Technically it’s not limited to winter, but a hot spring vacation sounds like a wonderful plan during this time of the year. What is better than having a soak in the heated natural spring water, and then relaxing in a retreat, getting warmed up from the freezing cold? 🙂
Thermal baths or hot springs have a long and rich history across the world. From the ancient Roman bath in Europe to the onsen towns in Japan, people have enjoyed the comfort and also realized the health benefits of the heated water that emerges from underground in geothermal areas. The spring water usually brings together all sorts of minerals, which can detox, nourish, or repair in some ways. Furthermore, the high temperature promotes blood circulation, reduces stress and promotes sleep, relieves muscle pain, and even heals skin problems.
Now, I have reached out to my fellow travel bloggers and asked for their recommendations – and I have a list of the top hot springs and thermal baths that you should visit, together with practical travel tips and guides. Happily, these sites cover the Americas, Asia, Oceania, Europe, and even Africa. Of course, there are so many other wonderful hot springs across the world… do you agree with the list? And which one you would recommend to us?
Mataranka Thermal Springs
Northern Territory, Australia
Kylie from Fearless and Freerange
Mataranka is a very small outback Australian town with a population of just over 350 people. It is located in the middle of the Northern Territory, Australia, and is a 4-hour drive from the main city, Darwin. This small town attracts many RV tourists driving along the Stuart Highway from Adelaide to Darwin and tourists stop for a swim in the crystal clear thermal springs.
The Mataranka springs are surrounded by tall green palm trees, that give plenty of shade as you float downstream on your floating noodle. The waters are also filled with an abundance of fish. But that’s not all that can be found here in Mataranka. The Northern Territory is well known for its freshwater crocodiles and the local crocs also like to take a dip here in the springs. Not to worry too much as these crocodiles are freshwater and are harmless, although the springs are closed until the crocodiles are moved on. Just in case.
For accommodation close by I would recommend Mataranka Homestead. This is a campground that is situated within walking distance of the thermal pools. At night there is a local band at the campgrounds followed by a whip-cracking show that is unmissable and one that is part of the Australian outback culture.
- The best time to visit the springs is between the months of April to September as this is what is considered the dry season.
- The springs get extremely busy, so if you want to swim alone you may need to go before 6 am.
Aguas Termales de Polques, Bolivia
A thermal bath may not come in a big size. On my way to Uyuni from the Atacama Desert, Chile and Bolivia, there’s a small pool in the middle of the desert called Aguas Termales de Polques.
It is not exactly some places a typical traveler can just stop by to have a soak, yet it was a perfect location for the “expeditioners” to clean up and wash the exhuastion away after travel for a couple days in a jeep to admire the outerworldy beauty of the largest salt flat in the world. Not to mention, the pool is in the middle of a desert with a view that’s truly breathtaking.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
Natasha from Planes. Trains and Karcaz.
Nestled amidst western Canada’s scenic Rocky Mountain region is the world-renowned Banff Upper Hot Springs. Boasting temperate, natural mineral water, and generous amenities, these pools act as an oasis from the surrounding snowy peaks and dense woodland that Banff is so otherwise well-known for. Located just a quick five-minute drive from the city center, the Banff Upper Hot Springs are popular with both travelers and locals alike; and as such you can expect them to be teeming with activity. I’d recommend calling in advance to ensure you can avoid peak visiting hours (and any subsequent lines!), as the facility is first-come, first-serve. Of course, there’s no shortage of nearby activities to keep you busy, as the Banff Upper Hot Springs shares a parking lot with the Sulphur Mountain gondola – a sightseer’s dream come true! – where a cable car suspended over the side of the mountain carries you to the summit to get a birds-eye view of the bustling valley below. And come to the end of the day, retire in either the budget-friendly Fox Hotel located near vibrant main-street or the luxury Banff Springs mountain resort, located in one of Canada’s most notable castles.
Growing up with Banff practically in my backyard, I got to know its “must-sees” pretty well over the years and can definitely attest that this little slice of heaven is one of them. Prepare for a picturesque, restful visit (as any visit to the Banff Upper Hot Springs is bound to be), and experience this natural wonder for yourself!
