Take Your Pick
Arco, ID
The Birthplace of Nuclear Power
First Experimental Breeder Reactor - The world's First Experimental Breeder Reactor, aptly initialed EBR-1, began generating electricity on December 20, 1951. It started out by only producing enough electricity to light a couple of light bulbs, but it proved that nuclear power was a viable source of electricity. Then within a day it was producing enough power to light an entire building. Self-guided and guided tours are available where you can take photos - in case you want to build your own breeder reactor. Outside the main building are two enormous experimental nuclear powered jet engines. Although successfully tested, it was an idea that never took off. Get, it? Took off. Airplanes take off. Oh never mind.
Arco, ID
Lots and Lots of Lava
Craters of the Moon - Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is the nation's largest lava field and is comprised of 750,000 acres. Over 60 volcanic eruptions ranging from 2,000 to 15,000 years ago have spewed lava from what is called the Great Rift Zone. Features throughout the park include giant cinder cones (great for climbing), spatter cones and jagged lava fields. The highlights of the park are the lava tubes in the park's cave area. At the end of a 1/2 mile trail are four lava tubes, (Dewdrop, Boy Scout, Beauty, and Indian) which can take hours to explore. Remember to bring a flashlight with extra batteries and some water.
Blackfoot, ID
Inside the Tater Museum
Idaho Potato Museum - Potatoes were first introduced to northern Idaho in the early 1830s by Henry Harmon Spalding a Presbyterian missionary. But it took until the early 1900s before the famous Russet Burbank potato arrived. This variety of tuber is larger than most, tastes great and is more resistant to blight. The Idaho Potato Museum takes visitors through the history of potatoes in Idaho with exhibits, photos, farm implements, and even the world's largest potato chip made by the Pringles Company. Did you know Thomas Jefferson was the first to introduce French Fries to America? True dat.
Boise, ID
The Gem and Potato Capitol Building
State Capitol Building - Construction of the Idaho State Capitol Building began in 1905, with the center portion completed in 1912 and the "wings" of the building finished in 1920. This capitol's biggest claim to fame is that it is the only one in the nation to be heated geochemically. A well pumps naturally heated water from 3,000 feet underground throughout the building during the cold months. Which in Idaho is most of them. The interior walls are designed with beautifully carved marble and the exterior of locally cut sandstone. A 5 foot 6 inch tall copper eagle looks over Boise from atop of its 208 foot perch.
Boise, ID
Old Pen and Prison Tattooing
Old Idaho Penitentiary - The Old Idaho Penitentiary (Old Pen) started as a single cell building in 1872 with space for about 45 inmates and grew to house as many as 600 at its peak. Over 13,000 convicts heard the metal doors of their prison cell clang shut at the Old Pen in its 101 years of operation. Today tours are available to remind us why we don't want to go to prison. Walk through prison cells, solitary confinement and learn the history of this famous territorial prison. Other exhibits include a large collection of weapons, the history of prison tattooing, and early transportation.
Bruneau, ID
Nation's Tallest Sand Dune
Bruneau Dunes State Park - Get out your climbing shoes (the ones you don't mind filling up with sand) and start scaling the tallest single-structure sand dune in the USA. And if you can, bring a sled; it makes for a quick descent. The top of the dune rises 470 feet above the surrounding high desert and offers an impressive view of the lakes and marshes at its base. Camping and picnic areas are available along with lakes for fishing, canoeing, swimming and bird watching. The nearby Bruneau Dunes Astronomical Observatory is a great place to go at night and check out the stars and planets.
Cataldo, ID
Oldest Building in Idaho
Old Mission of the Sacred Heart - Completed in 1853, the Old Mission of the Sacred Heart is Idaho's oldest standing building. The mission was constructed by Catholic missionaries and members of the local Coeur d' Alene Indian Tribe without a single nail. They used what is called a "wattle and daub" process that secured logs with sapling ropes which were then caked with mud. The structure is in remarkably good shape for its age and the interior is nicely decorated. The property, in addition to the church, contains a large visitor center, two small cemeteries, and an 1887 Parish House.
Coeur d'Alene, ID
Beautiful Lake Coeur d' Alene
Lake Coeur d' Alene - The 50 square miles of azure waters in Lake Coeur d' Alene (pronounced core da lane) combined with a four-star resort make this area a premier northwest travel destination. Enjoy every type of water activity including water skiing, fishing, jet skiing, parasailing, boat cruises, and kayaking. SCUBA divers will enjoy swimming around model T's and sunken steamboats at the bottom of this lake. The luxurious waterfront Coeur d' Alene Resort located on the north end offers fantastic accommodations, a marina, easy access to town and the nearby Tubbs Hill Park as well as 90 minute lake cruises. Golfers, there's something for you too, the par 3 14th hole is a floating island!!!
Jerome, ID
WW II Japanese Internment Camps
Minidoka Internment National Monument - After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941 during WWII, distrust of the Japanese intensified in the USA. In response President Franklin D Roosevelt signed United States Presidential Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942 which created military zones, including the entire states of California, Oregon and Alaska. Persons deemed a threat who were living in these areas were rounded up and shipped to one of ten internment camps around the nation. In all over 120,000 people were taken and around 10,000 were housed at the Minidoka Internment Camp.
Kellogg, ID
Silver Capital of the World
Silver Mining - Over 1.2 billion troy ounces of silver have been extracted from the hills around Wallace, making it the Silver Capital of the World. For a close-up and very interesting first-hand look at mining, take the Sierra Silver Mine Tour. This 75 minute tour weaves through the mine's underground tunnels and features mining exhibits, equipment and live demonstrations. Just a few miles from the Sierra Mine is the Sunshine Miner's Memorial, a tribute to the 91 workers who died during the May 2, 1972 fire. It is a reminder of how truly dangerous mining is.
