Often times when we say we are going to go on vacation, we end up doing something work related while we are “relaxing” away from work. Raise your hand if this is you…

When do we get to take time for ourselves and our family when the mantra that we all usually live by is “there just aren’t enough hours in the day?” We talk about putting family first and how nice it would be to actually have a minute to ourselves. There is scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of taking a vacation, and even more research that shows why choosing nature as your vacation is even better for you. Here are just some of the reasons why vacationing in nature could be a more relaxing choice for you.

Potential Health Benefits of Vacationing in Nature

vacationing in natureThere have been countless medical and mental health professional publications that include studies surrounding the health benefits of taking a vacation or even a short break from work life to decompress from the daily stressors that come with adulting. Those who have taken this time have shown a significant decrease in stress, anxiety, and heart disease. These individuals also showed increased productivity, improved quality of life, and higher instances of accomplishing set goals. This all sounds good right? What if I told you that this could get even better with just one small step… adding nature as part of your vacation planning.

Although there are many benefits of incorporating nature as a core component of your next vacation, there are some top reasons researchers have found that could be impacted with this one small step.

1. Improvement in Cognitive Functioning

taking a hike in natureDr. Gretchen Cara Daily, Director for the Center for Conservation Biology and a professor at Stanford University has done research on the effects nature can have on humans. In one of these tests, she measured the memory, stress, and creativity of participants both before and after walking through secluded wooded areas where nature was the only sounds surrounding the participants. Then, she followed the same individual before and after walking through urban environments. Dr. Daily’s data indicated a marked improvement in all areas for the participants after walking through a shaded tree-lined area.

2. More Restful Sleep

Some researchers have found that just walking or sitting outdoors and interacting with nature in evening hours boosts the brain’s natural production the sleep hormone, melatonin. This effect is amplified when you remove the constant distractions of electronics, city lights, and other hindrances to relaxation.

3. Can Walking in Nature Help Combat Depression?

natural geothermal poolsWould you believe that simply walking in nature daily can help combat depression up to 80% better than taking medication? Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School stated, “For some people it works as well as antidepressants…”

4. Improved Blood Oxygenation.

Patrick J. Drew, Huck Distinguished Associate Professor of Neural Engineering and Neurosurgery and associate director of the Penn State Neuroscience Institute explained, “Standard thought was that mammalian blood is always completely saturated with oxygen.” This is not actually true. Drew goes on to explain, “We know that people change breathing patterns when doing cognitive tasks… In the brain, increases in neural activity usually are accompanied by increase in blood flow.” Researchers found that instead of a drop in oxygenation when there was a decrease of blood flow, the driving factor for functioning was respiration to oxygenate blood. Being in nature and taking those deep breaths of fresh air not only helps detox your lungs, but can also increase the oxygenation of your blood!

Soaking in Mineral Hot Springs for Relaxation

At Yellowstone Hot Springs, you will find yourself just far enough outside of town to be in nature while being close enough to town that groceries or dinner at a local restaurant are only a few minutes away. You could choose to stake your tent in one of the campgrounds at Yellowstone Hot Springs so you can enjoy rustic relaxation under the beautiful Montana stars. If you prefer your dose of nature with more comfort, feel free to pull up in your RV to glamp in style at our RV sites right next to YHS. Your outdoor experience might include a day trip through Yellowstone National Park, and then a nice relaxing soak in geothermal mineral pools at Yellowstone Hot Springs. With so much nature and relaxation in one place, it is a great area to spend a weekend or take a vacation.


Disclaimer: At YHS we are not health professionals. While use of geothermal waters for traditional and typical advantages of refreshment, recreation and relaxation may support a healthy lifestyle, we make no claims of specific health benefits for anyone. These geothermal waters are not intended as a substitute for appropriate care by a licensed medical or health practitioner in the treatment or cure of any disease or condition.

When someone asks you if you want to get back to nature and enjoy camping and the great outdoors, most people would agree that one of the best places to explore is Montana. This is one of the reasons Yellowstone National Park has become one of the top attractions for individuals from all over the world. The beauty, serenity, and tranquility found in the Montana mountains is second to none. Whether you are an experienced camper, or you are just getting your feet wet with nature, there are some things that you will want to know as you plan your journey and set off on your expedition through the hills.