Arenal Hot Springs
Veronika from Travel Geekery
Costa Rica takes pride in a high number of lush national parks. I visited it earlier this year and fell in love.
One of such lovely spots is in the Arenal National Park, a protected area wrapped around an active volcano. While you can easily spend a day or two hiking in the National Park itself, you shouldn’t leave out the thermal springs either.
They’re located on the river La Fortuna, which runs through the national park and falls to create the beautiful La Fortuna waterfall. But before it does that, it passes through some volcanically active areas and gets heated along the way.
There are two ways to enjoy the thermal springs – in a local resort or for free. If you like comfort, go straight to Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa. You can even spend the night there, in a rather luxurious setting.
If you’re frugal, just follow a small path near the resort, at the road’s bend, where the river creates a few natural pools. We enjoyed it on an especially rainy day and it was the best experience – with a heavy downpour only slightly cooling the nice warm water.
There are no facilities or changing rooms, just trees to hide behind when changing into a swimsuit. Also, keep an eye on your valuables, better to be safe than sorry.
The whole Arenal NP belongs to the most beautiful places in Costa Rica. You cannot miss it on your trip to the country. Oh, and if you do go to the Thermal Springs of Arenal, bring a beer with you. There’s no better way to enjoy the hot springs than with a cool beer in hand.
Other popular hot springs in Costa Rica:
- EcoTermales Hot Springs
- Tabacon Thermal Resort Hot Springs
- Guanacaste Hot Springs
- Rio Negro Hot Springs
Doho Hot Springs
Ivan from Pipeaway
Ethiopia might not be the safest destination for traveling these days. Once the world pandemic and the unrest in the country stop disabling Ethiopian tourism, I strongly recommend including the hot springs of Doho Lake in your African itinerary.
Just beyond the northern border of the Awash National Park, this place is a true hideout from civilization. Part of the Rift Valley, where tectonic plates are ripping Africa apart, Doho Hot Springs is a fantastic product of volcanic activity.
One can spend the day here bushwalking, hiking the Fentale Volcano, birdwatching from a treehouse observatory, or just relaxing in a hammock. The therapeutic natural spa on 200-meter-long ridge rewards with fantastic sunsets.
I’ve spent three memorable days soaking in terraced bathtubs above the lake. This blessing of wilderness was tamed by the Doho Lodge, one of those Ethiopian lodges that offer animal encounters just by being where they are. Living like a local here means staying in traditional Afar houses, sharing the neighborhood with ostriches, boars, hyenas, antelopes, and hippos.
The lake itself is inhabited by meter-long crocodiles. The resort staff managed to convince me they are harmless, so I found the bravery to bathe even outside of the protection of the tiered pools, in the lake itself.
Even if it is just 250 kilometers away from Addis Ababa, the country’s capital, Google maps will not bring you to Doho Lake. The best way to reach this remote treasure of the savannah is to organize the visit through the lodge.
Szechenyi Thermal Bath
Richard from RJOnTour
The Szechenyi thermal bath in Budapest, Hungary is a fantastic place to visit. The architecture of the building is fantastic and the thermal baths are top-drawer too. This is the largest thermal bath in Europe and is in a Neo-Baroque palatial complex that they built in 1913. The area nearby is a fantastic place with lots to see and a magnificent park to relax in.
There are a variety of baths at Széchenyi, including a big outdoor pool and many indoor baths. The various pools have differing temperatures from 27c to 39c. The water in the baths at Széchenyi contains a variety of compounds from the two thermal springs that supply the baths. This includes; sulfate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, metaboric acid, and fluoride.
They also have a variety of saunas and steam rooms at Szechenyi, which adds to the relaxing experience. In the pool outside is a water jet massager, which sprays a jet of water and I found this rather relaxing. Another enjoyable part of the spa is their beer spa, which is a hot bath with the ingredients of beer mixed into the warm water.
Things to take with you are some slippers/flip-flops, a bathing costume, and a towel. However, you can purchase these in the onsite shop.
The baths are popular with both locals and tourists and are great fun even when busy. Overall, the thermal baths are a fantastic experience and left me feeling invigorated.
