By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes
(MCT)—After winter’s chill, a dip in the hot springs could be just what the family ordered. Here are five to consider:
1. Thermopolis, Wyo.
The kids will love this Western town, home of the world’s largest hot spring. Gather the clan to swim, slide, soak and steam in the hot mineral water. Fly-fish on the nearby Big Horn River or head into the mountains to access smaller streams. Learn how paleontologists work, participate in a real dig or wander through the museum at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Keep your eye out for Stan, a towering, 41-foot tall Tyrannosaurus rex.
Contact: 1-877-864-3192; thermopolis.com
2. Hot Springs, Ark.
This area’s earliest settlers believed the local steaming pools had magical healing powers. In time, the town and the Hot Springs National Park grew up around the storied thermal waters. Stroll through the Bathhouse Row National Historic Landmark District and visit the Fordyce Bathhouse, now the welcome center that once included a bowling alley. Make time for several local museums, a water park and aquarium, and a scenic drive and picnic in the park. Junior Ranger badges are available.
Contact: nps.gov/hosp/index.htm; hotsprings.org
3. Glenwood Springs, Colo.
With the rugged Rocky Mountains as backdrop, royals, presidents and Ute Indians have dipped in these steamy pools to get respite from the rest of the world.
Two blocks long, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool complex includes a kiddie pool with fountains, a water slide and diving and therapy pools.
The miniature golf course, popular with families, crosses over bridges and by waterfalls. Later, step next door to the Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves for a natural sauna in rock caves. Spend the night in nearby hotel rooms that are geothermally heated.
Contact: 1-800-537-7946; hotspringspool.com
4. Truth or Consequences, N.M.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this town was once called Hot Springs, and the namesake waters still draw visitors today. A handful of small hotels welcome guests for an overnight stay or a dip for the day.
The Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa offers charming accommodations for those interested in sampling the hot springs or the region’s hiking, golf and art galleries.
Contact: sierragrandelodge.com; sierracountynewmexico.info
5. Chico Hot Springs; Emigrant, Mont.
The Chico Hot Springs Resort & Spa, located in Montana’s picturesque Paradise Valley, is known for its steaming springs, gourmet cuisine and proximity to a world-class recreation area that includes Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone River.
Cross into the park for a dip in the Boiling River, where natural hot tubs provide a unique experience. Stay in the historic main lodge or in larger family-style cabins.
Contact: 1-800-468-9232; chicohotsprings.com; youryellowstonevacation.com
©2014 The Dallas Morning News
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