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The 7 Shocking Sins of Soaking in Hot Springs

Soaking in hot springs can feel heavenly, but there are some deadly sins that you need to avoid. Failing to do so could land you in hot water in more ways than one.

Thermal pools offering an angelic experience are all across the country. They’re great for soothing your aching muscles and tired bones.

Today, we’re sharing our seven deadly sins of soaking in hot springs. So grab your swimsuit and…

Let’s dive in!

Photograph of man relaxing in a hot spring. Avoid sinning in a hot spring so that others can enjoy it too.
Avoid sinning in a hot spring so that others can enjoy it too.

About the Sins of Soaking in Hot Springs

When taking a dip, it’s important to show common courtesy to others. Private establishments will typically post and enforce their rules and expectations. Unfortunately, the policies may not be as evident if you head out to a public area. Be mindful and respectful no matter where you’re bathing.

One major conflict that often occurs at these spots is concerning clothing. Some locations are a bit more liberal when it comes to public nudity. 

Many pools in national forests or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands allow nudity. Even if an area allows it, keeping a cover-up nearby is a good idea.

In general, being a decent and respectful human being will go a long way. Embrace the serene and natural environments. Avoid blasting your favorite Spotify playlist and causing a scene. People flock to these areas to relax, not hear Taylor Swift tell them to “shake it off.”

#1 Peeing in the Hot Springs

Sitting in a warm body of water can put your bladder to the test. However, fight the urge to answer nature’s call. At least when you relieve yourself in a swimming pool, the chlorine and other cleaning components clean it. Unfortunately, natural areas don’t have these sophisticated systems.

Peeing can introduce bacteria and other contaminants to the environment. Eventually, this could cause a health hazard and impact the fragile ecosystem. Respect your fellow guests and nature by using the restroom before you enter the pool.

#2 Bringing Glass Containers

Another deadly hot springs sin to avoid is bringing glass containers. Some of our favorite beverages come in glass containers. Unfortunately, this means that we leave them behind when visiting these locations.

While that beverage may taste great on your lips, a piece of broken glass piercing your foot won’t. Cleaning up all the glass shards when someone accidentally drops a drink can be challenging. Some popular areas have closed due to the potential dangers. Don’t be the person who ruins it for others. 

No matter what you’re drinking, stick with plastic or aluminum to help ensure the area remains safe for everyone to enjoy.

You can camp at some hot springs: 10 Awesome Hot Springs with RV Parks On Site.

#3 Getting Intoxicated

Speaking of adult beverages, be mindful of how much you’re consuming. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, but things can get out of hand quickly when alcohol enters the picture. Stay hydrated and keep food in your stomach. Otherwise, the booze might hit you harder.

Alcohol and outdoor activities are typically two things that don’t mix. In our experience, this often leads to less than intelligent and irrational decisions. It can cause balance issues, which make walking on uneven and slippery surfaces even more dangerous. A trip to the local emergency room is likely not how you want to remember the day.

#4 Smoking in the Hot Springs

No matter how you feel about smoking, a hot spring isn’t the place to light up. People come for the natural environment, not to smell burning tobacco or any other plant you want to smoke.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy these things. However, we are encouraging you to be considerate. You don’t want to ruin it for others. Step away from the area or ensure your smoke doesn’t blow in their direction.

Not all hot springs are good for you: How Many People Have Fallen Into Yellowstone’s Deadly Hot Springs?

#5 Bringing Your Dog

We’ve seen people bring their dogs with them to some fascinating places, including thermal pools. However, we resisted the urge to tell them they were breaking one of the seven deadly sins of soaking in hot springs.

Keeping dogs away protects them and other humans. Dogs typically have an average temperature of 101.0 to 102.5°F. The increased temperatures may be too much for them to handle. In addition, nobody wants to deal with pet waste, hair, or anything that finds its way into their fur. While it can be difficult, leave Fido at home or in a safer location.

Snow Monkeys soaking in a Japanese hot spring. Snow Monkeys might enjoy hot springs, but it's typically a sin to bring your dog.
Snow Monkeys in Japan might enjoy hot springs, but it’s typically a sin to bring your dog.

#6 Bathing in the Hot Springs

Bring a rubber ducky or your favorite bath toys, but leave the soap and shampoo behind. This isn’t the time or place to lather up and cleanse yourself. While the products may be safe for your hair and skin, they’re bad for plants and animals. They can have negative impacts on the ecosystem.

Do you want to dive into somebody else’s bath water? Likely not. In the same accord, other people don’t want to soak in your suds. Save the Head and Shoulders for home and avoid committing one of the deadly sins of soaking in hot springs.

#7 Leaving Trash Behind

If you bring it, take it with you. Nobody wants to visit an Instagram-worthy location only to find it trashed. Since many springs are on public land, officials are responsible for protecting them. Misuse typically results in restricting access or completely closing the site. Neither of these benefits the public, but they’re effective measures for nature.

Unfortunately, even if you are responsible, others might not be. Pick up the slack from others who aren’t considerate when necessary. Even if it doesn’t belong to you, take any trash you see lying around. Help keep the area clean and reduce the chances of it being unavailable.

These regional detailed guides to hot springs can help you plan your trip: Touring Hot Springs.

Don’t Be a Hot Springs Sinner

You’ll eventually see someone commit one of the seven deadly sins of soaking in hot springs. When that time comes, extend grace as much as possible. However, there are times when you’ll need to step in or report behavior to authorities.

For those of you who are guilty, we ask that you repent. Commit to shunning these behaviors and protecting the environment and your fellow bathers. Let’s all soak in harmony with each other and nature!

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