Hiking, Camping, or Traveling in Montana…Mind the Weather

tent camping with sun rays through cloudsAny local will tell you that you can never count on the weather here in Montana. I can’t count the number of times I have heard people say, “Oh it’s nice right now, but give it 5 minutes.” I use to think it was a joke until I experienced all four seasons in one day! That is a true story. This is why you will see most Montanans walking around with a jacket or sweatshirt tied around their waist. That being said, you should ensure that you always pack accordingly. Even if you come in the middle of August, you will want to make sure you have at least one warm outfit in case the sunny weather hides out for a few hours.

If you are one of those people who enjoy sleeping under the stars, or find comfort in a tent, then you will want to make sure that you include the following in your packing list:

  • Tent (you might choose a 3 or 4 season tent)
  • Sleeping Bag (comfort level of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less)
  • Camping Pillow
  • All Weather Backpack (if you plan on hiking)
  • Tarp
  • Lantern
  • Headlamp

Those of you who prefer a more “glamping” (hey, we’re not judging, we like comfort too) style of camping are welcome as well. There are lots of places you can inexpensively park your RV, camper, or trailer that will also give you access to some of the most beautiful scenery Montana has to offer. Although those of you who own one of these houses on wheels probably have the weatherization covered to stay warm and cozy at night, you will still want to be aware of the type of clothing that you bring in order to enjoy the nature around you. This brings us to our next point.

Planning Your Hiking and Camping Near Yellowstone National Park

camping in the woodsIf you are planning to thoroughly enjoy the Mountains, hills, trails, and hidden waterfalls you will undoubtedly find while scavenging through nature, what you bring and wear will be of the utmost of importance. I know I already mentioned that you will want to bring at least one warm outfit to Montana, no matter what time of year you are visiting. However, this is not the only thing you need to remember.

  • Pack for a range of temperatures.
  • Don’t forget your swimsuit… There are hidden lakes, beautiful waterfalls, inviting rivers, and even the unforgettable hot springs! You would not want to miss the once-in-a-lifetime experience of soaking in geothermal hot springs. There is nothing that compares…
  • Wicking layers for hikes will help keep you comfortable during the day while long underwear will keep you warm after dark.
  • “Plan for the conditions” is going to be a major theme here. If you are planning to go hiking, make sure to bring hiking appropriate footwear. I can tell you from an embarrassing bad experience that wearing sandals may not be the best choice if you are going to be scaling rocks up trails…
  • Bring extra socks… “Yes Mom, I know.” However, you will thank me. Your feet might become wet from walking through creeks, puddles, or just plain sweat. It will be much better for you if you can change your socks whether you are on the trail or just returning to camp. You will want your feet to stay dry and happy. 😊
  • Bring a hat to keep the sun from invading your exciting day. Nothing ruins a relaxing trip like getting a nice toasty sunburn on the first day of your vacation.

Backpacking and Packing for a Wilderness Hike

packing for a backpacking tripA backpack can be like a woman’s purse: full of many “necessary” treasures when you need them. So, what should your backpack hold in store for you on your adventure. You should make sure that you at least have the basic necessities listed here in order to ensure you are prepared for your wilderness encounters.

  • Sunscreen will allow you to enjoy your time hiking, soaking, or just hanging out without worrying about those pesky, possibly harmful, sun rays.
  • Insect repellent is a must if you do not want to become the next meal on the menu for mosquitoes…
  • It is always a good plan to carry a basic first aid kit with you where ever you go. Traveling for an outdoor paradise vacation is no exception. You can pick up a small first aid kit at most stores, or you could be creative and put your own together.
  • Hiking/walking poles are optional, but may provide you with more stability while you’re traveling those winding nature trails.
  • If you are one that likes to memorialize your special moments with photographs, this would be the perfect time to bring your camera. You never know what little critters you may meet, breath taking views that await around the next bend, or the amazing wild life that might greet you. You will want to share those incredible memories with friends and family.
  • Bring a journal with a mapped route of your plans, a compass, a Swiss Army Knife, and a flashlight. You never want to lose your way in the woods right?
  • What is the number one thing that your backpack treasure should contain??? WATER. People will get so into what they are doing, the sights they are taking in, and the friends that they are sharing this special time with, and they will forget to drink water. Dehydration is no fun for anyone. Remember to take plenty of water so you can stay hydrated.

winter pools photo at YHSPlanning your next exciting journey takes a lot of time and energy. But when your full plan comes to fruition and you have the unique opportunity to take in the beauty Montana has to offer, all of your troubles while planning would have been completely worth it.

