Playing in a Winter Wonderland

Turn Your Family’s Snow Days into Snow Adventures in Idaho.

Say hello to snowy Idaho, the perfect place for you and the kids to experience iconic winter activities. From skiing and snowshoeing to guided snowmobile tours and hot springs, you’ll discover a winter wonderland of activities. Everything you need to plan the ultimate family adventure in Idaho is right here, including a few suggestions for places to eat and cozy places to stay while exploring eastern and southeastern Idaho. While we can’t promise the kids will put down their devices the entire time you’re in Island Park, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Lava Hot Springs, there’s a good chance one day at each stop isn’t enough. You’ll have so much fun you’ll want to extend your trip to make even more memories together.

Your health and safety are our top priorities. When exploring our beautiful state please ​​​​​​​follow social distancing guidance from the CDC and make sure to Recreate Responsibly. Review an Idaho travel checklist here.

Stop 1: Island Park

The Island Park area is known for 950+ miles of groomed trails ready to be explored by snowmobile.

Activities:

Found only 30 minutes west of Yellowstone National Park, Island Park snowmobiling trails are groomed daily and offer powder-perfect snowmobiling for beginners and experienced riders alike. Breathtaking trails covered with 200+ inches of snow each year create a spectacular winter playground. A guided snowmobile tour is a great way to get the most out of your sled ride—and there are plenty to choose from. Whether your family wants to see beautiful Big Springs, spot a moose from the trail or explore Caribou/Targhee National Forest there’s a local guide who can make it happen.

Bonus Activities:

For a quieter (but equally thrilling) experience, take the kiddos to Harriman State Park for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing or fat biking. This area is part of the Yellowstone Ecosystem and is fun to explore during the winter months. Be prepared for potentially heavy snowfall in this area and make sure your vehicle is equipped to handle the conditions.

Food & Drink:

After hitting the trails, you’ll be ready to grab a bite to eat. For to-go options for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the Last Chance Bar & Grill at TroutHunter Lodge has familiar favorites to please any palate. Connie’s Restaurant and Saloon dishes up homemade-style lunch and dinner options—beef lovers should try the prime rib. With a seasonal, farm-to-table philosophy, the chef at Henry’s Fork Lodge & Restaurant delivers carefully crafted plates.After hitting the trails, you’ll be ready to grab a bite to eat. For to-go options for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the Last Chance Bar & Grill at TroutHunter Lodge has familiar favorites to please any palate. Connie’s Restaurant and Saloon dishes up homemade-style lunch and dinner options—beef lovers should try the prime rib. With a seasonal, farm-to-table philosophy, the chef at Henry’s Fork Lodge & Restaurant delivers carefully crafted plates.

Overnight:

The newly opened Marriott SpringHill Suites Hotel in Island Park offers a two-room family suite with picture-perfect mountain views. For a pleasantly rustic experience, rent a cabin or room at Angler’s Lodge, located in the scenic Box Canyon. In addition to their hotel and recently renovated cabins, the Sawtelle Mountain Resort has a large, 20-bed bunkhouse, perfect for bigger crews or family reunions.The newly opened Marriott SpringHill Suites Hotel in Island Park offers a two-room family suite with picture-perfect mountain views. For a pleasantly rustic experience, rent a cabin or room at Angler’s Lodge, located in the scenic Box Canyon. In addition to their hotel and recently renovated cabins, the Sawtelle Mountain Resort has a large, 20-bed bunkhouse, perfect for bigger crews or family reunions.

Stop 2: Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls is a great basecamp for accessing the cool things found in eastern Idaho. Ski, snowboard and discover interactive museums.

Photo Credit: Local Freshies

Activities:

Where do Idaho Falls locals go to ski and snowboard? Kelly Canyon Ski Resort is the go-to for families and beginners thanks to the mellow terrain. Don’t worry if your brood includes experienced boarders and skiers—there’s plenty of action for all abilities. With 51 runs and the longest terrain park in the region, Kelly Canyon excites every fresh powder enthusiast. Night skiing is available on select trails.

Bonus Activities:

Idaho Falls has an assortment of arts and culture activities. Walk amongst the dinosaurs at the Museum of Idaho or take an easy day trip to the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot.

