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The Golden State of California is far more than picturesque scenery and vibrant cities. Boasting the San Andreas Fault, it’s one of the most geothermally active spots in the US.
And where there’s geothermal activity, there is bound to be some magical natural hot springs to take your breath away. Buckle up because you’re in for a real treat of the best California hot springs, from Los Angeles to San Francisco and everything in between.
I don’t know about you. But the idea of a road trip across the Golden State and relaxing in some of the best California springs is my idea of heaven.
But that’s enough dilly-dallying. It’s time to get stuck in!
25 Best Hot Springs in California
Table of Contents
- 25 Best Hot Springs in California
- 1. Doctor Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort
- 2. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs
- 3. Vichy Hot Springs Resort
- 4. Wilbur Hot Springs
- 5. Beverly Hot Springs Spa
- 6. Orr Hot Springs Resort
- 7. Esalen Spa Hot Springs
- 8. Crab Cooker Hot Springs
- 9. Indian Hot Springs Resort
- 10. River Oaks Hot Springs Spa
- 11. Glen Ivy Hot Springs
- 12. Harbin Hot Springs Retreat
- 13. Deep Creek Hot Springs
- 14. Gaviota Hot Springs – CURRENTLY CLOSED
- 15. Remington Hot Springs
- 16. Onsen California
- 17. Tecopa Mud Hot Springs
- 18. Saline Hot Springs
- 19. Agua Caliente Springs Park
- 20. Bashford’s Hot Mineral Spa
- 21. California Hot Springs Resort
- 22. Delights Hot Spring Resort
- 23. Drakesbad Guest Ranch
- 24. The Oasis at Death Valley
- 25. Holtville Hot Springs
- FAQs About Hot Spring Resorts in California
- How Long Can You Soak in Natural Hot Springs in California?
- Must You Wear Clothes in California Natural Hot Springs?
- What Should You Not Do in Hot Springs in California?
- When Should You Avoid Hot Springs?
- Final Thoughts on the Best Hot Springs California Has to Offer
Admiring a sensational California sunset while soaking in a natural mineral bath is everyone’s dream, right? So take your pick from 25 of the best hot spring resorts California offers.
1. Doctor Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort
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Kicking things off, you have arguably the best hot springs in Calistoga‘s Napa Valley. Doctor Wilkinson’s is a resort that considers luxury a must in anyone’s life, and as you walk through the fairy-light-lit space, you’ll quickly see why.
There are three distinct hot springs ranging in temperature from 29°C to 40°C (85°F to 104°F) and packed with beneficial minerals like zinc and bromine. Before hopping into the geothermal wonderland, why not experience one of the perfected 70-year-old detoxifying thermal mud baths?
If there was ever a place to indulge yourself, it’s at Doctor Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort.
2. Wild Willy’s Hot Springs
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Why not enjoy the Wild Willy’s Hot Springs, a free spot near Mammoth Lakes? It’s roughly a 7.2 km (4.5-mile) drive from Highway 395, where a short 0.4 km (0.25-mile) walk awaits.
The walk to the springs is breathtaking in and of itself, as the wooden boardwalk leads to a hidden oasis of hot springs. There are two pools you can dip your feet into. The first you’ll come across is fairly shallow, while the second has an unmistakable heart shape and is much deeper.
3. Vichy Hot Springs Resort
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Established in 1854, Vichy is one of the oldest and best hot springs in North California. It’s only about two hours from San Francisco in the Mendocino region, with lush vegetation and stunning mountain views.
They’re also a set of natural springs that have been around for roughly five million years. You can admire the age of these springs in their travertine onyx deposits while soaking in the refreshing and rejuvenating baths.
I recommend hopping into the refreshing Olympic-sized swimming pool and then the hot springs. It gives a unique tingling sensation to your skin.
You might enjoy reading my article on Facts about California.
