There’s something about a two-month RV road trip and all the hijinks that come with that that has me thinking, I could use a spa day. Maybe it’s driving a 26,000-pound vehicle for seven thousand miles past North America’s largest lake. Maybe it’s the oppressive humidity of the south. Or maybe it’s all those puppy farts. The best day spas in North America are out there scattered through small towns and suburbs. But which are the best of the best?
Maybe it’s the open road or maybe it’s the motorhome full of puppy farts but by week five of our road trip I was ready to hit up one of the best day spas in North America. Or maybe it’s just that I kind of adore relaxing spa days! They are something I get to enjoy so very few times a year.
Even if you are not on a cross-country motorhome trip, here come the holidays and stress can be a thing! Don’t you need a relaxing spa day before your relatives show up, you cook for thirty people and your artist brother clogs up the toilet again? We really need a different holiday family tradition…
I hail from a rural mountain town in a ski village where we don’t have a wonderful day spa. If I want to sauna and jacuzzi my best choice is to drive two hours to the nearest metropolis near me. So I don’t get a chance to open up my pores in the infrared sauna very often.
Jjimjilbang. If you are not naked you’re just not having fun
When it comes to a spa destination, Korean day spas are my favorite. They have the best selection of different rooms for relaxation. They are no frills, not fancy but they give me a nice selection of spa goodness from different saunas to infrared selections to red clay rooms. But be forewarned, Korean day spas are not for the modest. If you are not okay with letting it all hangout, you might just want to put on your best Tory Burch one-piece and high-tail it to the Marriott with the other yuppies. But if you truly are looking to experience the best day spas in North America, you have to be ready to Jjijilbang and let it all hang out.
Don’t feel like showering away all your smelly American filth before you Jijimjibang? Then no spa for you! No seriously, someone will definitely yell at you, perhaps in a foreign language if you don’t follow the bathhouse rules.
Jjimjilbang is a Korean cultural bathhouse. The Korean word Jjimjil basically means to heat. And yes it could also mean to roast all that naked and don’t you dare complain about all the different rules involved!
A traditional Jjimjilbang is open twenty-four hours a day, so yes, some people actually sleep in them but here in the U.S. that is not usually allowed, at least in the ones I have visited. Although at my favorite Korean day spa in Irvine California, I could totally fall asleep in the infrared red jade ballroom. I’m lucky when I do venture out into the city of Los Angeles two hours from where I live, there are multiple awesome Jjimjilbang spas for me to find my zen.
So I have to say, I do live in southern California so most of these awesome day spas are in southern California. But hey now, also So Cali just has so many amazing day spas! If you are planning a trip to southern California this winter, OMG Becky, you have to take your butt to one of these awesome day spas!
The best of Southern California day spas
If you happen to be anywhere in southern California, oh man do we have some awesome Jijimjibangs! Check out Irvine Spa, yes in Irvine California. They have such a nice jacuzzi area. It’s so zen and they also have a cold shower, an ice room and a fire room and so much more. PS. The last time I was there, I was literally the only one in the parking lot not in a Tesla. That’s how you can tell it’s a great day spa, right?
If you are anywhere near southern California (Fullerton) or Las Vegas then Imperial Health Spa is the very best. They have so many different rooms. I adore the ice room and the red clay ball room. Their saunas are always so amazingly hot. I like to get there right when they open and they are not busy yet. Their salt scrub is so refreshing for my body and I swear that it is so much cheaper than any other Jijimjibang around. Why on earth would you even go to Disneyland ten miles down the clogged southern California freeways when you can find so much zen at Imperial Healthy Spa?
Aside from Korean day spas, my favorite So Cali spa is Glen Ivy. Well, Glen Ivy is basically just one of the best day spas in North America, like ever. But you do have to fight Los Angeles suburb traffic to get there. Glen Ivy’s slogan is your wellness experience awaits and truer words were never spoken. If you love a gorgeous outdoor spa experience then Glen Ivy near Corona, California delivers. Glen Ivy is so pleasant on a nice eighty-degree southern California day. Their outdoor pool selection is so relaxing you feel like you have entered Eden. Make sure you go on a weekday because they can be crazy busy on weekends! They have an amazing red mud experience (That is obviously so photo-worthy!) Their underground grotto is just a lovely experience for your entire body. Seriously, if you are visiting southern California anytime in the spring, this is the outdoor spa to experience. They are pricier than any other spa I like to visit but so worth it for your zen.
A little road trip from southern California up seaside Highway 1 is the lovely ocean-side hamlet of San Luis Obispo. In general SLO (As it’s known here in So Cali) is one of my favorite southern California getaways. And one of those reasons is for sure the outdoor private jacuzzis that Sycamore Springs Mineral Resort has to offer. This has to be one of the best day spas in North America. And that is because their outdoor jacuzzis are just so unique and relaxing under the sycamore trees. They however do not have showers or changing rooms.
