If you are looking for a long weekend getaway, read on to see a detailed 3-day Itinerary at Hot Springs, AR. This little town is less than an hour away from the state capital. It has the perfect landscape of lush green mountains and gorgeous weather all year around. Nestled in the Ouachita Mountain range, Hot Springs has steam from the 47 natural hot springs that pours from the street vents and floats out much like a light fog rolling across the road. Nicknamed “The American Spa,” Hot Springs National Park today surrounds the north end of the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Brief history of Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs gets its name from the naturally thermal spring waters found here. Flowing out of the ground at an average temperature of 143 °F, the hot springs produce almost one million gallons of water each day. Hot Springs National Park has a long and colorful history, beginning long before its designation as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832. 3,000 years ago Native Americans who discovered Hot Springs named it “Valley of the Vapors“. Thermal waters to help you heal and relax.
Getting to Hot Springs
Hot Springs is a beautiful town and the drive from all directions is very rewarding. Since you will be passing mountainous terrain, there might be temporary drop in mobile network, so make sure you know at least the main highways you will be taking. The closest airport is Memorial Field (HOT) and most of the flights are quite cheap, depending on the season of the year.
If you are traveling from the West, make sure to stop by at Texarkana. The town is split between the two states (hence the name Texas+Arkansas). Make a slight detour and stop at the city’s post office for a fun photo-op. Slightly ahead after Texarkana, visit President Bill Clinton’s hometown at Hope, Arkansas.
Where to stay in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Options are plenty near the downtown area but I do urge you to look slightly further away from the city. I find hotels extremely restricting when traveling with families. Kids need space, and so do the adults!
We lived in a gorgeous home by the lake in Hot Springs Village which was a good 20 minute drive from “the strip”. Book AirBnB or VRBO like we did.
3-day itinerary – Hot Springs, Arkansas
The Day you get to Hot Springs, make sure to absorb the surroundings. Enjoy the fresh air and friendly people.
Drive to Lake Ouchita
Relax at the Marina
Relax by the pool at Desoto Marina or one of the many spots at Lake Hamilton
You need to experience what Hot Springs is most famous for. Grab someone and get a mineral bath at the Buckstaff Bathhouse. We were originally booked for the bath experience at The Arlington Hotel. But when we landed up at our appointment time, we were told that there would be a wait time of 30-60 minutes. We were like, no thanks!
We walked into Buckstaff Bathhouse and got into the experience almost immediately (even though it was a long weekend!). The entire experience was BRILLIANT. I highly recommend to just take the most basic mineral bath – it has a lot of value add ons which is a great welcome. My sister and I enjoyed about 2 hours out here. Mind you, the water is extremely hot and it is not everyone’s cup of tea! But it is genuinely very soothing. The associates make you feel extremely comfortable and explain every step of the experience. This is a definite MUST DO!
Get an hour-long duck ride right from Central Avenue. The guide will share some historical facts and interesting insights of the city.
Hot Springs National Park
Spend half a day at the Hot springs National park. There is a lot to do here including going up the mountain tower. The view is breathtaking and the experience is like no other. You can easily spend a couple of days here!
Lake Catherine State Park
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Lake Catherine state park
Anthony Chapel & Garvan gardens
You can easily spend half a day at Anthony Chapel and Garvan Gardens. There is a gorgeous trail and peacocks hang around here and there. Make sure to check the timings before you go
Enjoy a game of Golf at one of the many resorts.
Get your Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines
Walk of Fame
Remnants of the city’s notorious past can still be found inside The Gangster Museum of America, located in downtown Hot Springs. The museum features classic relics, including old roulette tables, vintage slot machines, Madden and Capone exhibits, weapons, and a documentary in the museum’s theater.
- Stroll around the town and enjoy the Quapaw murals
- Official guided tours
- Visit the Aquarium, Alligator farm
- Shop for handcrafted soaps and souvenirs
- Haunted tours
- Central Theatre
- Hot Springs Baseball Trail
What to eat in Hot Springs
Here are some great options for food that we tried:
- Angel’s Italian
- Phil’s Family restaurant
- Ronaldo’s Restaurante
- Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery
- The Ohio Club
- Cafe 1217
Hope you enjoyed this post on Hot Springs, Arkansas. Check out other travel ideas in the US.
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