By Cherie Julie
Hot springs are a beautiful natural phenomenon. Every year, travellers set out to experience the many unique thermal benefits for relaxation and healing.
From luxury spas and high-end resorts designed to offer guests the ultimate indulgence to the rugged mountains and natural thermal pools, there is the perfect spring out there for every style of traveller.
Are you in need of total rejuvenation? We have you covered. According to the Ultimate Hot Springs Guide, the healing mineral properties in natural hot springs include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and silicate, all of which contribute to the well-known therapeutic effects of soaking in thermal waters.
Hot springs are said to contain more than 100 natural trace minerals that assist with the promotion of better sleep, improved blood circulation and cell oxygenation, detoxification, reduced inflammation and pain, and offer a natural boost to the immune system.
What Exactly Is a Hot Spring?
Hot springs or thermal springs are a body of water (hotter than air temperature) that has been sourced naturally from underground. Water heated below the earth’s surface eventually becomes buoyant and rises, escaping through cracks and forming a hot spring.
In contrast, if there are no gaps for the water to escape, pressure will build, leading to what we recognize as geysers. Hot springs may also form as a result of rainwater. When rainwater travels below the earth’s surface, the temperature naturally rises.
Ready to glide in? Here is our curated list of some of the best spots in North America and a few farther-flung.
Castle Hot Springs
Located in the Sonoran Desert, the Castle Hot Springs is a luxurious experience. Secluded pools are located within the desert landscape where guests can enjoy the thermal waters, horseback riding, meditation, yoga, all within the grand 210-acre property.
If you are seeking solace, a couples romantic retreat, or a place to simply unwind, this adults-only resort offers stunning cabins, bungalows, and 32 premiere accommodations to select from.
Benton Hot Springs
The Inn at Benton Hot Springs has been owned and operated for over 95 years in the historic mining town of Benton. Here you can soak in the natural mineral waters and relax your aches and pains in temperatures of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Spend the night in one of the 1940s historic building suites, or choose to sleep in the glamping unit!
Guests can wake up to a delicious breakfast and then spend the day at leisure. Additionally, there are 12 hot tub sites on the property. Each site is fitted out with a fire pit, picnic area, and restroom and offers visitors the opportunity to camp overnight with their tent or trailer. With so many options in the local area, including the springs, canyons, the ranch, and wilderness hiking, Benton is worth adding to your itinerary.
Banff Upper Hot Springs
The Banff Upper Hot Spring waters are heated geothermally and are located around 4 km from the town of Banff in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features the Banff National Park.
The mineral-rich water contains sulphate, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, and sodium and is steaming hot at a temperature of 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Harrison Hot Springs
The Harrison Hot Springs is a small community of around 1500 people located just south of Harrison Lake. The springs have one of the highest concentrations of minerals, and visitors can enjoy a choice between the Potash and the Sulfur hot spring.
Also, don’t forget to check in at the fabulous Harrison Hot Springs Resort, which offers guests a selection of luxurious spa experiences, making it the most popular place to stay in the resort town.
Fairmont Hot Springs
British Columbia, Canada
If you are travelling to British Columbia, you won’t want to miss out on a visit to the Fairmont Hot Springs. Situated between the Purcell and the Rocky Mountains, Fairmont offers everything you could dream of for the ultimate outdoor adventure.
Renowned as the most significant natural springs in Canada, visitors have been soaking in the thermal spring waters of Fairmont for over 100 years.
Chena Hot Springs
Considered the most accessible hot spring resort in the region, the Chena Hot Springs is an incredible outdoor lake. The popular resort features a campground, cabins, and hotel rooms so you can select the travel style that best compliments your needs.
No matter where you stay, the springs are replenished with mineral spring water which is considered one of the best locations to see the magic of the Northern Lights.
Glenwood Hot Springs Resort
The world’s largest year-round hot springs heated pool is located at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. Rich in history, this fantastic resort has been running since 1888 and offers guests the complete package from the hot spring pool to the day spa and comfortable resort lodgings in the Colorado mountains; the perfect family vacation spot.
