The West may have an abundance of hot springs, but Midwesterners also can seek out soaking opportunities in their own backyards in places like the close-knit, rural town of Okawville, situated between St. Louis and Mt. Vernon.

Discovery of the healing waters happened when a man who owned a saddlery and harness shop became frustrated with his tin kettles repeatedly leaking. Testing revealed high mineral content in the water and medicinal qualities similar to those found at the famous Carlsbad Baths in Germany and well-known waters of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Making lemonade from lemons, the man teamed up with a local farmer who had worked in the baths in Baden Baden, Germany to establish a small bathhouse. A local hotel, with a history that dates back to 1867, features an indoor pool, restaurant, mineral spa and lodging.