Other popular hot springs in Hungary:
- Hagymatikum Baths
- Rudas Baths
- Gellért Baths
- Hévíz Thermal Lake
It is almost impossible to not put the Blue Lagoon on the list when we are discussing thermal baths. Apparently, the lagoon requires to introduction to Iceland travelers. Blue Lagoon is a must-see, especially for first-timers, and it is conveniently located nearby Reykjavik’s International Airport. The geothermal spa is situated on a lava field, with rich silica content that gives the water a milky blue shade, hence it was named the Blue Lagoon.
While the lagoon’s turquoise color is great for photo-taking, the spring water is actually therapeutic and has a lot of health benefits, owing to its rich salt and algae, plus the soft white mud at the bottom of the lake that draws out impurities deep cleanses and clarifies your skin, and then gives your skin a radiant glow.
The facility offers spa packages for different types of visitors, whether it’s a day visit with a tasty meal at the restaurant after or an overnight stay in The Retreat or nearby Silica Hotel. Hotel guests enjoy unlimited access to the Retreat Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon.
Gunnuhver Geothermal Area, Iceland
Owing to Iceland’s unique geographic locations between the two continenets, the island has active geothermal activities that generates geothermal energy of basically the entire country.
There are many geothermal spas and pools, Gunnuhver Geothermal Area is a highly active area of mud pools and steam vent on the southwest part of the Reykanes Peninsula.
Other popular hot springs in Iceland:
- Sky Lagoon
- Secret Lagoon
- Mývatn Nature Baths
The geothermal energy is also widely used for heating, electrticity, street warming, green houses, and aluminim production.
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River
Rachel from Rachel’s Ruminations
A hot river isn’t something you’ll often see, but that’s what Reykjadalur in Iceland is: a thermal river flowing from a natural hot spring. A trip to Reykjadalur is something I’d recommend if only because it’s so unusual.
Getting to Reykjadalur involves about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, plus a 3.5-kilometer hike in each direction. It’s a beautiful walk in the summer from the parking area through a green valley between gentle hills, where you’ll spot lots of vents scattered across the landscape that spew steam, evidence of the geothermal activity below the surface.
At the part of the river where the water is just the right temperature for a soak, a boardwalk edges the river: a way to protect the riverbanks. You can change into your swimsuit here behind a wall, which doesn’t really give any privacy, but since few people are around, you can take the risk. The river forms a series of pools trickling gently down the slope, each step providing a small waterfall that feels when you lean against it, jacuzzi-like. Move upstream for slightly warmer water, downstream for cooler.
Some advice, if you visit: wear strong shoes for the gravel path. Bring water shoes because the riverbed is also gravel. Bug spray is also a good idea for the walk, as well as a bottle of water.
Kheerganga Hot Water Spring
Abhishek from Misfit Wanderers
Kheerganga hot water spring is situated at the top of a mountain and marks the endpoint of the Kheerganga trek — a famous trek in the Himalayas.
To reach Kheerganga hot water spring, you need to trek for 16 kilometers. The way to spring is filled with greenery, waterfalls, apple orchards, and meadows. I went in June. However, if you’re a trekker, this trek is accessible throughout the year except in January and February due to heavy snowfall. The trek starts at Bharsaini (the last motorable road in Kasol).
At the end of the trek, you will reach Hot water spring. It is a natural hot water spring surrounded by mesmerizing views of mountains all around. You can even bathe in hot water and appreciate the beauty of mother nature. It will vanish all your tiredness ad fatigue. A small temple of great importance is just a few steps above the hot water spring.
If you want to stay for a night on the top, you may get different types of affordable tents for your accommodation. The trek path is for beginners and moderate trekkers. If planning in winters, wear light clothes, trekking shoes, and take a water bottle with you.
There are other tourist attractions near Kheerganga. You can visit Manikarab Sahib (pilgrimage site), Cafes in Tosh, Kasol market, and nature park. Small treks to nearby villages are also highly recommended.
Batur Natural Springs
Brodi from Our Offbeat Life
The Batur Natural Hot Springs in Bali, Indonesia is a popular tourist destination just over an hour’s drive north of Ubud. Any private driver knows how to get there, as it is a very popular tourist destination in Bali.
