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“Please can't this natural wonder be saved?”

Berkeley Springs State Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The park's natural spring is used for mineral baths and other therapeutic treatments.
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
44 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Please can't this natural wonder be saved?”
Reviewed March 7, 2009

Ever wonder what it might have been like to bathe with Jack Nicholson in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"? Well, you've got the image of our local Berkeley Spring State Park, which offers the ambience of a state mental hospital, circa 1958.

I first came to Berkeley Springs as a child in 1962. I can tell you the place ... has ... not ... changed ... since then, except for some minor cosmetic improvements in the main bath house (the pipes were rusting away) and the switching of the men's and women's sides of the bath house (West Virginia is still sex-segregated). It still maintains a distinct "institutional" atmosphere, right down to the bilious yellow and green tiles, cast-off grade school lockers, depressing interior lighting, and general shabby trappings throughout.

Sad, because improvements have been promised for years ... but they never appear. We've been hearing that renovation is "on the way" for at least the past decade. My most recent visit in March 2009 elicited the same response -- "yeah, the State's thinking about doing something." Unforgivable in a state with a budget that's a bit better off than most at the moment ... and a state that prides itself on its state park system. They can find the money here to build golf courses and lodges at other state parks, but fix the plumbing and lighting at Berkeley Springs? You're all wet!

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5 Thank LocalJackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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VA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Enjoyable soak...”
Reviewed March 3, 2009

For my husbands' birthday, we rented a cabin and stayed the weekend in Berkeley Springs, WV. Our first stop was a soak in the "roman baths" at the state park. I strongly recommend reservations, especially on the weekend, since after checking-in they appeared all booked up. Even though I read the baths were separated by sex, my husband & I were able to enjoy a private roman bath together. But no romance folks...this is after all a state park! Each "bath" is filled with HOT springs water. Nothing fancy...very "institutional." We were provided towels and cool water to drink. We changed into our suits in the bathing area. The water is HOT and very relaxing. And for $30, you can't beat the price. In fact, it was just too hot, and we checked-out before our 30 minutes was up. The baths are clean - all are emptied between uses. The park is old and could definitely use a face-lift, but for the price, the experience was well worth it. Bottom line - we will go again. If you get a chance, drive by the Berkeley Castle, eat at Tara's Cafe and check out a movie at the Star Theater. That's about it for entertainment in Berkeley Springs : )

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2 Thank LuvCider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washington, dc
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“No frills and not much privacy, either”
Reviewed February 25, 2009

I knew going in to this shower/massage treatment that it would be no frills. The almost hour long treatment was only costing me $45, and I'd read other reviews that said it wasn't fancy but was still enjoyable. After disrobing and wrapping myself in a towel that was about the size of a bath mat, I was shown to my "private" claw footed tub. The attendant helped me in to the tub and after a bit of fussing around, she put another towel over me in the water to cover myself with, then left. Then came back in, unannounced, then left, then came back in, again, unannounced, then left...it was just a bit too much for me to really lay back and just relax with this woman coming in and out - and the room is only "private" by means of a curtain, so in her breezing in and out, I'm sure quite a few other people had a view in as well. She was very friendly, though, I was just really not able to relax. Then I was led into another room for my massage, it was just one big room, they had turned all but one light off, and there were tables in little bricked off cubbies with a curtain that could be drawn, but they were all open, including cubbies where a massage was going on. The massage itself was fine, nothing fancy, but I also wasn't bruised the next day, so I enjoyed it. I was a little put off by having a massage out in the open like that, though. But again, the staff was nice. The facilities were very old, and like others have said in other reviews, there are no frills. It was an ok experience, but if I go back to Berkeley Springs (and chances are, I will, it's a great little mountain getaway from DC), I will splurge and go for one of the more expensive, higher-end spas in town.

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2 Thank lchansen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Centreville, Virginia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“interesting bath and massage”
Reviewed September 22, 2008

the state park is really cool, small but really nice to wade in or soak your feet. Ok now onto the massage and bath. The bath was very nice. Really hot water in my chamber, and I soaked for like 15 or 20 min. You sit in the chamber solo and there are railings around the chamber that you can hang onto to support yourself and be lazy :)

The massage wasn't the best I've ever had, but they do try. Its not bad. really oily, but thats ok i guess. I was at least relaxed afterwards. I'd recommend anyone to go at least once. Then try one of the other spas the next day as I did (Ataisa)

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2 Thank Phatsoundz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
250 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 430 helpful votes
“Aaaaahhhh ... Soak your troubles away!”
Reviewed March 23, 2008

First time visitor to Berkeley Springs State Park in March 08. I have to agree with previous reviewers here - and give it a thumbs up! Also agree that if you typically like expensive, chi-chi type spa facilities this may not be for you - but do consider trying it anyway. I think you will find it leaves you feeling just as good as a high-priced spa experience (maybe better, IMO) and leaves your wallet a lot heavier, too! What this is is essentially an old -style bath house. Clean, quiet and charming in an era-gone-by type of way. A little worn around the edges, but like a good pair of jeans - it shows the place has been used, loved and still serves its purpose. The attendants are very friendly, professional and no-nonsense - most are middle-aged mom types. They ask if you've been there before, and if not, they make sure they explain what you need to do every step of the way . Upon entry, you change in a curtained stall, wrap up in a sheet and put your clothes in a locker. Then it's in to the lovely large Victorian-style bathtub, in it's own curtained stall. The attendant discreetly helps you unwrap your sheet and makes sure you don't slip getting in. She then quickly provides you with a small towel which you cover your front part with while soaking, and then leaves the stall and closes the curtain. You then spend the next 30 minutes (or whatever you've purchased) enjoying the peace and quiet and the wonderful mineral water. They also give you a cold cup of it to drink while you soak. Afterwards the attendant reverses her assistance, holding up your sheet wrap for you, and then escorting you back to the massage area. The masseuse I had was very good - not a deep tissue massage but well worth it, especially after a good long soak. She was very discreet and keeps the sheet on any part of the body she is not working on. (Both the attendants and masseuses do accept tips so you may want to plan/budget accordingly. ) They do use an oil on you for your massage, and you can shower (in a single curtained stall) afterwards. Then it's back into your towel and into the locker room and dressing stall. I decided to give detailed description of how the process works, because I know some people might be reluctant to try this type of bathing experience due to fears or shyness. All I can say is don't let that stop you from a wonderful experience! At no point will you feel "exposed" in a public way. And if you've never been to a spa type experience, this is a good way to begin as the price is right. I will definitely be back here again - it's worth the hour and a half drive from the DC area. And as an added bonus, there is an outlet mall near Hagerstown so you can combine the Springs with a shopping excursion (prefereably before, so you can work all those shopping kinks out at the Springs!) A good trip for a girls day out. Reservations are highly recommended. Keep in mind that if you are interested in the roman bath (see photo) there are only one or two in the main building that has the masseuses. Across the park is another older building that has ONLY roman baths, and no other facilities.

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4 Thank TwoTravelersToG... A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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