During the winter season (or any other time of year), are you hunting for a place to warm up those achy, stiff muscles? I know we are! No matter if we are staying put or traveling, we love a great spa destination for a bit of relaxation and rejuvenation. One of our favorite things to do is to soak in a natural hot spring any time of year, but most especially when we are in the thick of the cold winter season. Not only does it warm us up, but natural hot springs offer a number of other benefits from the therapeutic minerals in the water such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc among others. So it’s not only about relaxation (although, who cares if it is…), having a soak in a natural hot spring is fantastic for your body!
Health Benefits of Soaking in Natural Hot Springs
Before we get into our list of best natural hot springs, let’s briefly mention some of the health benefits of soaking in a natural hot spring. This is one of the main reasons we actually prefer a natural hot spring over artificial hot springs. It’s all about those minerals! The mineral-rich waters of natural hot springs offer a variety of therapeutic benefits that affect our well-being and help us feel better. Many of us have aches and pains as we get older. I have to laugh because actually as I write this, my lower back is just killing me! So having a soak in a natural mineral hot spring can really make you feel better (oh I’d love a good soak right now)!
1. Enhancing Blood Circulation
Hot springs have water containing a number of beneficial minerals such as sodium, zinc, calcium, etc. When bathing in these springs, your skin and body in general will soak up these kinds of minerals. This will make your hydrostatic pressure rise; a factor that will enhance the circulation of oxygen in your body. This is vital as it will keep your heart and other crucial body tissues and organs healthy and strong.
2. Stress Reliever
If you are constantly suffering from stress (like I am), developing a habit of soaking yourself in a hot bath can be a great stress reliever. This is why I often take hot baths in the evening at our house, it helps me relax at night and get my mind off work so I can go to sleep. But by soaking in a natural hot spring, the minerals present in hot springs can aid in stress relief as well!
3. Relieving Pain
If you are a victim of chronic muscle pain, fibromyalgia or arthritis, immersing your body in a natural hot springs pool can assist in relieving the pain associated with these conditions. Based on studies, when you submerge your body in a hot spring water pool, the buoyancy you attain will encourage joint support by promoting freer radical movement. This will help relieve pain naturally.
4. Solving Skin Related Issues
Natural hot springs often contain high silica content, which can help in smoothing and softening dry or rough skin. If you are lucky to find a natural hot spring that has a lot of this natural silica, it may gather together sort of like sand or mud on the bottom of the pools. Sometimes it can even be picked up and rubbed into your skin – which feels sensational on the skin and leaves your skin looking and feeling fantastic!
These are just a sample of some of the health benefits of soaking in natural hot springs. However, prior to soaking to any top hot spring, be sure to consult your doctor especially if you are pregnant, or have cardiovascular issues or any other serious illness.
Traveling + Natural Hot Springs = Relaxing Vacation!
Taking a dip in a natural hot spring doesn’t just help chronic aches and pains. It’s also wonderful if you’ve been out exercising or doing other types of physical activity — like when we travel! Josh and I are notorious for packing quite a lot into our trips, and sometimes we end up doing some pretty physical activities such as hiking, or even some more adventurous activities such as snorkeling or skiing. So especially when we are traveling, we may end up feeling a bit sore all over our bodies!
Whenever we can combine our travels with a visit to a GREAT natural hot springs, we are up for it. It’s such a great way to relax and rejuvenate our bodies from the fun we’ve been having. Even if we are having a low-key staycation, we will often look for a nearby hot spring for some rest and relaxation. For example, there is a natural hot springs near Denver called Idaho Hot Springs. When we were living in Denver and didn’t have time for a longer getaway, we would spend an afternoon at the hot spring not far from town. Even though that’s not one of the top natural hot springs we’ve visited, it’s a favorite for a day-trip.
Our Favorite Natural Hot Springs in US Where You Should Soak
After visiting a number of natural hot springs around the US (and the world), we’ve narrowed this post down to our top 5 favorites where we can enjoy a good soak during our travels!
#1: Strawberry Natural Hot Springs – Steamboat Springs, Colorado
While there are many natural hot springs in Colorado which we have enjoyed, for us nothing beats Strawberry Hot Springs! This place is most definitely our FAVORITE of all the hot springs in Colorado that we’ve visited!!! Strawberry Hot Springs are situated in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Not far from town, the drive takes you back into the mountains to a secluded little area surrounded by nature.
Strawberry Park are natural hot springs, flowing out of the mountain! In fact, you can walk over to the source spring and watch it come out of the mountain. Just be very careful because it’s dangerously hot. You can watch as the water comes out of the natural spring and then flows down to mix with the cold river. This is the area where they have built rock walls in various arrangements to create different pools for soaking.