These hot springs are heated to varying temperatures from an underground aquifer. The aquifer itself is approximately 50 Celsius. However, the further from the source of the water gets, the more it cools down. Thus, each of the seven natural stone pools is a slightly different temperature. This is nice because not everyone wants to swim or sit in super hot water.
The hot springs are all filtered for cleanliness before guests swim in them. In addition, each one is decorated with traditional Balinese statues. The entire site also has a lovely view of Lake Batur. Overall, it’s a calm and relaxing environment to spend an afternoon.
The Batur Natural Hot Spring offers a towel and locker with the entry price. As is common in Indonesia, residents, and locals are charged a lower price than foreign tourists. Food is priced separately, but the local options are fairly reasonable. The Nasi Goreng is spicy but tasty! Outside food and drinks are not permitted.
If possible, visit on a weekday so that the crowds are a bit lower. It’s a very popular spot for locals to visit on weekends.
Banjar Hot Springs, Bali, Indonesia
Banjar Hot Spring is located in the north of Bali and it is always refered as the most beautiful and the best hot springs in the island. It is a hot spring complex surrounded by tropical gardens offering pools and showers, plus an eatery and a spa.
It is one of Singaraja Bali Places interest, a nature hot water from the ground and it is believed the water is good for healing. The site though, could get a bit crowded due to its popularity, consider some of the other locations on the island.
Other popular hot springs in Bali:
- Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden
- Toya Devasya Hot Spring
- Banyuwedang Hot Spring
- Angseri Hot Spring
- Belulang Hot Spring
- Penatahan Hot Spring
- Yeh Sanih Freshwater Spring
Hot Springs of Saturnia
Martina from PlacesofJuma
A visit to Saturnia Hot Springs in Tuscany is definitely among the absolute best natural hot springs experiences! Here, visitors can unwind in a spa in the middle of nature, free of charge and without a lot of frills! Famous mostly for the turquoise blue pools of the steaming white sinter baths, Saturnia Springs is located in the middle of a hot river and amazes travelers from all over the world.
These hot springs are a miracle of nature, and so locals, as well as vacationers, come all year round, summer or winter, to bathe in the healthy springs. Instagrammers snap their great photos here, families with kids having fun while splashing around, and even the elderly and couples come here to relax together.
The warm river water has healing properties and, precisely because of the ingredients, you should not bathe in the water for more than 15 minutes. When used properly, the water helps against inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis. In addition, this bath is said to have a rejuvenating effect, making your skin soft and supple.
Just a few minutes’ walk away is the “Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort” with a large spa area that can also be used by non-hotel guests for a fee. An overnight stay here is guaranteed to make a trip to the Saturnia spa a perfect SPA experience!
In Japanese, a hot spring is called “onsen”. Since Japan is filled with volcanoes for being is the most active region in the world, it is an important activity in Japanese culture. Many Japanese go to the onsen town as a weekend getaway or festivals, and the country has more than 3,000 hot springs. Different media may have their own list of the best hot springs, by summarizing the many lists from the Internet, a bunch of hot springs does always come up, scattering in all four major islands of Japan.
One of my favorites is also on the list: Dogo Onsen, and I had a great time viewing cherry blossoms in Matsuyama in spring. Why Dogo Onsen? It’s one of the oldest hot springs in Japan with over 3,000-year history. It has a deep connection with a lot of important figures and literature, and Dogo Onsen’s public bathhouse serves as an inspiration for Miyazaki’s animated film “Spirited Away”. The bathhouse itself is an eye-catching attraction.
Like many other onsen towns in Japan, the area has many attractions, sightseeing spots, and dining places to explore. The tram station embraces the classic Meiji-time style with a steam locomotive that is still in operation as a tourist attraction. Don’t forget to check out the clock tower, and shopping street, and take pictures with the figurines that can be found everywhere, they are characters from well-known Japanese literature “Botchan”.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan
There is a hot spring that’s famous to the world, yet it’s not for human. It was unintentional, but the themral pool gathered a group of primates (Japanese macaques), and they return when it gets cold every year. The sight was so impressive that travelers came here just to see them enjoy the hot pool.
