Every state in the United States of America has things that make it unique. Each one has its own characteristics that make it so special. Idaho has no exception. As one of the largest states land-wise, there is plenty of room to find things that you may not have known about the Gem state.
First and foremost, when you say Idaho, what is the first thought that comes to mind? You most likely answered potatoes. Idaho is infamous for this vegetable, and for good reason, as it has been growing them since the state was first founded. Idaho flourishes in growing potatoes because it offers the ideal climate and environment to grow them, now producing over 1/3 of the nation’s potatoes. The number of potatoes grown in the Gem state also sparked the popularization of french fries. French fries can be found at just about any fast food restaurant you find yourself at, and its all thanks to J.R. Simplot, whose company still produces the majority of Idaho potatoes. In the 1940's Simplot made a deal with McDonald’s, becoming their exclusive supplier of the famous fast food side dish. The popularity of them turned French fries into the fast food mainstay that we have today.
Just why is Idaho called the Gem state? It is for the valuable gemstones that can be found throughout the state. There are over 72 of these, including some almost exclusively found in Idaho. The most famous of these is Idaho’s state gem, the star garnet. The garnet has a beautiful deep purple color and gets its name from the rays in it that form a star shape. The only other place in the world the gorgeous star garnet can be found is in India. If you are in Idaho, be on the search for this and other precious gems found in the state.
Hells Canyon in the western part of the state is quite a sight to behold if you enjoy the breathtaking scenery. At 7,993 feet deep, not only is it almost 2,000 feet deeper than the world famous Grand Canyon, but it is the deepest river gorge in all of North America!
Lava Hot Springs is a relaxing place to visit in Idaho and is famous around the world. It is a luxurious treat to go and soak in the hot springs formed completely by nature, giving it the refreshing smell of Idaho’s outdoor environment. There are five pools and their temperatures range between 102 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit. 2.5 million gallons of water flow through the pools every day, keeping the water clean. The Springs also provides a fun water park including high diving boards, huge water slides, and a large wave pool. On top of that, it’s open year round! Whatever season it may be, if you need a relaxing vacation to be sure to take a trip to Lava Hot Springs (or to one of the other 130 fantastic hot springs in the state!).
Another really neat fact that Idaho is proud of involves the invention of the television. Philo T. Farnsworth was just a teenager in a Rigby, Idaho high school when he came up with a sketch of what would become the first electronic television. The design he drew involved a vacuum tube that proved to be crucial in revolutionizing an invention that can now be found all over the world!
Huckleberries! One of the most delicious fruits you will ever eat. These great-tasting berries have become increasingly popular in Idaho (being designated as the state fruit in 2000), and the state is a great place to find the rare fruit. Because there hasn’t been a way found to grow them commercially, the best way to obtain them is to go on a fun treasure hunt to find some! Black huckleberries are especially famous for being unique to the state. If you aren’t able to go out and pick them, don’t fret! Just about any ice cream place, you walk into will have delicious huckleberry ice cream for sale.
If you enjoy skiing and snowboarding, Sun Valley is one of the most amazing places in the world for you to be. Winter sports at Sun Valley resort are world famous and have revolutionized the industry, Sun Valley being home to the first ski lift in the world. The slopes on Bald and Dollar mountains feel like they were built for skiing. Many celebrities have homes in Sun Valley to spend their winters fulfilling their skiing needs, and the resort is a relaxing luxury whenever you are in need of a break. If you are an expert skier or just want to learn, go to Sun Valley and seek out some true thrills.
Who doesn’t love the old west? All over the Gem state are locations you can pay a visit too and feel like you stepped right into your favorite John Wayne movie. During the Idaho gold rush, hundreds of mining towns were built across the state and many still stand there today, waiting for you to visit and take a step backward in time.
Craters of the Moon is one of Idaho’s famous national parks, and not only for its awesome name. You’ll see where the park gets its name when you pay a visit and feel like you’re on another planet. In reality, the craters were formed by lava flow through the area, and it is one of the best places in the world to see the result of volcanoes on the land around them.
Silverwood Theme Park in Coeur d’Alene is one of the highlights of Northern Idaho, being ranked as the biggest theme park in the Northwest. The park offers plenty of rides for people of all ages, and its located in one of the Gem state’s best resorts, that features a floating golf course and a water park among many other things! There is so much to do there, it is just about impossible to not have fun at a summer vacation in Coeur d’Alene!
These are just 10 of the thousands of things that make Idaho so awesome! Pay the Gem state a visit, and be sure to check out some of these great things that the state is known for!