Sol Duc Hot Springs. Credit: tedadavis/Flickr CC
Find your favorite hot spring
The Pacific Northwest is a geothermic wonderland, home to dozens of natural hot springs. While summer draws the largest crowds to these mineral-rich pools, cool-weather months are my family’s favorite time to stop in for a hot, restorative soak or swim. Even with a serious chill in the air, these mineral pools stay nice and steamy. And at the end of a brisk hike in the Cascadia backcountry, there are few things more satisfying than dipping into warm water under a canopy of fir trees.
Northwest hot springs come in many varieties. Some are scenic, natural basins set deep in the woods. Trails to primitive hot springs are usually short in length and well-trodden, as thousands come in search of the water's relaxing minerals and rumored curative powers.
On the other end of the geothermal spectrum are traditional in-ground swimming pools filled with hot mineral water piped in from a nearby source, often with on-site lodging and restaurants that add up to an easy family getaway. Still, as appealing as the hot spring swimming pools are to families, there’s a special “wow” factor for kids who have the opportunity to hike to a natural hot spring.
We recommend you try both to see for yourself. Here are five hot-springs getaways in the Pacific Northwest to get you started.
Safety tip: Always supervise children closely when they are in and around hot springs pools. Some kids need to be reminded to step out of the pool every once in a while to cool off. Check in that they are not getting overheated and push water to keep them hydrated.
First dip: over-the-border soak
Image credit: tedadavis/Flickr CC