Travel notes: Spring means rejuvenation at Idaho wellness festivals

Lava Hot Springs is home to commercial complexes and private resorts.
Lava Hot Springs is home to commercial complexes and private resorts. Idaho Tourism

Replenish your mind, body and soul at the 19th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival on May 27-30 at scenic Sun Valley Resort (

The four-day festival features a full schedule of educational workshops and various movement studios designed to enrich the lives of participants.

Keynote speakers this year include spiritual book author Marianne Williamson, comedian Kyle Cease, MC Yogi and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jewel Kilcher, commonly known as Jewel.

Jewel will be talking about her new book, “Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story,” which addresses life, wellness and personal growth.

MC Yogi is a famous yoga guru who leads large yoga sessions set to hip hop, reggae and electronic music.

Tickets range from $107 for day passes to a $620 Diamond Pass that gives you access to everything.

For more information, go to

Springtime also means hitting the links at Sun Valley Resort’s postcard-perfect golf course.

The resort offers several stay-and-play packages this time of year. The Early Birdie package includes lodging, 18 holes of golf and access to a golf cart. Rates for this package (double occupancy) start at $145 per person at the Inn, $235 at the recently renovated Lodge. The package is offered through June 10.

The Summer Swing package (June 11-24) also offers lodging, a round of golf and access to a cart. Rates (double occupancy) start at $189 per person at the Inn, $275 at the Lodge.

For reservations, call 800-786-8259.

Decompress at Lava Hot Springs

Lava Hot Springs, in Southeast Idaho, is one of the best places in the state for rest and relaxation.

Besides the two commercial hot springs complexes (, the scenic little hamlet tucked away in the Portneuf Range boasts a gamut of massage therapists, reiki practitioners and other purveyors of the healing arts. And let’s not forget all those privately owned hot springs resorts that dot the town.

You’ll also find a string of funky retail shops along the main drag that hawk everything from healing crystals to jewelry to little Buddha figurines.

Check out the annual Lava Hot Springs Wellness Festival (wellness.lavahot on May 21-22. Here, you can rejuvenate with a full lineup of fitness events, healthy food and wellness classes and film screenings. There’s even some fun stuff planned for the kids.

For Lava Hot Springs lodging and dining information, go to

Whoop it up in Riggins

If you’re looking for something a little more on the wild side, head to the 68th annual Riggins Rodeo ( on May 7-8.

The two-day rodeo, sponsored by the Salmon River Cowboys Association, takes place at the Riggins Rodeo Grounds, with the competition starting at 1:30 p.m. on both days. Expect to find everything from barrel racing to calf roping to buckin’ bulls.

The bars and restaurants around town will be busting at the seams with rodeo fans throughout the weekend, and there’s a big Cowboy Breakfast on May 8 at the Riggins Community Center from 6 to 10 a.m. Also on May 8, check out the Main Street Parade that starts at 11 a.m. at Riggins City Park.

Day trip: Twin Falls

Head to Twin Falls and catch a show at the Faulkner Planetarium at the Herrett Center for Arts and Science on the College of Southern Idaho campus.

The Faulkner Planetarium, the largest planetarium theater in the Gem State, features a full-dome projection system, Dolby surround sound and programmable LED dome lighting. All this makes for an extraordinary visual and audio experience.

Take a little trip into the way-back machine with Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” Laserium movie show that runs on Fridays at 8 p.m. through April.

Or check out “Flight of the Butterflies” on Saturdays at 8 p.m. through April. This stunningly beautiful film follows the migration of monarch butterflies as they make their way across the continent to the remote mountains of Mexico.

Tickets cost $6 for adults (18-59), $5 seniors (60 and older) and $4 kids (2-17). To view the planetarium show schedule, go to

Before the show, stop by Elevation 486 ( for drinks and dinner. The popular restaurant and lounge boasts magnificent views of the Snake River Canyon. Hang out on the patio, which overlooks the rim, and enjoy starters such as smoked trout with Brie and fire-grilled artichokes. Larger plates include Kobe beef meatloaf, shrimp and sausage jambalaya and grilled quail brushed with a fiery jalapeno glaze. For reservations, call 208-737-0486.

Closer to home

On Mother’s Day weekend, May 6-8, take mom to the Sunnyslope area of Caldwell for a little wine tasting. Many of the wineries in the epicenter of Idaho’s wine country will be offering something special for mom, like complimentary flowers, live music, food, special tastings and handcrafted gifts made by local artists. For more information, visit

James Patrick Kelly, the Idaho Statesman’s restaurant critic, is the author of the travel guidebook “Moon Idaho.” The latest edition hit the shelves in March. Kelly also teaches journalism at Boise State University.