Quapaw Bathhouse & Day Spa
If luxury is what you desire, then the impressive Quapaw Bathhouse and Day Spa is where you need to be.
Featuring private baths, a steam cave, four thermal pools, a full-service day spa, mineral baths, aromatherapy baths, and specialized treatments, Quapaw Bathhouse and Day Spa is the ultimate place to rejuvenate. In addition, there is a boutique shop and cafe to ensure a fabulous day out.
The Blue Lagoon
Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is one of the world’s most famous manufactured hot springs and dates back to 1976. The water temperature sits at a steamy 100 degrees Fahrenheit and is renewed every 48 hours. While The Blue Lagoon is a man-made structure, a combination of fresh and saltwater comes from more than 2000 meters beneath the earth.
The water is extracted through geothermal wells and naturally contains minerals and algae, which benefits the skin. In addition, the high levels of natural silica turn the water a fascinating shade of blue, and the white mud found at the bottom of the hot spring is often used as a skin treatment for a range of skin conditions.
Canterberry, New Zealand
New Zealand has long valued its abundance of thermal hot springs thanks to a large amount of volcanic activity. As a result, the region has no shortage of premium hot springs that are especially popular in the winter season. The Hanmer Springs is located in the picturesque alpine village of Canterberry.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool & Spa boasts over twenty-two outdoor mineral thermal pools, including the New Cascades, relaxing rock pools, and soothing sulphur pools. So if relaxation is what you had in mind, visit the on-site premier day spa for a luxury pampering session.
Mataranka Thermal Pool
Mataranka Northern Territory, Australia
The word “mataranka” means “home of the snake” in the language of the local Yangman Aboriginal people. The town is located 1080 km outside of Alice Springs. This remote outback area might not be the dream for luxury travellers, but for those who crave the outback, the thermal springs of Martarkanka bring much-needed relaxation.
Keeping a consistent temperature of 34 degrees means visitors can enjoy the spring all year round while listening to the rushing sound of the Mataranka Falls. The fresh spring water flows from the Daly and Georgina Basins and is refreshed each day.
Gunma Prefecture, Japan
Japan has 27,000 naturally occurring mineral hot spring resorts making it one of the top destinations in the world to seek out this unique experience. In Japan, a hot spring is called an Onsen, and there is no doubt that the culture of Onsen is a significant tourist attraction. The Japanese, too, believe that bathing in the hot springs contributes to their excellent health.
At Kusatsu Onsen, the water flows from Mount Kusatsu-Shirnane and has been rated the country’s number one Onsen by local tourism boards in recent years. The hot spring water is said to help cure skin disease due to the unique acidic quality of the water. Located 1200 metres above sea level, Kusatsu is the most famous of all the Onsens (with the highest water output) in Japan and has welcomed visitors for centuries.
Cherie founded her blog, Travel For Change, in 2016 with the desire to encourage other travellers to wander with purpose. Today the blog has grown into a freelance writing business for mindful brands.
Cherie is dedicated to creating content on the environment, plant-based wellness, minimalism, lifestyle and travel. Connect with her at travelforchange.net.
Bonus Mention: The Spa at Séc-he
Palm Springs, California (Opening April 2023)
Owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and operated by Agua Caliente Casinos, the 40,000 square foot The Spa at Séc-he will be a luxurious hot mineral spring spa destination.
It features 22 private mineral baths, 15 treatment rooms, a cryotherapy chamber, two float pod suites, a boutique fitness area, a grounding room, an acoustic wellness lounge, tranquility garden, menthol dry sauna, eucalyptus steam room, two halotherapy salt caves, a resort-style mineral pool with four Jacuzzis, luxury cabanas, full-service salon with scalp treatment beds, a cafe and a poolside bar with food service.
“The opening of The Spa at Séc-he is a defining moment for the Tribe,” Chairman Reid D. Milanovich said. “The hot spring water means everything to us. It’s at the heart of tribal life and has been a cultural resource for us and our ancestors for thousands of years. It’s not a myth; these waters are truly healing waters.“