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Rejuvenate in sunny SoCalRejuvenate in sunny SoCal

Visit Southern California's hot springsVisit Southern California's hot springs

These hot spring locations are especially pleasant to visit during the winter months, when large swaths of North America are locked in a deep freeze. Stretch your wings and fly to SoCal, where you can thaw out and play golf or just relax in the warm, sunny climate.

  • At the mouth of Cold Water Canyon, Glen Ivy Hot Springs lies sheltered by the Santa Ana Mountains, yet open to the sky. Water flows naturally from deep in the earth up to this desert sanctuary and its numerous outdoor pools. A haven since 1860, each visit to Glen Ivy is an opportunity to rediscover and connect with yourself and each other. Photo courtesy Glen Ivy Hot Springs.
  • “Taking the Waters” is a signature Glen Ivy experience designed to deliver relaxation and special benefits to your skin, via their 19 unique pools and saunas. To receive the maximum results to your skin and muscles, there is a recommended order to try each pool, beginning with a few minutes of immersion in one of the hot Mineral Baths shown here. Photo courtesy Glen Ivy Hot Springs.
  • Just minutes from Glen Ivy Hot Springs, the Glen Ivy Golf Club offers a par 72 course designed by renowned golf course architect Ted Robinson that weaves through groves of citrus trees and along the hillsides and canyons of the Cleveland National Forest. Photo courtesy Glen Ivy Golf Club.
  • Held each February in Palm Springs, Modernism Week celebrates midcentury architecture and design. Home tours, films, lectures, and parties are some of the popular events. Photo courtesy Modernism Week.
  • The Italian-inspired Tuscan Springs is a 16-room boutique hotel and spa that features two natural hot mineral water Jacuzzis and a large natural hot mineral water pool. The water is pumped from a deep well that is volcanically heated. Photo courtesy Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa.
  • The indoor pool at the Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa. Their three pools are held at different temperatures for swimming and soaking comfort. Photo courtesy Tuscan Springs Hotel & Spa.
  • Located in the “Miracle Hill” district of Desert Hot Springs, the Spring Resort & Spa provides three mineral water pools and dramatic views of Palm Springs and the snowcapped (in winter) San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains. Photo courtesy Grater Palm Springs CVB.
  • Escape to El Morocco Inn & Spa, a Casablanca-inspired retreat, and unwind in two mineral pools. Hanging lanterns, colorful curtains and Moroccan music add exotic ambiance to the sauna, fire pits, hammocks, chess garden, and nightly happy hour—highlighted by “Morocco-tinis.” A newly remodeled spa greets guests for a day or for a stay. Photo courtesy Grater Palm Springs CVB.
  • The classic neon Kismet Lodge sign, which rises above the Living Waters Clothing-optional Spa, is backed by palms and the San Gorgonio Mountains. Photo courtesy Living Waters Clothing-optional Spa.
  • At Two Bunch Palms, guests will find three large teak tubs where you can adjust the natural mineral water temperature, as well as three additional pools on the property that will accommodate up to 12 people. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.
  • At Two Bunch Palms, rooms in “The Springs” are conveniently located near the spa and restaurant, while the “Desert” rooms are located just beyond the meditation ponds to offer more privacy. Ground yourself in a king or double room designed for digital detox, with the soothing sound of the mineral springs just outside your door. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.
  • Essence, the restaurant at Two Bunch Palms, serves up healthy gourmet cuisine designed to enhance your spa experience. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.
  • Enjoy local fare, artisanal cocktails, and fresh produce when you dine at Essence. For all-day refreshment, guests can visit the fresh juice bar and choose from a variety of custom-made wellness blends. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.
  • Two Bunch Palms takes a holistic approach to conservation and sustainability. From using produce grown locally in their restaurant, to irrigating with recycled water, to using biodegradable cleaning and treatment products and generating their electricity from 100-percent renewable sources, they have become an example in the marketplace. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.
  • The grotto at Two Bunch Palms. The unique composition of the area’s mineral water is world-famous for its therapeutic and mood-enhancing properties, low in sulfur, and rich in lithium. Once immersed, your cares will melt away. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.