4. Wilbur Hot Springs
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Ever want to admire the constellation of stars while soaking up all the natural minerals of a magical hot spring? You can do that at the 24-hour Wilbur Resort just outside of Williams.
Three long flumes provide irresistible bathing temperatures averaging between 37°C and 42°C (100°F and 109°F). These are also non-chlorinated springs, so you can enjoy all the benefits of minerals such as carbonic acid and boron.
You can also enjoy many healing practices, from myofascial release treatments to authentic CranioSacral Therapy. What’s not to love?
5. Beverly Hot Springs Spa
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In the heart of LA, Beverly Hot Springs Spa is easily the most accessible spot on this list. From massages and cool plunge pools to fantastic saunas and a man-made hot springs waterfall, this is the perfect place for relaxation and rejuvenation.
They have designated men’s and women’s hot springs, each offering a tranquil experience in dimly lit spaces. The artesian well naturally pumps the pools up to temperatures between 35°C and 40°C (96°F and 105°F).
6. Orr Hot Springs Resort
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Ukiah is a small town well-known for its geothermal activity. And the best place to enjoy the town’s best drawcard is Orr Hot Springs Resort. Enjoy everything this pristine coastal woodland oasis offers, from the large hot spring-fed pool to the mystical steam rooms.
An undeniably breathtaking spot to relax is on the sundeck, and you can always venture below the deck to enjoy a private hot spring bath. The 27-acre property is also laden with authentic redwood cottages, which are perfect for a few nights.
7. Esalen Spa Hot Springs
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How about admiring the rustic beauty of the Pacific Ocean from Esalen, a hot spring paradise hidden within Big Sur? It’s roughly three hours from San Francisco and offers one of the state’s most unique hot springs experiences.
It’s a place that offers a variety of experiences, with loads of naturally heated rock pools to pick from. From the farm and garden space to the meditation hut and the Conley Bookstore, there’s no shortage of unique spaces for you to enjoy.
Top Tip: The Esalen Institute regularly hosts on-site conversations and work-live programs.
8. Crab Cooker Hot Springs
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Can you picture the White Mountains surrounding a mesmerizing round-shaped plunge pool in the Eastern Sierra? There may only be one pool to enjoy, but you won’t find a more dramatic setting than the Crab Cooker, roughly 20 minutes from Mammoth Lakes.
The waters hit a toasty 40°C (105°F), and considering it’s only 0.3 km (0.2-mile) from the parking lot, this is a must-visit hot spring.
It’s open 24/7 and is free, so you can visit anytime. But remember, it’s a popular spot, so try to visit later at night. Besides, admiring the starlit sky is an unforgettable site.
9. Indian Hot Springs Resort
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A hot spring resort California can’t do without are the Indian Hot Springs in the quaint city of Idaho Springs. It’s a spot with everything, from private indoor baths and geothermal caves to a heated indoor mineral pool.
The geothermal hot spring caves are the real show-stoppers, as a series of hidden rock pools provide complete seclusion. Temperatures in these springs and the extensive indoor pool ranges between 32°C and 37°C (90°F and 100°F).
And if you want to spend a couple of nights at one of the best hot springs resorts California has, you can look at their available rooms.
10. River Oaks Hot Springs Spa
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Wine and inviting hot springs pair up to offer one of the best “me time” experiences. And there’s no better place for this perfect pairing than at the River Oaks Hot Springs Spa.
It’s a wellness spa that offers all the classics, from facials to Swedish massages. To make things better, they offer unique packages, from a private wine-tasting hot tub experience to a chocolate-filled private soak and massage combo.
You might enjoy reading my article on Solo Travel in California.
11. Glen Ivy Hot Springs
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The stunning Temescal Valley is a bit more special, thanks to the Glen Ivy Hot Springs. With 19 unique pools, both indoor and outdoor, you can relax in authentic style.
Indulge in a magical array of four dining spots between your mineral-soaking exploits. Their natural hot springs are well known to help with joint pain and soften the pores of your skin.
