Unwind At America's First Spa Ever In This Underrated, Mountainous State Park

If you're someone who loves to travel, has a passion for American history, and is always looking for relaxing moments to add to your itinerary, you're free to enjoy the best of it all at Berkeley Springs State Park. Located in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, this mountainous state park hosts a mineral spa on-site that's been popular among visitors going as far back as the Colonial era. While the mineral waters here are believed to have been important to native tribes long before settlers ever arrived in the area, the first time the springs were documented on a map was at the hand of Thomas Jefferson's father in 1747. At this time, the mineral springs were referred to as Medicine Springs due to the belief of many that the waters possessed healing properties.

In 1748, George Washington made his first visit to the springs and was so enamored with the destination that he continued to return time and again. Berkeley Springs was established as a town in 1776, the same year the Declaration of Independence was signed, further solidifying it as a place of historical significance for visitors. Today, Berkeley Springs State Park invites guests to continue to relax in a place where history is very much alive. The mineral waters remain at 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit year-round and are open for wading, soaking, or filling up drink containers. Doing so is refreshingly restorative, but also thrilling when you find yourself in the heart of the nation's very first spa.

Enjoy a rejuvenating journey to West Virginia

A highlight for many visitors making their way to Berkeley Springs State Park is time set aside to enjoy some well-deserved pampering at the main bathhouse and the historic Roman Bathhouse on-site. Found on South Washington Street, these welcoming destinations provide visitors access to whirlpools and soaking baths that are heated up to a toasty 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The walk-in Roman bath holds no less than 750 gallons of mineral water, while the mineral bath holds 150 gallons and is designed to include water jets as well. To take your relaxation experience to the next level, consider adding a 20-minute sauna session to your lineup.

Massage sessions, body treatments, and facials are also offered at the main bathhouse at Berkeley Springs State Park for those looking to maximize their rejuvenating visit. Soaks are typically reserved for 30 minutes at a time, and bath facilities can accommodate four adults. Add-on services offered on-site include hot stone treatments, cupping, and reflexology. It's always worth your while to check the spa specials offered at different times throughout the year before you arrive. These can include discounts on spa products or raffles for a chance to win a complimentary 30-minute bathhouse soak.

Mineral pools and museums to discover

In addition to time unwinding in the historic bathhouses, a trip to West Virginia's Berkeley Springs State Park can include a swim in the modern outdoor pool. Found right in the center of town, the pool opens on Memorial Dayeach year and is manned by lifeguards, making it a safe and family-friendly place to cool off when West Virginia temperatures rise. You will also want to bring a water bottle or jug along for the journey because the park hosts a tap available to guests looking to fill up on mineral spring water at no added cost.

Exploring the many outdoor mineral pools is an equally inspiring activity to enjoy during your Berkeley Springs State Park visit. According to West Virginia's Department of Tourism, there are five principal sources from which the springs originate and a collection of lesser ones that, combined, discharge around 2,000 gallons of water per minute. Outdoor mineral pools are named for famous patrons, with the George Washington tub being a common place for photos. Before you go, drop by the Museum of the Berkeley Springs, which is housed on the second level of the historic Roman Bathhouse. It's a great place to explore exhibits that speak to the history of the mineral springs, as well as how they were utilized by native tribes and settlers.