Tent camping at Lake Walcott State Park is nice on the spacious green grass next to the lake.

Take the kids car camping in Southern Idaho before school starts

Here we have barely turned the page into August, and alas, there’s only two or three weekends left before K-12 schools start for the next school year.

Find a way to capitalize on this precious free time and plan a car-camping trip to Southern Idaho with the kids. See the stars shining brightly in the dark sky, enjoy quality time with the kids that they’ll never forget, and don’t leave behind the fixings for s’mores!

We’re recommending five of our favorite destinations for this time of year:

Lake Walcott State Park – Northeast of Rupert, Lake Walcott State Park is a sweet, leafy hidden treasure that’s chock full of outdoor amenities. Lake Walcott is a large, 17-mile-long reservoir that’s popular for power boating, fishing, non-motorized boating, and bird-watching. The 65-acre park has RV camping, tent camping, and small cabins for rent. Camping reservations can be made through IDPR – 888-922-6743 or online.

Beautiful lake Cleveland.

Murtaugh Lake – Located near the small farm town of Murtaugh in a wide-open setting, the lake is great for boating, swimming, fishing and camping. There are camping areas set aside for tent-campers ($5/night) and RV’s ($15/night). You can reserve campsites by phone: 208-734-9491. Directions courtesy of Twin Falls County Parks.

Lake Cleveland – Enjoy the cool air and a scenic large mountain lake at 8,300 feet! Go fishing, SUP’ing, canoeing or kayaking on the lake, or go hiking while you’re in the ‘hood. There’s a lookout tower nearby. Check gov for campground availability and reservations. Directions: Take I-84 to Exit 216 and follow State Highway 77 south through Declo about 18 miles to Howell Canyon Road. Turn west at the Pomerelle Ski Area sign and drive up-canyon another 7 miles to Lake Cleveland.

South Hills – The South Hills unit of the Sawtooth National Forest has multiple campgrounds to choose from, but it’s best to try to camp near the top of the South Hills via Rock Creek Road, in places like Diamondfield Jack Campground or Upper Penstemon Campground, where there are multiple ATV trails nearby. The ATV and motorbike trail network is vast and scenic going through aspen trees, mountain meadows and piney forests. There’s also hiking, mountain biking and disc golf at Magic Mountain Ski Area.

Wake-boarding in Southern Idaho.

Miracle or Banbury Hot Springs – Camp at either one of these locations and take a side trip from Banbury on the Snake River to Blue Heart Springs, a turquoise spring-fed pool next to the Snake with uncommonly clean and pure water. You can rent rooms, condo units, igloo-type yurts or cabins at the hot springs, which are under the same ownership on opposite sides of Highway 30, the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway. Miracle has a variety of soaking pools and private rooms, and Banbury has a huge pool that’s kept a little cooler … it’s great for large groups. More info. on Banbury camping and Miracle camping.