Advice about Visiting Hot Springs

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Is there life after Harbin?

April 2016

I know I'm not alone in mourning the loss of Harbin Hot Springs. It was our (my husband's and my) favorite place for a quick vacation on the rare occasions when we can get away without the kids. We found it so completely relaxing, such a true break from our regular life. Lounging around in the warm pool, going for hikes, going to the excellent yoga classes, eating the simple but tasty food in the dining room, sitting on the big pillows and watching movies in the little theater...if you asked me to describe my ideal setup for a short vacation, it would be pretty much exactly like Harbin.

So, what now? We are not interested in the hot springs resorts that require you to bring your own food (e.g., Wilbur) or that don't have nice, big warm pools (e.g., Vichy). We haven't tried the one that's north of Lake Tahoe, but I gather that one's also rather 'rustic,' as well as being farther away. And although we have enjoyed Calistoga Inn & Spa for family trips with the kids, we much prefer the clothes-optional, more adult atmosphere at Harbin when we're on a romantic getaway.

We don't necessarily *have* to stay at a hot springs resort, so we're open to other suggestions that would allow us to truly relax and get away from it all (without requiring too much driving). Where should we go? Missing Harbin

I feel your pain! Let us know what you come up with. I'm considering paying a lot more and trying Wilbur or Orr. Anonymous

Although pricy, Esalen in Big Sur is a Harbin-esque type facility. Always gorgeous, very adult, delicious food much of which is grown on-site, and classes - movement,music, arts and crafts. anon

Hot springs with kids?

March 2015

Hello. We'd love to take our kids (9, 7, 3) to a place with hot springs. They are relatively loud and we aren't prudes, but would prefer a place that isn't all naked all the time. Have you taken your kids to a family friendly hot springs? Either a place with accommodations or an area where you can go for the day and stay near by. Ideally no more than 3 hours from bay area. If you have a suggestion, we'd love to hear it. We aren't native to the area so would love the insider scoop. Susan

This article mentions some non-nude hot springs resorts:

Hot Springs sans nudity

May 2010

Hi All, I'm looking for a hot spring vacation in the 1 to 4 hour driving range from Berkeley. I am also interested in looking for one that is NOT a nudist event. I'm not judging what others want to do, it's just not how I want to spend a vacation. Thanks! need a soak!

[Moderator's Note - Calistoga has lots of places like this.]

The Sonoma Mission Inn has a really nice warm spring pool and a lot of spa amenities. It's a pricey, elegant place for special occasions. The spas at Calistoga may vary, so check around - some are clothing-required, some not.