I’m a mom of three, which means I’m always on the lookout for family-friendly hotels with rooms that sleep at least five. However, I’m also a person with an innate urge to seek out the weird and wonderful, which is how I landed myself at the historic Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah.
This charming hotel has a traditional American vacation atmosphere with enough kid-friendly features to keep everyone in your party happy. On top of all that, the Homestead Crater sits on the property, the cherry on top of this classic sundae of a resort. Ever swum in geothermal hot springs under a 55-foot tall limestone crater? Neither had I!
The Homestead Resort Crater
The Homestead Crater was really the major draw for me here: I love weird stuff, and this is pretty weird. The beehive-shaped crater has an opening at the top, and you must climb the stairs and look down at night, because the blue water below is amazing. The hot spring below bubbles up from the earth at a constant temperature of 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a fee to actually swim in the crater, and swimming requires reservations. However, you can walk in through the man-made tunnel and take a look around for free during the hours that it’s open.
This is the only warm-water scuba diving location on the continental U.S., so you’ll frequently see scuba training there. You can also do paddle-board yoga there, if you plan ahead of time. One warning: if you plan to swim in the crater with kids, you might want to peek inside first if possible. Young kids can be put off by the round stone walls and the deep, deep water, even if they are strong swimmers.
If you want to experience the mineral water without swimming in the crater, the Homestead Resort has outdoor hot tubs with water piped directly from the crater.
Other Activities Besides Crater Swimming
There are plenty of other activities here to keep a family occupied, but I was most impressed by the pool situation. They have a large outdoor pool that was closed for the winter during our visit, but also two outdoor hot tubs as well as an indoor pool and a very large indoor hot tub. It might have been my favorite thing ever: a huge indoor hot pool that wasn’t too hot for my six-year-old. He could have swum in there for hours. It was the perfect cold-weather evening activity.
They also have a golf course adjacent to the resort, a couple of playgrounds, tennis courts, a basketball hoop, volleyball and horseshoes. There is plenty of space to run on the grounds, too. They also have free game and DVD rentals at the front desk, which is a really nice touch for families. Forget the crazy crater: my six-year-old got to swim and then watch “Hook” from his bed, so he basically had the best vacation ever.
The resort is made up of a ‘village’ of various buildings, which makes it a pretty charming place to wander with your morning coffee. We stayed in the Bunk House, which was well designed for families. Our comfortable room had two queen beds as well as a small adjacent bedroom with a bunk bed, so it easily slept six, and even had double sinks in the bathroom. I appreciated TV with DVD player that was easy to use and provided great entertainment for my kiddo in the evening after we borrowed free DVDs from the front desk. The Bunk House is just across the road from the building with the laundry and vending machines, which is pretty important for families, and not too far from the main reception, either.
The Homestead Resort has two restaurants on site: Fanny’s Grill serves breakfast and lunch, and Simon’s Restaurant is open for dinner. We had dinner at Simon’s, in a lovely dining room by a roaring fire. The dinner rolls were served in a flowerpot and were impressive in taste and presentation, and we did not regret ordering dessert, either!
I appreciated the coffee provided in the lobby every morning at 6 a.m, but if you feel like driving in to town, Midway has the cutest coffee shop/ice cream shop ever: The Fill ‘Er Up Station. Don’t miss it.
When to Go
We visited in the fall, which was pretty; I’m sure summer is gorgeous and hot, but I suspect winter would be great here. Midway is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the downhill slopes of Park City one direction and Sundance another direction; it also features cross-country skiing opportunities at nearby Soldier Hollow Nordic Center.
For more information, to make reservations, and for directions, visit the Homestead Resort’s website.
Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary accommodations by The Homestead Resort for the purposes of providing this review, but all opinions expressed are my own.