I didn't want my kids (aged 3 through 11) to feel like they didn't get a vacation (we didn't take them with us). So I searched high and low for something nearby that would be affordable and fun for them. My brother recommended Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville, Utah, and since they still had some vacancy as late as the beginning of June, we went for it!
We borrowed my dad's tent trailer and drove the 40 minutes to get there on a Wednesday around 2 o'clock. We had reservations for 4 days and 3 nights, and this came to $75 for the hookup site for all 3 nights. Non-hookup sites were even cheaper! We spent the afternoon in the onsite pools, which are naturally fed by mineral springs. They have a few choices in temperature--cold, warm, and hot--so there is something for everyone. The waterslides are fun, too. We also spent the next day in the pools, after a short trip to Brigham City to the thrift store to pick up a long sleeved shirt for my son for the cool nights, and a pair of shoes for my 3 year old who mysteriously misplaced one of her shoes. Thursday is kid's day at Crystal Hot Springs, so admission was discounted!
On the third day, we decided to break things up a bit and go into Brigham City for a visit to their community pool. This is a very nice facility with waterslides and a huge area for little kids which my 3 year old loved. After swimming for a while, we went to the old Capitol Theater for a matinee and saw Night at the Museum 2, complete with popcorn and drinks. The manager even provided us with extra popcorn bags so our family could share the large popcorn, which with the free refill was plenty for everyone.
The last day we broke camp and headed home, exhausted but happy! Here's the breakdown:
Camping with hookups: $75.00
Swimming at Crystal Hot Springs: $31.00
Swimming in Brigham City: $25.00
Movie including popcorn: $28.00
Miscellaneous, plus toys/bribery items from Family Dollar and thrift store: $15.00
Grand total: $180.00
What's that last item, you ask? Well, it can be hard for kids to settle down and go to sleep when on an adventure such as this, so I made the offer of buying an ice cream for anyone who stayed silent until morning. They opted for toys of the same price instead. Worked like a charm, plus they each got a little game or something to help keep them entertained.
I did not include food in the total, because we ate the same food as we would have at home, no eating out this time around. FYI, the groceries came to less than $100.
Camping is a cheap vacation, but is a lot more fun for a family when there is swimming involved!