Who says you need to fly abroad to have a relaxing vacation! The US has a lot of natural hot springs that you can enjoy, and that is only a car ride or short plane trip away.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
Nestled in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado, this resort prides itself on rugged charm and history come to life. A 19th-century ghost town was rebuilt; the insides of tents and log cabins were transformed into luxury havens that haven’t lost their rugged touch. Soak in the soothing hot springs surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, getting away from it all in the best way possible.
The Dunton Hot Springs is a seven-hour drive from Denver. However the property managers request that travelers do not use a GPS system if coming by car, they prefer drivers use their map or call the resort for customized directions. Those coming by air can fly into one of the four nearby airports at Telluride, Cortez, Durango, and Montrose.
Crystal Crane Hot Springs, Oregon
This is one of the few hot springs in southeast Oregon at a safe soaking temperature, and the proprietors have certainly made the best of it. Relax in the main communal pond or rent your own private tub. Unlike other resorts that eschew modern technology entirely, Crystal Crane achieves the delicate balance of relaxation in the outdoors and in the private spots but connectivity in the Commons Room.
RV hookups and tent sites are available for campers wishing to be their own accommodations. The Crystal Crane Hot Springs is accessible by car via Highway 78.
Mono Hot Springs, California
While there are no hot springs located directly within the Yosemite borders, there are several options right nearby. Mono Hot Springs is a four-hour drive from Yosemite Valley and is located right between Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon, on the Sierra West slope.
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In addition to the rugged and relaxing hot springs, the historic area is also good for hiking, horseback riding, trout fishing, and more! It’s a haven for outdoor activities. Rent a cabin, shop at the general store, and enjoy the soothing mineral springs in a natural setting like no other. The Mono Hot Springs are accessible by car as well as via the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport.
Travertine Hot Springs, California
This is another great choice near Yosemite National Park, only about an hour away in the Sierras! This five-pool hot spring gets its waters from a limestone formation set amid stunning mountain scenery that could be straight out of an Ansel Adams photograph: if you’re looking for an untouched all-natural destination, Travertine is for you.
The five pools vary in temperature with the hottest hovering at around 105 degrees. Those looking to camp should be aware that camping is not permitted in the pools’ immediate vicinity The Travertine Hot Springs is accessible by car via Route 395.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
You’ve got to hand it to them for not beating around the bush: the name tells you exactly what to expect. This isn’t your average national park out in the rugged wilderness that covers large swathes of land, rather this area has seen a city spring up around it to the point that Hot Springs National Park is at the city’s north end! This is a great choice for those looking to experience the relaxing and restorative experience of a hot spring without traveling into the wilderness.
Even the city itself is called, you guessed it, Hot Springs. Since the area was founded around the natural wonder, there’s a nice variety of hot spring options available for bathers at Bathhouse Row. Get into the modern spa vibe at Qupaw Baths and Spa, or relax in traditional comfort at the Buckstaff Bathhouse.
Hot Springs National Park is accessible via car, bus, and air. The Little Rock National Airport, approximately 60 miles away, offers a shuttle service to Hot Springs. Those wishing to take a train should note that the Amtrak Texas Eagle route stops in Little Rock.
Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon
This is an ideal destination for those looking to get away, get back in touch with themselves, and relax! Located in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest in the Cascade Mountains southeast of Portland, Breitenbush’s proprietors have developed it into a haven of renewal with steam saunas, massage from licensed masseurs, yoga classes, wellness workshops, and much more in addition to the waters themselves. Enjoy organic vegetarian or vegan buffet-style meals three times a day during your stay. Both day visits and overnight stays require reservations and discounts are available for stays of seven days or longer.
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There’s a nice variety of pools at Breitenbush, all of which are clothing-optional. One is designated as a Silent Pool for meditation and reflection. The four Spiral Tubs let you pick your preferred temperature range from what they call “very warm” to “very hot.” In addition, the cedar steam sauna cabin has a cold pool for plunging.
Bretenbush Hot Springs is accessible via car and air. The closest major airport is Portland International, approximately a two-hour drive away. Drivers should be aware that Highway 224 (also known as US Forest Service Route 46) is only passable in the summer.
Chief Shakes Hot Springs, Alaska
This Northern paradise is as stunning as it is remote: the best way to get there is by canoe! Be prepared to work for your hot springs reward; a short hike through Tongass National Forest follows the canoe trip, so you can relax knowing you earned the rest. Chief Shakes is located in southern Alaska, 28 miles northwest of Wrangell near the United States-Canada border.
Indoor and outdoor redwood hot tubs are fueled by the natural hot waters are surrounded by breathtaking Alaskan wilderness. Don’t be surprised if you catch sight of some of the local fauna during your stay, as moose, deer, and many more call the area home.
Chief Shakes Hot Springs is accessible via boat and hiking only. Maps are available through the USDA Forest Service.
About the author
Andrew Lowen and his family have been a part of the June Lake community since 1968, where they now own a Yosemite Gateway Chalet. They love June Lake and are eager to share the experience with those who appreciate the grandeur that the Eastern Sierras have to offer.