Melt Your Stress Away at Lava Hot Springs


Photo credit: Kamryn Broschinsky

Too poor for Europe but too classy for keggers? Or maybe you don’t have a passport, you’re scared of planes, or you just don’t like people.

If you can’t afford to waste time, energy, and money on a luxurious week-long trip to anywhere this Spring Break, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend the time-off home alone while your friends get day drunk in Cancun.

You’re only a two-hour drive from world-famous Lava Hot Springs in Idaho. If you have never been before, then you should make a point to go. It’s close, affordable, and fun — there should be no excuse (or guilt) for taking a day (or two) to yourself and dedicating it to relaxation.

lava hot springs 2

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of people in general. And, unfortunately, Lava Hot Springs offers no escape — there are old people, young people, couples, groups — in short, it’s a popular place to be. But they are all, just like me and you, trying to relax. Despite the crowds, finding a corner you can make your own isn’t too difficult. Curl up, spread out, feel your stress melt away in the 110-degree water.

Different pools offer different temperatures, so if you start feeling like you’re being cooked from the inside out, get up and move around. If hot mineral water isn’t your jam, then there are sunken gardens, massages, and mountain vistas (just about everything you need for a weekend to unwind and get your life back together in time for finals).

I’ll admit, when I think of Idaho I normally imagine a desolate wasteland where no life can thrive. But the state is so much more than just potatoes and lottery tickets. Utah is a gorgeous state, but let’s not overlook our equally scenic and wild neighbors to the north.

Idaho has Hell’s Canyon, the Sawtooths, and Nez Perce National Park. It’s a veritable cornucopia of natural beauty. On the highly unlikely chance that absolutely none of these beauties float your boat, then Lava Hot Springs must. Featuring mineral water with no added chemicals, this locale sees upwards of 2.5 million gallons a day of natural spring water moving in and out from the Portneuf River.

lava hot springs 3

Of course, the one day I went it happened to be hailing, but I was dead set on enjoying myself and wasn’t about to let that bring me down. Being a Utah native, I’m no stranger to unpredictable weather, and I had faith that the sun would eventually come out. For the brief intermittent periods of sunshine, I tucked myself away in a corner of one of the pools, protecting my skin under the canopies. When the curtain of clouds returned, I relished the crisp breezes, which helped curb the heat of the hot springs. On top of everything else, you get a magnificent view. What more could you possibly ask for?

My trip to Lava Hot Springs reminded me just how much Idaho has to offer. Despite these last couple of unseasonably warm days, there may still be cold weather ahead in the Beehive State. And there are still going to be tests, assignments, and people that drive you crazy. But don’t let that get in the way of having an amazing Spring Break — finish the first half of the semester on a strong and relaxing note.

[email protected]