Fly to Corona, between Los Angeles and Riverside, to visit the venerable Glen Ivy Hot Springs. If you need any aviation supplies, stop by Aircraft Spruce West, right on the field. They’ll even send a shuttle to your airplane to pick you up. And the new Corona Airport Café is open for breakfast and lunch. Next, it’s up to Glen Ivy Hot Springs, which has been drawing visitors to the Santa Ana Mountains since 1860 and is under new ownership as of January 2016. One of the largest health spas in the United States, Glen Ivy boasts multiple pools of different temperatures, a boutique, café, labyrinth, two brand-new saunas, Roman baths, “Club Mud,” and JoyFitness classes. You’ll enjoy all of these with a “Taking the Waters” pass. If you like, you can add special spa treatments, a massage, or rent a semi-private cabana. The new ownership plans to build overnight accommodations onsite, but until then, the SpringHill Suites Corona Riverside, a Marriott property, is only six miles away. Plus, from Glen Ivy Hot Springs, it’s only a three-minute drive to the Glen Ivy Golf Club!

The rest of the resorts in this story are all in Desert Hot Springs, just 10 miles north of Palm Springs International. If arriving from the west, use caution for possible turbulence in the Banning Pass. The airport lies beneath the Palm Springs TRSA and is continually attended. If you love hot springs, this area is SoCal’s ground zero. And with Palm Springs so close, activities are nearly limitless: dozens of golf courses, plus great dining and shopping. Among the yearly events is Modernism Week, usually held in mid-February. Tour classic mid-century modern homes and gardens, all beautifully preserved or restored, and meet lots of interesting people.

At the Spring Resort and Day Spa, the large and private Mountain View Suite features views of Mount San Jacinto, a king size bed, reserved parking, and a private entrance. Guests enjoy a secluded patio for private sunbathing or dining as well as a fully equipped café kitchen. Photo courtesy Spring Resort & Day Spa.

The Mediterranean-themed Tuscan Springs Hotel and Spa offers two Jacuzzis, one indoor and one out, plus a large outdoor pool, all filled with natural hot mineral water. Select from a long list of spa treatments to enhance your experience. The decorative tiles outside are a nice touch. Come for the day or stay overnight; complimentary breakfast is included with your guest room. 

Upon arrival at the Spring Resort and Day Spa, you’ll be greeted with a glass of chilled water and shown out to the tranquil garden area, where loungers relax around three thermal spring pools. These are some of the hottest naturally occurring waters in the area and consequently have higher concentrations of minerals. The resort offers upscale hotel and villa accommodations (many are poolside with mini-kitchens) as well as massage or other spa treatments, yoga classes, and cleansing treatments.

California’s version of the Kasbah lives at El Morocco Inn and Spa. Rooms all face the thermal pool and are richly decorated with jewel-colored fabrics and imported Moroccan furnishings to set the scene for a romantic desert hot spring experience. Charm your Valentine with an in-room bottle of bubbly and chocolate-covered strawberries, or choose from massages with names like the Pashas’ Pleasure, Marrakesh Melting, or Moroccan Rain. There’s a lovely complimentary breakfast buffet, and dates, figs, and other snacks are available all day. Play bocce ball, croquet, or giant chess in the spa garden, relax in the sauna or by the poolside fireplace, and enjoy happy hour with a “Morocco-tini” —they even have a hookah!

Ranked one of the Top 10 clothing-optional resorts in the world by TripAdvisor, the Living Waters Clothing-optional Spa is just that, so don’t go if you’re not comfortable being around mostly nude people. Their motto is “nude is not lewd,” and they go to great lengths to ensure that everyone is relaxed and respected as they sunbathe, swim, or soak. They offer two natural hot mineral water pools, nonsmoking rooms and condos, unique spa treatments and massage, couples massage workshops, morning breakfast, and afternoon hors d'oeuvres.

Total serenity and privacy: Two Bunch Palms. Back in my Los Angeles days I knew an ultra-successful TV producer and his wife, and this was their favorite place to de-stress (they had a G-IV and could go anywhere). Two Bunch Palms has been pampering visitors for over 70 years, and they’ve perfected serenity as an art. The waters, pools, spa, yoga, dining—it’s all perfection.

A stay at Two Bunch Palms infuses every moment with serenity. Photo courtesy Two Bunch Palms.

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Crista Worthy

Crista Videriksen Worthy

Crista Videriksen Worthy has been flying around the United States with her pilot-husband Fred and their children since 1995, and writing about fun places to fly since 2006. She has single-engine land and sea ratings. Her favorite places to explore are the backcountry strips of Idaho and Utah's red rock country. She currently lives in Idaho and serves as editor of The Flyline, the monthly publication of the Idaho Aviation Association. To suggest future destination articles, send an email to aopadestinations@gmail.com.
Topics: US Travel

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