12. Harbin Hot Springs Retreat
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Just around seven minutes from the wine hotspot of Middletown, you’ll discover the picturesque Harbin Hot Springs. Enjoy eight hot spring-fed pools, all offering a different range of temperatures.
You can cool off in the normal pool or enjoy that tingling sensation in the extremely hot pool. While the sauna and sundeck are lovely spots to relax, the real treat of Harbin is its all-inclusive packages.
Indulge in everything the retreat offers, from delicious cuisine to inspiring yoga sessions. And, of course, the hot springs.
13. Deep Creek Hot Springs
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If you want the ethereal combination of a desert landscape and inviting hot springs, venture to the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. Here, you’ll find five all-year-round natural hot pools along the Deep Creek fork of the Mojave River.
Hike the challenging four km (2.5-mile) Bowen Ranch Trail to the cascading pools. Or, you can enjoy the more scenic 9.6 km (six-mile) Pacific Crest Trail. No matter the route, you’ll end the trek with a refreshing dip in some natural hot pools.
Note: You can only use the trails and pools during the day.
14. Gaviota Hot Springs – CURRENTLY CLOSED
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Roughly 40 minutes from the stunning city of Santa Barbara, you’ll find the hidden hot springs in Gaviota State Park. It may not be one of the most popular state parks in the US, but it’s definitely worth a visit for its hot springs.
You’ll find this hidden oasis about half a mile off the trail leading to Gaviota Peak. It’s surrounded by vegetation, and the milky blue water is oh-so inviting. Although there’s only one pool, it’s relatively quiet and unknown.
15. Remington Hot Springs
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Overlooking the Kern River’s majestic beauty, this series of three man-made pools is the perfect escape during your LA to San Francisco road trip. From the sound of flowing water and birds chirping to the lovely 40°C (104°F) waters, you’ll quickly fall in love with this part of the world.
As they are open to the public all day and night, you can venture to this little slice of heaven whenever you like.
16. Onsen California
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Pamper yourself with a weekend away in Desert Hot Springs’ Onsen Hotel and Spa. Like the other resort-style hot springs on this list, its pool and hot tub are perfect for soaking up those natural minerals.
The hotel and spa are only accessible for adults over 21 years, so if you want peace and quiet, this is the spot for you.
17. Tecopa Mud Hot Springs
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Using pelotherapy (fancy word for mud bath), enjoy a detoxifying experience in the 37°C (100°F) water. They’re free to visit, and if you want to clean up afterwards, the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort is a stone’s throw away.
PS: Make the experience truly spectacular and walk the resort’s seven-circuit Yaga Labyrinth.
18. Saline Hot Springs
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Explore Saline Valley’s three hot spring pools if you’re one for an adventure. They nestle in the heart of Death Valley National Park, so it’s a two to four-hour dirt road drive from Lone Pine.
This means they’re best visited with the intention of camping in the area for the night. And as they are free to visit at any time of the day, you can admire a genuine night sky with the Milky Way on full display.
Note: Road accessibility to the hot springs can be affected by weather conditions.
19. Agua Caliente Springs Park
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Roughly two hours from San Diego and nestling within the greater Anza Borrego Desert State Park, you’ll find three magical hot spring pools.
They fall within the 910 acres of protected land, offering up magical desert hikes and, best of all, heated pools. The park has many lodging options, from rustic campsites to lovely family-friendly cabins.
The pools also have independent access times, so you’ll want to keep track of that on the park’s official website.
You might enjoy reading my article on the best things to do in Palm Springs.
20. Bashford’s Hot Mineral Spa
With six mineral baths, a heated pool, and a hot spring jacuzzi, you can enjoy views of the Chocolate Mountains in style at Bashford’s. It’s also close to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park, making it the perfect stop during your Wild West adventure.
While you’re undoubtedly going for the hot pools, you can also visit the nearby mud pots heated with the same geothermal pockets.
