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June 28, 2023, 4:45 p.m.

Blue Ridge Day Trip: Hot Springs, NC

Hot Springs Photo by David Wilson

Since 1778, people from all over the region have flocked to the naturally formed spas in Hot Springs, NC. The mineral-rich spring water is renowned for its healing properties to reduce stress and fatigue, increase circulation and oxygen flow, and ease pain in joints and muscles. While a visit to the hot springs may be the focus of your travel plans, there are many other exciting hikes, sports, restaurants, and adventures to make for a perfect day trip.

Hot Springs Resort

Hot Springs Resort and Spa

The jewel of the town is the Hot Springs Resort and Spa, a 100-acre retreat along Spring Creek and the French Broad River. Enjoy the continuous flow of natural hot mineral waters in your own private experience.

Choose from a variety of options from the Standard Mineral Bath, which offers a private jetted tub, or a Deluxe Mineral Bath with enhanced privacy, creek-side views, extended deck area, and fans or heaters. Both are available in 1-hour time slots. Or select a Premium Mineral Bath for 2 or 4 people offering the same amenities as the Deluxe Mineral Baths, plus a seasonally appropriate fire bowl and an off-beach-style, mineral-water shower for 90 minutes.

Their Group Mineral Baths are perfect for families, girlfriend time, or anyone looking to enjoy a group-relaxation experience. Up to 7 people can soak privately by the hour.

If you want to stay overnight, choose from a room at the resort with its own private mineral bath or camp across the street at the Hot Springs Campground, which offers camping cabins, tent sites, and RV hookups.

Mineral bath appointments are available 7 days a week from 9 am to 9 pm. Special Note: The resort does not rent towels so make sure you bring your own.

Hikers in the Woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains


Located near the famous Appalachian Trail, Hot Springs offers a few of its own outstanding hikes. Max Patch is a popular trail that’s rated “easy” but with incomparable views.

Laurel River Trail is another hiker favorite. It has numerous opportunities to leave the trail for short distances that allow you to access the river. We suggest you pack a picnic lunch and spend a few hours soaking up the sun and cooling your feet beside the water’s edge.

If you’re visiting Hot Springs on a couple’s getaway, there is nothing more perfect than the Lover’s Leap Trail. It’s an easy, 1.6-mile trail that offers plenty of opportunity for stolen kisses made all the more romantic by the breathtaking views. It’s a beautiful spot to take those selfies of a lifetime.

Whitewater rafting on the French Broad River in Hot Springs N.C.

One-of-a-Kind Adventures

Fowler Farms Sporting Clays brings you an opportunity to engage in one of the fastest-growing sports in the US. Designed to imitate the challenging shots of hunting, clay shooting was founded in Great Britain in the 1920s to simulate the actual flight and behavior patterns of birds and rabbits. Today it is recognized as a tournament sport that offers a compassionate alternative to test your acumen and challenge yourself without bringing harm to actual animals.

For more adventure-sporting opportunities, try cycling near Hot Springs. With both excellent paved roads and off-road biking, Hot Springs has it all. For one of the best off-road experiences, you’ve got to hop on the 29-mile Meadow Fork Loop. It’s a well-kept trail with very little congestion, so you can experience the mountain beauty without a lot of other bikers crowding you. It even offers smaller segments if you want to cycle but still spend time doing the other cool things in Hot Springs.

For more outdoor adventures, look no further than French Broad Adventures. They’ve been giving visitors experiences of a lifetime for 41 years. Feel the thrill of whitewater rafting, ziplining, and canyoneering experiences from a perspective not many can claim.

For the utmost in one-of-a-kind experiences, visit Llamas of Hot Springs, where you can take a guided llama trekking tour. Learn about fascinating local history and commune with nature as you lead these magnificent animals along this Hot Springs eco-tour. If you can’t fit a trek into your day trip, you are still welcome to stop by and visit the llamas!

Big Pillow Brewing in Hot Springs

Arts and Eats

Wander through the Artisun Gallery & Café located in a historic hardware store built in the 1800s. Take in the local art scene of Hot Springs with artists and crafts people displaying their talents throughout the gallery. While there, visit their café for a smoothie, cappuccino, or a glass of Cabernet or indulge in some Ultimate Ice Cream to be enjoyed while relaxing in a comfy chair.

Try some of our other favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To get your day started, head over to the Smoky Mountain Diner for a hearty breakfast that will keep you fueled for the day. The Spring Creek Tavern and Inn is a great place to grab a local beer on tap and a wood-fired pizza. When you’re looking to finish your perfect day trip to Hot Springs, stop in at Big Pillow Brewing for a craft beer and some live entertainment. They also serve up tacos from Grey Eagle Tacqueria.