If you're starting to tire of winter's aching cold and you're getting anxious for the warmer months to reappear, taking a trip to a hot spring could be just the thing to get you over the slump. Hot springs are naturally formed pools that are like giant hot tubs sitting right on the land. Not only are hot springs warm and filled with minerals that can do wonders for your skin and body, they're often surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Here are five hot springs that make great winter vacation destinations.
1. Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat - Detroit, Oregon
This is one of the most relaxing and peaceful hot springs resorts in the country, and the landscape surrounding it is nothing short of gorgeous. Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat host several rejuvenating springs along with private hiking trails and excellent amenities. The property is set on 154 acres of land within the Williamette National Forest. In addition to being a haven for visitors who want to soak in the hot springs pools and relax, it's a secluded wildlife sanctuary.
Wellness is a big part of the recreation and programs at Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat, so it's an ideal place to go if you want to get away from everyday stresses -- there's no internet or phone access there to ensure guests have a tranquil experience. The resort offers massages, a large library, three gourmet vegetarian buffets each day, and 24 hour access to the hot springs.
2. Glenwood Hot Springs - Glenwood Springs, Colorado
If you want luxury, this is one of the top hot springs to visit. Not only does the resort host the largest hot springs pool in the world it also has a miniature golf course and majestic mountain views. If you choose to stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs resort, your soaking and swimming time in the pool will be complimentary.
This pool's history dates back to 1888, and its source is mineral water from Yampah spring. The spring produces more than three million gallons of heated water a day, topping out at 122 degrees Fahrenheit -- it's one of the hottest springs in the world that welcomes visitors.
One of the most popular features at Glenwood Hot Springs is its healing Therapy Pool, which is shaped like a luxurious tub and has water that's been cooled down to 104 degrees F. In the main pool that contains over one million gallons of water the temperature ranges between 90 and 103 degrees in the winter. If you're looking for a hot springs destination that's good for families, Glenwood Hot Springs is a good choice. Children of all ages are welcome and there's an aquatic play area available.
3. Banff Upper Hot Springs - Alberta, Canada
Located in Banff National Park, this site was long considered to be a place of healing by natives. Now it's the site of a soothing bathhouse fed by natural hot springs. It has the distinction of being the highest in elevation of all the hot springs in Canada, and in winter the waters are between 100 and 104 degrees F.
When you go to soak in this pool, you'll basically be soaking right in the middle of the Canadian Rockies. Right across from the hot springs is a view of the valley in front of Mount Rundle, and the scenery is incredible. Banff Upper Hot Springs is just one of nine natural hot springs in the area, and its water comes from the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault.
The flow of water to the springs is lowest in the winter, so this is a good place to go if you're new to the experience and want to enjoy a relaxing getaway. There are also large recreational pools at Banff Upper Hot Springs along with a cafe, picnic sites, walking trails, and a gift shop. Among the most nourishing minerals found in this hot springs are calcium, magnesium, sodium, and sulphate. If you visit you'll find that locals tend to come to the pools during the morning hours -- this is a tradition and their way of getting the day off to a great start.
4. Granite Hot Springs - Sublette County, Wyoming
You'll have to take a trek to this natural gem in the winter via dog sled, snowmobile, or cross-country ski your way in, but your reward will be incredible hot springs with 112 degree F water surrounded by sweeping landscapes and waterfalls. The water temperature at Granite Hot Springs is at its height during the winter months, as is the beauty of the area's snow capped formations.
This is the ideal hot springs to visit if you want to have a nature adventure during your time away. There's a campground, large deck, primitive pool, and plenty of opportunity for skiing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding in the winter.
5. Blue Lagoon - Grindavík, Iceland
If you want to get far away and enjoy a world class hot springs experience, head to the Blue Lagoon. It's often cited as being one of the most well regarded springs on the planet, and its looks alone are stunning. The views are amazing at every point during the day, and all around the hot springs are rich volcanic rocks jutting out of the landscape.
It's said that the waters there are so revitalizing that it can stimulate collagen production, combat UV damage, heal inflammation, and exfoliate the skin. So widespread is the legend of the healing powers of this pool that people from around the world travel to it to get relief from conditions such as psoriasis, and high end skincare brands come to the pools to get mud extracted from the Blue Lagoon for use in their products.
Iceland's Blue Lagoon is one of its most visited attractions and nearby it is a luxurious spa. The water temperature of the hot springs ranges between 99 and 102 degrees F, and if you visit you'll notice that it has a color best described as milky blue. This is due to the amount of silicate in the pool, which is one of the minerals that's said to have enormous skin and health benefits.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker