Travelers to the Ozarks know of Hot Springs, Arkansas, but there’s another farther east. These other hot springs in Virginia may not be as famous, but are definitely worth a visit.
This is a place whose water put it on the map. We give you our suggestions on how best to spend your free time in this welcoming little hotspot near the mountains.
Ready to explore Hot Springs, Virginia? Let’s go!
Where is Hot Springs, Virginia?
Hot Springs is located in western Virginia in the Allegheny Highlands. It sits just across the West Virginia border in the aptly named Bath County.
This small town of just a few hundred people is basically next door to Warm Springs and Healing Springs (recognize a theme here?). That puts it about 85 miles north of Roanoke and 96 miles west of Charlottesville. The city of Harrisonburg is about 77 miles northeast.
We’ll get more than wet feet exploring this area. The spring-fed pools are the main attraction, but there are plenty of other fun things to see and do.
When is the best time of year to visit Hot Springs, Virginia?
The climate in this area is mild enough to be enjoyed all year round.
In winter there is usually enough snow to slide down nearby slopes, but not enough to cause disaster. Summers get hot, but not too hot – rarely above the low 80s, in fact.
But you might find the hot springs more soothing when temperatures drop just a little. Overall, fall is the best time to visit Hot Springs, Virginia. The crowds are smaller then and as a bonus you can also enjoy the vibrant changing colors of the trees.
Does Hot Springs, Virginia actually have hot springs?
Yes, Virginia has hot springs. And it’s one of the few places in the eastern US that can make such a claim.
Since the 17th century, the area has been a popular destination for tourists looking to bathe in “healing” waters. One of the most famous spots is Jefferson Pools, named for an early visitor who happened to be the nation’s third president.
There is evidence that these mineral-rich waters have exerted an attraction for centuries. Whether they actually have healing properties is often debated, but there is no question that they have relaxing and rejuvenating properties.
How many hot springs are in Virginia?
Although there are other hot springs throughout the state, Virginia has two that have long been tourist destinations.
We’ve already mentioned the famous Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs. The other is just 5 miles away in Hot Springs, Virginia and has a long and illustrious history of its own.
By the way, don’t plan your trip expecting to encounter super hot waters like you often find out west. The hot springs in Virginia are not heated by volcanic activity, so they remain at a much more comfortable temperature throughout. These naturally heated waters are approximately 98 degrees, which is roughly a person’s natural body temperature.
Top things to do in Hot Springs, Virginia for a great trip
When you’re not relaxing in a pool, there are plenty of reasons to get back on your feet in and around Hot Springs. With such pleasant weather, you can go outside in all four seasons and not be bored. Here are our recommendations on how to make the most of your time here.
Embark on an Appalachian horse adventure
One of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery is on horseback. For over 30 years, owner Kenton Dull has taken thousands of riders on trails in and around his beloved mountains.
You can ride either alone or with a group for an hour, two hours or three hours. They take place in the George Washington National Forest and include river crossings and drives along mountainsides.
Keep in mind: What is a goose box hitch? Let’s find out!
Enjoy your bones at Omni Homestead Resort
A luxurious resort sits on the site of America’s first European-style bathhouse, an octagonal building that dates back to 1761. Modern amenities include nearly 500 rooms and suites, a spa and salon, and a lazy river and two waterslides.
In addition to the relaxing waters, the Omni Homestead offers southern elegance with a beautiful 2,000 acre landscape that includes two golf courses. It’s ground zero for Virginia hot springs and a fantastic home base for enjoying area attractions.