Slates Hot Springs (Esalen Institute) – Big Sur, California

Nestled in the breathtaking Big Sur region of Monterey County, California, lies a hidden gem known as Slate’s Hot Springs. This natural oasis has been revered for centuries by the Esselen people, and is now a popular retreat center for those seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, and relief from physical ailments.

With its mineral-rich hot springs, stunning ocean views, and top-notch amenities, Slate’s Hot Springs is the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo retreat, this magical spot has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll delve into the rich history of Slate’s Hot Springs, explore its many health and wellness offerings, and provide all the details you need to plan your own visit to this wonderful spot.


Slate’s Hot Springs has a rich history dating back to the Esselen people, who used the natural hot springs for healing and spiritual purification. In the late 1800s, the land was patented by Thomas B. Slate and became known as the Estate of Michael. Today, the private ranch is open to the public and offers cabin rentals, guest rooms, and vacation homes for those looking to experience the magic of the hot springs.

Soak and Relax in the Natural Hot Springs

Slates Hot Springs (Esalen) – Big Sur, California
Slates (Esalen) Hot Springs – Big Sur, California

One of the main draws of Slate’s Hot Springs is, of course, the natural hot springs themselves. Fed by mineral-rich water that flows up from the earth, these hot springs are a source of relaxation and rejuvenation for visitors. The retreat center has several larger pools and a hot tub for soaking, as well as a swimming pool for those looking for a more traditional water experience. The water temperature is just right for a relaxing soak, and credit cards are accepted for convenience. There are also changing rooms and a couple of other conveniences on-site.

The hot springs offer stunning ocean views and are the perfect spot to relax and unwind after a day of exploring the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to soak in the hot tub, take a dip in the swimming pool, or simply relax by the side of the pool, there is something for everyone at Slate’s Hot Springs. The retreat center is open year-round and offers the opportunity to soak in the hot springs both during the day and at night, under the stars.

Amenities and accommodation

Slates Hot Springs Vacation Rentals & Homes
Slates Hot Springs Vacation Rentals & Homes

For those looking for a more private experience, there are cabin rentals available, both on the upper level and lower level of the property. These cozy cabins offer much space and privacy, and come equipped with all the home comforts you need for a comfortable stay. There is also an open studio available for rent, perfect for a romantic getaway or a solo retreat. The retreat center is open year-round and is easily accessible from the California State Highway, making it a convenient destination for those in the coastal regions of the United States.

In addition to the natural beauty of the hot springs and surrounding area, the retreat center also offers a range of handy amenities for guests. These include an art barn, a search bar for finding activities and attractions in the area, an alarm clock for waking up to the sounds of nature, and a DVD player for a cozy movie night in. There is also a price range to suit different budgets, and the retreat center is an ideal base for a day trip or a longer stay in the Big Sur region.

The retreat center is just a couple hours’ drive from San Jose and Los Angeles, making it an easily accessible destination for those in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. It is located north-northwest of Lopez Point, near the Ventana Wilderness and the Santa Lucia Mountains. The retreat center is situated on private land, but the surrounding area is home to public land and natural attractions such as the Point Lobos State Reserve, McWay Falls, and the Pine Ridge Trail.

Activities for health and wellness

Yoga session by Esalen Institute
Yoga session by Esalen Institute

In addition to the natural healing properties of the hot springs, Slate’s Hot Springs also offers a range of health and wellness services through its partnership with the Esalen Institute. Founded by physician Dr. Michael Murphy and physician Dr. Henry Cloyd Murphy, the institute is a renowned retreat center offering yoga workshops, meditation, massage, and other holistic practices. Visitors to Slate’s Hot Springs can take advantage of these offerings on the outdoor massage deck, in the meditation hut, or in the privacy of their own vacation home.

Bottom line

Easily accessible from the California State Highway, Slates Hot Springs is the perfect base for exploring all that the Big Sur region has to offer. With it’s stunning ocean views, comfortable accommodations, and top-notch health and wellness services, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo retreat.

We editors at have nominated a list of the best hot springs in California. Our list has taken into account factors such as quality of the water, accessibility, and surrounding scenery. Each of these hot springs has something unique to offer and is sure to be an enjoyable experience that you won’t soon forget. From the mineral-rich waters of the therapeutic Borax Hot Spring in Death Valley to the stunning beauty of the Merced River at Yosemite Hot Springs, the choices are endless.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing soak or a scenic view, you can find it in one of the many hot springs in California. These hot springs offer a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and provide a chance to unwind and reconnect with nature. So, make sure to check out our list of the best hot springs in California and enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the warmth of the sun.

Local information

Address: 3375 Wilbur Springs Rd, Williams, California 95987
GPS: 39.038898,-122.420844
Phone: 530-473-2306
Season: Year-round
Clothing: Optional in the pool area, required around the resort


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Local information

Address: 55000 CA-1, Big Sur, California 93920
GPS: 36.1266,-121.640132
Phone: 888-837-2536
Season: Year-round