What better way to unwind than a good soak in a hot tub of water? Even better is when that hot bath is heated by Mother Nature and surrounded by her beauty. In locations spanning the globe and each with its own appeal, check out these 10 incredible hot springs for families for a soothing, healthy dip.
Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa – Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland's Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa is a self-described wonder of the world. As the most visited attraction in the country, this hot spring is very busy indeed. Reservations are a must, particularly during the summer high season. Children aged 2 – 14 are welcomed free-of-charge with an adult guardian at the Blue Lagoon.
Duntun Hot Springs – Colorado, USA
A former abandoned mining town, Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado has been transformed into an upscale hot springs resort. Families can stay in luxuriously renovated hand-built cabins and access six naturally heated springs in a variety of locations both indoors and under the stars. Kids of all ages will enjoy lawn games outside during the summer, and board games inside.
Radium Hot Springs – Kootenay National Park, Canada
In Canada's Kootenay National Park, Radium Hot Springs boasts a large hot spring pool with temperatures around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the cold plunge pool for some intense hydrotherapy. Kids will appreciate the large swimming pool in the bathing pavilion. Parents will love the on-site spa for massages and body treatments. Radium offers family rates and welcomes children of all ages.
Rio Perdido – Bagaces, Costa Rica
Rio Perdido means “lost river” in Spanish. Fortunately, the warm-flowing water in Bagaces in the Costa Rican jungle has been found. Rio Perdido is home to eight springs of hot river pools, fed by mineral-rich waters heated by local volcanic action. The pools are surrounded by lush jungle and hooting howler monkeys. It's possible to enjoy a nighttime soak by lamplight, as well as volcanic mud body-painting. Children under age 12 receive discount pricing.
Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs – Tuscany, Italy
Near Saturnia in Tuscany, the Cascate del Mulino Hot Springs are a free, natural heated water park. Thermal waterfalls cascade into natural pools of travertine rock. The mineral-rich waters are fed by the dormant volcanic heat of nearby Monte Amiata. You won't find a large resort near Cascate del Mulino, just rustic farmhouses and lush countryside.
Shibu Onsen – Nagano, Japan
An ancient Japanese hot spring resort town, Shibu Onsen offers nine public hot spring baths. It is considered good fortune to experience all nine during your visit. Families with children are welcome at many local traditional ryokan (inns). Baths are segregated by gender and guests enjoy the pools in the nude. Fear not, some ryokan offer kashikiri (private) baths. Private baths are sometimes also known as kazokuburo (family baths).
The biggest draw for families here is the nearby Wild Snow Monkey Park, where Japanese macaques have been famously photographed bathing in the hot springs to keep warm during extreme cold (typically December to March). It's known as Jigokudani Yaen-koen in Japanese, which roughly translates to “Hell Valley,” so named for its steep cliffs and fountains of hot water.
Ma’in Hot Springs, Wadi Zarqa Ma’in – Jordan
Ma’in Hot Springs is a stone’s throw from the Dead Sea in Jordan. The hot springs are part of the Ma’in oasis, located 866 feet below sea level in a lush garden-like setting. The waterfalls pour mineral water into pools that are heated by underground lava fissures. Adults and children alike are welcomed to swim in the natural pools and splash in the waterfalls for a day fee.
Pamukkale – Menderes Valley, Turkey
Pamukkale is World Heritage Site in Turkey renowned for its travertine pools that are continuously fed by mineral waters from underground springs. Pamukkale is nicknamed the ‘Cotton Castle” as the hardened sediments have formed a cascade of white pools, making for a spectacular setting to enjoy a healing soak. Although entrance is free, the hike to the falls is quite long so you're better off purchasing a tour to reach Pamukkale. It's best to visit with older children since reaching the beautiful pools requires navigating tricky landscape. Bring water shoes to protect tootsies in the water.
Calistoga Spa Hot Springs – California, USA
Families can enjoy geothermal mineral pools at California Spa Hot Springs in Calistoga, California. In addition to a 104 degree Fahrenheit mineral pool for adults-only, you'll find a 100 degree soaking pool, a 90 degree wading pool, an 80 degree lap pool, a whirlpool and even a kiddie pool. Parents will appreciate mud bath treatments with volcanic ash at their on-site spa.
Banff Hot Springs – Banff National Park, Canada
One of the oldest and most storied hot springs in Canada, Banff Hot Springs in Banff National Park is also the highest, at 5,200-feet. A visit and soak in the warm mineral water is a must do when visiting Banff. It's a very busy attraction, so try to go during off-season or off-peak hours, i.e. dinner time. The hot springs pool overlooks the valley, with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
Hot springs provide families with a relaxing, restorative and fun way to connect with one of nature's key elements: water.
Which of these 10 incredible hot springs for families appeals to you most? Let us know in the comments below!