Revive and rejuvenate right over the Idaho border. Lava Hot Springs is an inexpensive getaway you can't miss out on.
How to Get There
Lava Hot Springs, home of the state’s famed “non-smelly” hot springs, is just 2.5 hours away from SLC. Take I-15 North to exit 47 and head on into town.
Where to Stay
Lava Hot Springs Inn. While not the most luxurious digs in town (most rooms are bathroom-down-the-hall), the inn boasts the best private hot springs and is run by a friendly pair who encourage a communal, convivial atmosphere. Plus the free breakfast is really good. 94 E. Portneuf, Lava, 208-776-5830, lavahotspringsinn.com
WHAT TO DO
The Best Hot Water
There are many privately-owned springs and pools in Lava, but the pools at the Lava Hot Springs State Park are by far the best, closest to the source and well-maintained by the Lava Hot Springs Foundation. 430 E. Main St., Lava, 800-423-8597, lavahotsprings.com
It’s sort of counter to the whole “healing waters” thing, but the local Lava Lions Club hosts bingo night on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. The popular event raises money for the local club and lets you exercise your small-time gambling muscles. Bonus: The final round gives up a purse of $1,000 to one lucky player. Held at the White Wolf Restaurant, one-half mile west of town on U.S. 30, Lava, 208-776-5109, whitewolfrecreation.com.
Tubing the Portneuf
If the weather is still warm this fall, take advantage and rent tubes to careen down the Portneuf River from the top of the town to the take out behind the Lava Hot Springs Inn. TPD Tube Rental, 356 E. Main St., Lava, 801-510-0190, tpdtuberental.com
The Blue Moon Bar & Grill is a divey little joint just off Main Street. Don’t expect any fancy cocktails, just the standard Jack and Coke and yellow-beer. But you’ll find a fantastic bar burger and just the right amount of grease to offset all the healthy hot springs stuff that permeates the rest of town. 100 S. 1st Ave. East, Lava, 208-776-5077
STAY ANOTHER DAY
Aura Soma Spa features massage and lodging if you want to stay the night. Book the cottage for a cozy couple’s retreat and you’ll enjoy your own private hot-springs water tub on a secluded deck. 196 E. Main St., Lava, 208-776-5800, aurasomalava.com
Have your aura photographed and sort through all manner of wind-chimey, crystal, howling wolf, dream catcher stuff at Purple Moon, a quirky stop on your Main Street promenade. 50 E. Main St., Lava, 208-776-5475, purplemooncrystal.com
Tom Ka Wha??
Lava Hot Springs, for all its charm, isn’t what foodies would call a big “dining destination.” That’s what makes Riverwalk Thai. The friendly family who runs this place serves hot, decent Thai favorites, including massaman curry and Kai Sa Doong. 695 E. Main St., Lava, 208-776-5872