Adventure Travel

Immerse Yourself In Natural Hot Springs At These 8 Destinations

Some of the hottest places are off the beaten path

The Vacationeer
Hot springs and residences tucked in a snowy valley in Yamanouchi, Japan

If you’re partial to a warm bath in the tub, add a bit of relaxation to your next vacation and consider seeking out hot springs for a sumptuous soak under open skies. These natural baths may seem magical, but they are actually geothermally heated — much like geysers — and then percolate through layers of rock until a spring forms on the surface. While some hot springs are too scalding for a swim, here are eight destinations with hot springs worth a dip.

Hot springs at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas 

1. Hot Springs National Park

Where to go: Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States

Where to stay: Reserve a hotel room in Hot Springs or the state’s capital, Little Rock.

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is arguably the mecca of natural thermal hot springs. The park boasts 47 total springs where Native American tribes once enjoyed the restorative properties.

Today, you can start at the Visitor Center and then explore Bathhouse Row’s seven historic bathhouses. Or try a more traditional bathing experience at the Buckstaff Bathhouse, fashioned after 18th-century European spas.

2. Homestead Crater

Where to go: Midway, Utah, United States

Where to stay: Sunrise Lodge, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club in Park City is just 20 minutes away.

Homestead Crater is a 55-feet-tall and 45-feet-deep cave. This limestone cavern has a naturally hollowed-out pool filled with warm water. Descend the tunnel through the rock wall to the public soaking area where you can swim, snorkel and scuba in the crystal-clear mineral water.

Japanese macaques soaking in hot springs at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan 

3. Jigokudani Monkey Park

Where to go: Yamanouchi, Japan

Where to stay: Nestled on the other side of Joshin'etsukogen National Park, treat yourself to Japan’s famed hospitality at Kyukaruizawa Kikyo, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Affectionately known as “Hell’s Valley,” the springs at this monkey park are well worth the trek into the forest. At the end of your climb, you’ll meet the Japanese macaques — commonly known as snow monkeys — who’ve settled into the steamy onsens.

4. Deception Island

Where to go: Deception Island, Antarctica

Where to stay: Add a stop while on an Antarctic expedition cruise.

Just as the name suggests, there’s more to Deception Island than meets the eye. You’ll have to travel out of your comfort zone to take a dip in these relatively untouched hot springs. Inside an active volcanic crater sits an escape from the Arctic cold: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bathe in a natural hot spring surrounded by glaciers, penguins and the now-abandoned, historic whaling station.

Cave and hot springs at Banff Upper Hot Springs in Alberta, Canada 

5. Banff Upper Hot Springs

Where to go: Banff, Alberta, Canada

Where to stay: Calgary is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Banff National Park and Cascade Mountain.

In 1883, three rail workers stumbled across steam coming from a cave on the lower slopes of what is now known as Sulphur Mountain. In the late 19th century, people began to flock to Banff to enjoy the mineral-rich springs’ soothing and reputedly healing properties.

Banff Upper Hot Springs are heated geothermally, bubbling up to the surface from almost two miles into the Earth’s crust. It’s practically ethereal to sit in the pools in the winter and enjoy a steam while watching snow fall on the surrounding peaks.

6. Spencer Hot Springs

Where to go: Austin, Nevada, U.S.

Where to stay: Plan a road trip to Austin from Reno or Hilton Vacation Club Lake Tahoe Resort for plenty of outdoor fun.

One of Nevada’s best hot springs destinations is tucked inconspicuously around a sagebrush corner. Just off Highway 50 — the “Loneliest Road in America” — sits Spencer Hot Springs, a geothermal hotspot comprised of four baths made from cattle troughs. Come here to watch the incredible sunsets while you soak.

Hot Springs State Park in Wyoming 

7. Hot Springs State Park

Where to go: Thermopolis, Wyoming, U.S.

Where to stay: Rest your feet in Jackson, Wyoming, after exploring national parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

Hot Springs State Park offers 6.2 miles of hiking trails leading to a free bathhouse with indoor and outdoor soaking pools fed from the surrounding mineral hot springs. The water stays a balmy 104 degrees, great for soothing tired feet and sore muscles.

8. Takaragawa Onsen

Where to go: Gunma, Japan

Where to stay: Enjoy an urban adventure in Tokyo, then hop on a train to Minakami when you need an escape.

Takaragawa is one of Japan’s most scenic hot springs, tucked into the mountains and trees beyond a babbling brook. These hot springs — once used by samurais and shoguns — are said to be filled with magical water that heals cuts and bruises, improves circulation and relieves arthritis. Today, the onsen offers a miraculous escape from the daily grind.

Timeshare with Hilton Grand Vacations makes it easy to vacation worldwide, whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure. Read “8 Hilton Grand Vacations Members Dish On The Perks Of Hilton Honors Membership” to learn more. 



The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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