Driving through Idaho and Utah soon? You’ll be surprised by the wealth of scenic, historical, and interesting sights found not too far off the path.
The 45th Parallel
The latitudinal halfway point between the equator and the North Pole runs through southwestern Idaho, about two miles north of New Meadows on U.S. 95. Stop to snap a photo at this unique spot on the globe, and learn about the 45th Parallel at the visitors center nearby.
Clearwater Fish Hatchery
If your children like nature, then stop at the Clearwater Fish Hatchery in Ahsahka, Idaho. With free admission, you can learn about the fishing process and what it takes to prepare fish to send across the country.
Eastman Drug Store
While you’re in Idaho, enjoy an old-fashioned soda at the state’s oldest drug store in Soda Springs. Walking inside Eastman Drug Store, you will feel like you have traveled through a time machine. Still a functioning pharmacy, the drug store has been operating since 1884 and still uses its antique soda fountain.
Soda Springs Geyser
While you’re in the neighborhood enjoying your handmade sodas and ice cream, visit Soda Springs Geyser. The only captive geyser in the world, Soda Springs geyser erupts every hour and can reach up to 100 feet in the air. Soda Springs also boasts thousands of naturally carbonated springs that were a landmark on the Oregon Trail.
The Giant Cedar
Standing at 177 feet tall, this cedar is approximately 3,000 years old. You can find it at Perkins Cedar Grove, near Elk River, Idaho. With decks and paved trails that make it easy to explore with the family. On your way out, grab some ice cream at the Elk River General Store.
Founded in 1862 during a gold rush, Idaho City is a fun town to learn some American history with your family. At one point in the late 1800’s, the town hosted more than 200 business, including three dozen saloons. Now, the small town is home to remnants of history, including the Boise Basin Museum and 18 historical buildings.
Hell’s Half Acre Lava Field
Interstate 15 crosses through the southeast corner of this unique natural site. Hell’s Half Acre Lava Field consists of a basaltic lava plain on the Snake River Plain in Idaho. About 150 square miles provide a look how vegetation exists after a lava lake once occupied the area around 3250 BC.
Miner’s Hat Realty
Located in Kellogg, Idaho, on Highway 10, Miner’s Hat Realty occupies a building shaped like a giant—you guessed it—miner’s hat, complete with an old-timey carbide headlamp. The building was originally a restaurant from 1939 to the mid 1950’s, servicing gold and silver miners nearby. Now, a realtor owns the building, but visitors are still welcome to stop in and learn about its history.
Shoshone Ice Caves
For an interesting escape from the heat, stop by the Shoshone Ice Caves. These natural lava pathways form thick layers of ice, up to 20 feet, year round. A giant dinosaur statue will greet you off of N. Highway 75. Grab some complimentary coats and walk through the centuries old caverns.
The quintessential small town, Atomic City has a population of 29 on its 0.11 square mile of land. In 1951, the city became home to the first electricity-generating nuclear power plant, which was used for experimental purposes. After decommissioning the plant, the town served as halfway point between Blackfoot and Arco on Route 26. The small downtown can provide fun photo opportunities for your family.