When you think about Idaho, what do you envision? For most, it’s a potato haven, thanks to the state’s reputation as a major potato producer, but trust us when we say this Gem State is well deserving of your family’s next road trip.

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Idaho is brimming with a balanced blend of family-friendly roadside attractions. From enriching cultural and historic sites that tell the story of Idaho’s past to natural wonders that showcase the state’s beauty and thrilling outdoor adventures like no other, Idaho will delight both you and your little explorers.

So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for these must-visit roadside attractions in Idaho that provide endless opportunities for family bonding!

Northern Idaho

1. Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach Water Park

Dive into a day of family fun with thrilling rides and attractions for all ages at Silverwood Theme Park. Nestled amongst the spectacular beauty of northern Idaho, this amusement park offers more than 70 rides, slides, shows, and attractions, with something for everyone. The park’s family-friendly atmosphere and wide range of entertainment make it a perfect destination for parents and kids alike.

Connected to Silverwood is Boulder Beach Water Park, adding even more excitement to your visit. Boulder Beach features a variety of water slides, a lazy river, wave pool, and interactive water play areas, perfect for cooling off on a hot day.

Parent tip: Arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy more rides!

27843 N. Hwy 95, Athol, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

2. Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge

Looking for a well-needed stretch during your Idaho road trip? Head to the 2,774-acre Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts four manageable trails ranging from 0.2 miles to 2.2 miles—perfect for a quick respite or a couple hours of fresh air.

A paradise for nature enthusiasts, Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge offers nature walks where you can witness wildlife in their natural habitat. This doubles as an active hike and an enriching educational experience for children to discover various species, from fish and amphibians to reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Parent tip: Bring binoculars for a closer look at the refuge’s diverse 200+ bird species.

287 West Side Rd., Bonners Ferry, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

3. Tubbs Hill Nature Park

Lace up your hiking boots for a leisurely outdoor adventure through Tubbs Hill Nature Park. This must-visit hiking destination offers stunning views of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding mountains, making it a picturesque setting for family photos. With easy to moderate trails, Tubbs Hill is suitable for hikers of all skill levels, including those with young children.

Parent tip: Pack a picnic ahead of the trail to enjoy at one of the scenic overlooks.

210 South 3rd St., Coeur d’Alene, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

North Central Idaho

4. Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor Center

Immerse your kids in the rich history and culture of the Nez Perce tribe at Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor Center. Young learners can explore interactive exhibits, artifacts, and displays that showcase the tribe’s traditions and way of life. They’ll get an insider’s look at history, from the tribe’s clothing and tools to weapons and ceremonial objects.

If you have more time on your hands, join a ranger-led tour for a deeper understanding of the area’s significance; it’s a meaningful experience that’ll impress kids of all ages.

Parent tip: No cash? No problem. There are no fees for any of the sites of Nez Perce National Historical Park if you opt to extend your visit.

39063 US Hwy 95, Lapwai, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

5. Hells Canyon Jet Boat Tour

Embark on a thrilling jet boat tour through Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. With Hells Canyon Jet Boat Tours, adrenaline junkies can take on Snake River’s exciting rapids while enjoying the awe-inspiring scenery and remarkable sights of bighorn sheep. During the tour, families will have the chance to stop for a photo op as well as a refreshing swim in calm water. Lunch and drinks are provided, so you can focus on just the snacks for the kiddos.

Parent tip: Bring sunscreen and a hat for sun protection during the tour, and opt for cool, comfortable clothing (like shorts and swimsuits) in warmer weather.

4832 Hells Gate Rd., Lewiston, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

Southwest Idaho

6. World Center for Birds of Prey

Located near Boise, the World Center for Birds of Prey is a conservation center dedicated to the protection of eagles, owls, vultures, hawks, and falcons from around the world. Witness these majestic birds up close (or shall we say from nose to beak?) and learn about the center’s conservation efforts through interactive exhibits and educational programs. With a mission to inspire the next generation of conservationists, the World Center for Birds of Prey is a great pit stop for families looking to learn and explore together.

Parent tip: Visit during live bird encounters at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. for a one-of-a-kind experience.

5668 West Flying Hawk Ln., Boise, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

7. Payette River Rafting

Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on Idaho’s striking Payette River, located about 45 minutes northwest of Boise. But before you let the term “whitewater rafting” deter you, we’ve done the homework for you and found safe and enjoyable options for rafters of all ages (that includes young kids, too!) and experience levels.

Parent tip: Our favorite is Cascade Raft & Kayak, which offers experienced guides that prioritize safety along with a fun and memorable experience your kids will remember for years to come. Their family-friendly adventures cater to little ones as young as five, offering a more peaceful escape with fun and splashy rapids throughout the Main Payette River or the Cabarton Stretch of the North Fork.

For more excitement, families with kids ages 12 and up can embark on the South Fork half-day or full-day trips, featuring class III–IV rapids (a.k.a. moderate to intense waves and obstacles).

7050 Highway 55, Horseshoe Bend, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

8. Old Idaho Penitentiary

Step back in time—the late 1800s, to be exact!—and explore Idaho’s oldest prison. The Old Idaho Penitentiary offers both guided and self-guided tours for families with kids ages six and up for a behind-the-scenes look at the daily lives of inmates. See cell blocks from various time periods and solitary confinement that operated during its 101 years of service. And if you have any brave preteens in your group, walk through the penitentiary’s former gallows. The prison’s history offers an eye-opening experience of Idaho’s rich heritage.

Parent tip: Take a guided tour for $2 to learn more about the prison’s escapes and scandals.

