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7 Reasons to Move to Southern Idaho Right Now

Twin Falls and the other cities of the Magic Valley offer a treasure trove of surprises around every corner.

By Brittany Anas on December 15, 2022

Thousand Springs State Park in Hagerman
Jeff Adkins

On weekend mornings, locals can explore Southern Idaho’s vast network of trails, enjoying breathtaking views like Shoshone Falls, the scenic Snake River gusher that’s taller than even Niagara Falls. Then, by evening, there’s all sorts of entertainment offerings like concerts and events to sync up with your schedule.

“New residents are always surprised by the variety of things we have to do here,” says Alan Gil, a Twin Falls resident and community development officer at Idaho Central Credit Union. “You can be as adventurous as you want.”

On top of that, those who move to Twin Falls and Southern Idaho quickly discover how welcoming the community is, something that Gil says is a point of pride for the region.

The easy access to world-class outdoor recreation and that welcoming, down-to-earth attitude are part of the enchantment of Twin Falls and the surrounding Magic Valley, a growing region that still has plenty of room for new residents.

Southern Idaho holds special appeal for young professionals and those looking to put down roots in a place where the epic scenery, great career opportunities and lively arts and culture scene are hard to beat. So if you’re thinking about moving to Twin Falls and Southern Idaho, here are seven reasons why you should call the Magic Valley home.

Snake River Canyon at Auger Falls in Southern Idaho
Jeff Adkins

1. Enjoy Countless Outdoor Options

Twin Falls provides great access to Southern Idaho getaways, whether that’s rafting through Class V rapids, fishing in clear rivers, taking in scenic views on hiking trails, mountain biking or even BASE jumping off a bridge.

Plus, this part of the state is home to a cluster of local and state parks, including Thousand Springs State Park, which is worth repeat weekend visits to make sure you experience it all – a hike in Box Canyon Springs Nature Preserve or a picnic at Niagara Springs. Other outdoor gems include Shoshone Falls Park, City of Rocks National Reserve, Castle Rocks State Park and Soldier Mountain.

The area’s outdoor amenities are priceless for Shoshone resident Kyli Gough, a mother of two young boys. “We enjoy hiking in the Wood River Valley, fishing all over the Magic Valley, and the various fairs, rodeos and other events that summer has to offer,” says Gough, the community health manager for St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center and St. Luke’s Jerome Medical Center.

Come winter, Gough likes to play volleyball in recreational leagues and teach her boys how to ski at Soldier Mountain.

2. Immerse Yourself in Arts and Culture

One of the best ways to experience Southern Idaho is through its arts and culture scene, from the film and theatrical productions at the Orpheum Theatre in Twin Falls to the performances at the Historic Wilson Theatre in Rupert. The area is brimming with character and color radiating from public art, galleries and exhibits.

Local flavor is also not hard to come by in the region’s quaint coffee shops, cozy bars and tasty restaurants.

3. You Can Afford to Live Here

Those who relocate to Southern Idaho from major metros and regions like the Pacific Northwest and California are greeted with more affordable rent and home prices. Places like Shoshone, Burley and Jerome all boast a median home price that is below the national average.

Plus, with limitless free and low-cost entertainment options in the area, dollars stretch further here, says Niki McKay, a Realtor with Canyon Trail Realty in Jerome. The hikes are worth planning weekend days around as they show off incredible rock formations and waterfalls, she says, plus there’s local farmers markets, splash pads and plenty of state parks.

Meet the Young Professionals

Magic Valley Young Professionals (MVYP), a group backed by the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, is undergoing a transformation. For 2022 and beyond, the group will focus largely on the personal and professional development of young professionals – those between 21 and 41 – throughout Magic Valley. Click here for more information about MVYP.

4. You Will Feel Welcomed

The community is strong in Southern Idaho, and residents embrace a spirit of volunteerism, says Gil, who coaches youth football and volunteers at community events.

Residents find ways to connect through arts, outdoors and other common interests. In the business world, networking groups are formed to bring creative minds together, and bigger companies go out of their way to support local nonprofits.

Gough, a Southern Idaho native who moved away for college and boomeranged back, says the Gooding Pro Rodeo is an annual tradition for her family. “I value my roots, family and all the wonderful things that Southern Idaho has to offer; I am so glad to be home,” Gough says.

Downtown Twin Falls
Jeff Adkins

5. Spend Evenings in Southern Idaho’s Downtowns

Every community in Southern Idaho has poured money into their downtown districts to enhance the quality of life for residents, including downtown Rupert, which recently completed a $2.7 million construction project. And in downtowns like Twin Falls (shown above), you’ll find plenty of great places to eat, along with great shops and entertainment options.

6. Grow a Career Here

The region has a thriving agribusiness sector. For instane, five dairy plants in Jerome County collectively process about 16 million pounds of milk every day. Companies such as True West Beef, Chobani, Clif Bar and McCain Foods have helped to make this region a thriving place for food production. Also, more than 15,000 of total area jobs are farm or processing related.

The Gooding Pro Rodeo in Southern Idaho
Jake Link Photography

7. Saddle Up for Plenty of Family-Friendly Fun

Whether you are age 5 or 75, there is something for the whole family here. Just a few family-friendly events include playing arcade games at Zeppes Pizza & Subs in Gooding, attending the Gooding Pro Rodeo and engaging in a little friendly competition at the disc golf course in Jerome. Families are also guaranteed good times at one of several farmers markets.

So now you have seven great reasons to move to Twin Falls and Southern Idaho. But wait! Here’s a bonus reason to call this fabulous region home …

Minidoka National Historic Site in Southern Idaho

Bonus: Explore Southern Idaho’s Rich History

Southern Idaho’s historic sites are worth exploring – some are natural wonders, while others commemorate important historical events that made the region what it is today. These sites across Southern Idaho are ones you won’t want to miss:

MINIDOKA NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE: Eighty years ago, some 13,000 Nikkei (people of Japanese race) – a majority of whom were U.S. citizens – were unjustly incarcerated at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during World War II. Today, visitors can walk the 1.6-mile trail around historical buildings like the barracks and mess hall in Block 22 on a self-guided tour. A new visitor’s center features interpretive exhibits, a film and bookstore. Admission is free.

MAMMOTH CAVE AND MUSEUMS: Just 8 miles off scenic state Highway 75, Idaho’s Mammoth Cave is one of the largest privately owned volcanic caves in the world that is open to the public. Grab a lantern and hike the quarter-mile path into the belly of the cave, where it is 41 degrees year-round.

HAGERMAN FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT: Dedicated in 1975, the 4,351-acre site contains the largest concentration of Hagerman horse fossils in North America, dating back to the Pliocene Era 3.5 million years ago. The plant and animal fossils protected here represent the last glimpse of the time before the Ice Age.

SHOSHONE HISTORIC WALKING TOUR: This village was laid out in 1882 in anticipation of the construction of the railroad and is the oldest town in Magic Valley. A self-guided walking tour includes notable historic buildings, among them the mansions of agriculture barons and railroad officials, alongside the modest homes of Basque sheepherders, farmers and others.

SHOSHONE ICE CAVES: Created from area volcanoes, the Shoshone Ice Cave is 1,000 feet long. To see the caves, book a guided tour, which can be scheduled ahead of time or on-site. The tour will explain the science of lava rocks and area history before descending into the cave for a chilly adventure.

– Rebecca Treon contributed to this article.

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