Humans have always flocked to hot springs for their healing mineral waters and spirit-calming vibe. From volcano-heated pools in the wilderness to accessible beachfront spas, unique natural hot springs bubble up in almost every corner of the globe. Find your favorite and experience the ultimate soak.
Best Natural Hot Springs on the Planet
1. Conundrum Hot Springs (Colorado)
Only intrepid travelers make it to this wild spring just outside of Aspen, which is found at the end of an 8.5-mile trail that rises almost 2,500 feet. But the scenery on the hike is amazing, and the destination is even better than the journey. Slip into a steaming pool that overlooks a broad meadow nestled in a jaw-dropping valley. For a more tranquil experience, skip high season and weekends.
2. Boiling River Hot Springs (Yellowstone National Park)
Yellowstone is famous as a hotbed of geothermal action, but most of its springs are far too hot to set foot in. But here, frigid river water mixes with the scorching hot spring to create a unique swimming hole that’s unknown to most visitors. To find Boiling River Hot Springs, enter Yellowstone at the North Entrance and park in the small lot three miles in on your left. Follow the trail 400 meters to find the relaxing natural phenomenon.
3. Hot Water Beach (New Zealand)
You’ll have to work to experience this famous thermal beach, but it’s totally worth it. Sizzling hot water bubbles up through the soft golden sands of this beautiful beach, which is located on the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula. Aim to arrive within two hours of either side of low tide. Rent a shovel and start digging a hole where the water meets the beach. Once you reveal the hot water that lies beneath, you can temper it with sea water and soak at the tide line.
4. Esalen Hot Springs (California)
There’s no shortage of natural hot springs in California, but this one at Big Sur boasts a breathtaking setting perched above the Pacific Ocean coastline. Listen to the sounds of waves crashing and channel your inner hippie – these pools are clothing optional. Night bathing is available between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. and comes with an eye-popping view of the stars. Massages, spirituality workshops, and wellness seminars are also offered on-site at the Esalen Institute.
5. Arenal Hot Springs (Costa Rica)
Situated under the shadow of Arenal Volcano, you’ll find a number of natural hot springs resorts that take advantage of Costa Rica’s geothermal activity. Some like Los Laures and Eco Termales are low-key and quiet, while others like Baldi and Los Perdidos feature swim-up bars, warm water slides, and winding paths through lavish landscaping. A soak in the mineral waters is the perfect way to end a day spent whitewater rafting or wildlife watching in the nearby wetlands.
6. Blue Lagoon (Iceland)
Steam rises out of striking powder-blue waters at Iceland’s top tourist attraction, the Blue Lagoon. Located close to the international airport about an hour outside the capital city of Reykjavik, the pools here are filled with heated seawater. A soak supposedly cures all kinds of ailments, especially if you scoop up the clay below your feet and smear it all over your skin. The spa gets busy, so be sure to book ahead to secure your spot in the springs.
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