Each natural hot spring pool at Strawberry Hot Springs has a different temperature. So you can choose which temperature is best for you, or just hop around to different ones throughout your visit. Some are big pools, better for swimming while others are small soaking pools that have natural rock benches for sitting. There are also built-in rock ledges to lean, stand within the pools, and there are lounge chairs spread around the property for when you come out of the pools.
The outdoor natural setting at Strawberry Hot Springs is quiet and incredibly serene! This is part of what we love most about the experience here. You can also take advantage of the massage hut on property to book a treatment, or you could even choose to stay here overnight in one of their primitive cabins. Keep in mind that while the day is family-friendly at Strawberry Hot Springs, at night it is a clothing-optional situation (for those who want to partake). Don’t worry, we chose to keep our clothes on and didn’t find it to be weird or anything.
The best thing about visiting Strawberry Hot Springs at night is that you are out surrounded by the most beautiful of nature, and the ONLY light is the moonlight! Seriously, it’s dark. The darkness allows for amazing stargazing while you are soaking…but can be a challenge when walking around or getting in and out of pools. So definitely bring a flashlight and be careful when walking at night.
Check out this video from Strawberry Hot Spring’s website & you will see why this is our favorite natural hot spring in the US!
#2: Calistoga Natural Hot Springs – Calistoga, California
Calistoga spa pools are located in downtown Calistoga, within the famous wine region of Napa Valley. In addition to the famous natural setting among vineyards and an array of historical and cultural activities, Calistoga town provides a number of therapeutic activities resulting from the underground natural hot spring beneath the town. This includes various massage therapies, and volcanic ash baths (which are quite popular), and natural hot spring pools.
If you are looking for a location to take your family for a retreat, a business retreat or a romantic getaway destination, Calistoga is a great place to go. Keep in mind that all of the hot springs in Calistoga are private and within some type of hotel or resort. During our recent visit to Calistoga we enjoyed our time at the Calistoga Hot Springs resort.
This is a budget-friendly hotel in the area that has a wonderful spa and hot springs pools for soaking. While we didn’t stay there (because we had our RV), we booked massages and was able to enjoy the fabulous indoor spa before heading outside to spend the rest of the day relaxing and soaking in the wonderful natural hot spring pools. A wonderful way to spend the day before heading out to an amazing dinner in town (so many incredible restaurants!).
#3: Burgdorf Natural Hot Springs – McCall, Idaho
Just a few hours north of my hometown in Idaho is Burgdorf Hot Springs. Situated in central Idaho it offers natural mineral hot springs that can be accessed by both cabin guests and day guests. This is a great place especially during the winter period when the cold weather can really take a toll on your body. Plus, the snow makes everything look so magical with the steamy hot springs.
We enjoy this natural hot spring because it’s much more small town than some of the others we’ve mentioned here, although it can still get quite busy during peak times because McCall is a vacation destination. Overall it’s a laid-back hot spring, in a wonderful natural setting that’s sure to invigorate you – especially in the winter.
#4: The Quapaw Bath and Spa – Hot Springs, Arkansas
While on a trip to Arkansas, Quapaw Baths & Spa is a great place to visit if you are exploring the area around Hot Springs National Park. Hot Springs was one of the premier spa destinations back in the day, and this resort is actually an old resort that fell away over the years – but has recently been brought back to life.
Located on the famous “Bathhouse Row” in Hot Springs town, the building itself is a treasure. Built in 1922 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and it’s considered a historic building in the area. If you are a history buff, then visiting this historical natural hot spring town and enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the waters at the Quapaw baths are a must.
#5: Hot Springs Resort and Spa – Hot Springs, North Carolina
Josh actually surprised me with a visit to these natural hot springs years ago not far from his old stomping grounds during college in Asheville, North Carolina. Hot Springs Resort and Spa is located in the western mountains of North Carolina along the French Broad River.
What is different about this natural hot spring is that there is no large public pool or anything. They have individual baths which are private, yet are open in the outdoors – and they overlook the French Broad River. Each tub is filled prior to each session with piped-in crystal clear waters that are heated deep within the Earth, and are rich in a variety of different health beneficial minerals. After each session, the tubs are drained and sanitized for the next guest.
The thing that we loved about this natural hot spring is the peace and serenity of the area as well as having the private baths that open to the river. It makes for a wonderfully romantic and memorable experience, especially in the evening.
Do You Have a Favorite Natural Hot Springs in the US? Please Share!
While there are many natural hot springs around the US, these are some of our absolute favorites to visit – especially in the winter. Having a soak in the mineral-rich waters is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the day (or evening), and it’s benefits on the body are much appreciated with our busy and stressful lives.
Do you have a favorite natural hot spring in the US? Please feel free to add to the comments below and share with us. We’d love to hear about them so we can discover it too!