For millennia, people around the globe plopped into natural hot springs to soothe their minds and bodies. Some claim the minerals in the water are a boon to one's health, while others note it's the steamy water that's so beneficial. Icelanders, who live on a volcanic island riddled with these natural "hot pots," as they call them, have a long tradition of regular soaks. In fact, some Icelanders claim that's why they have the world's longest life expectancy for men -- 81.2 years [source: World Health Organization].
Many of us head to a spa if we're looking to soak in a mineral-laden whirlpool or bath. Or journey to a town like Hot Springs, Arkansas, where an entire tourist trade is devoted to pricey soaks in its steamy natural resource. But finding your own real hot spring is more fun, and easier on the wallet. Plus, you'll enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of nature as you soak. It's not hard to find one; they're everywhere. Besides Iceland, hot springs are bubbling away near southern Tuscany's olive groves, tucked into British Columbia's pine-scented woods, on the New Zealand coast and steaming in pockets dotting California's Sierras, to name but a few sites [source: Coldwell]. Now grab your suit and go.