10 Must-Visit Lakes with Natural Hot Springs | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Discover natural spa experiences in scenic lake settings
  • Visit top hot spring destinations for a unique relaxing soak
  • Find trustworthy guidance on the best thermal waters to explore

Imagine dipping into warm, soothing waters with a backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

That's the magic of lakeside hot springs!

You don't need a spa day when nature offers sumptuous retreats in the form of lakes with natural hot springs.

Each location provides a unique soaking experience surrounded by breathtaking landscapes.

We've scoured the U.S. to bring you these gems, considering accessibility, scenic value, and the overall experience to ensure that when you visit, you'll find just what you’re looking for.

Trust us to guide you to those serene waters where relaxation meets adventure.

Table of contents


Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Have you ever soaked in a natural hot spring while gazing out at snow-capped mountains?

Just around Lake Tahoe, you'll find that magical blend of alpine lakes and rejuvenating hot springs.

This region is a treasure trove for both scenic beauty and soothing waters—perfect for your next getaway!

Nearby Hot Springs:

  • David Walley's Resort: Fancy a dip just 16 miles east of South Lake Tahoe? This hot springs resort in the Carson Valley offers the ideal blend of relaxation and stunning views.
  • Grover Hot Springs State Park: About an hour away, these therapeutic pools await amidst a forest setting. Take a scenic drive and immerse yourself in nature's spa.

Suggested Alpine Lakes:

  1. Angora Lakes:
  1. Upper Angora Lake
  2. Lower Angora Lake

These twin beauties are nestled just a short drive from South Lake Tahoe.

The Angora Lakes Resort there promises a delightful escape.

  • Eagle Rock Trail: When you're up for a moderate hike, this trail gifts you with breathtaking vistas of Lake Tahoe. It’s a hit all year round for hikers and birdwatchers.

Are you into adventures off the beaten path?

Buckeye Hot Springs is roughly 86 miles from South Lake Tahoe.

Just gear up for a drive—partially paved, partially dirt—and you'll find these free, clothing-optional springs in the Eastern Sierra.

Remember, each spot has its unique charm, so why not check out a few?

After all, what beats relaxing in warm, mineral-rich waters after a day of lake-hopping or trail-trekking?

Crater Lake, Oregon

Are you itching to explore Crater Lake and bask in the tranquility of Oregon’s natural beauty?

Tucked away in southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park, established in 1902, is home to the deepest lake in the United States—and the ninth deepest in the world!

It's not just any lake; it's one of the 7 wonders of Oregon, formed by the eruption and subsequent collapse of Mount Mazama.

Now, imagine combining your lake adventure with a soothing soak in a natural hot spring.

Just a short drive away, you can find this bliss at Umpqua Hot Springs, the closest hot springs near Crater Lake, less than an hour's drive from the northern entrance.

Nearby Attractions:

  • Jackson F. Kimball State Park: 20 miles southeast of Crater Lake. Enjoy 19 acres full of verdant forests and the bubbling Wood River headwaters.
  • Umpqua Hot Springs: An idyllic spot for a warm soak, nestled within Oregon’s pristine wilderness.
  • Toketee Falls: A quick, scenic trail with an eye-catching waterfall, less than an hour from Crater Lake.

Crater Lake Specifics:

  • Color: An entrancing deep blue, thanks to crystal-clear waters and a lack of sediment.
  • Formation: A caldera lake, born from the volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama over 7,700 years ago.

While Crater Lake itself doesn’t offer hot springs, the park's majestic views paired with the nearby Umpqua Hot Springs present a perfect day trip itinerary.

Picture yourself winding down from scenic hikes and breathtaking overlooks with a dip in those toasty waters.

Doesn't that sound like the serenity you deserve?

Pack your hiking boots and swimsuit, because this Oregonian treasure awaits your arrival.

Ready for a dip in nature’s bathtub?

