Chena Hot Springs in Alaska Are the Best in the U.S.
Some hot springs are absolutely worth planning a trip around. But to merit this, they need to provide more than the healing powers of natural spring water. Sure, you want to go in and soak all your troubles away, but you also want to take in gorgeous surroundings. Otherwise, you could just go to any ol' spa or Turkish bath near you.
And while we wouldn't encourage you to go to Fairbanks, Alaska, only to visit Chena Hot Springs, we'd highly recommend having it as one of the main things to do. Why? Because where else can you battle the cold of the last frontier with a hot bath that also provides front-row seats to the northern lights?
Of course, the natural light show isn't available on demand, so you'll have to cross your fingers and hope you're lucky enough to deserve this treat. But just the fact that you have a chance to have this experience is enough to merit buying a plane ticket in our book.
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Staying at Chena Hot Springs Resort
The best way to enjoy these unique hot springs — the best in the U.S. in our humble opinion — is by staying in the resort where they're located. Once you've been in the water long enough, you can book a massage, dine at the in-house restaurant or book fun excursions that vary depending on the season.
Chena Hot Springs Resort's other main attraction is its year-round ice museum, made completely out of frozen water and boasting an ice bar, where your drink will never get warm.
Book it: Chena Hot Springs Resort
Getting Around Fairbanks
While you probably don't want to drive into Fairbanks unless you're familiar with Alaska, you'll definitely want to rent a car to get around. There is a working bus system, but it's limited and scattered. If you want the freedom to move around, get yourself your own pair of wheels.
Rent a car in Fairbanks
Hot Springs Alternative: Travertine Hot Springs in California
We get it, Alaska is a tiny bit out of the way for most people. If you want an amazing hot springs experience within the contiguous states, go to Travertine Hot Springs in Bridgeport, California. Made with rare sedimentary rock, these clothing-optional pools are free and open to anyone who makes the scenic drive here.
Where to stay: Walker River Lodge
Book flights to California
Rent a car in California