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Top Family-Friendly Activities in Southern Idaho

Southern Idaho welcomes families with a host of activities all ages can enjoy

By Teree Caruthers on October 3, 2015

A boy and his grandfather fish on the bank of Oster Lake in Hagerman, ID.
Twin Falls / Michael Conti

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }A:link { } Southern Idaho’s moderate climate, diverse landscape and community-centric environment lend themselves to family-friendly activity – from hiking and biking to star-gazing and spectator sports.

Bike Riding

Travis Rothweiler, Twin Falls city manager, his wife, Amy, a counselor at Magic Valley High School, and their two sons, ages 6 and 8, spend much of their free time biking on the region’s scenic trails. Travis and Amy are both triathletes, and their sons, David and Jackson, have recently taken up biking.

“We ride all over. We’ll ride on Canyon Rim Trail and Rock Creek Trail – both of which are maintained by the city. We also go out on some of our wonderful county roads that have relatively low vehicle use, so it’s free to just open up and ride,†Travis Rothweiler says.

Esmeralda Chavez, city planner for the City of Jerome, says biking is a favorite pastime for her family as well. The family particularly enjoys biking the two-mile path the city opened for public walking, jogging, rollerblading and biking.


With a diverse landscape that includes jutting rock formations, canyons and grasslands, Southern Idaho begs to be explored on foot, and its numerous kid-friendly trails make it easy for the entire family to get out and enjoy the region’s natural attractions.

“We hike throughout the Magic Valley, and we have explored some great trails,†says Amy Christopherson, director of the College of Southern Idaho’s Mini-Cassia Center.

“Our family, which includes five kids ages 10-20, loves Vineyard Lake and Pillar Falls in the Snake River Canyon and Ross Falls and Third Fork trail in Rock Creek Canyon. Access to a variety of locations and activities that are free or low cost gives our kids a chance to explore without constant supervision or mom’s checkbook.”

College of Southern Idaho

Southern Idaho families are fortunate to have an academic, cultural and recreational gem in the College of Southern Idaho, as well. CSI’s primary campus in Twin Falls offers a year-round calendar of family-friendly educational activities, arts performances and sporting events. CSI’s Herrett Center for Arts & Science and the Faulkner Planetarium are go-tos for many Southern Idaho families.

“My kids absolutely love the Herrett Center. If they could get there once a week, they would absolutely do it,†says Travis Rothweiler. “The museum has a wonderful permanent display of dinosaurs and animals from the Ice Age as well as an entire collection of artifacts [reflecting] native life here in the Magic Valley. There’s also a planetarium, and the college hosts star-gazing parties at the observatory. What’s perfect is its free access.”

Water Fun

The Snake and Malad Rivers along with the region’s numerous lakes and creeks offer myriad opportunities for families to have fun in and out of the water. Rothweiler, a Montana native and avid angler, says the region offers a number of kid-friendly fish hatcheries and stocked ponds.

“We have Silver Creek, which is a world-renowned fishery, just right in our backyard,†Rothweiler says. “There are the fisheries for the more experienced – whether it be along the Malad River or Smiley Creek – that are quick and fairly accessible. Then you also have these wonderful little fisheries for kids. It’s fun to throw in a line and watch them catch their fish for the day. As a family outing, it’s absolutely perfect.”

Christopherson says that while longboarding currently occupies her kids’ afternoons, “if they can get on a boat, then they tube and wakeboard. We love going out to the Snake River in Heyburn and Burley as well as swimming and boating on Dierkes Lake.”

Youth Sports and City Parks

Like many families in Southern Idaho, Boomer Walker, his wife, Maria, and their boys, Tai, 12, and Treyson, 6, spend much of their time involved in youth and community-sponsored sports.

“We have two boys, so baseball pretty much runs our life, which is a good thing,†says Walker, who is head baseball coach at the College of Southern Idaho. “We really enjoy it, and it takes us all over Southern Idaho.”

Chavez says the Jerome Recreation District offers numerous activities to keep families active year-round.

“We especially enjoy the swimming pool in the summer,†she says. “My daughter looks forward to swimming lessons every year. They also offer monthly Kid’s Nights, where the kids are involved in active play as well as adult programs.”



The fact that my 6-year-old son and 76-year-old mother can enjoy the same activities together … makes Twin Falls and all of Southern Idaho an incredibly special place to be.

Amy Rothweiler
Counselor, Magic Valley High School and mother of two
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