7 Natural Hot Springs In The South For A Good Soak

Big Bend Hot Springs, Big Bend National Park

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A vacation isn’t a vacation without a little rest and relaxation. Whether you prefer to spend your time off summiting mountains, sampling local cuisine, or visiting historical sights, every good trip should include some uninterrupted R&R time. You can book a spa treatment or indulge in a lazy morning of room service in bed, but if you’re looking for something a little less subtle—and a little more unique—a visit to one of the South’s many natural hot springs might be in order.

Hot springs are one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts to the world. When magma or hot rock deep in the Earth’s crust causes groundwater to reach a certain temperature, it often bubbles to the surface of the Earth in the form of hot springs. For thousands of years, people have been using hot springs for medicinal purposes, bathing, and even as supposed fountains of youth. And while we know a lot more about the science behind these natural wonders than we did before, one thing that hasn’t changed is our love for them. If you’re ready to feel fully restored by the mystical healing powers of a hot spring, check out these seven locations. Set in gorgeous scenic parks or built into stunning resort settings, these are the best Southern hot springs for a seriously satisfying soak.  

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Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Berkeley Springs State Park

Located just 90 minutes from the Washington/Baltimore metro, this tiny West Virginia town has dubbed itself “America’s First Spa” thanks to its famous natural hot springs. Wade in the ancient stone pools at Berkeley Springs State Park, where spa services and soaking options abound. The Main Bathhouse’s private Roman Bath features 750 gallons of mineral water straight from the spring heated to 102 degrees. Once you’ve gotten a good soak in, be sure to explore the rest of the park to see more of the natural mineral springs and take in the gorgeous mountain views.

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Warm Springs Pools in Hot Springs, Virginia

Warm Springs Pool

Omni Homestead Resort

These historic hot springs in Hot Spring, Virginia, have been in use since at least 1761, when they were first opened to the public, and likely were used long before then. Today the springs are managed by the Omni Homestead Resort, who are committed to maintaining their historical integrity and keeping them in operation. After a $4 million renovation, the multisided bath houses are once again open to anyone looking for a historically good soak. Reservations are required, and guests can choose between gender-specific soaks, adult co-ed soaks, and family soaks for at a rate of $25 for 50 minutes.

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3. Hot Springs, North Carolina

Hot Springs Resort & Spa, North Carolina

Choose between two places to soak in this small Western North Carolina town. The Hot Springs Resort and Spa features 100 acres of uninterrupted beauty. The resort pumps jetted hot tubs full of the famous mineral water and places them all along the tranquil banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River, so you can reserve your own personal oasis by the hour. If you choose to stay on property, many of the cabins and suites come equipped with their own private mineral tubs. At nearby Broadwing Farm, you can choose to rent one of three cabins all equipped with a private mineral water hot tub.

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Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas

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For the quintessential Southern hot springs experience, put Hot Springs National Park in central Arkansas on the top of your Southern Wonders bucket list. The park is known for its stellar outdoor adventure thanks to its location in the Ouachita Mountains on the Ouachita River. But the biggest draw is the 4,000-year-old spring water found in its natural state. To experience the famous thermal water, pick between two in-park bathhouses: the Buckstaff Bathhouse and the Quapaw Bathhouse.   

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Big Bend Hot Springs in Big Bend, Texas

Big Bend Hot Springs, Big Bend National Park

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Known for its endless acres of mountainous desert terrain and otherworldly rock formations, Big Bend is a certified geological wonder that has been dazzling outdoor enthusiasts for more than 80 years. But when trail-worn Big Bend hikers want to take a load off, they all know exactly where to go. The park’s Hot Springs Historic District is home to a large outdoor hot springs tub that’s made by the remnants of the old Langford Bathhouse dating back more than 100 years. Visitors can throw on a swimsuit and sit for as long as they please in the pleasant 105-degree water.

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Warm Mineral Springs Park in North Port, Florida

Warm Mineral Springs Park in North Port, Florida

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For a uniquely Florida hot springs experience, consider Warm Mineral Springs Park in North Port. The famous springs there take the form of a giant single pool that was formed 30,000 years ago by a giant sinkhole and measures 200 feet deep. Visitors can soak, swim, and even scuba dive in the deeply mystical waters. It’s the perfect place to bring the entire family for a day of fun in the sun with ever-pleasant 85-degree water to cool down in should you overheat.

Note: At time of publish, the park was closed for maintenance due to damage from Hurricane Ian with a projected reopening in March 2023.

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Capon Springs and Farm in High View, West Virginia

Capon Springs and Farm in High View, West Virginia

Capon Springs and Farm

This third-generation family-owned resort in eastern West Virginia is like summer camp for the entire family. With 4,700 acres of breathtaking scenery, a plethora of accommodations, and nearly every amenity and activity under the sun, there’s something for everyone at Capon Springs. To experience the restorative waters of Capon Springs, book an appointment in property’s Hygei Bath House & Spa, where you can choose from three soaking tubs, each featuring 102-degree water pulled directly from the natural springs.

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