Learn about the ancient origins and healing properties of mineral hot springs. Here are five places where you and your family can swim together.
1. Steamboat Springs, Colo.
In the late 1880s, fur trappers traversing this Colorado enclave heard a strange noise resembling a steamboat. They were pleasantly surprised to find over 150 steamy, bubbling geothermal springs that today soothe tired muscles after skiing or after a long day of hiking. The centrally located Old Town Hot Springs feature swimming pools, a full-service fitness center, and a waterslide for kids. Just 11 kilometers from town, the Strawberry Park Hot Springs offer a unique experience with hand-built stone pools of varying temperatures, teepee changing rooms and a natural, serene environment. Note: Children are welcome during the day. Once the sun goes down, you must be 18 or older and clothing is optional. Discover other swimming spots in the state by following the Colorado Hot Springs Trail.
2. Thermopolis, Wyoming
Visit the world’s largest mineral hot spring in this western town where the whole family can swim, slide, soak and let off steam indoors or outdoors. Admire rainbow terraces formed from minerals and other natural creations as well as the herd of local buffalo at Hot Springs State Park. Learn how paleontologists work, take part in a real dig, or take a walk through the Wyoming Dinosaur Center museum. Don’t miss the 108-foot Supersaurus towering above your head.
3. Chico Hot Springs. Emigrant, Montana
Chico Hot Springs Resort & Spa, located in Montana’s scenic Paradise Valley, is popular for its bubbling hot springs, gourmet cuisine, and proximity to a world-class recreation area that includes Yellowstone National Park and the famous Yellowstone River. . Drive through the park to swim 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. (Intermittently closed. Check current status before you go.) Stay in the historic Main Lodge or larger, family-style cabins or homes.
4. Calistoga, California
The Palisade Mountains provide a scenic backdrop for a relaxing day at this cozy Napa Valley family spa. Warm up in an 80-foot long 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 center are also available. A multi-generational favorite, the rooms with kitchenettes make it easy to manage a night out with the family.
5. Village of Rio Grande, Texas
Soak up the scenery as well as the warm waters of Big Bend National Park. Look for pictographs painted on the cliff faces as you enjoy the 1.5-mile loop hike past historic buildings and the area where various Native American groups lived and traveled. The large hot spring on the bank of the Rio Grande River gushes with scorching water that fills the foundations of a former bathhouse, creating a popular natural hot tub. Check the current status of the reopening of national parks.