Hot Springs, Arkansas. Ken Lund @flikr
How relaxing it is to bask in a rocky basin filled with geothermal heated groundwater? Although, the textbook definition doesn’t sound that great, a dip in a natural hot spring pool feels almost magical.
The mineral-rich water has therapeutic benefits; President Franklin Roosevelt built a “little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia, just to spend more time in the rejuvenating baths. These five cities are the best places to live if you want to soothe your body and soul in natural hot springs.
Aspen is famous for skiing, but its abundance of natural hot springs is equally impressive. The Glenwood Hot Springs are an easy drive, and feature year-round access to a massive spring-fed swimming pool over two blocks long. There’s also a smaller adults-only therapy pool, and don’t forget the steamy Yampah Vapor Caves, a natural sauna.
For more adventurous souls, look no further than Conundrum Hot Springs– the ultimate natural hot springs experience. Hike to the timberline and slide into the natural rocky pools of steamy mineral water scattered amid the beautiful landscape. The views are amazing, but beware– swimsuits are optional here.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Don’t ask about the town’s unusual name, or about how it was the intended site for the first civilian spaceport. Instead, focus on the ten fabulous hot springs with quaint bathhouses in the historic downtown district. Truth or Consequences (T and C to locals) boasts some of the most heavily mineralized spring water in the US. Best of all, the water is highly oxygenated before it reaches the surface, so there is no rotten egg smell.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
This town is home to the largest collection of bathhouses in the United States. On Bathhouse Row, you can find gorgeous turn-of-the-century structures in Spanish, Neoclassical, and Renaissance Revival styles, some of which are still in use. The mineral water pools in Hot Springs are odor-free, and have attracted the country’s most famous people, from presidents to poets.
Port Angeles, Washington
Boulder Creek feeds the Olympic hot springs in Olympic National Park near Port Angeles. Water temperatures range from 73 to 138 degrees, and getting to the springs requires a bit of a hike, but the natural beauty of the pools is worth it. If a hike isn’t in the cards, the nearby Sol Duc springs have easy access, and several manmade pools filled with natural spring water of varying temperatures are available for soaking.
Apple Valley, California
Deep Creek Hot Springs, at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains, offer a variety of natural cool and warm to hot mineral pools for soaking and bathing. The gorgeous desert scenery and striking mountain backdrop enhance the hot springs experience. Bring your hiking shoes, though, it’s a bit of a trek to get there.
You can also find beautiful hot springs in out-of-the-way towns in Texas, Idaho and Nevada, which didn’t make the list. Do you have a favorite hot springs destination? Let us know in the comments below.