Big Bear Lake, California

Have you ever soaked in a hot spring with a view of gleaming waters?

Welcome to Big Bear Lake, a year-round haven for those seeking a blend of aquatic adventure and the warmth of natural hot springs.

Located in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, this destination is more than just a scenic lake – it's an experience.

Water Activities:

  • Kayaking
  • Paddle boarding
  • Jet skiing
  • Boating
  • Fishing

While Big Bear Lake itself doesn't house natural hot springs, the area around it is a different story.

Eager for a little hike with a rewarding dip at the end?

You can hit the trails and make your way to Deep Creek Hot Springs.

This hotspot is nestled in the lush forests not too far from the lake, where you can immerse yourself in the natural warmth and unwind with nature as your backdrop.

Directions to Deep Creek Hot Springs (Remember to hike with care!):

  1. Plan your visit – pack water, snacks, and good hiking shoes.
  2. Follow the designated trails – a map or a hiking app might come in handy.
  3. Enjoy the scenery – you're surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Make sure to dive into the myriad of activities on the pristine waters of Big Bear Lake during the day.

By sunset, let the steamy springs envelop you in warmth and serenity.

Isn't that the perfect day out?

Just remember, Big Bear's charm extends beyond its famous waters.

There's wildlife aplenty, so keep your eyes peeled for squirrels, mule deer, and the adorable California tree frog.

Ready for an unforgettable escape?

The majestic Big Bear Lake and its neighboring natural hot springs are calling your name.

Pack your swimsuit and hiking boots, and set off on an adventure that ticks all the right boxes!

Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

Have you ever imagined dipping your toes into warm water while being surrounded by the cool embrace of nature?

While Lake Jocassee itself is known for its crystal clear, cool waters rather than natural hot springs, its proximity to Hot Springs, North Carolina, allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Picture this: a day of paddling on Lake Jocassee's serene waters followed by a soothing soak in the nearby Hot Springs Resort & Spa—talk about a dream combo!

What's on offer at Lake Jocassee:

  • Crystal waters: Dive into the 7,500-acre lake. Refreshing during summer!
  • Exploration: Venture through trails like Foothills or Bear Cove.
  • Angling: Try for trout or bass, the lake is full of 'em!
  • Picturesque scenery: Snap some shots; it's a photographer's haven with forests, streams, and waterfalls.
  • Kayak & more: Rent kayaks (solo or tandem) for your own water adventure—ring 864.280.5501 for Jocassee Lake Tours.

Did you know that Lake Jocassee is a man-made reservoir?

Created back in 1973, this lake is a cool oasis fed by mountain streams and waterfalls.

It’s cooler than its neighbors, Lakes Hartwell and Keowee, which means it’s the perfect spot to chill out before you heat things up in the hot springs.exels in scenic experiences, with guided tours that promise memories you'll carry for a lifetime.

Just imagine embarking on a waterfall tour.

Not just any waterfall, mind you, but those that cascade directly into this Appalachian gem.

It's not every day you see such wonders, right?

Local tip: Booking a trip to Lake Jocassee?

It's a treat in any season, but for that contrast between the crisp lake and warm springs, a trip during the changing of the leaves might just be unbeatable.

Extra points if you snag a photo of the fall colors reflected in the water—absolute magic!

Flathead Lake, Montana

Ever heard of Flathead Lake in Montana?

If you're a fan of expansive, breathtaking vistas and crystal-clear waters, then you might want to add it to your travel list.

Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the Western United States – think of over 200 square miles of surface area to explore.

Fancy a dip?

The average surface temperature ranges from a brisk 36°F in winter to a warm 69°F in August—perfect for a summer swim!

But what's a lake visit without a boat ride?

You can easily rent a boat or launch your own, and with 185 miles of shoreline, there's plenty of space for everyone.

Whether you're into waterskiing or just a leisurely cruise, Flathead Lake delivers.

And hey, it’s not just about the water activities, but also the majestic surrounding mountains!

