They say Gooding was named after former Idaho Governor and Senator Frank R. Gooding. It just as easily could have been named for all the good things to do and see! Mild weather means there’s fun to be had year-round, and even the hotels are part of the experience. Here are our top 10 favorite Gooding experiences.

1. Take in Gooding’s Little City of Rocks.

The graceful rock formations of the Little City of Rocks are a haven for climbing and bouldering. Or explore the trails on foot, mountain bike, or horseback. You’ll enjoy ancient petroglyphs, desert wildlife, and a uniquely beautiful landscape.

2. Share a pizza at Zeppes.

For more than 25 years, this family-owned spot has served authentic Italian pies made from recipes passed down from the Old Country. At Zeppes, the dough is made fresh twice daily, and their traditional sauce is created with fresh tomatoes. Bring the whole family – and your appetite!

3. Pull on your boots for the Gooding Pro Rodeo.

If you’re visiting in August, this rodeo is a must. You’ll be treated to pro cowboys, top stock, and live musical performances. City slickers and country folk alike will get into the spirit of this fast-paced, action-packed family entertainment.

4. Explore one of Gooding’s caves.

After taking in Little City of Rock’s spires and towers, head underground for another kind of natural beauty. Gooding’s caves are a one-of-a-kind way to experience the landscape. Dead Horse has steps for easier accessibility while Tea Kettle is home to an oasis of delicate ferns. Please tread lightly and watch for snakes during the summer.

5. Spend the night at a historic B&B.

The Gooding Hotel Bed & Breakfast is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is known for the warm hospitality of its owners. Or check out University Inn and Resort, a beautifully remodeled former college dormitory built in 1920.

6. Get “old school” with the Gooding County Museum.

Let the Gooding County Historical Society take you back to a simpler time. The group spent seven years carefully restoring a one-room schoolhouse that served area students from 1912-1947.

7. Discover Basque culture at the Basque Festival.

Surround yourself with the rich traditions of the Basque people in the best way possible: a party! Basque families arrived in Southern Idaho in the late 1800s and 1900s and have stuck around ever since. Celebrate their culture with delicious food, fun games, exciting competitions, and more at this festival during the third weekend in July.

8. Taste the artisanal cheeses of Ballard Family Dairy & Cheese.

From truffle salt cheddar to Holy Cow Baby Swiss, the Ballard’s handmade specialty cheeses are a foodie’s delight! Each batch is handmade with award-winning milk from the family’s lovingly raised Jersey cows. Contact them for a tour.

9. Ride the Gooding County Snow Park.

Discover breathtaking backcountry from the seat of your snowmobile. This hidden gem is off the beaten path and encompasses 150 square miles of pristine public lands. Not a snowmobiler? Cross-country skiing and sledding are also welcome.

10. Get a tee time at Gooding Golf Course.

Links lovers rejoice! Thanks to mild weather and little rain, Southern Idaho boasts a long golf season. Since 1948, locals have loved this beautiful public course for its friendly staff and affordable prices. Play 18 holes or hit the driving range, then relax on the patio with refreshments.

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