There is one place that has everything you need and more to enjoy nature, be close enough to town to get anything you may need, and is the most amazing set up for all of you outdoorsy people. To be a part of this perfection and have the experience of a lifetime, come out to Yellowstone Hot Springs. It has an idyllic set up. Did you know that Yellowstone Hot Springs has a campground? We now offer RV/Camper hook-ups for the glamping family, and then there are also tent spaces for those star gazers. And if the location was not stunning enough as it is, you also have the chance to relax in the geothermal hot springs right next to where you will lay your head down at night. What could be more perfect?

Soaking in mineral hot springs can have benefits for skin and relaxation. Pop quiz… List the first 10 minerals that come to mind that are essential for your body’s growth, development, and health… Go…

throwing mineralsWhew. I know that was tough, but I can simplify some of this for you. According to Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Linus Pauling, “you can trace every health ailment to a mineral deficiency.” Often, people know of minerals, but they do not know the impact these elusive materials can have on everyday life. Let’s start with the basics.

Minerals & The Body

As you sit reading this, you are exerting energy. The constant and perfectly choreographed ballet that occurs within your body, even as you sleep and without your awareness, is all driven by energy. Minerals, by themselves, do not produce the energy that we are discussing. They are a vital block required for creating billions of chemical reactions throughout your body, which then allows the release of needed energy to do things as simple as blinking, breathing, walking, talking, etc.

If we accept the fundamental belief that energy is behind everything we do, and this energy is produced by the varying chemical reactions which naturally occur, then we can see the true value of the minerals our body needs for optimal healthy functioning. Approximately 4% of the human body mass is mineral based. Researchers have identified approximately 3800 minerals. Although some of these can be toxic to humans, the body recognizes 21 minerals as essential. Read more

bear soaking in poolThe idea of using geothermal pools of some kind for the purpose of relaxation, healing, recreation, or even cooking, is not a new concept. Civilizations have enjoyed the many benefits of geothermal pools since ancient times. Would you believe that the practice of utilizing natural thermal heat to release toxins has been dated back to the Neolithic Age. As nomadic tribes would travel from place to place, they would often seek reprieve from bitter or blustery cold by soaking in the various natural hot springs they would come across.

One of the earliest known “public baths” has been dated back to approximately 2500 BC in Mohenjo-Daro (present day Pakistan). Archeologists unearthed this treasure from the past in the early 1900s. This early discover did not provide a definitive peek into the uses of pools like this, and was believed to have been used in a temple due to the later links between religious beliefs and cleanliness. The Romans would later adopt the practice of “public bathing” in approximately 300 BC. This was a time for individuals to come together, relax and socialize, and re-energize after a long work week. Read more

Continuing our hot springs adventure from a couple weeks ago, here are several additional natural hot springs from around the world to add to your exploration list.

6 More Amazing Natural Hot Springs

# 3 – Khir Ganga Hot Springs, India

Beginning in the town of Barsheni, tucked away in the beautiful Parvati Valley, it takes a few hours of travel from there to arrive at the Kir Ganga hot springs. It’s well worth a little motivation needed to get to Khir Ganga, a field where legends say the Hindu god Shiva meditated for 3,000 years. Once you are able to bathe in the hot pools as while taking in surrounding sights of the Mountain ranges. There are 2 pools (separated for men and women) at the hot springs, in addition to an adjacent shrine to Shiva where Hindu faithful worship. Read more

Come Soak at Yellowstone Hot Springs This Weekend!

Sunday Soak at YHS

We are hosting a baroque music quartet this Sunday evening August 9, from 7 to 8 pm. Cost is free with Hot Springs admission. Baroque Music Montana will perform. See info and their website below.

Baroque Music Montana specializes in chamber music inspired by history. Made possible through a grant from The Juilliard School’s Alan D. Marks Center for Career Services and Entrepreneurship, the umbrella of Baroque Music Montana was founded in 2015 by Carrie Krause to provide a meaningful cultural institution of intimate, communicative, progressive performance for our vibrant community.

Baroque Music Montana Banner

Based in Bozeman, it provides a performance platform for both local artists and visiting professionals who have deeply invested in fruitful historical performance. We partner with many organizations around the state to serve Montana through outreach, house, and public concerts, and an annual Period Performance Workshop sponsored by the Bozeman Symphony.

So come join us for music and a relaxing soak this Sunday at YHS.

Performance hours:

Sunday, August 9, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm (weather permitting).