Unless you’re allergic to relaxation, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than kicking your feet up in the soothing waters of a natural hot spring. Whether you’re seeking the healing benefits of the mineral water, or simply want to unwind your aching muscles after a long day of hiking, chilling out in a picturesque hot spring is easy if you know where to look.

Here are the top four hot springs you should include in any California camping vacation:

Mercey Hot Springs – Firebaugh, CA

Mercey Hot Springs, tucked away among the mountains of western Fresno County, offers the amenities of a resort experience with the tranquility and natural beauty only found far off the beaten path. Enjoy some much-needed alone time or relax next to your loved ones in the resort’s individual soaking pools, and be sure to take advantage of mountainous landscape that surrounds the hot springs.

With hiking throughout the property, a 9-hole disc golf course, on-site yoga classes, and easy access to nearby mountain bike trails, Mercey is perfect for those groups with different ideas of how to spend their vacation time. And with its remote location, you’ll enjoy mind-boggling views of the night sky. Don’t forget the telescope!

Where to camp: The resort offers a range of sites ideal for campervans, all within walking distance to the pools.

When to go: Mercey is open year-round, but you can take advantage of significantly lower camping rates outside the springtime high season, and during weekdays.

Also nearby: Mercey can easily be linked to the seaside havens of Monterey and Carmel for a beach and mountain combo trip, and nearby Pinnacles National Park offers additional camping options and your best chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive California Condor.

Additional info: http://www.merceyhotsprings.com/

Wilbur Hot Springs – Williams, CA

Originally established in 1865, Wilbur Hot Springs is the perfect Northern California getaway for those seeking an escape from the breakneck pace of the modern world. The resort is fully off-the-grid and solar powered, offering a welcoming space for personal reflection through connection with nature, and free yoga classes are a welcome bonus. Be forewarned—all pools at Wilbur are clothing-optional.

The Japanese-style “Fluminarium” not only contributes to the rustic feel, but separates water into three distinct areas with varying temperatures. The springs are open day and night, allowing you to soak your muscles under the starry sky after a long day spent exploring the surrounding area.

The property is full of hiking trails perfect for viewing California’s renowned wildflowers. The site even includes a natural geyser, which erupts about once an hour.

Where to camp: Campsites are available on-site from April – October, but are only accessible by foot. Cache Creek and Clear Lake offer nearby sites suited to van camping.

When to go: The resort is open year-round, but you can take advantage of complimentary yoga and a healthy event schedule from April – October. Note that this area is chilly during the winter months.

Also nearby: Just 2 hours north of the Bay Area, Wilbur is a perfect stopping point on a trip to explore Lake Tahoe to the west or Shasta Lake farther north.

Additional info: https://wilburhotsprings.com/

Summer Lake Hot Springs – Paisley, OR

Ok, we cheated. Summer Lake may be in Oregon, but the unique landscape surrounding the resort is well worth the drive. Located in the aptly-named “Oregon Outback”, you’ll relax in outdoor rock pools and camp in vast grasslands framed by buttes that would look right at home in classic Western films.

Outdoor pools vary in size and temperature, but their rock construction provides a natural feel. There’s also a large indoor soaking pool. In addition to the plethora of pool and hiking trails throughout the property, Summer Lake provides ample opportunity for socialization. Two musical festivals, “The Coyote Festival” and “Outback Music Festival”, visit the property each year, and are perfect for singles, couples, and families alike.

Where to camp: On-site camping is available. The vistas are noteworthy, so it’s highly recommended. Admission to the hot springs is included in your camping fee.

When to go: Those feeling social should plan ahead and visit at Summer Solstice for the Coyote Festival, or in fall for the Outback Music Festival.

Also nearby: Plan a road trip throughout Oregon, visiting nearby Crater Lake (summer months only), and continuing to the charming city of Bend just two hours north.

Additional info: https://www.summerlakehotsprings.com/

Mono Hot Springs

Don’t let the name turn you off—this campground and resort is nestled between two of Northern California’s greatest treasures, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. Take your pick between over a dozen natural springs that run along the San Joaquin River, or enjoy the benefits of the crisp mineral water in concrete-sided pools.

With its high alpine location and rustic campground, Mono offers visitors a more laid-back, out-there feel than many other hot springs in Northern California. Summertime visitors should visit nearby Doris or Tule Lakes, the perfect place to cool off after a morning spent hiking the rugged trails of the High Sierras.

If your group is looking for challenging adventure and easy relaxation in a single location, look no further than Mono Hot Springs.

Where to camp: Mono Springs Campground is managed by the Forest Service, and is your best bet for enjoying the springs. Spots fill up quickly, so make reservations far in advance of your visit.

When to go: Due to Mono’s location in the High Sierras, it’s best enjoyed during the summer months.

Also nearby: Yosemite. Sequoia. King’s Canyon. Lake Tahoe. Mono Hot Springs is located in the heart of Northern California’s greatest playground for adventure. Make the most of it.

Additional info: http://www.monohotsprings.com/

Still not sure which hot spring fits your itinerary? Contact us today for a free consultation and to get pricing on one of our beautiful camper vans, 1-877-350-VANS (8267) or info@trekkervans.com. We’ll discuss your interests and help you build a trip you’ll never forget.