The site, nameed Jigokudani (meaning “The Valley of Hell”), is located in Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in the Nagano prefecture.
Other popular hot springs in Japan:
- Hakone Onsen
- Beppu Onsen
- Yufuin Onsen
- Kurokawa Onsen
- Noboribetsu Onsen
- Kinosaki Onsen
- Arima Onsen
- Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen
- Ibusuki Onsen
Las Grutas de Tolantongo
Shelley from Travel Mexico Solo
Las Grutas de Tolantongo (pronounced toe-lawn-tong-go) is the most famous hot spring in Mexico. They are located about four hours by car from Mexico City, in the off-the-beaten-path state of Hidalgo, Mexico.
Visiting is one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City, but it’s also an extremely popular place for weekend trips from the city, and for Hidalgo locals.
For the best experience, always try to visit on a weekday — I have been twice now, and it’s about 75% less crowded on weekdays! If you can only visit on a weekend, that’s OK too, as Las Grutas de Tolantongo is worth visiting whenever you can.
It is a year-round destination, as the water is always warm. It is fed from underground thermal spring water that’s heated inside a cave and fed out to the whole site. You can even go inside the cave where the water is heated.
Though some go for a day, ideally, you’d want at least two full days at Las Grutas de Tolantongo to be able to see everything and swim everywhere. There are four distinct areas — the pools, the cave, the tunnel, and the river — as this is a very large place.
You can stay in one of the five hotels onsite, which costs about US$50 per night. There is also camping along the river for much less, and you can rent camping equipment there. Admission to Las Grutas de Tolantongo is just MXN$150 pesos, or US$7.5.
Caroline from CK Travels
Rotorua is an active geothermal area located in the middle of New Zealand’s north island. The town sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone and is famous for its natural thermal baths, plus other features such as bubbling mud pools and colorful lakes.
There are many natural spas and geothermal things to do in Rotorua, but we recommend Polynesian Spa, which is one of the most popular hot spring places to visit. Nestled on the shores of Lake Rotorua, the Polynesian spa has a variety of different outdoor rock pools of varying temperatures. They offer both alkaline and acidic mineral springs which are thought to nourish the skin and relieve tired muscles, aches, and pains.
Another great spot to check out in town is the historic Hell’s Gate, which is New Zealand’s largest active mud volcano. They offer mud bath spa experiences and the local Maori have been using the healing properties of the mud and sulfur mineral water here for hundreds of years!
Rotorua has lots of accommodation options for all budgets, but one of the nicest places to stay in the Ramada Resort located on the edge of Lake Rotorua. It is slightly out of town but has many onsite facilities and is a great place to relax after a day of sightseeing.
Rotorua is a major tourist destination in New Zealand and can be easily reached by car, coach, or plane from both the major cities in the north island: Auckland and Wellington. Many tour companies run organized group day trips from Auckland as well.
Beitou Thermal Valley
Chloe from Chloe’s Travelogue
Beitou Thermal Valley is the largest cluster of hot springs in Taiwan. This charming is only a 30-minute subway ride away from the capital city of Taipei. Since the mineral water was discovered in 1905, Beitou has been a popular urban retreat destination for locals and tourists.
Also called Hell Valley, Beitou Thermal Valley is the primary source of green sulfur water. Although steaming water is too hot to dip in, it is interesting to see the bubbling emerald-green water and get some hot spring eggs.
If you want to soak in and relax, Beitou offers many hot spring options that fit everyone’s budget and preferences.
Public hot springs are the best bet for budget-conscious travelers. They are typically nude, sex-segregated traditional bathhouses, where individual shower booths and communal bathtubs are provided. Beitou also has a co-ed outdoor pool for families and couples who prefer to have a hot spring experience together in bathing suits.
Private hot spring hotels are an excellent choice for those who prefer to relax in private. If you are sensitive to sulfur odors, you will be glad to know some hotels bring in white sulfur water with no odor.