Food & Drink:

After a fun day on the slopes, stop by The Snakebite Restaurant to warm up with some clam chowder, or try one of the flavorful salads, sandwiches, pastas or burgers. MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub offers a ton of to-go options beyond their signature pies—if you order in advance, you can take home a shareable platter of wraps, salad, wings or cheesy pasta big enough for a large group.After a fun day on the slopes, stop by The Snakebite Restaurant to warm up with some clam chowder, or try one of the flavorful salads, sandwiches, pastas or burgers. MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub offers a ton of to-go options beyond their signature pies—if you order in advance, you can take home a shareable platter of wraps, salad, wings or cheesy pasta big enough for a large group.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Overnight:

Stay overnight at the Hampton Inn, where you’ll find comfortable rooms. There are two convenient locations: near the airport or a short walk away from Grand Teton Mall. The Hilton Garden Inn Idaho Falls has a stunning view of the Snake River and offers shuttles to nearby dining and shopping in downtown Idaho Falls. You’ll find family-friendly rooms and complimentary hot breakfast at the Best Western Plus Cottontree Inn

Stop 3: Pocatello

Explore the Oregon Trail’s “Gateway to the Northwest” by snowshoeing and Nordic skiing in historic Pocatello.

Activities:

Pocatello has a rich history and modern-day charm. The fifth-largest city in Idaho is home to Idaho State University and has a variety of winter experiences that are great for the family. Take the kids to the East Fork Mink Creek Nordic Center for a fun day of skiing and snowshoeing. to Nordic Ski and snowshoeing. Rentals are available if you don’t have your own gear in tow. Wear layered clothing, bring water and snacks and take lots of photos along the trail to make the most of your journey.

Bonus Activities

When visiting the area on a weekday, make time to saunter through the exhibits at the Shoshone Bannock Tribal Museum. The museum’s displays focus on traditional dress, crafts and how native lifestyles have changed as Idaho has grown.

Food & Drink:

Portneuf Valley Brewing is the place to go for amazing big pretzels and other hand-made, to-order favorites. At Sumisu, you’ll find delicious Asian fusion entrees and a wide variety of incredibly fresh sushi rolls. If you’re craving authentic burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and more at El Herradero.Portneuf Valley Brewing is the place to go for amazing big pretzels and other hand-made, to-order favorites. At Sumisu, you’ll find delicious Asian fusion entrees and a wide variety of incredibly fresh sushi rolls. If you’re craving authentic burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and more at El Herradero.

Overnight:

There are a number of places to rest your head in Pocatello. Hampton Inn & Suites Pocatello, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pocatello, La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Pocatello and the Best Western Pocatello Inn all have indoor pools, free breakfast and a variety of room and suite options to accommodate the whole family. There are a number of places to rest your head in Pocatello. Hampton Inn & Suites Pocatello, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pocatello, La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Pocatello and the Best Western Pocatello Inn all have indoor pools, free breakfast and a variety of room and suite options to accommodate the whole family.

Stop 4: Lava Hot Springs

What better place is there to enjoy hot springs than Lava Hot Springs? Relax, recuperate and get ready for more time playing in the snow.

Activities:

Winter doesn’t stop the city of Lava Hot Springs from inviting travelers to swim or soak until their heart’s content. The five mineral rich pools at the World-Famous Lava Hot Springs Hot Pools are reliably between 102 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t have a sulfurous odor and are fed by natural underground springs. Check out Downata Hot Springs and Heise Hot Springs for additional nearby hot spring experiences.

Bonus Activities:

Pebble Creek Ski Area, just 30 minutes from Lava Hot Springs, has beginner trails for newbies and challenging courses for skiers looking for difficult and advanced slopes. If you rent gear in nearby Pocatello or bring your own winter activity gear, you may even consider a day trip to Bear Lake where you can sled, snowshoe or cross-country ski.

Food & Drink:

You’ll love the homemade scones found at the Chuck Wagon Restaurant—there are many options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 78 Main is known for friendly service and beer-battered grilled cheese. You’ll find fresh Thai flavors at the Riverwalk Cafe.

Overnight:

Stay at the Lava Hot Springs Inn or their separate accommodations with a bit more room and privacy for families such as the Aladdin Building, Cowlishaw Apartment and Blue House Vacation Rental. Unexpected luxury can be found at the boutique, award-winning Harkness Hotel found in nearby McCammon. Rustic charm and old fashioned hospitality reign supreme at the Alpaca Inn, where there are 13 comfortable units waiting to welcome your family.

Stay Safe with the 511 App

For real-time road conditions, visit 511.idaho.gov or download the free Idaho Transportation Department app on Google Play Store (Android) or the App Store (iOS).