Chena Hot Springs Resort operates a big indoor pool and handsome outdoor wading lake, all of it constantly replenished by pungent mineral spring water that rises from the earth at about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The facility has authentic Gold Rush roots and was already a premier destination for Alaska’s Interior by 1912, with people traveling by stage from Fairbanks. It remains a remarkable place to visit—probably the most accessible and popular hot springs in the state—with a reputation for open-air aurora viewing during winter. The resort includes a campground, cabins and rooms to rent, a popular restaurant, tours of all kinds and an indoor museum fashioned from 1,000 tons of ice. It’s also a snap to visit as a day trip from Fairbanks.
Indoors you’ll find a hot tub and a heated pool. The boulder-lined outdoor lake is handicapped accessible and restricted to adults. Its sandy bottom makes for comfortable walking, and patrons often stroll around until they find the Goldilocks sweet spot (not too hot, not too cold) for their soak.