Discover the ancient origins and healing properties of mineral hot springs. Here are five places where you and your family can soak together.
1. Chico Hot Springs. Emigrant, Montana: The Chico Hot Springs Resort & Spa, in Montana’s picturesque Paradise Valley, is popular for its steaming springs, gourmet cuisine and proximity to a world-class recreation area that includes Yellowstone National Park and the famed Yellowstone River. Cross into the park for a dip in the Boiling River, where natural hot tubs, formed when a natural hot spring meets the cool waters of the Gardiner River, provide a unique experience. Stay in the historic main lodge or in larger, family-style cabins or homes. Contact: ChicoHotSprings.com; VisitMt.com
2. Calistoga, California: The Palisade Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop to a day spent relaxing in this comfortable, family-run spa in Napa Valley. Warm up in an 80-foot-long lap pool, a 90-degree kiddie pool with a waterfall or the 100-degree pool. The steamy therapy pool is for adults only. Mud baths, massages and a fitness facility are also available. A multigenerational favorite, rooms with kitchenettes make a family overnight easy to handle. Contact: calistogaspa.com
3. Glenwood Springs, Colorado: With the rugged Rocky Mountains as backdrop, royals, presidents and Ute Indians have dipped in these steamy pools to provide respite from the rest of the world since 1888. Two blocks long, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool complex includes a kiddie pool with fountains, a water slide, plus diving and therapy pools. The mini-golf course, popular with families, crosses over bridges and by waterfalls. Later, step next door to the Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves for a natural sauna in rock caves. Spend the night in nearby hotel rooms that are geothermal-heated. Contact: hotspringspool.com; Colorado.com
4. Thermopolis, Wyoming: The kids will love this Western town, home of the world’s largest hot spring. Gather the clan to swim, slide, soak and steam in the hot mineral water. Fly-fish on the nearby Big Horn River or head into the mountains to access smaller streams. Learn how paleontologists work, participate in a real dig or wander through the museum at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Keep your eye out for “Stan,” a towering, 41-foot-long T. rex. Contact: Thermopolis.com; TravelWyoming.com
5.Hot Springs, Arkansas: This area’s earliest settlers believed the steaming pools had magical healing powers. In time, the town and the Hot Springs National Park grew around the storied and soothing thermal waters. Stroll through the Bathhouse Row National Historic Landmark District and visit the Fordyce Bathhouse, now the welcome center that once included a bowling alley. Make time for several local museums, a water park and aquarium, and a scenic drive and picnic in the park. Junior Ranger badges are available. Contact: nps.gov/hosp/index.htm; hotsprings.org