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posted on December 1st, 2016

Sensational soaks

Winter weather is enough to keep most of us indoors (baby, it’s cold outside, after all), but enough time on the couch can make even the most Netflix-committed of us a little stir-crazy. For the coziest outdoor antidote to winter ennui, there isn’t a much better destination than a natural hot spring. Find our favorite spots to soak away the winter doldrums here.

Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores, CO

A deep-red hue created by a blend of calcium-bicarbonate, iron, manganese, and lithium is the hallmark of Dunton Hot Springs. Set in a ghost town, the resort hosting the springs is the picture of rustic chic — think log cabins, cozy Pendleton blankets, and gourmet comfort cuisine in the saloon. We dare you to find a more relaxing activity than soaking amid snow banks, followed by a hot chocolate in your cabin.

The Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland

Besides the otherworldly blue water and ethereal mist twisting and twirling above the surface, the Blue Lagoon is home to silica-heavy mud and water so good for your skin that you can buy the lagoon’s own skincare products there. Plus, there’s a swim-up bar, and an in-water massage service — because what’s more relaxing than a floating massage, complete Blue Lagoon mineral oil?

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Hot Water Beach, Waikato, New Zealand

If you’d rather escape winter than embrace it, head to Hot Water Beach in New Zealand, where you can dig your own hot spring in the sand on the picture-perfect beach. Bring your own shovel or rent one there, and plan your visit for low tide to make the most of the fissures creating water as hot as 147° F. Usually we’d object to manual labor on a spa vacation, but in this case, the energy it takes to dig your own pool makes the subsequent soak even more rewarding.

Terme di Saturnia, Saturnia, Italy

Tuscany is good for more than just wine, it turns out (though we wouldn’t object to sipping a nice Chianti while soaking). The Terme di Saturnia hot springs were once frequented by Roman nobles and are said to have been created by the god Jupiter, but today the pools and their accompanying waterfalls are open to the public.

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Hot Springs Cove, Maquinna Provincial Park, Vancouver

Reaching these geothermal springs requires commitment, but the payoff is well worth it. Only reachable by boat or seaplane and set among craggy rocks and towering pine trees, waterfalls add to the drama of the picturesque Hot Springs Cove. The springs descend in temperature as they approach the ocean, so take your pick of pools ranging from 228° F to 122° F.

Takaragawa Onsen, Gunma, Japan

In a country known for healing hot springs, the Takaragawa Onsen springs stand out as some of the most scenic. Once a relaxation spot for shoguns and samurais, the springs are nestled between leafy trees and imposing mountains, creating a peaceful haven for nature-lovers. What’s more, the water in the springs is said to have healing qualities for ailments ranging from cuts and bruises to arthritis.

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Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.