Best Day spas north of the border
So you are finding yourself north of the border. What are the day spa options like in Canada, you may be asking? If you are looking for the best day spas in North America, you might want to head to Canada. If you are on holiday in Toronto you really have to brave the crazy traffic and drive straight to I Love Sauna. This is the best Jijimjibang in Toronto with multiple rooms and saunas for relaxation. Their ice room is epic, especially during those hot and humid Toronto summers. Can I just stay all day?
Health by Water
If I Love Sauna is not your thing, check out Body Blitz Spa and their awesome twenty-five-minute salt scrub. It’s very reasonably priced at just $120. (For a Canadian spa this is well-priced) They are located near Kensington Market near downtown. Body Blitz has so many different options; Hot epson salt pool, eucalyptus pool, infrared sauna and cold plunge pool. On Tuesdays, it’s only $68 for a day pass!
Is there anything truly that makes you feel healthier than a morning at the spa followed by a juice cleanse and then maybe a colonic? Oh shit, colonics are not your thing? Well anyway, Elm Spa in Toronto has a fantastic day pass. All that miserable Toronto traffic and maybe you took a twenty-five dollar toll road by mistake, might have you on holiday in Mississauga and needing some eucalyptus stream room quality time. Girl, go to the spa! In the two weeks I spent in Toronto, all that GTA miserable traffic had me needing to recenter myself with some zen. I found some of it at these fantastic day spas. And some of it was found in nature, on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Saratoga Springs. Health. Humidity. Hot Springs Horses.
Saratoga Springs New York is known for its scenic racecourse which every summer hosts the most expensive racehorses in America. And after you spend a day sweating and day-drinking at “The Spa” You can go sweat out all that booze at one of the best day spas on the East Coast.
Seriously, if you are anywhere near upstate New York, take my advice and take the waters at Saratoga Springs. If you are on a quest to discover the best day spas in North America, upstate New York is the place for you.
My family and I spent four days in the middle of July camping at this scenic yet extremely humid lake at Saratoga this summertime. Unfortunately, we had a God-awful snafu checking into this ass-backward campground so I lost the three hours of our holiday, I meant to be taking the waters in Saratoga! The humidity was extremely intense in upstate New York when we visited last summer. Yes, this Californian is a big baby when it comes to humidity. Yes, I felt like I was sweating in a day spa while on holiday in Saratoga Springs!
Did we mention the humidity? Yeah, Saratoga is so amazing for so many reasons, but good God, that east coast humidity in the summertime is just God-awful. After a few days in the humidity of upstate New York, it was time to head southwest, and fast.
Take me to (The) Spa in Sante Fe
Eventually, we drove back west from Canada and the east coast to a part of the country that was so less humid and did not actually feel like a sauna. New Mexico is well known for its health spas. If you are traveling through New Mexico, oh God, ignore Albuquerque I mean unless you are into meth. Get the hell out of Albuquerque so fast and high-tail it to Santa Fe for some spa time!
Ojo Santa Fe is the day spa to make you forget about everything you briefly saw in Albuquerque. They have the largest saltwater pool in New Mexico, private pools and private soaking tubs. What more can you ask for? Well just wait until you check out Betty’s Bath. I mean for just thirty dollars you can soak in your own private tub for thirty minutes! Betty has some great rates if you need to soak your body after all that New Mexico hiking or possibly running away from the real-life Breaking Bad shenanigans you saw unfolding all over NM.
Ten Thousand Waves is a great zen-like Japanese Spa just outside of Santa Fe. This unique resort was inspired by the Japanese mountain forest resorts. The Grand Bath is their close relative to a Japanese Onsen. (And the only one in America) This area is only for resort guests and massage guests. It has a large outdoor pool, multiple saunas and a cold plunge pool. It is so worth it to stay at this resort for a few days if you are traveling through Santa Fe! They also offer a private soaking tub at a very reasonable rate and it has its own changing room and showers included.
The further west you head across this great county of ours, the better hot springs you can find. Obviously Palm Desert is well known for taking the waters. Desert Hot Springs is the less fancy area on the
outskirts of Palm Desert. If you are looking for a great inexpensive soak then check out Miracle Spring Resort and Spa. This is one of my favorite mostly outdoor spas in southern California. Do yourself a favor and go during the super bloom in the desert in April! A touch of offroading to photograph fields of yellow and then an afternoon soak at the pool, what more could you ask for?
Temecula California is known for three things; Wine, golf and spa resorts. Temecula South Coast has a little bit of that but what I love best is their day spa! I visited this last easter right after they opened for the day. I splurged and got a pedicure (which came with a free glass of champagne!) I sipped on my champagne by the outdoor jacuzzi and I was the only one in the little grotto area for hours. It was simply heavenly!
There are so many unique day spas to choose from all over North America. Do yourself a (Relaxing) favor and check a few out some time soon!