If you don’t want to stay overnight, hotels offer a private room rental for a couple of hours. I opted for (and recommend) a 90-minute experience package with a meal service following the bath. I was glad to add in a course meal because bathing made me hungry.
Aside from the hot spring bath, Beitou is also filled with historical sites. So be sure to swing by Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Library, Plum Garden, and other places to trace back in time and appreciate historical architecture.
Other popular hot springs in Taiwan:
- Xingyi Road
- Bayan Ye Xi Hot Spring
- Jinshan Hot Spring
- Wulai Hot Spring
- Jiaoxi Hot Spring
- Paigu & Fan Fan Hot Springs
- Sileng Hot Spring
- Jianshi Hot Spring
Haley from Haley Blackall Travel
Pamukkale thermal pools, or what some call the cotton castle due to its white layered appearance, is located in the quaint village of Pamukkale in the Denizli region of Turkey. You can reach Pamukkale by landing at the Denizli airport and taking a shuttle bus for the remaining one-hour journey. As one of the most visited attractions in Turkey, many tourists flock to the white chalky landscape with milky blue waters to either heal or take pictures.
The Pamukkale thermal pools are connected to the ancient ruins of Hieropolis, once a grandiose city and a must-visit while here. In between the two is Cleopatra’s Pool, a manmade pool said to be a gift from Marc Anthony to the Egyptian queen herself. You can swim in the warm pools yourself for up to 2 hours, with the healing benefits of calcium hydro carbonate. Entry costs 33 Turkish Lira or around US$10.
If you’d like to visit the natural travertine pools themselves, after taking off your shoes you can wander down the hillside wading from pool to pool. This area of the attraction can get very busy, so the earlier in the day you can visit, the better. While you will encounter a large number of fellow tourists, it is still recommended for a night’s visit to Pamukkale.
Stay at the Pamukkale White Heaven Suite Hotel complete with a large swimming pool, outdoor dining, and spacious cozy suites. The main gates of Pamukkale are just a short 6-minute walk away.
Chena Hot Springs
Paula from Paula pins the planet
During my 10-days road trip in Alaska, one of the highlights and one of the things was looking the most to do, was to soak on the Chena Natural Bath springs, located just outside the town of Fairbanks. With the cold temperatures in Alaska and the landscape surrounded by the mountains and nature, it sounds like a perfect thing to do to just enjoy a relaxing time during a busy trip.
Chena Hot Springs Resort operates with a big indoor pool and a stunning outdoor wading lake, which is my favorite thing to do. While you enjoy the views, with some luck you can spot some local wildlife, such as moose’s who normally go there to drink some water from the pond located next to the hot spring. The water in the hot pool is constantly replenished by pungent mineral spring water that rises from the earth at about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot spring is inside the Chena Hot Spring Resort, and an easy way to experience the area, including the hot spring, ice museums, and hiking trails, plus with high chances to see the Northern Lights, is to book 2-3 nights here. Even if you are not staying at the Resort, you still can visit the area, and pay a US$15 admission fee to soak in the hot springs.
Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs
Sophie and Adam from We Dream of Travel
No list of the best hot springs in the world would be complete without mentioning Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs. Nestled into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, there are several natural geothermal springs.
Just a short 15-minute drive from the town of Mammoth Lakes, you can discover six hot springs, each with its own unique qualities and all of which is free to visit. Venture a little further north still and you will find another two hot springs making this area a treasure trove of geothermal wonder.
Each of the pools has been built and maintained by volunteers and is filled with natural thermal spring water. The pools vary from cement-walled tubs to more natural rock-walled, grit-bottomed springs. All of the hot springs are primitive with no facilities nearby, something that adds to the experience of connecting with nature.
Mammoth Lakes Hot Springs are particularly magical in the evening. Bask in the warmth of the thermal baths as you watch the sunset behind the mountains and a blanket of stars appears in the skies.
The Long Valley Caldera region where the majority of the hot springs in Mammoth Lakes are located is extremely popular for dispersed, primitive camping. However, if you prefer four walls and a comfortable bed, head back to Mammoth Lakes where there are ample options for accommodation. One of the most highly-rated hotels is The Village Lodge, which is a great option if visiting in winter for the ski season.
