Do you ever think that you don’t have enough money to go on a vacation with your family? Not all vacations have to be huge, week long trips. We try to go on at least one vacation that is a three to four hour drive from our house every year. I really love the tradition that we started about 3 years ago to go to the Lava hot Springs near Pocatello, Idaho. Our kids absolutely love this trip we go on with family friends.

This year we decided to wait until the morning we left to tell our kids that we were going. They were so excited that they gladly agreed to help clean the house before we departed . After lunch, we quickly packed up the car, equipt ourselves with audiobooks, sunflower seeds, dvds, and started our 3 hour journey north on I-15.

Where we stay

A big part of why our kids love this trip so much is the gem of a hotel that we discovered with the Holiday Inn Express in Pocatello. It’s about a 25-minute drive from the Lava Hot Springs. This hotel is great for our kids because it is very family-oriented. The hotel has a fantastic lounge area. There you will find a gaming station set up with XBoxes and TV’s, a coffee and hot chocolate bar, a business center and plenty of room to spread. We used the lounge to play board games and chat while the kids played video games. The pool and gym are open 24 hours so the party doesn’t ever need to stop.

The rooms were very clean and beds were very comfortable. We really liked our room because it had a separate room for my husband and I. Our 4 kids shared the king sized bed and the sofa sleeper couch.

What to do

Of course the big draw is Lava Hot Springs. In the winter time we first head over to the indoor swimming park. There we purchase an all-day indoor and outdoor Lava Hot Springs swimming wristband. The indoor complex usually opens around noon during the winter time. My kids enjoy the large swimming pool with a diving board, rock climbing wall, and basketball hoops. There’s also a fun kiddie play area with playground like structures and a great hot tub. Lots for everything one in our family to do.

Then we had over to the hot springs. In the past my kids have sat in the hot spring and then run out and played in the snow all wet and in their swimsuits! There are four different Hot Springs, each with a different water temperature. We make sure to bring extra towels, extra clothes, and even bathrobes. I also bring bathroom toiletries so we can shower off after we’re done.

Other Fun Things To Do

When I told my kids that we were going to the Museum of Clean they were not excited. I teased them that we were going to clean the entire museum while we were there. They had so much fun that after we left, several kids asked when we were going to go again. It’s a great family activity and we learned a lot while having lots of fun!






We have also visited the Natural History Museum at Idaho State University. We enjoyed learning about the ancient flora and fauna, dinosaurs, and indigenous people that once inhabited Idaho.



Where to eat

Pocatello has lots of local fare to choose from when eating out.When vacationing, part of our approach is to make efforts to get a real authentic taste of the local life. In doing this, we avoid chain resteraunts and dine at places that aren’t available in our hometown. Don’t be shy about trying a new place to eat. You can eat at Applebee’s or Texas Roadhouse anytime!

Big Foot Pizza in Pocatello has become a favorite and the cheesy garlic bread sticks were the first to dissapear. The pizzas are huge and they delivered to the hotel.

Don’t be put off when you walk through as gas station to get to Cafe Tuscano! The food is delicious and the service is wonderful. This quaint ┬ábistro is one of a kind and is considered the best restaurant in town. We love the tri tip fettuccine.

Butterburr‘s is a traditional diner with the food to match. We sampled lots of comfort food. You can’t go wrong with grilled cheese, hamburgers, chicken nuggets and fries when you are feeding eight kids! We loved the cinnamon and fruit twists. We had a large group so, the service was slow. Next time we will order the bread twists to go as dessert.

We tried Jakers Bar and Grill for the first time this year. We had wonderful service and great food. My favorite was the homemade mac and cheese! I could have eaten a whole plate of it! The menu is large so you won’t have a hard time finding something you like.

Do you have any fun family trips you do every year? We want to know where you go!

Sara puts the A in AWESOME deal-finding. She is a world traveler with Disney on the brain. Her 4 kids and fun-loving hubby keep her happy and healthy. In her spare time she browses the internet for crazy deals and location information, just look at our Pinterest account! She also enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, reading, all things Disney, exercising and ghost town exploring.