Hot springs are pools of naturally-heated water thanks to underground volcanic activity. Natural hot springs are a wonderful way to dip into the 95 degree water and just relax. We’ve tried a number of hot springs and found some of the best where you can camp and enjoy a soak too.
California – Vichy Springs
Vichy Hot Springs is a 160 year old historical hotel, just two hours from San Francisco. This location features only naturally carbonated Vichy hot springs in the US and resembles champagne. After you loosen up in the carbonated mineral water or the warm pool, head to your camp site at Chekaka Recreation Area which is by Lake Mendocino.
Oregon – Bagby Hot Springs
Venture to Mount Hood for one of one of the favorite sites to experience the hot springs of Oregon. Bagby has rustic bath homes which are $5 to use (or complimentary if you’re camping here), with a number of alternatives including private areas and larger public tubs. Don’t forget your headlamp, hiking boots, and also a change of garments, as you’ll need to walk almost 2 miles from the camping area to get here. Camping at Bagby is the best possible way to experience the usually crowded hot springs.
Arkansas – Hot Springs National Park
While some are remote, these natural hot springs were so popular, they turned it into a national park! The bathhouses were built in 1830, as huts over the rock formations. Today, you can’t go soak in the water where it naturally lies, but you can soak in the bathhouses close by. At night you can camp out at Gulpha Gorge Campground at Hot Springs Park.
New Mexico – Riverbend Hot Springs
The Apache and Mimbres tribes of New Mexico have long thought the mineral-rich waters in to be spiritual. The Riverbend Hot Springs Resort uses hot spring tubs to use that same water. They intend it to be a zen-like experience, so kids under twelve are not permitted, and quiet areas enable you to get away and enjoy on your very own peace and quiet. After you have sweated out your tension, catch the sundown over Caballo Lake at the state park camping area.
Colorado – Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Steamboat Springs has some remarkable skiing, hiking and mountain biking trails. When you are sore from a full day of activities, you’ll be relieved to discover Strawberry Park Hot Springs, where you can let the pains dissolve in 104 degree mineral water. In the winter, you will need 4-wheel-drive to reach the hot springs, but otherwise there is a shuttle bus that can take you the rest of the year. You can camp at Dry Lake where there is a lot more hiking and biking trails too.
California – Wild Willy’s Hot Springs
They’re not lying when they call this wild hot springs. There is hardly any civilization nearby, which is the point. This destination is a great way to get away and enjoy free natural thermal springs, with the Sierra Mountain Range behind you. The temperatures at the Wild Willy’s Hot Springs are 95 – 105 degrees. After soaking at this incredible area you can sleep at the Old Shady Rest Campground.