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Springtime surprise in Lava Hot Springs

Lava Hot Springs

It’s almost here. The light at the end of the tunnel. The longest school year ever is coming to a close, and the warmth of summer is just around the corner.

Are you ready for the inevitable cries of boredom from your kids?

Living in Utah, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to participate in. With the mountains in the north, to the red rock landscapes of the south, Utah has it all—and so does the neighbor to the north, Idaho!

A tucked-away gem, Lava Hot Springs is sure to solve spring fever for adults and kids alike. Just two hours north of Salt Lake City, Lava Hot Springs is a short drive away and is a great place to relax and play for the whole family.

It’s more than just geothermal hot springs

If you’re thinking, “Why would I want to drive all the way to a place just to relax in a few hot springs?” You’ll be pleasantly surprised with all that Lava Hot Springs has to offer before summer arrives.

More than just hot springs, Lava Hot Springs has a full-blown water park, replete with multiple pools (indoor and out), water slides, diving towers, a kiddie pool and playground, and more.

“Splash, play, relax—those are the words I’d use to describe our recent trip to Lava Hot Springs in Idaho,” said one reviewer. “Even in the winter, it was so much fun for everyone, from the grandparents to the toddlers.”

Lava Hot Springs

The kiddie pool is one of the best around

Keeping small children entertained for days on end can be exhausting, especially while being cooped up all winter.

If you’re looking to switch it up and give your little ones some new fun, the Portneuf Kiddie Cove will keep them occupied for hours any time of the year.

The playground is shallow, never more than 18 inches deep, and is full of fun things for small children to play on. There is a playground with a water slide, a tipping bucket water cascade, geysers, umbrellas, spraying flowers, and much more.

The best part? With a 102° F mineral pool right next to the Portneuf Kiddie Cove, adults can switch off lifeguard duties. While one splashes around with the kids, the other can get a few minutes of uninterrupted hot pool solitude. Sounds tempting, right?

Google reviewer Kelli A. agreed, “I was looking for an adorable summer vacation with my four kids and I found this diamond six years ago and I have been going to Lava, Idaho every year multiple times. So adorable. Just as much fun for the adults as it is for the kiddos. No regrets.”

Lava Hot Springs

The Olympic swimming complex and indoor aquatic center are awesome

After you’re done relaxing by the Kiddie Cove, make your way over to the other activities in the indoor aquatic center. Featuring a six-lane, 25-yard pool, the aquatic center is indoor fun for all ages. With an aqua climb wall, the Portneuf Kiddie Cove, a hot tub, and a one-meter diving board, there is plenty here to keep your family entertained.

Prefer swimming outdoors? During the summer, the Olympic Swimming Complex is waiting for you. With water slides, toys, a 17-foot-deep end, and diving platforms up to 10 meters high, this massive pool is worth the trip by itself. Filled with nearly a million gallons of warm, crystal clear water, this enormous pool is just begging to be played in.

As one reviewer, Chris H. said, “I have been going here since I was a child! Love visiting when I can … My wife loves being here, my kids like it even more. Super cool vibes, and crazy fun. I have been at many pools like this around the USA, this is my favorite in the country!”

Lava Hot Springs

The hot mineral pools are life-changing

Lastly, Lava Hot Springs would be nothing without its hot springs. These naturally occurring geothermal hot pools are supremely relaxing.

Bubbling out of natural underground springs, the hot water is laden with minerals but has no sulfur odor. Over 2.5 million gallons a day flow through the hot springs and are diverted into the Portneuf River keeping the springs ever-changing and clean.

Each pool is surrounded by rock wall borders with underwater seating fixed throughout. Small rock pebbles line the bottom of the two hottest pools and gently massage your feet as you walk from one end to the other. The pools lie at the base of a steep rocky cliff and lush vegetation from the neighboring Sunken Gardens brighten the atmosphere. All of the hot pools have a shallow depth so test each pool to find the right temperature for you.

Temperatures range from 102° F to 112° F among five different pools. Kids will love the lower temperature pool because the large stone steps allow them to go in and out of the water as they please. Two smaller jetted pools massage your back or feet with streams of warm mineral water. The hottest pool is a steamy 112° F Roman-style pool with ample amounts of seating.

For anyone looking to do it all, buy a Combination Pass and have all-day entry to the swimming pools with a one-time entry to the famous mineral hot pools.

If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and recharge, Lava Hot Springs is the place to go.