3 Hot Springs To Visit Because Winter Came Early
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There are two kinds of vacationers, according to my friend Jeff: doers and soakers. A doer is someone who plans their vacation around an adventure. You know, peakbaggers and people who wear t-shirts like this one.
A soaker is somebody who goes on vacation to relax, someone who visits beaches and books hotels with hot tubs, you know, someone who soaks. I am a proud soaker. One of my favorite forms of soaking is visiting Montana's hot springs.
It's kind of surprising how many hot springs we have, but then again, we have a supervolcano so there's no shortage of geothermal energy.
If you want a full list of the 28 hot springs Montana has to offer, check out this list from Travelingmel.com.
1) Chico Hot Springs
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never been to Chico, even though it's only a two-hour drive from Billings, which is perfect for a weekend getaway. Everybody says they love this place and from their website, I can see why. It strikes a nice balance between rustic and elegant, their pools look really big, and they have amenities on site. Not to mention, the location is beautiful. Watch the video they have on their website if you're still undecided--just about every stereotypically Montana thing you could do is an activity they have to offer.
2) Bozeman Hot Springs
For a swankier feel, and one that's more like a health club than a resort, Bozeman Hot Springs offers not only 12 pools but a full fitness facility, including water aerobics classes. Out-of-towners can stay at the campground located next door. The Bozeman Hot Springs Campground & RV Park has spots for tents, RVs, and even cabins with and without amenities.
3) Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Spa, and Retreat Center
For Billings residents, this is more of a getaway than the others simply because of the distance (a four-hour drive), but as my favorite hot springs on the list, I'd argue it's well worth the trek. Boulder Hot Springs is the oldest hot springs on this little list and it has some pretty cool bragging rights:
Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa is an historic landmark which once catered to Presidents, celebrities, and wealthy ranchers. It is reported that Teddy Roosevelt stayed here during his time in office while hunting in the area, that Warren Harding stayed here and FDR made a stop here after visiting associates in Butte. - boulderhotsprings.com
Due to its age, they don't allow matches, smoking or any kind of fire, but its age also adds to the quirky charm and humble character. With three pools, guests can soak outdoors or indoors, and there are separate pools for men and women (you know, if you like to soak naked--fair warning). In between dips, hike around the foothills of the Peace Valley (and that name is not a coincidence).
Of course, if you're going to make your way to any of these, you might want to pick up a few items on my Soaker's Packing List:
Often, these places will provide one, but I like to bring my own.
Something easy to slip on and off for trips between pools.
Sure, they'll have these too, but are they ever really big enough?
Being a soaker can actually cause dehydration so make sure to bring a water bottle. With the steam for the pools, you might want a Hydroflask, or any bottle that is insulated to keep your water cool.
Along with dehydration, nobody likes pruney skin so be sure to bring along some lotion. I really like this stuff:
Every good soaker will take an afternoon nap, and depending on where you're staying, you may need some help keeping the daylight out. Look no further.
A Good Book
Nothing accompanies a good soak like a good book, and you can't stay in the water all day. Without internet access or TVs, you might want something to do. I recommend "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@%!: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life" because if you're living the soaker life, you're definitely on your way to the good life.