Our current issue encourages you to embrace winter and its singular pleasures. like going on Indiana’s signature joy ride and getting a change of (still seasonal) scenery. Once you’ve taken curling classes, made a pilgrimage to the Veal Ice Tree, and braved the Polar Plunge, you going to need to defrost. Head to one of these hot springs or thermal baths to warm you back to life.
Drive time: 9 hours, or an hour from Orlando
This Central Florida town is home to several natural warm-water springs. This particular one is known for its surrounding concrete wall, overrun with lush forest greenery. Combine the beautiful backdrop with a water temperature hovering near 75 degrees and you’ve got a popular swimming hole that welcomes visitors year-round. The entrance is shallow and only gets as deep as 8 feet. Just pay the $10.70 state park admission, and you’re in—for floating, snorkeling, tubing, or paddling. If you love it, there are four more to try in Ocala National Forest.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Drive time: 9.5 hours, or an hour from Little Rock
Although Hot Springs National Park boasts 47 natural hot springs, they’re far too scorching for swimming. To enjoy the warmth, you’ll have to book some time at a local bathhouse, where they pipe in the water at a reasonable temperature. At Quapaw Baths and Springs, you’ll have your choice of four spring-fed pools as well as a steam cave ($25). This water source is said to contain the most healing minerals. Looking for a more private option? A stay at Hotel Hale includes an in-room natural mineral soaking tub (from $225/night). You’ll definitely be ordering room service.
Aire Ancient Baths
Drive time: 3 hours
Experiencing the baths at Aire is called a Thermal Tour. Guests rotate through a set of pools at different temperatures and mineral properties, all under the cover of wooden beams, high ceilings, exposed brick, and candlelit walkways. After an hour and a half, you’ll be feeling the zen, but you can add on a massage package for maximum relaxation (from $145).
The Original Springs Hotel
Drive Time: 3.5 hours
This spa destination has been offering mineral soaks since 1868. While the water isn’t hot straight from the source here, it is heated to a temperature of 111 degrees. The hotel itself, while a bit outdated, has an interesting enough history–the founder offered the first bath in 1868 with the help of an area farmer who had worked in the Baden Baths in Germany. A $25 day pass for visitors includes access to a mineral bath, dry heat room and heated indoor pool. Hotel guests can enjoy the services for $15.
Berkeley Springs State Park
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Drive time: 7.5 hours, or 2 hours from Arlington, Virginia
Natural springs throughout the park hold crystal-clear and mineral-heavy water. The natural temperature is around 74 degrees, but the nine local bathhouses nearby heat the water for added benefits. The options are abundant: private or group soaks, whirlpool or traditional experiences, massage or sauna add-ons. Take a few bottles of spring water for the road.
The Spa at French Lick
French Lick, Indiana
Drive time: 2 hours
Just looking for a warm soak, healing benefits aside? This area in southern Indiana is known for its mineral springs, but it’s actually Pluto water—not quite as gentle. While it’s said Pluto water will destress and moisturize the skin, it is high in sulfur. Which means you’ll smell it. A soak here will run you $145. May we suggest opting into the essential oil add-on, as well?