We went to Lava for the first time earlier this year HERE. It was snowing and cold. We had no kids, and had a blast! But we knew we had to bring the kids back because we knew they would love it as much as we did.
There is definitely more to do in the summer!
Here is our list of kid friendly activities to add to your Lava Hot Springs Bucket list.
#1 Soak in the natural hot springs
Located along the Portneuf river, about 100 ft down river from the big falls.
There is a bit of a drop to get to the hot spring, but there is a rope to help repel down.
#2 Float the Portneuf River!
We used Gator Tube rentals because they are located at the top of the river so you don't have to haul your tube far. They also have the option to drive you back to the top when you are done. We did this and it was totally worth it with littles.
We highly recommend renting a four person tube if you have littles. They are almost impossible to flip. We also rented a two person tube. It flipped, but only once. And we floated the river 3 times.
A little pit stop at the hot springs during our river ride.
#3 Go to the Lava Hot Springs water park!
Get there early for a good spot. You might want to bring your own shade. You can also bring in food or purchase food there. There are 2 twirly slides, 2 scary (but super fun) speed slides, a giant pool, high dives, an indoor pool, kiddie indoor pool, and indoor hot tub.
Massive amounts of people started to leave around dinner time, so if you don't like crowds, consider going later in the day so you don't have to wait in line as long.
This was the hot tub on Labor Day Saturday. Only in Idaho!
#4 Cool off with some square Ice Cream!
You can find it at the candy shop on main.
#5 Nature Walk the Lava Park
Located on the east side of the Hot Pools, this park Is almost totally shaded, had a view of the Hot Pools, is full of beautiful flowers, and has some cool caves to explore. There are a few stairs, but most is paved path so it's stroller friendly for the most part.
#6 Hot Pools
Soaking in the hot pools early in the morning or late in the evening is our favorite. They are super hot so you want to go when it's cool. Check out more photos of the pools HERE.
#7 Lava Hot Springs City Park
Located across the street from the Hot Pools, this is a great spot to picnic, let the kids play, and park your car since it's within walking distance to everything. It is also where you start your river run if you are floating the river.
Camping is such a magical experience with kids. We are loving our tent trailer Mildred! You can see her transformation HERE.
We found this awesome rope swing at our campground, but the water was too shallow.
Roasted rice crispy treats! Better than smores.
I hope this list of things to do is helpful for all you Lava first timers! We had a blast exploring this cute little town and can't wait to go back.
As always, thank you so much for visiting our family blog. We love sharing and are so grateful for your support.
Tips for the river: You can enter at the parking lot, just walk to the back and look for the sign "enter river here". Or you can walk over to the park, follow the path along the river to the dock. This is "before" the big falls. Some people keep going up river and come down the falls. We saw most people flip on this part so don't recommend.
Tips for hot springs: Take towels (coats if its cold). No glass of any kind. No pets. And always leave It better than you found it so we can all enjoy it. For littles we recommend floaties or life jacket. The water is very hot, but you can move closer to the river for cooler temps.
To get to them, you have to cross the river (you can use either entrance point listed above), or you can access them by crossing the bridge on main (to get to the other side of the river) and then follow the river up stream until you get to them, about 200 ft up river. You can't miss them. The trail is dirt and easy to follow once you find it, but you do have to pass through a camp ground to get there. No vehicles. Park in parking lot.
Tips for Hot Pools: There is a fee for both the hot pools and water park. You can get a discount if you buy a pass for both at the same time. You can do this at either location.
Tips for water park: You have to sign a waver for the high dives. Everything else is free game. Take your own shade, chairs, cooler. More tips above in blog post.