It’s just a coincidence that my family’s two favorite hot springs destinations are both named Fairmont Hot Springs.
Both have comfortable, and affordable, lodges for their guests. Both have large, clean pools filled with soothing hot mineral water. Both are extremely family friendly. Your vacation needs are covered either way, so you only have to decide if you want to grab your passport or not.
One of them is in Western Montana, while the other is in British Columbia, Canada.
The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in Montana sits by itself in a small valley three miles off I-90 near Butte. Its isolated location, plus the resort’s 500 acres, gives you a real sense of the wild, untamed west that the pioneers must have experienced. That is, if they were sitting in a hot tub with a strawberry daiquiri in one hand.
The resort has 153 rooms and suites, two full-service restaurants, a spa, an 18-hole golf course, and even a miniature golf course. But you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in the water. There are two Olympic-sized pools and two super-hot soaking pools. One of each inside, and one of each outside. The pools are open to resort guests 24 hours a day.
The outdoor pool features a 350-foot water slide, although it does cost extra to use. $10.50 for an all-day pass if you’re a guest of the resort. Fairmont Hot Springs is about three hours from Yellowstone National Park, and makes a good stop before or after geyser-watching.
Not far from the resort, and on the road to Yellowstone, is Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, one of the largest limestone caverns in the northwest. It’s a 90-minute guided walk for just $5. I highly recommend making time to stop here.
Okay, so Montana’s hot springs has it going on. But what about Canada?
The Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia, Canada, also sits in a valley, but at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, so the view is decidedly different from the Montana prairie.
But the water is just the same. Hot and therapeutic, just like you want. In 4 different pools, which are the largest odorless natural hot mineral pools in all of Canada! The resort has 140 rooms and suites, 7 full-service restaurants, a spa, three golf courses, and a ski area.
No slides to splash down, so Canada might just get the thumbs down from your kids when mulling over the two Fairmonts. However, if you ski, this is where you’ll want to be in the winter. There’s nothing like a rejuvenating soak after a day on the slopes.
Whatever season you go, there’s plenty to do in the surrounding area. Hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting. Name a mountain activity and you can do it there. Nearby is the small town of Invermere, where you can find a range of activities. Just don’t miss the ostrich farm.
This time of year, you just can’t beat a hot springs vacation for the whole family. Whichever Fairmont you choose, you’re going to love it.