Last year, Mark and Mason went on a father/son trip in search of epic hot springs. Over the course of a week, they visited four hot springs in Oregon. It was nice to have a break from parenting, but the jealousy I had from their amazing pictures made me realize how I never would have thought to go on a hot springs tour with Mason. (His dad is the creative one when it comes to thinking of big adventures.)
While some people are nervous about babies in hot springs, we have found over the years there are varying degrees of springs – from very rustic to well established. But all of these, in our opinion, are kiddo-friendly. Here’s a handful of springs west of the Rockies to consider if you find yourself nearby.
7 Kid-friendly hot springs west of the Rockies
GPS: N40° 21′ 11″, W111°, SD-53, SD
Saratoga Springs is a very family-friendly hot spring that you can get to with maybe half a mile hike. Located on the border of Utah County and Salt Lake County on the northwest side of Utah Lake, it’s close to Inlet Park. “The water wasn’t stinky and was relatively clear. My son loved the copious amounts of roly polys along the way,” said Katie Rains.
Make sure to bring a plastic bag to put your clothes on, especially during shoulder seasons, as it can get pretty muddy around the edge of the springs. This springs stays relatively untrafficked, so other than maybe weekend evenings, you should be able to soak easily.
2. Miracle Hot Springs
Address: 19073A U.S. 30, Buhl, ID 83316
While natural hot springs always make for a fun adventure, it’s also nice to visit established springs as well, especially if you are nervous about how your kiddo will do in the hot springs. Miracle Hot Springs is a very kid-friendly establishment in between Twin Falls and Boise that you can visit for the day or stay over. They have fun dome tent-like structures and camping options available.
One of the reasons we like this springs is because it definitely feels clean and well taken care of. The design of the pools is adobe-style and feels more like New Mexico than Idaho. There are hot, medium and super kid-friendly temps. There are also private rooms you can rent to get away from the crowds and tub alone.
Random side note: Don’t miss out on visiting the massive caged alligator located on the hot springs grounds.
3. Fifth Water Hot Springs
Address: Diamond Fork Rd, Springville, UT 84663
Located at the three forks trailhead in Diamond Fork Canyon, this popular natural soaking area is a bit of a hike (2.5 miles one way) so plan on carrying kiddos or only consider if they are good walkers. The road in is closed during snowy months, so this is not an all-season stop unless you have a 4-wheel drive and then it’s still questionable.
This hot springs has a number of pools varying in temperature. It can get pretty crowded on the weekends, so if you are able to visit midweek, consider this. Nudity is frowned upon in this area, so please respect this.
Address: 59315 OR-78, Burns, OR 97720
Southern Oregon has a handful of amazing hot springs to visit, with Crystal Crane being one of them. This tub is a big pond with affordable cabins and rooms scattered around it. There’s a community cook area and lounge, as well as a campground if you want to go super budget.
The nice thing about this spot is it’s one place that would be hard pressed to fill up because the pond is truly a pond in size. It’s also right off the side of the highway and an easy-to-get-to springs, which makes it great for family adventures with little ones.
Address: 36095 E Steens Rd, Princeton, OR 97721
Located in the middle of a flat cracked desert that has a moon-like appearance, you drive out across the open land to the hot springs and rustic campground. This is a small hot springs that could potentially fill up quickly on a busy weekend; but during the week it’s quieter. This one is pretty remote, but you won’t be alone out here. Plan on bringing everything with you as civilization is not nearby. Do not visit this area if it has recently rained or might rain. You are guaranteed to get stuck as the desert turns to mud quickly.
6. Hart Mountain Hot Springs
This is a remote hot springs that you have to travel down a dirt road for a while, but it can be done in a 2-wheel drive. There’s free camping and an outhouse, so plan on making this an overnighter. It’s in the middle of a wildlife refuge so you might catch a glimpse of an antelope or see coyotes playing in the fields surrounding the springs.
7. Wild Willy’s / Crowley Hot Springs
Located near Bishop, CA, a popular rock climbing mecca and just down the road from Mammoth Ski Area, this hot springs is an Instagram regular for “vanlifers,” but it’s also super accessible, making it a family-friendly hangout. To get to this one, follow Benton Crossing Road about 2.5 miles until you get to a parking area. There’s a short boardwalk that will take you to the springs. The pool is big enough to hold about 30 people. You can also camp here if you so desire.
Tips for Springing with Baby
1. If you visit a “wild” hot springs, check for updated info on any known bacterial issues in the area. BLM and U.S. Forest Service offices are a good resource for this info.
2. Bring a large plastic bag (or two) to put stuff in and on and to change baby. Also be awesome and hike any trash you see out at the end with that huge bag you brought!
3. Start with hot springs that are easier to get to versus going for one that is a hike out. This way you can gauge how your child will do in the hot springs.
4. Please use a very secure swim diaper and be conscious of the fact that warm water often makes kids poop! If your little one hasn’t had a bowel movement for the day, consider this and keep a close eye on them.
5. Be aware of the “energy” in the hot springs and if you have a crying baby, maybe go for a walk and come back in a bit. People are often at hot springs for the quiet, meditative experience.
What are some of your favorite hot springs to visit? We’d love to add hear in the comments below.