An hours’ drive from Fairbanks, Alaska’s Chena Hot Springs Resort includes an indoor chlorinated pool for families and a natural-rock outdoor lake filled with pure hot spring mineral water for adults.
The site was first discovered by gold miners in 1905 and sits at the center of a 40-square-mile geothermal area. The spring waters have to be cooled before bathing; otherwise you’d be dipping into scolding 156° F waters. In winter, Chena is known for its Aurora Borealis displays, and the resort is also home to the Aurora Ice Museum and Ice Bar. The resort has 80 rooms for guests, a restaurant, lounge bar and an onsite cafe. In summer, the site is also a popular base for mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riding, and it’s also possible to go grayling fishing in the local streams.
A daily pass for the hot springs pools costs $15 for adults, and the pools are open from 7am-midnight. Visitors must be 18 or older to use the outdoor lake. To get to the resort, take the shuttle service available from Fairbanks.