21. California Hot Springs Resort
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If you plan on exploring Sequoia National Park, there’s no better place to stay than the California Hot Springs Resort. Not only is it the gateway to the park, but it also offers some of the best-heated pools in the state.
With its low sodium content and crystal clear purity, the hot spring has produced one of the best swimming spots since 1882. It’s particularly beautiful in winter, as the snow settles on the surrounding trees of the forest.
Note: The resort is temporarily closed due to renovations. Visit the resort website to keep up-to-date.
22. Delights Hot Spring Resort
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This resort’s name says everything from indoor baths with stunning landscape paintings across the walls to majestic outdoor pools. Enjoy the delights (get it) of four private hot pools, hitting a comfortable 40°C (104°F).
As part of the Tecopa Hot Springs area, you can enjoy free access to the mud baths and Death Valley National Park. And if you book a room, you can use the hot pools all night.
23. Drakesbad Guest Ranch
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If you’re looking for a hidden getaway in the Lassen Volcanic National Park, book a room at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. As far as hot springs go, there is just the main pool, which offers geothermally heated bliss.
But that’s not all this pine-forest paradise holds, with home-cooked meals included, majestic horseback rides, and much more. It may be a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Redding, but you won’t find better views from a hot spring-fed pool of Lassen Peak anywhere else.
24. The Oasis at Death Valley
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For a destination of the highest order, The Oasis is the premier lodging destination for all Death Valley adventurers. It’s a luxury five-star resort offering perfect 30°C (87°F) water to make you feel like you’re floating on air.
While the hot springs are a perk, it’s also home to the world’s lowest-elevation golf course — Furnace Creek — and many dining opportunities. But alas, why worry about all that when you soak up the beneficial minerals and admire the views from the resort’s luxury heated pools?
25. Holtville Hot Springs
If you’re returning from a Mexican vacation, stop in Holtville, roughly two hours from San Diego. With a large pool hitting temperatures around 41°C (106°F) and the smaller pool being slightly cooler, this is the ideal stop to loosen those muscles after a long drive.
The main soaking spot is lined with palm trees, so you’ll feel surrounded by nature. The smaller pool is better for kids, with a water feature pumping into the pool that the younger ones will love playing with.
You might enjoy reading my article on the best boutique hotels in Palm Springs.
FAQs About Hot Spring Resorts in California
You know all about California’s best natural hot springs, but there may be a few things you are curious about. Here are some commonly asked questions about California’s hot springs.
How Long Can You Soak in Natural Hot Springs in California?
Dehydration, burning, and fainting are all possible if you spend too long in the hot spring. So it’s best to keep your soaking time under half an hour, with 10 to 15-minute breaks in between.
Must You Wear Clothes in California Natural Hot Springs?
This really depends on the location you’re visiting. So check if it’s clothing necessary or a nudist accepting hot springs before going.
What Should You Not Do in Hot Springs in California?
Don’t use soap or any bathing products in a hot spring, as it’ll reduce all the benefits of the natural minerals in the water. It can also contaminate the water — even biodegradable soaps — so keeping things natural is best.
When Should You Avoid Hot Springs?
If you have deep cuts or wounds, it’s best to avoid hot springs as they can easily get infected. It’s also best to avoid hot springs on a hot day, as they can quickly dehydrate you if you’re not careful.
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Final Thoughts on the Best Hot Springs California Has to Offer
So there you have it, a dip into the best California hot springs to help you have a magical Golden State vacation. This melting pot of dramatic deserts, jagged mountains, and vibrant coastlines is sure to have you loving life.
And why not make your time in the land of the free that bit more special by discovering all the top North American landmarks? And you might enjoy reading my post on Hot Springs in Utah and Wyoming Hot Springs.
I covered all the costs of writing this post on hot springs in California. However, this post does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in this article and make a purchase I may receive a small commission.