facts about how this incredible place came to be, as well as who accompanied it years ago. Because the ice must reform in the winter months, the Shoshone Ice Caves are open May-September with tours running every 30 minutes, 8am-7pm.
End your day with a giant ice cream cone and comfort food at Shoshone Snack Bar. Burgers, soups, chicken, fish, burritos, and much more can be found here. Favorite deserts are the banana split, or the Mile High Ice Cream Cone! Order the large, because it can feed an entire family! Another great options would be to sit down and enjoy the Manhattan Cafe. They have loads of options for all taste buds.
Day 3 – Gooding
Gooding has an awesome experience for a hotel. The Gooding University Inn and Resort is a haunted hotel, providing a unique experience unlike any other hotel! Make some fun or spooky memories. There is a large yard for kids to play in including games, a trampoline, volleyball and more. The rooms are college dorm set up, with a large community kitchen, which makes it great for the whole family.
Eat at Zeppes Pizza & Subs located in the town of Gooding. They have a large arcade attached to the restaurant, which makes it a perfect place for the kids to play! Plus, the toppings for pizzas and subs are endless, and taste absolutely delicious. Explore the back room and take a trip down memory lane. Find all your favorite arcade games and an ice cream parlor. Or take it to go to continue on for more adventures, too!
An oasis inside a lava tunnel awaits you. Tea Kettle Cave is located 13 miles north west of Gooding. The road is very bumpy due to lava rock. So only take high clearance vehicles on this road, or prepare to park well before the cave to walk. Tea Kettle Cave is named because of its shape. The entrance to the cave is the ‘spout’, and the oasis awaits at the bottom of the ‘kettle.’ Beware of snakes, and don’t tromp on the ferns located below the opening of the cave. It is a very beautiful one-of-a-kind wonder, so be respectful of the nature within. DO NOT walk on ferns of move the rocks around! LEAVE NO TRACE!
Next, venture on to the Little City of Rocks. Where you can see out of this world rock formations that will blow your mind! Hike around this amazing place on a visible trail running right through the park. It is located 12.5 miles north of Gooding on Highway 46. Some of the formation you will see are rock towers, arches, mushroom caps, and spires. Also, be cautious of snakes living in the desert terrain. Ancient petroglyphs carved by Native Americans thousands of years ago can be found throughout the area. We suggest a high clearance vehicle for this road as well.
Have fun exploring! Because there is so much more to do in Southern Idaho, check out some other attractions near by!