RV Park Rating – Sam’s Family Spa (Desert Hot Springs, CA)

Hiking with Polly in the space behind Sam’s Spa

A quirky park with simply fabulous hot mineral pools in Desert Hot Springs, South-Central CA

Note/ Review updated as of last stay Dec 2014

Link to park here: Sam’s Family Spa
Link to map location here: Sam’s Family Spa

  1. Site quality = 3.5/5
    We’re in the desert here, so these are basic gravel/dirt sites. Reasonably sized and nicely landscaped with palm trees/oleander bushes & hillside views all around. All sites offer 50Amp/water/sewer (just upgraded 2012) with concrete pad “sitting area” and picnic table. Biggest dings are sites are mostly open (no real privacy between sites) and are rather uneven with some requiring quite a bit of levelling. Also water pressure runs low here. It’s open seating so you chose your site on arrival. Sites at back of the park (furthest from the spa) tend to fill up last on busy family week-ends, so if you’re looking for more space & quiet park your rig there.
  2. Facilities = 4/5
    The campground just upgraded the RV site bathrooms this year (2012) so facilities are looking much, much nicer. Bathrooms are in somewhat dated buildings, but showers are large individual stalls with attractive new tile and good temperature & pressure. All are kept nicely clean. The spa bathrooms are lovely with modern tile and fancy “raindisc” shower heads.
  3. Amenities = 4.5/5
    The amenities are what make this park special, especially the spa area. There is a good-sized main pool with lounge chairs, separate kiddie pool, 4 huge natural mineral hot pools, relaxing waterfalls, small lake, grassy picnic area, and even a modern sauna + steam-room, all beautifully landscaped. This is most definitely the highlight of the park. Decent working WiFi throughout the park but you need to pay for it (only ding). Full-sized and very modern laundry, plus a small general store available at the office.
  4. Location = 3.5/5
    You’re somewhat out in the boonies with this park. You’re not that close to Palm Springs (~30 mins), or to Joshua Tree (~40 mins), but within easy reach of downtown Desert Hot Springs and reasonable driving distance to the rest. All the major stores are in the surrounding area, but still need to take a little drive to get there.
  5. Pet friendliness = 5/5
    Great area for doggie.There is a small grassy fenced-in dog area inside the park which is OK, but the real draw is access to miles of open land for dog-walking & hiking all around the park. Open desert can be reached from either the front or back gate entrance, and longer walks can be done all the way to the mountains. Relaxed and friendly about pets in general.

 Overall rating = 4.1
 4 gorgeous natural mineral pools for soaking within crawling distance of your RV

Summary: This ia a quirky park, albeit a little in the middle of no-where. Half the park is RV sites and the other permanent mobile homes.  The sites are quite basic -> open sand/gravel pads which are rather uneven (some require levellers!), but separation is decent, the landscaping quite nice and you have pretty mountain views all around the park. What makes this place exceptional is the pool/spa area. There are 4 huge mineral pools of varying temperatures surrounded by a beautifully landscaped spa area with water-falls, playground, lovely showers, steam-room & sauna. This is a family spa so it can get very busy on week-ends and holidays, but tends to be rather quiet inbetween. Snowbird season (Jan-Mar) can also be busy. Daily rate ($50) is way more than we usually like to pay, but the monthly rate ($540) is an absolute deal, plus you can extend indefinitely (pro-rated) after the month is up and continue to get unlimited spa access. Lots of space all around the park to hike and explore the hills, plus you are within reasonable driving distance of Salton Sea, Johsua Tree and Palm Springs with associated sights and shops. If you’re looking for a relaxed park with fabulous pools this is the definitely spot. We’ve come her 3 years in a row and will most definitely be back again.

Extra Info: Verizon just installed new cell towers (2012) and now offer 4G signal in the area (yeah!). Snowbird tower overloading sometimes slows it down on peak week-ends, but otherwise the signal is decent. On-site Tengo Internet works ok, but you need to pay for it. Sites cost $50/night (daily rate), $300 (weekly rate), $540+elec (winter monthly rate) -> all rates include unlimited spa access.

The RV sites at the park…basic sand, but not bad
C-20121202 Sams Spa (3) Site 159 (JPG)
View of back row. RV on right in site #159
Another "row" view. Our RV on right in site#196
Another “row” view. Our RV on right in site#196
C-20121202 Sams Spa2 (1) (JPG)
Another “row” view. RV in right in #206
C-20121202 Sams Spa (7) Site152 (JPG)
View of site near mobile home area. #152 shown w/ mobile homes in back.
View near entrance of park (RV in site #237)
View near entrance of park (RV in site #237)
C-20121202 Sams Spa (1) (JPG)
View of “sitting area”. Concrete pad with picnic table.
View of the main pool area
C-20121202 Sams Spa2 (3) (JPG)
View of kiddie pool
The info chart for the 4 mineral pools at the spa
The mineral pools…absolutely awesome!
C-20121202 Sams Spa2 (2) (JPG)
View of on-site doggie run
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. libertatemamo says

    Reblogged this on Wheeling It and commented:

    A quick update on my park review for Sam’s Family Spa. This is our 3rd time here so we definitely like it. The ownership is super-friendly and they keep making small upgrades to the park every year, plus the mineral pools are ever-fabulous so it remains one of our fav spots in the area. It’s not fancy, but a relaxed and enjoyable place to spend a month spa’ing in the desert.

  2. says

    We stayed across the street at Caliente Hot Springs April
    of 2012. Unfortunatley I chose an exposed site on the outer
    perimeter. The wind was terrible half the time we were there. It
    was so bad we had to put our slides in. Didn’t you have the same
    problem at Sam’s?

    • libertatemamo says

      Surprisingly the sites here seem to be pretty protected. We DO feel the wind, but less than most of the other parks in the area. Not sure why, but it might have to do w/ the direction the sites are facing (east/west) & the landscaping. I’ve had several people visit during high winds & mention they are much weaker here than wherever they are parked.

  3. Marty jouett says

    Really enjoy reading of your travels. Wife and I arevtryingnto make the big decision to retire once and for all. Probably the biggest decision of our lives! Thanks for some interesting and nice reads.

    Marty & Donna

  4. Kathy Parker says

    Considering we are in cold , snowy weather here in Pa., your description of this park makes me want to hope into our Bird and join you! Alas it will have to wait a year. How far in advance do you need to make a reservation? I know you probably book one year for the next. Anyway, enjoy… I am very envious!! lol Merry Christmas!

    • libertatemamo says

      Sam’s does not accept bookings or reservations for monthly spots. You just show up and log in. So, we don’t book ahead here at all. We just come whenever we feel like it.



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