2445 Old Penitentiary Rd., Boise, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

South Central Idaho

9. Shoshone Falls

Known as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder in Twin Falls, Idaho. Enjoy an incredible family outing on Snake River, from panoramic lookouts to comfortable picnic spaces. For stunning views of the Falls (which stands 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide!), go on an adventurous hike and revel in the multiple vantage points!

Parent tip: Visit in the spring for the best views when the falls are at their peak flow!

4155 Shoshone Falls Grade, Twin Falls, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

10. Minidoka National Historic Site

For an enlightening experience that sheds light on America’s past, make your way to the Minidoka National Historic Site, where kids of all ages can learn about the Japanese relocation center during World War II. Carve out a few hours to explore the on-site exhibits and displays that memorialize over 13,000 Japanese-Americans who were forced to relocate to Idaho’s desert lands. To gain deeper insight into the landmark’s significance, join a ranger-led tour.

Parent tip: Pick up free booklets at the Minidoka Visitor Center for interactive activities that’ll help your kids become official junior rangers.

1428 Hunt Rd., Jerome, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

11. City of Rocks National Reserve

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a nature lover, the City of Rocks National Reserve promises a memorable experience for your whole crew—pups included! You’ll have the chance to see impressive granite rock formations, unmatched landscapes, and amazing mammals, like mule deer, blacktail jack rabbit, and chipmunks.

To add an adrenaline rush to your visit, tackle the site’s hiking trails and rock climbing routes, or head to the adjacent Castle Rocks State Park for mountain biking and horseback riding.

Parent tip: If you want to turn your stay into a weekend getaway (we wouldn’t want to leave either), make a reservation at the City of Rocks campground, featuring a ground grill, a picnic table, and clean vault toilets.

42°04’37.3″N 113°42’14.8″W, Almo, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

Southeast Idaho

12. Idaho Potato Museum

What’s a trip to Idaho without a stop at the Idaho Potato Museum? This specialty museum is dedicated to the state’s famous spuds and is a must-visit roadside attraction in Idaho that kids and parents alike will love. Little foodies can appreciate the informative exhibits (like dressing up Mr. Potato Head), fun computer games, and unique displays touting rare potato artifacts and collections. We’re talking the largest ensemble of potato mashers in the world and the largest Pringle!

Don’t leave without taking a selfie in front of the giant potato statue outside and taking home some souvenirs from the gift shop.

Parent tip: Sample potato-themed treats at the museum’s café, including a baked potato with all the fixings (a fan favorite!), potato soup, and probably the best french fries you’ll ever try.

130 NW Main St., Blackfoot, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

13. Lava Hot Springs Foundation World Famous Hot Springs & the Olympic Swimming Complex & Indoor Aquatic Center

Break up your road trip with a relaxing day in the geothermal hot springs of Lava Hot Springs. Soak in the therapeutic waters that is fully loaded with natural minerals and will keep you feeling cozy with temperatures ranging from 102˚ to 112˚ degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, you can take in amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

Parent tip: If you have little ones in tow, stop by the nearby Olympic Swimming Complex & Indoor Aquatic Center that’s just four blocks away. Kids of all ages can enjoy either the indoor or outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool and super fast water slides at the seasonal water park.

430 East Main St., Lava Hot Springs, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

Eastern Idaho

14. Upper & Lower Mesa Falls

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, nestled in the Caribou–Targhee National Forest. These stunning waterfalls offer more than just picture-worthy views; they provide a natural playground for families. Easily accessible hiking trails, picnic areas, and observation points make it ideal for families with young children. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful hike or a picturesque picnic, Upper and Lower Mesa Falls promise an unforgettable day immersed in nature’s wonder.

Parent tip: Visit the Mesa Falls Visitor Center to access the walking trail and boardwalk for impeccable sights of Mesa Falls.

Upper Mesa Falls Visitor Center, Upper Mesa Falls Rd., Ashton, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

Central Idaho

15. Knob Hill Natural Area and Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve

Get ready for the wonder of the night sky at Knob Hill Natural Area. Budding astronomers can stargaze and learn about astronomy through guided tours and educational programs. Depending on the time of year, try to spot several constellations, from The Big Dipper and Little Dipper to Orion, Leo, and The Northern Cross!

Want an even more spectacular experience? Take a quick hike to the top of Knob Hill for the best view of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. As one of 22 Dark Sky reserves in the world, Central Idaho’s designation ensures minimal light pollution, providing optimal conditions for stargazing. The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve also spans more than 1,400 square miles across three communities in Central Idaho, including Sun Valley, Stanley, and Ketchum.

Once you reach the top of Knob Hill, relax on a nearby bench (that perfectly overlooks downtown Ketchum, might we add) for a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Milky Way!

Parent tip: While a telescope enhances the stargazing experience, you can still enjoy the wonders of the night sky at Knob Hill Park without one. Pack some blankets and lay back on the grass with your family to gaze at the stars.

811 East Ave., Ketchum, visitidaho.org/travel-tips

16. Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center

History books come to life at the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center, a perfect pit stop for travelers who have 45 minutes to spare or a full-day voyage. Discover the legacy of Sacajawea and the Lewis and Clark Expedition through engaging exhibits, interpretive displays, and historic artifacts.

If time permits, visit the Sacajawea Center’s Research Library in the Learning Center for an impressive collection of expedition journals and titles, field guides, and children’s books.

Parent tip: For added fun, check out the Community Gardens, filled with flowers and vegetables, then take a walk along one of the two trails throughout the beautiful 71-acre park. Fido can also come along for the trip, as dogs are welcomed at the Seaman’s Dog Park.

2700 Main St., Salmon, visitidaho.org/things-to-do

Ready to start mapping out your trip to each of these 16 awesome roadside attractions in Idaho? Head to visitidaho.org for additional details.
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