Originally published on The Dyrt Magazine:
Mother Nature loves us. Which is why she gave us hot springs.
These pools of naturally-heated water occur thanks to subterranean volcanic activity. But you don’t have to think about all that science stuff. Just slip into the 95+ degree water, watch the steam rise off the surface, and let your troubles melt away.
Soak and Camp at Hot Springs Across the Country
We’ve scoped out a range of hot springs, from luxury resorts to secluded warm water holes. After your soak, continue your date with Mother Nature by camping nearby.
1. Vichy Springs, California
Vichy Hot Springs is a 160+ year old historic resort in Northern California, just two-hours outside of San Francisco. These are the only naturally carbonated “vichy” hot springs in the United States. It’s like taking a bath in champagne.
After you relax in the carbonated mineral water or the hot soaking pool, set up camp for the night at Chekaka Recreation Area on Lake Mendocino.
The Dyrt camper, Amanda R. says, “Grew up here in Mendocino, I love our little lake and the camping sites are so close to the lake shore. Sunny and beautiful!
2. Bagby Hot Springs, Oregon
Venture deep into the Mount Hood Wilderness for one of the most popular, yet surprisingly secluded hot springs in Oregon. Bagby Hot Spring’s two rustic wooden bath houses are only $5 to use (or free with camping fees), with several options including private hollowed-out logs and larger communal tubs. Don’t forget your headlamp, hiking shoes, and a change of clothes, as you’ll have to hike about 1.5 miles from the Bagby Campground.
Camping at Bagby is the best way to experience the often crowded soaking tubs. The bath houses are open 24 hours, so campers can enjoy the quieter times, early in the morning or late at night.
The Dyrt camper Katy T. says, “It is right along a river that is nice to swim in during the summer months. The campground is located in the woods so several spots are secluded and tucked between the trees.”
3. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
While some hot springs are more secret and secluded, this location of thermal pools was so popular, they turned it into a national park! The first bathhouses were developed in the 1830’s, as basic huts built over divots in the rock formations. Today, you can’t go soak in the water where it naturally sits, but you can soak in established bathhouses, including Buckstaff Bathhouse and Quapaw Baths and Spa.
Rest your head at Gulpha Gorge Campground in Hot Springs National Park. It’s close to town and features spring-fed water fountains.
4. Riverbend Hot Springs, New Mexico
The Apache and Mimbres tribes of Southern New Mexico have long considered the mineral-rich waters in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico to be sacred. The Riverbend Hot Springs Resort offers soaking tubs with that same water. They aim to be a zen-like experience, so children under twelve are not permitted, and whisper zones allow you to escape conversation and slip into your own world of relaxation.
After you’ve sweated out all of your stress, catch the sunset over Caballo Lake at the Caballo Lake State Park Campground.
5. Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs, Colorado is home to some impressive skiing, mountain biking, and hiking options. Once your muscles are sore from a day of outdoor activity, you’ll be relieved to discover Strawberry Park Hot Springs, where you can let the aches and pains melt away in 104-degree mineral water. You’ll need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the springs in the winter time, but a shuttle is also available from town.
You can camp for the night at Dry Lake Campground where you’ll find even more hiking and biking opportunities. Or you can always just start a campfire, sit back, and enjoy your care-free, post-soaking state.
6. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, California
They’re not lying when they call this hot spring “wild.” It’s not an established resort, like most in this list. Instead, you’ll enjoy free reign of these gorgeous natural hot springs, with striking views of the Sierra Mountain Range behind you. The temperatures at the Wild Willy’s Hot Springs range from about 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit.
After you peel yourself away from this magazine shoot-worthy scene, you can sleep beneath big Jeffrey Pine trees at Old Shady Rest Campground.
7. Homestead Crater Hot Spring, Utah
Descend into the heart of a caldera to access the bizarre Homestead Crater hot spring at Midway Utah Resort. There is a tunnel and a ladder, allowing you to access the warm water and floating docks within this beehive shaped limestone rock. If that’s not thrilling enough, you can also go scuba diving — it’s the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S.
You’ll sleep like a baby when you go camping at Wasatch Mountains State Park after your soak in the Homestead Crater.
More Hot Springs with Camping Nearby
Are you hooked on hot springs camping? We’ve got hot springs guides for the states that are best known for their warm and healing waters.
We know you’re feeling dreamy and drowsy, just thinking about soaking in a hot spring. But we’d love to hear about your camping experiences when you return. Post a review and photos of your campground on The Dyrt!