While hot springs are known to be abundant in the American West, these natural thermal pools are much rarer in the country’s central and eastern states. While rare, a handful of hot springs are scattered throughout the country’s eastern destinations and reach as far as Massachusetts along the Atlantic Coast.
As one of the original 13 colonies, Massachusetts is more familiarly associated with its rich colonial history, professional sports teams, and its prestigious academic institutions. Still, The Bay State is filled with natural beauty and pristine locales, including a small selection of natural mineral springs for visitors to soothing their weary bones.
While no conventional hot spring is present in the state, Massachusetts is home to at least one known warm spring and several cold spring alternatives. Despite not boasting waters warm enough to be considered a hot spring, the thermal and cool water pools still feature high mineral concentrations. They are perfect for taking a healing dip throughout the summer.
From where to find the state’s only thermal pool to the best cold-water spring alternatives, this is everything you need to know about hot springs in Massachusetts.
List of Hot Springs in MA
Types of Natural Mineral Springs in Massachusetts
To be classified as a true hot spring, natural mineral pools must boast water temperatures that exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, Massachusetts has no such body of water. Yet, despite not having any real hot springs, Massachusetts is home to a diverse collection of natural pools, including a warm thermal spring boasting comfortable temperatures year-round.
Warm Water Springs
While Massachusetts does not boast a spring with temperatures high enough to be deemed a hot spring, it does have a warm spring. Although not as celebrated of an occurrence, warm springs are mineral pools that are naturally heated to temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit but that don’t exceed the hot spring threshold.
These warm springs offer a comfortable soaking experience featuring high mineral concentrations that provide a tranquil and relaxing swim as visitors float along their pristine surfaces. And, thanks to their natural warming processes, these springs maintain constant warm temperatures throughout the year and are accessible even through the cold winter months.
Massachusetts’ sole warm spring is the Sand Springs Pool & Recreation Center, found just outside of Williamstown in the state’s northeastern corner near the border of New Hampshire.
Cold Water Springs
Cold water springs may not be as alluring as a warm or hot spring, but they boast similarly naturally rich waters good for soothing aching muscles while also being much more accessible and widespread in Massachusetts than either thermal spring variety.
Accordingly, they are a fantastic alternative for visitors to the state unable to make the trek to Massachusetts’ warm springs but still want to soak in a high mineral natural spring. Unfortunately, since these pools do not experience any heating except the natural warming from the outside weather, cold water springs are only accessible during the warm summer months.
Despite this, many of these natural springs also occupy idyllically isolated settings in Massachusetts’ pristine countryside, best enjoyed during the summer when visitors can explore the local wildlife and plants.
Warm Springs in Massachusetts
Visitors to Massachusetts seeking the soothing comforts of a natural warm spring will have to venture into the state’s northeastern corner. Located in the Mountain Meadow Preserve just outside of Williamstown, near the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, is the only warm spring in the state — The Sand Springs Pool & Recreation Area.
Sand Springs Pool & Recreation Center
Massachusetts’ only warm spring is also one of the oldest natural spas in North America and has serviced guests to The Old Colony State for over 250 years.
The first recorded mention of the Sand Springs occurred in 1827 in a letter featured in the Pittsfield Sun, claiming that the natural spring’s healing properties had already attracted visitors for over a century.
However, despite this, the location has a history that predates this uncovering by western settlers by millennia and is believed to have been used by the Native Americans of the Five Nations long before colonialism reached American shores.
Over the past two centuries, the springs have passed between ownership and developed a wide array of onsite services and amenities for modern visitors. Along with dipping in the natural waters of the site’s-maintained pool, visitors enjoy onsite lodging, entertainment, and yard games.
Cold Water Springs in Massachusetts
Cold water springs offer a fantastic alternative to Massachusetts’ warm spring throughout the summer months and provide visitors with a soothing dip in high mineral waters while enjoying the natural scenery of some of the state’s more preserved corners.
They are the ideal option for spring-goers seeking to escape the crowds while enjoying the state’s countryside.
Located north of Bolton in the state’s eastern region, Bowers Springs is one of the most beautifully preserved natural pools in Massachusetts and presides in a conservation area that boasts plenty of pristine natural scenery.
Along with hosting the site’s eponymous pools, the Bower Springs Conservation Area features several miles of hiking trails that pass through a collection of ponds and grassy fields perfect for a summer afternoon of outdoor adventures.
While swimming in the springs is not permitted, the site is still a fantastic destination for escaping to the state’s more preserved corners while exploring its indigenous bird, plant, and animal species.
Lithia Springs Reservoir
The Lithia Springs Reservoir is another fantastic natural spring occupying one of Massachusetts’s most idyllic corners. Located in Skinner State Park, the spring requires a 2.5-mile out-and-back hike to access and is nestled in the verdant forests of the Holyoke Mountain Range.
Tucked away from civilization, the Lithia Springs Reservoir rewards hikers with a beautiful swimming hole surrounded by natural beauty. It provides for a calming swim as visitors float along the surface while spotting native flora and fauna species.
Another beautiful spring in Massachusetts, the Spring Pond has a history that dates back nearly four centuries and was used as a benchmark for dividing colonial townships in both 1669 and 1793.
Today the spring continues to serve as the dividing line of three historic cities, Lynn, Peabody, and Salem and is also one of the most celebrated natural springs in the state. The springs attract visitors from around the world and provide an exploration of the state’s countryside via its numerous hiking trails, campsites, and water activities.