Nearby Attractions

  • Wild Horse Hot Springs: Just a drive away
  • Cherry Festival: For when you fancy local treats

Now, if you think that a lake this big is all about water sports, think again!

Have you ever visited an island inhabited by wild horses?

You can at Wild Horse Island, accessible only by boat.

Imagine the picturesque scenes with bald eagles soaring above!

And let's not forget—though Flathead Lake might not have natural hot springs, the drive to nearby Wild Horse Hot Springs offers the perfect opportunity to soak in mineral-rich waters after a day at the lake.

Imagine combining the best of both worlds— invigorating swims in the lake by day and relaxing soaks under the stars by night.

So why wait?

Pack your swimsuit, maybe a wetsuit for the southern folks not used to northern temps, and get ready for an unforgettable Montana adventure.

See you on the water—or should I say in the water?

Paulina Lake, Oregon

Have you ever dreamed of soaking in natural hot springs while surrounded by stunning volcanic landscapes?

Well, Paulina Lake in Oregon is just the spot where your dreams turn into reality!

Location & Access

  • Coordinates: 43.7321° N, 121.2523° W
  • Trail to Hot Springs: Roughly a 2-mile trek from the parking area

Nestled in the heart of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, the lake is a real treat, with its warm waters courtesy of the geothermal activity from the Newberry Volcano.

Fancy a dip with a view?

The lake's surroundings won't disappoint, with obsidian fields and impressive cinder cones dotting the horizon.

When it comes to amenities, you're in luck!

The nearby Paulina Lake Campground offers:

  • Potable water
  • Restrooms


  • Campground Overnight Stay: $18 for one RV (additional $9 for a second)
  • Dump Station Fee: $10 per night
  • Day-Use Fee: Yes, or use Recreation Passes

To soak in Paulina Lake Hot Springs, just follow the trail around the lake.

But be ready, it's a bit of a hike—2 miles to be precise.

Your reward is a less crowded space where you can relax and take in the tranquility.

Remember that the elevation is 6,350 ft, so the air might get a bit thin.

Camping & Seasonal Tips

  • Paulina Lake Campground: Located on the south shore
  • Best Visited: Summer months are popular, but winter offers snowy adventures

So, ready for your next Oregon adventure?

Remember, pack warm clothes, as even summer evenings can get chilly at this elevation!

Lake Mead, Nevada/Arizona

Fancy a hike with a surprise at the end?

At Lake Mead, which straddles the border between Nevada and Arizona, you can find exactly that: a trail leading to soothing natural hot springs.

Are you ready for an adventure and a soak?

The Arizona (Ringbolt) Hot Springs trail, part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, is a favorite among hikers.

Here's what you need to know to plan your visit:

  • Trail Length: 5.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,223 feet
  • Trail Rating: Users from AllTrails.com rate it 4.8 stars!

Visiting Lake Mead isn't just about the hike; it's about the destination!

Picture yourself winding through White Rock Canyon, and at the end, you get to reward your efforts with a dip in the Arizona Hot Springs.

But hey, it's not just about one hot spring – have you heard of Rogers Spring or Gold Strike Hot Springs?

They're also part of the hot spring family around Lake Mead.

When should you go?

Well, hot springs are lovely year-round, but keep the weather in mind—you'll be hiking in the desert's embrace.

Make sure to bring plenty of water and start early to avoid the peak heat!

Just remember, while you're soaking in those natural pools and enjoying the desert views, that these springs are a testament to nature's wonder—so leave no trace behind.

And yes, you can totally brag about this hidden gem later!

Kenai Lake, Alaska

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to paddle across a lake so brilliantly turquoise that it feels like you’ve stumbled into a fantasy?

Welcome to Kenai Lake in the heart of Alaska.

