Hot Springs in Virginia

Kurt Norris
Last Updated: March 14th, 2024

Known for the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, dense verdant forests, and a history that dates back centuries to the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, Virginia is a popular tourist destination amongst nature lovers and history enthusiasts.

However, many visitors to the Mother of States don’t know that Virginia is also home to a small collection of hot springs. While hot springs are rare in the United States outside of the American West, Virginia boasts one of the most abundant collections of thermal pools on the eastern coast.

Whether visiting the Old Dominion to explore its rich and storied past or venturing into the state’s rugged terrains along one of its celebrated hiking trails, Virginia hot springs offer serene respites along a further exploration of the state and a calming oasis in which to soothe weary bones.

From primitive thermal pools tucked away in the state’s untouched corners to full-fledged historical resorts, this is everything you need to know about hot springs in Virginia.

Virginia Hot Spring Regions

Omni-Homestead-Architecture-Hotel

Virginia’s sole natural hot spring is located toward the state’s western border in a community that is aptly named Hot Springs. However, other thermal pools have also been uncovered in Warm Springs, north of Hot Springs, and in Fredericksburg in the state’s central regions.

Hot Springs

Named after the natural thermal pool phenomenon within the community, Hot Springs is home to the only hot spring resort in the state.

Like many presidents throughout history, visitors are invited to this celebrated destination to enjoy the luxury and opulence of the all-inclusive accommodation.

  • The Omni Homestead (Resort)

Warm Springs

Offering a more simplistic thermal pool experience, Warm Springs is located just north of the Hot Springs community and features thermal pools with water temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Surrounding the town are a collection of primitive and community pools engulfed by thick foliage and natural vistas.

  • Bolar Springs (Primitive)
  • Blowing Springs (Primitive)
  • Healing Springs (Primitive)
  • Jefferson Pools (Community)

Fredericksburg

The only other thermal pool in Virginia outside of the state’s Northwestern corner is located near the state’s center in Fredericksburg.

This warm spring features waters slightly cooler than others in the state but occupies a beautifully preserved corner of the state and provides plenty of outdoor adventures and opportunities to soak in mineral waters.

  • Alum Springs (Primitive)

The Most Popular Hot Springs in Virginia

The Omni Homestead Resort

Founded in 1766, The Omni Homestead has been Virginia’s premier hot spring destination for over 240 years.

Over the years, this luxurious resort has hosted several presidents and historical figures, including George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.

Omni-Homestead-Resort
Omni Homestead Resort via Thomas

However, long before European explorers uncovered the location, the hot springs were known as a popular site of rejuvenation by indigenous tribes for millennia, with evidence suggesting the springs were first visited 9,000 years ago.

The hot springs are fed from a source in the Allegheny Mountains and into two unique springs. Today’s visitors can enjoy the waters in the resort’s serenity garden or geothermal octagon pool.

However, the most historical way to embrace the waters is in The Gentleman’s Pool House. Built in 1761, the pool house is the facility that hosted many famous guests and is even considered the oldest spa structure in the U.S.

Beyond their world-famous hot springs, The Omni Homestead Resort features many onsite services and amenities, including an extensive spa facility, onsite fine dining restaurants, an entire water park, and luxury accommodation options.

Jefferson Pools

Named after Thomas Jefferson who frequented the site in his old age, the Jefferson Pools are technically a part of The Omni Homestead Resort complex.

Still, they are actually located about 6 miles north of the main facility in the nearby community of Warm Springs.

Warm-Springs-Virginia-Jefferson-Pool
Virginia Jefferson Pool via diane jones

While there are several primitive springs found throughout the Warm Springs region, the Jefferson Pools offer the most historical and maintained submersion experience.

Upon arrival at the site, visitors will find simple amenities, including a wooden bathhouse deck that leads into crystal-clear waters.

Alum Springs

Averaging year-round temperatures of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the Alum Springs are slightly cooler than other thermal pools found in the state.

Nevertheless, these primitive springs are some of the most beautiful in the Mother of States and are well worth the venture into its preserved corners.

Protected as the Alum Springs Park, this thermal pool features 34 acres of thick foliage riddled with local wildlife and additional amenities.

Along with enjoying the soothing waters of the spring, visitors can engage the park’s onsite picnic shelter and tables, playground equipment, and grill area for an exciting afternoon with the family.

Types of Hot Springs in Virginia

Hot-Springs-Virginia

There is one real hot spring destination in Virginia. This means that only one natural water source in the state features temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, several other thermal spring sites in the state feature temperatures just below the threshold required to be designated a hot spring.

Primitive Hot Springs

Primitive hot springs and thermal pools are the most natural variety of the phenomenon in the state. They occupy undeveloped corners and feature no onsite build-up or amenities. They exist much as they had in the area since their first formation many centuries ago.

However, the reason these sites have not been developed is primarily due to the fact that they are typically isolated within the state’s countryside, far from any nearby communities. As such, they tend to require long or arduous hikes to access, making finally soaking in their healing mineral waters even more rewarding.

Additionally, these unregulated sites are often free to access, making them the most budget-friendly hot spring variety for visitors to submerge in.

With that said, their unkept nature also means the pools undergo no maintenance, and visitors should be wary of slippery rocks, local wildlife, and other dangers in the region.

Community Pools and Hot Spring Spas

Featuring only basic amenities that typically include bathrooms, changing rooms, and maintained pools, community hot springs are often rustic facilities that provide a safe and comfortable soaking experience while retaining the simple authenticities of a traditional hot spring.

While these facilities are typically rustic complexes that only feature basic amenities, community springs can also feature additional comforts and services, including onsite spas for an enhanced soaked.

While these small thermal pool facilities and spas are accompanied by admission and service fees, they are also the best way to enjoy an authentic Virginia hot spring while embracing the maintained facilities and safety amenities.

Hot Spring Resorts

Visitors to Virginia seeking a luxurious hot spring immersion will want to book accommodation at the state’s hot spring resort.

While the state used to feature a small collection of these historical and opulent hot spring options, only one of these resorts continues to operate.

Still, The Omni Homestead continues to provide visitors with an all-in-one vacation package, including luxurious accommodations, onsite dining facilities, and several diverse soaking options.

About The Author

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. He began his professional writing career while in school as a sports journalist. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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