June 24th, 2016 marked our 16th wedding anniversary 😀 We spent our anniversary camping in Grace, Idaho on a friends’ family’s land during a un-schooler group camping trip. Let’s just say we had a BLAST!
We spent Friday afternoon down in Orem for the 2016 Brick Slopes convention (see my blog post about it here), afterwards we headed home and packed up the car and hit the road towards Idaho. Southern Idaho shares the same pretty, high desert chaparral landscape as Utah, very easy on the eyes while driving through.
We stopped for dinner in the small town of Malad City, Idaho. The Dude Ranch Cafe was where we stumbled into for dinner. The place was big with the 4pm dinner senior crowd, served up a mean loaf of white bread with everything, and had about a dozen variations of the potato. It was plain tasting, but gave us energy for the rest of the trip. Malad City will be forever known to us as “white bread city”.
On the way to Grace, we passed through Lava Hot Springs, it was hoppin’ and we got excited for the next day’s activities there. Grace sits about 15 miles east of Lava Hot Springs, in a BEAUTIFUL farming valley. We camped for two nights at Wally’s place (a friend’s uncle). The property was right on an fault line, amazing lava rocks everywhere. Our tent decided to fall to pieces as we put it together, but a little duct tape saved the day and we were fine. After a fun time by the camp fire roasting smores, we called it a night and got some sleep.
**Side note, the area of Grace, Idaho is extremely dark, and has one of the most star-filled sky’s i’ve ever seen in my life!! WOW!
Saturday morning we woke up and had a bit of another camping snafu with our mini stove. So since we all woke up a bit late we decided to head into Lava Hot Springs ahead of the other campers and have some lunch. The Chuckwagon Cafe was a cool little spot in the center of town that had some really good food and cold beer. They too had a dozen versions of potato items, but no loaves of white bread LOL! After lunch we grabbed a coffee across the street then met up with the rest of the group.
Tubing on the Portneuf River was what the group decided, everyone LOVED it! About a half mile of mellow rapids made the two trips down the river so much fun. The group rented several four person tubes and we all shot down the rapids a couple times. Now that was a real ‘experience’, not some lame millennial virtual experience everyone goes ga-ga over now days…
After tubing we walked down the road to the Lava Hot Springs olympic pool and water park. I rode water slides for the first time in my life. Yes i’m old and don’t get out much. I had a blast. I rode the two smaller slides, both spiral tubes. I still have to work my way up to riding the faster, higher speed slides. We also spent some time in the big pool, just talking and shooting a random water basketball that came my way.
Towards early evening we all walked back to the hot springs area and relaxed in the warm mineral water pools. Myself, i’m not a fan of sitting around in warm water, but everyone else loved the warm pools. It was very mellow and a very relaxing place to be on a warm Saturday evening.
Back at the camp later, we roasted hot dogs over the camp fire for dinner and drank a few more beers before crashing for the night. Well, after more smores and conversation of course! The next day, our plan was to drive up the interstate about 20 miles and visit the city of Pocatello, Idaho.
After saying our goodbyes and thanking our hosts, we took off ahead of the group and jumped on interstate 15 north to Pocatello. The city was definitely a railroad town back in the day, and had a super cool old historic downtown. Jenn had done some Yelp research and found us a spot for lunch, Portneuf Valley Brewing. So good. Their pizza was insanely good and their homemade craft beers were TASTY. This place is a must-stop if your traveling through the area and hungry. After lunch we shot some photos of the historic downtown, so amazing and well preserved. Before we headed back home to Salt Lake City, we bought some yummy coffee at Mocha Madness.
This weekend camping trip was so much fun and very relaxing at the same time. At only 2.5 hours away from home, it made for a perfect mellow road trip. I would highly recommend Lava Hot Springs to anyone looking for good family fun. The towns of Grace and Pocatello are also pretty cool, in totally different ways. Idaho doesn’t disappoint, please enjoy the photos below…