The Top 9 Hot Springs Just Outside of San Francisco

|February 9, 2018

Northern California is a hotbed (literally) for natural, mineral hot springs. Originally used by Native Americans, the mineral waters that now feed into area resorts and hike-in pools have been healing and rejuvenating soakers for centuries. Because these waters have countless health benefits and often offer serene surroundings, they’re extremely popular as relaxation getaways.

To help you track down the region’s best, we rounded up our favorites — from a natural pool nestled above San Francisco to outstanding resorts in wine country. Enjoy!

Steep Ravine Hot Springs | Marin

Distance from San Francisco: 1 hour | Directions

Also referred to simply as Marin Tidal Hot Springs, these are the closest hot springs to San Francisco and they’re all natural and all free. Located next to Marin’s Steep Ravine Campground, the warm water pools are just steps away from the cold water of the Pacific Ocean and they’re only accessible for about two hours during low tide. To get there, just make the short walk across the beach from Steep Ravine or trek the steep trail from the bluffs down to the grotto.

The pools are generally maintained by loyal neighbors so please be respectful during your soak!

Indian Springs Resort | Calistoga

Distance from San Francisco: 2 hours | Directions

Indian Springs hot springs resort Calistoga California near San Francisco

Photo courtesy of Indian Springs Calistoga

Indian Springs Resort and Spa is California’s oldest continuously operated pool and spa facility. Hidden amongst 17 acres of picturesque hills, ponds, olive and palm trees, roses and lavender, you’ll find luxury mineral pools and steam rooms supplied with rich mineral water and a deposit of pure volcanic ash via natural thermal geysers. Amenities include an Olympic-sized mineral spring pool and an adult-only pool so there are plenty of options for rejuvenation.

Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa and Resort | Calistoga

Distance from San Francisco: 2 hours | Directions

At Golden Haven you can come or the day or stay overnight. Either way, you have access to mineral pools, mud baths, massages and herbal facials. Natural hot spring water is used throughout the spa — both in the pools and in the treatments — and comes from the geothermal aquifer that runs underneath the grounds. The water emerges from the earth at about 150 degrees and is cooled for safer use. You can see all the options for treatments, soaks and overnight accommodation on the website.

Orr Hot Springs Resort | Ukiah

Distance from San Francisco: 3 hours | Directions

Orr Hot Springs San Francisco Bay Area California

Photo courtesy of Orr Hot Springs Resort and Micha Dunston

This small, clothing optional resort is settled between Mendocino and Ukiah deep in the rolling hills of the Mendocino Coastal Range. When you make the trip, expect to find your new favorite place for serenity. Surrounded by wilderness, the grounds are home to seven Victorian porcelain tubs continually filled with hot mineral water. Five of these are located in private rooms and there are two gorgeous stargazing tubs on the bathhouse deck. We definitely recommend taking a dip in the cold pool as well! Fed by several small springs and unaltered by chemicals, the pool is built directly into the rock of the hillside and stays between 60 and 75 degrees.

Vichy Hot Springs Resort | Ukiah

Distance from San Francisco: 2.5 hours | Directions

This 160-year-old, historic hot springs resort is only two hours north of downtown San Francisco. Offering the only naturally warm and carbonated Vichy mineral baths in North America, The Vichy Baths are 90 degrees, naturally carbonated and filled with water that flows from 30,000 feet below the surface into the adjacent spring source and directly into 154-year old tubs. They also offer The Hot Pool at 104 degrees, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and The Chemisal Falls Pool, a natural pool at the base of Chemisal Falls and filled with water flowing over the falls into Little Grizzly Creek. Get day use information here and overnight reservations here.

Wilbur Hot Springs | Williams

Distance from San Francisco: 3.5 hours | Directions

With peace and sanctuary in mind, Wilbur is an off-grid, solar-powered resort with naturally occurring hot mineral springs located in the heart of an 1800-acre nature preserve. Originally used by the Patwin, Pomo, Wintun and Colusi Native American tribes, European settlers quickly spread the word: There were magical healing waters above San Francisco. Fed by Japanese-style flumes between 98 and 109 degrees, the natural hot waters are enhanced by a spring-fed swimming pool, an outdoor hot mineral flume and a dry sauna. Come for the day or stay overnight and you’ll be coming back again and again just to escape the noise of the city (and your cell phone).  

Mercey Hot Springs | Firebaugh

Distance from San Francisco: 3.5 hours | Directions

Mercey Hot Springs near San Francisco Bay Area California

Photo courtesy of Mercey Hot Springs and David Jackson

Located on the western edge of Fresno County, this resort offers 19 therapeutic hot tubs, a dry sauna, a geothermally heated mineral water swimming pool, six cozy, overnight cabins, nine campsites, 10 RV sites, two luxurious airstreams for the ultimate glamping experience and a group house which can accommodate up to seven people. Following off-grid sustainable practices, this must-visit resort is as tranquil as it is historic. Read all about its history here.

Esalen Institute | Big Sur

Distance from San Francisco: 4 hours | Directions

Esalen is perched at the edge of the Pacific Ocean and operates as a rejuvenating and educational institute where everyone is welcome. In its upper reaches, you’ll find fresh water pools, the Pacific Ocean to one side and, our favorite, cliff-side hot springs that have been in ritual and healing use by the Esselen Indians and others for more than 6,000 years. Possibly the most picturesque spot in Northern California, the baths overlook the ocean and offer rejuvenation by day or night. Get all the details and read the story here.

Sykes Hot Springs | Big Sur

Distance from San Francisco: 4.5 hours | Directions

The trip into Sykes, nestled inside the Ventana Wilderness, has become one of the most famous backcountry treks in California. Just make the quick trip south past Monterey to find the adventurous 10-mile hike rewarded with a natural, warm water soak. Beginning at the Big Sur Ranger Station, you’ll gain and lose elevation quickly and you’ll have to cross the river a few times to reach the spring. Be ready for a fairly strenuous trip, but, to make the most of it, consider camping in a location around the springs so you can wind down for the evening!

Where are you going?

In the comments below, let us know which hot spring you’re heading to first! Is it a resort or a free, natural spring?

Category Community Guides, Marin County, San Francisco, Wine Country

Tags , , , ,

McGuire Real Estate

McGuire Real Estate

More posts by

You May Also Like