Travertine Hot Springs
Alisha from Travel Today Work Tomorrow
Relax and soak in one of northern California’s most sought-after hot springs! The beautiful and popular Travertine Hot Springs is tucked away in Mono County, California, in the small town of Bridgeport.
Just a short walk along a trail will lead you to a group of natural pools under the rugged travertine limestone. Once we arrived, we were blown away by the jaw-dropping view. Travertine Hot Springs sits in an open valley with unobstructed views of the Sierra Mountains. Overlooking the snowcapped mountains while soaking in the hot springs is an experience we will never forget.
A tip to visiting Travertine Hot Springs is to arrive early or midweek. The size of the natural pools is small and can only fit a small group of people at a time. You should also know that the hot springs are clothing optional.
You can find accommodations in Bridgeport, where we stayed during our road trip through Mono County. The main street has a few hotels, restaurants, a bakery, and a fishing tackle shop. Walker River Lodge is a cozy hotel in town and only a 7-minute drive from the hot springs.
Other incredible attractions nearby, include Mono Lake, a one-of-a-kind location! It is famously known for its unique tufa columns and ancient saline lake. Travertine Hot Springs is only a 30-minute drive from Mono Lake; you can easily pair the two destinations on the same day trip.
Umpqua Hot Springs
Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
Umpqua Hot Springs, hidden in the lush pine tree forests of Oregon in the United States, is a series of cascading rock tubs, carved into a cliffside. To reach the springs, you’ll follow a 0.4-mile trail to the pools- while the trail is short, it can be steep in sections and require climbing over uneven roots and rocks, so I’d recommend bringing along some hiking shoes that provide traction and support. If you’re looking to snag some photos of the springs- or even get a spot in the tiny parking lot, it’s best to get here bright and early. The springs have become increasingly popular over the last few years and usually are quite crowded by the time evening rolls around. When you’ve gotten your fill of the springs, be sure to follow the leave no trace principles and pack out any trash you may have brought with you. This gorgeous place has been closed in the past due to people disrespecting the land and leaving trash and waste behind- so let’s do our part to keep Umpqua Hot Springs open for all to enjoy! While the springs are located in a fairly remote part of Oregon, there are a few charming accommodation options nearby, like Umpqua’s Last Resort, which is a quirky campground that offers tiny cabins, retro trailers, and glamping tents for you to stay in. It’s basically the perfect place to unwind, relax, and unplug after your visit to the hot springs!
Yellowstone National Park
Nina from Where in the World
Covered in thermal pools, bubbling springs, and bizarre geological features, Yellowstone National Park is a wondrous park to explore. Due to its insanely beautiful characteristics and sights, it’s unsurprisingly, one of the most visited parks in the nation!
The highlight and the most photographed area of the park are the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring. Its vivid colors that perfectly surround its 121-foot drop down into the earth are jaw-droppingly beautiful. There is a carefully placed boardwalk that meanders around this spring but unfortunately, the water is extremely hot and nobody is allowed to touch or enter it.
In fact, many of the springs around the park are far too hot to enter, and even touching the water or dipping a toe is dangerous, not to mention prohibited.
It’s disappointing, we know! But no worries, there are a few spots you ARE allowed to take a dip in on your Yellowstone itinerary.
- Yellowstone Hot Springs – Located just a tad north of the park and in Montana, there’s a beautiful facility with natural spring water that flows into large pools. You’re surrounded by sandy hills and dipped in steaming spring water making this a great spot to end your day after exploring Yellowstone.
- Boiling River Hot Springs – For something totally natural, head back down to Wyoming and take a dip in the Gardner River. There’s an area where you can enter the river and sit in a natural rock pool of hot spring water!
Staying in the town of Gardner would be a great base but, of course, staying in the park itself is even better! If you can, nab yourself a stay at the Canyon Lodge which is right in the center of the park.
Other popular hot springs in the United States:
- Burgdorf Hot Springs, Idaho
- Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming
- Mono Hot Springs, California
- Glenwood Hot Springs, Colorado
- Fifth Water Hot Springs in Diamond Fork Canyon, Utah