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The hot spring experience is one that can range from family-friendly to peacefully serene to scandalously romantic. In all their natural beauty and human-made touch, no two springs are alike. Luckily, the United States has no shortage of idyllic little pockets of thermal pools at its disposal. If you’re looking for a new twist on a weekend getaway, or even if you’re a seasoned hot springer, check out our list of the best places to take a dip in the Land of the Free.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
Dunton is perhaps the most unique and secluded hot spring on this list. Tucked away in a high alpine valley of Colorado, an old mining town — which had since been abandoned — was converted into a new resort revolving around the natural hot springs. Dunton has the spookiness of a ghost town but somehow manages to be incredibly romantic too, with rustic cabins and breathtaking views. Depending on the time of year, activities surrounding Dunton include mountain biking, hiking, and snowshoeing in thick evergreen forests.
Riverbend Hot Springs, New Mexico
Located on the banks of the Rio Grande River, the Riverbend Hot Springs — located in the incredibly-named town of Truth Or Consequences — is the American Southwest’s best place for a natural dip. Frequented by Apache and Geronimo tribes for generations, these geothermal pools have been used for both pain relief and detoxification. Riverbend offers big pools that are great for groups as well as private soaking tubs. Children are prohibited here so to preserve the tranquility and zen-like atmosphere rather than any nudist insinuation.
Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
There’s nothing quite like relaxing in a natural jacuzzi surrounded by snow and ice — something about the contrast makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Chena Hot Springs in Alaska is your best opportunity to do just that. Conveniently enough, it’s also one of the best places to spot the Northern Lights. Who knew checking off the bucket list could be that easy?
Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon
For all the burgeoning nudists out there, Breitenbush is, simply put, the best place to get naked. The stone-build hot springs offer an aesthetic that toes the line with Japanese rock gardens to create an incredibly serene environment. Feel free to visit for the day, but Breitenbush is more of a community organization that offers retreats, yoga workshops, and spirituality seminars. One of the unique features at Breitenbush is the “silent pool” where you can use the relaxing thermal water as a platform for meditation.
Allegheny Springs, Virginia
This two-acre resort and waterpark is the perfect option for families looking for a hot spring-themed vacation. Operated by the Omni Homestead Resort, they’ve diverted natural spring water to fill two 100-foot water slides, a 400-foot lazy river, and a fun whirlpool. As one of the oldest developed hot springs in the country, Allegheny is said to have been used by both Native Americans and at least 23 U.S. presidents. In addition to the resort, there’s also Serenity Gardens, an adults-only clothing-optional outdoor spa available for $65 per day.
Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming
When thinking about geysers and warm water mysteriously sprouting out of the ground, chances are you think of Yellowstone. Wyoming is a state that is literally bubbling with active geothermal hotspots, and the aptly-named Hot Springs State Park is the best place to take a dip. After exploring the national park, head over and take a dip in one of the indoor or outdoor pools fed by natural water.
Glenwood Hot Springs, Colorado
Claiming the title as the world’s largest thermal pool, Glenwood Hot Springs in Colorado looks more like a wave pool in a waterpark than the traditional babbling hot spring you’re used to. Located in the idyllic mountain setting between Vail and Aspen, the backdrops at Glenwood Springs are as beautiful as they come. The pools fed by natural mineral water are about as family-friendly as they get — just be aware of the rowdy little ones that will be splashing about. This one gets pretty popular, so try to visit during the week if you’re able to.