Our first trip to Iceland started right from the airport with a trip to the Blue Lagoon. We loved the experience; since then we’ve tried to work hot springs into our travel whenever possible. Cold nights and destinations are more manageable when there’s warm water involved. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.
I’ve already shared our family’s love of the Blue Lagoon in a previous post. I know it’s expensive and not for everyone, but for us it’s absolutely worth it. We’ve even talked of doing a short layover in Iceland just to visit the Blue Lagoon. The landscape and silicated water make this unlike any other bath or spring we’ve tried.
Our stop at Berkeley Springs in West Virginia was a short detour on our way to Shenandoah National Park. It has the draw of being “America’s First Spa” and was frequented by George Washington. There’s even a small pool he bathed in.
Berkeley Springs is a combination of outdoor springs (not really very warm in November) and inside pools that are heated. I think we booked a pool for an hour? It was more than enough time, and gave the rest of the family an opportunity to go between the cooler pools outside and the warmer water inside. I stayed in the whole time. I didn’t feel the need for cold.
After the Blue Lagoon, this is easily the number two hot spring on my list. The stunning views of mountains on either side of Ouray combined perfectly with the crisp air and warm water. We spent one night in Ouray (and about four hours in the water), but could have stayed forever. The pools were very large; some had equipment to enjoy and fountains to sit under.
We worked Idaho into our Yellowstone trip solely to visit Lava Hot Springs. Depending on the ticket you buy, there’s a vast number of pools and activities to experience. Also in a really pretty setting, these springs lived up to the name. They were HOT. It was hard to be completely comfortable, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
We visited Laugarvatn Fontana two of our three Iceland trips. They were included in our Icelandair package. Our tours included the pools, the buffet and a northern lights excursion after. All three are available separately as well. But, the food is plentiful, warm and delicious and the pools are incredibly relaxing. I think it’s worth combining with a northern lights tour. Even if the lights don’t show, the night is still memorable.
There are pools of varying temperatures and depths. Braver members of my family have also dipped into the very cold lake. I don’t find that necessary. The warm water, soup and rye bread are enough for me.
We’ve also visited Old Town Hot Springs in Colorado and Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Both were great stops but for some reason we have no good pictures of either place. Thermopolis has the advantage of being free! Its water was most similar to the water at the Blue Lagoon. The nearby Star Plunge is good for families looking for water fun.
Although each spring-bath-pool is different, it’s hard to go wrong when hot water is involved. We always leave feeling relaxed and refreshed. For us, it’s worth it to detour for a hot spring.