Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort – Desert Hot Springs, California

Sam’s Family Spa is a true oasis in the desert.  This is a 50 acre RV campground that is centered around a large lake with lush gardens and lots of shade.  It’s been a family run and family oriented business since 1971.

Campsites at Sam’s (from

Desert Hot Springs is the lesser known cousin of Palm Springs, California.  Desert Hot Springs still retains its desert feel, even though it is a fairly large city.  The approach to Sam’s is no different; the roads are dun and dusty. Once you arrive at the grounds, the campsites retain that desert feel – ours had a large saguaro as well as some smaller desert plants, and we shared our RV site with a desert hare who seemed to accept our presence as a mild inconvenience.

The central feature of the RV park is the lake, complete with ducks and other wildlife.  It’s a true oasis, a very tranquil centerpiece and a nice change from the surrounding desert.  There are walking paths around the lake and a large well furnished rec hall.  There is a volleyball court and picnic tables.  And of course there are the springs.

The Lake at Sam’s (from

Outdoor soaking pool at Sam’s (via Yelp)

The spring water is pumped from deep underground Desert Hot Springs aquifer, and comes to the surface at about 105 F.  There are 5 soaking pools and another pool for smaller children, along with a sauna and a regular swimming pool. All the pools are clean and well maintained.  There were lots of times when we were the only ones in the pools so we found it very relaxing.  I really enjoyed listening to the birds singing while I soaked.  I moved from pool to pool, both indoors and out and soaked up the moisture of the oasis after a week in the desert dust.  The lushness at Sam’s is a really nice change from the desert.

Children are everywhere here and it is a great place for them to run around and enjoy the outdoors.  While we were here, we never felt crowded – there was lots of space and many different types of areas to relax in.  There is lots of shade at Sam’s so we didn’t have to worry about the desert sun, but we could step out of the shade to dry off instantly in the desert wind.

Sam’s is one of the best RV parks I’ve ever seen.  It has loads of activities and great hot springs pools in a lush desert setting.  There are very few well developed hot springs in California and I count this as a great place to stay for an extended period, and especially good for families.  Because of the layout of the springs and pools area, it’s one of the few places where a parent can have a relaxing soak while still keeping one eye on the children.  Check out Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort the next time you are in Desert Hot Springs!

Living Waters Spa Hotel

Jeff and Judy are your hosts at this “clothing-optional” hotel and spa. Jeff and Judy are naturists and massage therapists who found this perfect location to live their lifestyle. The site is completely private and gated, so it is very secure. You have to buzz to be let in and it is best if you call ahead to make sure there is someone to greet you.Displaying 20141112_093628.jpg

The spa consists of one swimming pool and one large jet pool. Both pools are fed by the Desert Hot Springs underground aquifer, which provides 105F water at the Living Waters well head. The jet pool is maintained at about 100F, while the swimming pool is in the high 80s.   You can spend all day in the pools, or lounging beside them in the warm desert sun. I spent a few days here working on my tan, lured by the excellent kitchen facilities. I was able to make all my own food while I was here, and never really felt the urge to leave the compound.

I spent most of my time on the pool deck, being buzzed by the resident hummingbirds. There are quite a few of them vying for territory around the bird feeder, so sometimes I felt I was in a mini war zone with mini jet fighters engaging in dog fights around my head!  It was fun – I’d never spent so much time with hummingbirds in my life, and they are truly beautiful up close.

There is a great view of Mount Jacinto from the pool deck. I loved watching its colours change from dawn to dusk, all oranges and pinks and purples.

Most bathers here bring a good book and spend the day relaxing and focusing on tranquility. The compound is not huge, so you are fairly limited to being in your room or on the pool deck. It forces one to relax! I went for hikes every morning in the nearby hills as my daily dose of activity. Living Waters is located close to downtown, so there are lots of services within a short drive.

The hotel consists of nine rooms with full, well equipped kitchens.   The rooms have only one entrance, the patio doors which open on to the pool deck, so be prepared for a certain lack of privacy. There is wifi, but there are no televisions, so it is very quiet and peaceful. After a few days the absence of electronic stimulation seems very strange, disconcerting even. There is nothing but you, the waters, the hummingbirds. Your mind focuses on small natural items or sensations. The focus here at Living Waters is very much on lifestyle, mindfulness and naturism. Shutting off and relaxing is the norm. Jeff and Judy also lay out a full breakfast every day and provide fun theme meals for special occasions such as Oktoberfest or Thanksgiving.

The day spa is open from 10:00 am to 5:00pm so during that time there are more people. In the evenings, there are only the hotel guests so it is very peaceful.


The mineral content of the spring water is:

Sulfate 493.60
Sodium 268.60
Bicarbonate 129.00
Chloride 120.50
Silica 46.4
Calcium 45.10
Fluoride 5.30
Magnesium 5.10
Iron Oxide – trace
Aluminum Oxide – trace
Barium – trace
Copper – trace
Manganese – trace
Total Dissolved Hardness 110mg/l
Calcium Hardness 144mg/l
ph (units) – 8.3
Specific Conductance (mphos) – 1803