The minute you park your RV and set foot on the dry, sandy soil of Death Valley you can’t help but feel parched. As the lowest and driest point on the North American continent, this land of extremes instantly wrings every drop of moisture from your body. Ironically just a few miles beyond the national park boundaries, a small cluster of the best natural hot springs in Southern California and Nevada are waiting to re-hydrate you.
Nevada has more hot springs pools than any other state in the nation, giving soaking enthusiasts a huge spectrum of choices. Like any place lucky enough to have geothermal activity, Nevada’s natural hot springs come in a variety of flavors. Travel around the state in pursuit of soaks and you’ll find everything from steaming, muddy holes in the ground to posh swimming pools at high end health resorts.
Most natural hot springs accessible to the public fall somewhere in the middle, like those found in and around Death Valley. Some of the most conveniently located hot springs near Las Vegas and Death Valley also happen to be great RV getaways.
Camp and Soak in Beatty, Nevada
When you’ve had enough of the glitz and glam of Vegas, point your RV northwest to the dusty little historic mining town of Beatty. Located about one hour south of Tonopah along Highway 95, Bailey’s Hot Springs is an adorable little tie-dye hippie RV resort with a peaceful vibe right out of 1975.
For just $20 a night you’ll get bare bones full hookups and great wifi – but that’s not why you come here. The major draw to this park is the unlimited hot springs soaking for guests. The park has three rustic but private, gravel-bottom pools located just steps away from the campsites. From mild to hot, Bailey’s gives soakers three different soaking temperatures suitable for any time of year.
You’ll find some supplies and fuel in Beatty, but the savvy RVer will come prepared with everything needed for comfort.
Take an Authentic Escape in Tecopa
The chaos and crowds of Southern California is bound to get to you sooner or later. When it does, just point your rig east on Interstate 10. Then exit at Baker and head north to Tecopa on Highway 127.
You’ll feel like you landed on another planet when you trek through the Mojave Desert and arrive in town. On the surface it looks like a typical, small tourist spot. You’ll see a few hearty year-rounders who run the hot springs resorts located on every block and a loyal group of RVers who camp all winter in Tecopa’s RV parks, giving locals plenty of business.
Scratch beneath the surface however and you’ll see that unlike other tourist towns that promise a variety of amenities and attractions, Tecopa doesn’t need to go there. In a land so remote that cell phones and the Internet don’t work, in a place where gas and groceries are non-existent and visitors have to bring their own drinking water, there’s just one why reason everyone visits Tecopa: world famous hot mineral water.
Balneologists, those who study hot mineral springs water, agree that Tecopa’s water quality is among the best on the planet. From the low sulfur, high sulfate alkaline water most people find relaxing and luxurious, to the therapeutic effects like pain relief and relaxation, these experts agree that Tecopa hot springs are ideal for soaking.
Tecopa has many options for RVers. The most highly rated are Delights Hot Springs Resort and Peterson’s Tecopa Palms RV Park. Both feature soaking pools with natural hot mineral water piped in from underground.
If a more rustic setting is your wish, a local soaking spot known as “The Wild Tub” sits on BLM land where free overnight camping is allowed. Just ask around for directions and any local will tell you how to find the spot. Visit in your tow vehicle first, since the soil around the Wild Tub can get soft.
You’ll want to visit Tecopa in the cooler months, since average summer temperatures hover in the triple-digit range. Don’t forget to fill up your fresh water tank before arriving, since Tecopa’s mineral rich water is unsuitable for drinking or your RV’s plumbing system.
Do you have your own favorite hot springs destinations in Southern California and Nevada? Let us know, we’d love to hear about them!
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.