Wine Country Swimming Fun at Morton's Warm Springs
July 29, 2011Posted by pamela |
Looking for a great family day trip this summer? Try heading to the Wine Country town of Glen Ellen for a day of swimming fun at Morton's Warm Springs Resort. Morton's Warm Springs is a family resort famous for its three geothermally heated pools filled with natural mineral water. Long thought to have healing benefits, these spring waters have lent their name to numerous communities in the Sonoma area, including Boyes Hot Springs, Agua Caliente, and Fetters Hot Springs.
Morton's Warm Springs is one of those places that looks like it's been around forever. It fact, it's been a Sonoma Valley institution for about a century, and has been run by the Morton family since 1946. Morton's truly has that old-school atmosphere that will probably take you back to your childhood. After all, who didn't spend time at a place like this? At Morton's you feel like you've stepped back into a simpler, carefree time. With its three pools, sprawling lawns, and picnic areas, it's a great place to bring lunch, swim, relax, and soak in that rural Wine Country atmosphere.
If swimming isn't your thing, Morton's Warm Springs also offers games like bocce ball, horseshoes, ping pong, and volleyball, as well as a video arcade and spacious sports fields. There's a reasonably priced snack bar on site, too, serving up treats like snow cones, ice cream, hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, sodas, and more. There's even a gift shop stocking essentials like sunscreen, swim goggles, and squirt guns.
We spent the day there recently and had a great time swimming in the geothermally heated mineral pools—they're heated to about 85 degrees, and there's no chlorine to sting your eyes. The smallest pool is only a few inches deep, making it a perfect place for very young children to splash and play in the water. Another pool ranges from two to five feet in depth, which is ideal for beginning swimmers, and the third pool offers deeper water for adults and more advanced swimmers.
The children also had fun venturing down to Sonoma Creek, which runs through the property and provides yet another venue for splashing in the water. If you head down there, it's a good idea to have water shoes or Crocs to wear in the rocky creek. Most of the creek is about a foot deep or so, but there are some deeper areas for swimming.
Bring your lunch and picnic on the lawn or at one of their non-reserved picnic areas. Morton's Warm Springs also has over a dozen group picnic spots for with tables and BBQ grills, available by reservation, that are perfect for family reunions, school outings, company picnics, and other gatherings.
If you go
Morton's Warm Springs is located at 1651 Warm Springs Road, just north of Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley. It's about an hour's drive from Marin County. To get there, take Highway 101 to Highway 37 east, then turn off on Highway 121 near Infineon Raceway. Head north on Highway 121 (AKA Arnold Drive) and follow it for approximately 17 miles into Glen Ellen. In Glen Ellen, turn left onto Warm Springs Road and follow it for 3.3 miles until you reach Morton's Warm Springs.
There are two parking areas at Morton's, a free public lot across Sonoma Creek near the sports fields, and a $5 preferred parking lot right near the pools. The free lot involves a short walk to the pool area, so if you have a lot of stuff to carry and small children in tow the paid lot is an option to consider.
From June through August Morton's Warm Springs is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. It's also open in May and September on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 6 pm.
Admission to Morton's Warm Springs is $8 for adults and $7 for children 3–12 and seniors 60+. Chidren under 3 are free. They offer a summer special of only $5 per person every Wednesday. Season passes are available, too.
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and on-leash dogs are allowed everywhere but the pool area.
For more information or to reserve a picnic area, call Morton's Warm Springs at (707) 833-5511. You can also visit them online at www.mortonswarmsprings.com.