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People have taken to the healing waters that bubble naturally from geothermal springs deep under the Earth for thousands of years. These sizzling waters, rich in minerals, are known for their curative and restorative properties. Hot springs resorts — the most luxurious of all hot springs destinations — offer travelers a chance to relax and unwind by immersing themselves in a total wellness experience.
California is the ultimate destination if you’re in the U.S. and thinking about planning a trip to a hot springs resort.
We found the 20 best hot springs resorts in California by analyzing real Google reviews and ratings. We individually reviewed 60 destinations to ensure the best possible recommendations. See our methodology for a full explanation.
What is a Hot Springs Resort? Also called a hot springs hotel or mineral springs resort, they “offer complimentary, spa-like services (e.g., massage, facials, hydrotherapy, other treatments) alongside their bathing offerings, and often incorporate the thermal/mineral water into treatments,” according to the Global Wellness Institute. “They include the health resorts and sanatoria across Europe that use thermal/mineral waters for therapies and the hot springs resorts common in China and Taiwan, as well as the growing number of bathing establishments that offer add-on spa services alongside thermal/mineral water bathing and relaxation.”
For those looking to soothe the body, mind, and soul, check out our list of the best hot springs resorts in the Golden State! Here is a breakdown of everything you’ll find out about on this page:
- List: 10 Best Hot Springs Resorts in California
- Table & Map: 20 Best Hot Springs Resorts in California
Our research team operates independently to recommend the best destinations using data analysis. Our top recommendations are based solely on data extraction, a ranking algorithm, and a strict definition of “hot springs resort.” Our research is editorially independent, but we may earn a commission for any purchases made through links on this page.
The analysis is based on extensive primary data research and secondary expert sources from April to May 2022, including literature reviews and database formulation through visual web data extraction software. Sources include global research institutes, industry-specific businesses, travel promotion publications, booking websites, encyclopedias, travel magazines, health information websites, and industry associations.
The rankings are based on an analysis of 60 hot springs resorts in California. We used Octoparse, a data extraction tool, to find these destinations on Google Maps. All data were extracted between 4/23/22-4/27/22. Our algorithm gives each location a score by weighing its number of Google reviews against its average Google Review Score. Our scores are on a 5-point scale.
We used our hot springs resort definition, built off the GWI’s wellness economy definitions, to individually examine every resort that our data extraction tool found and eliminated destinations that did not adhere to the description. We especially removed resorts that do not have naturally geothermically heated and sourced hot springs water on the property.
Our algorithm is proprietary, but if you are looking to build a similar project, please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected], and we can walk you through the process. You can download a spreadsheet of the top 20 destinations based on our analysis here. Please feel free to use or share this data with whoever may find this helpful — we ask that your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page so its contributors can receive proper credit for their work.
It’s close, but Glen Ivy Hot Springs is California’s best hot springs resort based on our analysis. They are obsessed with water, and their 104-degree geothermal, sulfur-rich mineral baths are just one of several soaking options to prove it. After taking the waters, cool off in the lounge pool or take a cold plunge, then wind your way through the grotto for a subterranean treatment followed by a rejuvenating rinse under the cascading waterfall. Unfortunately, they are not an overnight resort, but they are only 40 minutes from Irvine, San Bernardino or Anaheim — well worth the trip!
What Guests Are Saying: “Definitely my favorite place, favorite spa well worth the money entry is $85.00 you can get 10% off if you’re a senior, etc.,” according to a recent Google review. “You can stay all day, 9:30 am – 5 pm. In the summer, starting late may, it will stay open until 9 pm. They have several Jacuzzis, cold pools, steam rooms, saunas, mud, and a grotto, which is basically a cave. Mineral baths. Services are an additional cost like massages and facials.”
We recommend Indian Springs Calistoga, north of Santa Rosa, California, if you prefer to sleep where you soak. Their mineral springs pool is Olympic-sized and one of the largest in California. They also have a full-service spa with body scrubs, mud baths, facials, and massage options. Enjoy a seasonal, thoughtfully prepared dinner at Sam’s at Indian Springs Calistoga, then unwind on the patio with an in-house brewed craft beer next to the fire. When you no longer can hold your eyes open, make your way under the starlit palm paths to your historic cottage or bungalow for a quiet night’s rest.
What Guests Are Saying: “We really enjoyed our stay here,” according to a recent Google review. “It was unseasonably cold the days we were here. This paid off for us as the pool is fed by the hot springs and is 97-101 degrees. The pool is open til MN [midnight], and we frequented the pool late at night. Very relaxing to soak in the hot pool late at night with the stars out! I brought my mountain bike, and they were very accommodating, letting me keep the bike in the room. I would stay here again.”
24 hillside hot tubs fed by over 100 acres of underground natural mineral springs, each surrounded by trees and a privacy fence — need we say more? Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa near Santa Maria, California, offers travelers a break from commercial resorts “to restore the spirit, nourish the mind and heal the body.” Nightly rates are $299 and up. Book one of the suites for your own private, mineral-fed hot springs tub to skip the public tubs — already very private — and take the waters on your private patio instead!
What Guests Are Saying: “The restaurant, front desk, and gift shop staff are very professional, friendly, and good at their job,” according to a recent Google review. “The private mountainside hot springs are great! I absolutely love them. The water temperature is perfect. The privacy is really nice. It provides a very peaceful and relaxing environment. 10/10 would recommend!”
The Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa and Resort keeps its large pool a little cooler than many resorts in California — perfect for a therapeutic soak in the Spring or Summer. But the real draw for this resort, 30 minutes outside Santa Rosa, California, is the mud bath experience. This 100-year-old Calistoga tradition combines hot springs sourced water with a mixture of clay and peat to aid in drawing out skin impurities, exfoliating the skin, relaxing muscles and joints, and relieving rheumatoid arthritis pain. Book one of the spa suite rooms for your own private whirlpool tub sourced with nothing other than hot springs mineral water!
What Guests Are Saying: “Golden Haven Hot Springs is tucked in the middle of Calistoga, making it a perfect place to stay overnight while enjoying the hot springs and massage therapy services,” according to a recent Google review. “As an overnight visitor, you have access to the pool and hot tubs. A short walk from your room, you can walk to your mud bath and massage appointments. The friendly and accommodating staff will make your stay relaxing and carefree and is a must-visit for couples who will spend the day wining and dining in the immediate area.”
Go for a midnight soak under the stars in the 98-100 degrees outside pool at the Sierra Hot Springs just north of Tahoe National Forest. Afterward, wind down in one of the five rooms you can book at the main lodge, or if you are just visiting for the day, book your stay at the charming Globe Hotel one mile down the road. Book a stay at one of their campsites for a real digital detox — RVs welcome! Massage and Watsu are available by appointment!
What Guests Are Saying: For adults who are seeking a meditative retreat with a first-class hot springs experience, this is a gem,” according to a recent Google review. “A true gem hidden away at the base of the forest,” another reviewer said a year ago. “Friendly staff. A relaxing and enjoyable visit. It has set a bar that stands unreached by all of the hot springs that [I have] visited since. None have compared.”
The 13 hot mineral pools at Sky Valley Resort are just one of the many offerings at this destination resort. It’s only 25 minutes from Palm Springs, California, but far enough away from the city to see the stars at night! You can book an RV site or stay in one of their vacation rentals. They also have pickleball, tennis, water volleyball and aerobics, golf, and plenty of hiking trails!
What Guests Are Saying: “I have stayed here several times,” according to a recent Google review. “The grounds and facilities are always clean. We especially love the mineral hot springs. We have been to others in the area, but these are the best! If you’re in the area or want to have a nice relaxing getaway…this is the place to go!”
If hot springs camping resorts are your thing, you must check out Keough’s Hot Springs directly East of Sierra National Forest and Northwest of Death Valley. There are only ten camping sites with water and 30 amp hookups, an intentionally small resort, so reserve well ahead of time! But additional “dry sites” are also available along the Sierra foothills! A massive hot springs pool on site is kept roughly 87 degrees in summer and 91 in the winter. If heat is your thing any time of year, Keough’s has got you — hop in their smaller 104-degree pool year-round.
What Guests Are Saying: “For the price, this place is great,” according to a recent Google review. “Affordable and bare-bones, but you come for the mineral water, and for that, this place delivers. Make this a focal point for a quick weekend getaway up the 395 and prepare to relax in a quaint setting.”
Soak in one of four of their private hot spring bathhouses, with 24-hour access complimentary for guests and available for day use with a purchasable pass. Delight’s Hot Springs Resort near Death Valley National Park also recently opened a new outdoor hot springs pool. Cabins, cottages, and motel rooms are all available, in addition to RV sites. However, you need to pack drinking water because the only water at the resort is hot springs water!
What Guests Are Saying: “A cool little gem in the desert,” according to a recent Google review. “Had a blast. The staff was friendly, so [I] have stayed here a few times now. It’s a great little getaway. I love the place more the more I stay there. It’s an experience that I love more than I thought I ever would. Just freaking love this place.”
The Palm Springs KOA is another excellent mineral springs campground resort in the Desert Hot Springs area. Book an RV site, stay in a cabin or “glamping tent,” or bring your tent and set up on one of their sites with water and electric hookups. But do make sure you get a sleeping pad because the individual tent sites are on gravel. Choose from three mineral spring-fed hot tubs kept at 96-102 degrees, then plunge into the swimming pool fed by hot springs but kept at 89 degrees.
What Guests Are Saying: Such a nice park,” according to a recent Google review. “A lot of thought has been put into the layout. The sites’ spacing and pricing, as well as the spacious avenues between them, are a relief compared to so many other cramped parks with tight turns. The facilities are clean and well kept, and there are lots of amenities and activities for which the staff is cheery and helpful. Management is responsive and seems to care a lot about this park, and it shows.👍👍 10/10”
The only other RV hot springs resort on our top ten list is Sam’s Family Spa & Hot Water Resort in Desert Hot Springs. RV site rates start at $70/night and include electricity plus complete access to all the resort amenities. Their motel rooms are currently under renovation, but you can rent one of their Park Models on-site if you don’t have an RV! Take a dip in the swimming pool after soaking in one of their four naturally-heated hot mineral tubs. Then lounge by the lake or in one of the picnic areas. No matter where you spend your time at Sam’s, you’ll be shaded by lush, towering palm trees.
What Guests Are Saying: “I’m from Los Angeles, and I’ve been coming to desert hot springs for 25 years,” according to a recent Google review. “I’ve stayed at almost every resort. This one, by far, is the best. The water is fresh out of the ground and not chlorinated. The staff is extra friendly, and the rooms are newly renovated and clean.”