Here's why this stunning glacial wonder should be on your must-visit list:

  • Scenery: Surrounded by towering mountains and lush forests, the lake's vistas are postcard-worthy.
  • Depth and Size: Ready for some awe? Kenai Lake stretches 22 miles long and reaches depths of up to 540 feet.
  • Fishing: Anglers, rejoice! You can catch rainbow trout, lake trout, and even salmon.

If you're out on the water or hiking nearby, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife—it's not uncommon to be greeted by the local residents, ranging from birds to more sizeable mammals.

After a day by the lake, why not treat yourself to a relaxing dip in natural hot springs?

While Kenai itself doesn't have hot springs, the Chena Hot Springs Resort is a gem within the region.

Imagine soaking in those mineral-rich waters under the vast Alaskan sky—could there be a better way to end your day?

Remember, though, while Kenai Lake offers an idyllic escape, it's equally important to respect nature’s fragility.

Always tread lightly and leave no trace, ensuring this picturesque sanctuary remains unspoiled for generations to come.

So, are you ready for an Alaskan adventure that combines the chill of glacial waters with the warmth of natural hot springs?

Kenai Lake is waiting for you!

Mono Lake, California

Have you ever marveled at a desert mirage?

Well, Mono Lake is no illusion—it's a natural wonder that you've got to see to believe!

Nestled at the edge of the towering Sierra Nevada, Mono Lake is not just any lake; it's an ancient, saline marvel covering about 65 square miles, and has been around for over a million years.

So, what's special about Mono?

I'll tell you—apart from the surreal, lunar-like landscape, the lake's surrounded by hot springs!

The famous Travertine Hot Springs is just around the corner in Bridgeport, a cozy town a mere half-hour drive from Mono Lake.

Imagine soaking in these steamy, mineral-rich waters with a jaw-dropping backdrop of the High Sierras — sounds like paradise, doesn't it?

Here's a crispy detail for your itinerary:

  • Location: Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra, California
  • Nearby Hot Springs:
  1. Travertine Hot Springs, Bridgeport
  • Driving Tip: A quick zip down route 395 south from Bridgeport for half a mile leads you to the springs.

But wait, there's more!

Mono Lake is home to striking limestone formations called tufas.

They tower over the water like sculptures from another world.

You'll want to grab your camera for this one—your Instagram will thank you.

Remember, Mono Lake is a unique ecosystem.

While you're there soaking up the views and the warmth of nearby springs, remember to tread lightly and respect this otherworldly treasure.

Trust me, your visit to Mono Lake will be one for the books!

Lake Quinault, Washington

Have you ever dreamed of unplugging and rejuvenating among some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Pacific Northwest?

Look no further than Lake Quinault, nestled in the Olympic National Forest in Washington.

What can you do at Lake Quinault?

Let’s dive into a world where majestic waterfalls cascade and giant trees tower into the sky.

Imagine exploring the vast wilderness by day and then soaking in natural hot springs by evening.

Although Lake Quinault itself doesn’t have hot springs, a drive away will bring you to the enchanting Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

Here, you can unwind in mineral-rich waters surrounded by verdant forested landscapes.

  • Explore the Trails: Pick from easy family-friendly walks or more challenging hikes leading to divine vistas.
  • Gaze at Giants: Marvel at record-setting trees like the western red cedar and Sitka spruce.
  • Hot Springs Luxury: After a day of adventure, Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort invites you for a restorative soak.

Curious about getting around?

The Lake Quinault Loop Drive offers a scenic route including spots like July Creek Picnic Area and several campgrounds.

Remember, Lake Quinault is part of the Quinault Valley, a lesser-known gem compared to Olympic National Park’s bustling attractions.

It's the ideal place for those seeking serenity and connection with nature.

Fun fact: Did you know that Lake Quinault lies within a rainforest that contributes to its lush greenery—it’s one of the wettest areas in the continental United States!

So pack your bags, don’t forget your hiking boots, and prepare to immerse yourself in the tranquility of Lake Quinault.

It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.