Hot Springs Soak Off Highway 5
Mercey Hot Springs is a small no-frills resort where people have been "taking the waters" for more than a hundred years. I'd seen the sign for it plenty of times on drives between the Bay Area and Los Angeles
(the turn-off is about a 150 miles south of Sacramento on Highway 5) and finally took the plunge this past summer. The resort is 13 miles off the 5, nestled among the soft rolling hills and very quiet. Accommodations include five campsites (all shady; it can get steaming hot during the summer), an RV camping area, six small cabins and two Airstream trailers. Therapeutic hot tubs (read: outdoor bathtubs) ring one side of the pool area, which also contains a small mineral-water pool and a sauna. One note of caution: Be sure to bring your own water for cooking and making coffee.