Kooskia, ID
Camping Near Selway Falls
Selway Falls - Selway Falls is tucked back in a heavily wooded area of Idaho near Lowell and offers one of the best backwoods camping experiences in the state. Choose from designated camping sites along the road or head out to a sand bar in the middle of the river. Either way, the cool rushing waters of the Selway River will sooth you to sleep after a fun day of river rafting and camping. Selway Falls is right next to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, a 1.3 million acres roadless forest which has miles and miles of hiking trails. This area is recommended for experienced hiking monkeys only.
Lava Hot Springs, ID
A Great Place to get Wet
Rafting and Inner-Tubing - If a town has the words "hot springs" in its name, this sock monkey is there. Lava Hot Springs is the place to go for all things water related, water slides, an Olympic sized swimming pool, water rafting, inner-tubing, kayaking, and don't forget the hot springs. Naturally heated water rises from an ancient volcano to soak your weary bones in waters ranging from 104 to 112 degrees. One of the nice things about these hot springs is there is no sulfur smell - just pure healing waters from the center of the earth.
Rigby, ID
Farnsworth TV & Pioneer Museum
Birthplace of TV - Johnny Carson once said, "If it weren't for Philo T Farnsworth, the inventor of the television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906-1971) was born in Beaver, UT and moved with his family to Rigby in 1918 and it's here where his interest in electronics, physics and chemistry developed. He went on to become the first person to transmit a television image (at the age of 21), which was made of 60 horizontal lines - an idea which was inspired from the rows of a plowed field. The TV Museum in Rigby celebrates the Birthplace of TV along with Farnsworth's more than 300 other patents.
Shoshone, ID
One Cool Cave
Shoshone Ice Caves - There are lots of lava tubes in Idaho, but very few with ice and none with as much as the Shoshone Ice Caves. This 1,000 foot tube contains an ice sheet that ranges from 10 to 35 feet deep. Stepping into the cave from the summer heat will be a bit of a shock, it's cold in there, 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Luckily, the price of admission includes a light jacket to use. Once inside, an expert guide details the formation of the ice as you walk over the wooden bridges to the back of the cave. A small museum and gift shop are on site to round of your ice cave experience.
Soda Springs, ID
Turn on the Geyser!!!
Manmade Geyser - On Nov 30, 1937, while drilling for naturally heated water to warm up a swimming pool, a Soda Springs resident got more than he bargained for. At 315 feet below the surface the drill hit a pressurized chamber of carbonated water that shot a blast of hot water skyward. The geyser was eventually capped and is now regulated to erupt every hour on the hour. It is reportedly the only man-made geyser in the world and the eruptions shoot as high as 100 feet. I still think a swimming pool of hot carbonated water would be fun to swim in.
St Charles, ID
Caribbean of the Rockies
Bear Lake - Straddling the border of Idaho and Utah is the 110 square mile "Caribbean of the Rockies", known as Bear Lake. The unique turquoise-blue color, which is derived from limestone, almost begs you to jump in and take a swim. Nearly the entire lake is surrounded by golden sand beaches and there are two state parks, each named Bear Lake State Park. If you are in the area in late July or early August, hop across the border into Utah's Garden City for a delicious Bear Lake Raspberry Milk Shake at the Raspberry Days Festival. Tasty!!!
Stanley, ID
Chilly Stanley
Sawtooth National Recreation Area - Comprised of 765,000 acres of razor sharp mountains, icy-blue waters, and green mountain valleys the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. It's a great place for hiking, backpacking, white-water rafting and photography. Tucked away amongst the mountains is the small town of Stanley (population of about 100). Stanley is a throw-back to the early frontier days with unpaved streets and rustic buildings. Be sure to come during the summer though, Stanley often sets the record low temperature for the lower 48.
Sun Valley, ID
Ski Idaho!!!
Sun Valley Ski Resort - The Sun Valley Ski Resort lies in the shadows of two ski areas, Dollar Mountain which is geared more toward novice skiers, and Bald Mountain (Baldy) which will challenge even the best skiers. Baldy has been termed the "best single ski mountain in America". The skiing and world-class resort attracts celebrities and travel monkeys from all over the world. One of the town's most famous residents was American author Ernest Hemmingway (1899-1961). In suite 206 of the Sun Valley Ski Resort, Hemmingway penned his finest work, "For Whom the Bell Tolls". The author is buried in nearby Ketchum and a memorial was created in 1967 that overlooks Trail Creek.
Twin Falls, ID
The Legend of Evil Knievel
Evil Knievel Jump Site - On Sep 8, 1974 at 3:36 PM Robert Craig "Evil" Knievel (1938-2007), a motorcycle daredevil at the height of his career attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in a steam-powered rocket-ship called a "Skycycle". The canyon is over 1,200 feet across and 500 feet deep, but to the man who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most broken bones (35), that's nothing. Unfortunately, right when the rocket ship took off, the parachute malfunctioned and deployed. Even so, Knievel nearly made it to the other side, but the wind pushed him back to the river's edge just below where he started. He lived to jump another day, just not the same canyon.
Twin Falls, ID
Mist and Rainbow of Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls - Located on the Snake River, Shoshone Falls features a fantastic 212 foot waterfall that crashes over terraced rocks in a white-water frenzy to the still waters below. The falls are nearly 40 feet taller than New York's Niagara Falls - and earns the nickname the "Niagara Falls of the West". Depending on the time of year, with late Spring being the best, the flow of water can reach over 70,000 gallons per second across the 900 foot wide rim. There is a nice viewing area in the park, along with picnic benches, a boat ramp and swimming area. And on any sunny day, you can count on a rainbow waiting to great you in the mist of the falls.