The Ultimate Guide to Hot Springs National Park

Gangsters, bathhouses, and mountains!

  • 43
  • 22:53
  • 1,108 mi
  • $170
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Created by MeganGilliland - September 3rd 2016

A National Park inside a city? Well, almost. The city of Hot Springs, Arkansas was founded right up against Hot Springs National Park (which happens to be the smallest National Park in America) to capitalize on the tourists coming to the area for a dip in the healing hot spring waters. Cy Young, John F. Kennedy, Billy Sunday, President Herbert Hoover, Helen Keller, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Frank & Jesse James, and Scarface himself, Al Capone, were among the celeb fans of the springs in Hot Springs, so a visit here will put you in fantastic company. It's definitely one of the more unique National Parks, loaded with fascinating history crammed into a tiny area.

Rockwall, Texas, United States

1
57mi 00h 57m
World-Famous Glass Bathrooms
4.5

100 Gilmer St, Sulphur Springs, TX, US

World-Famous Glass Bathrooms

1
2
161mi 02h 45m
Crater of Diamonds State Park
4.0

209 State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR, US

Crater of Diamonds State Park

2
Little Missouri Falls
4.0

Langley, AR, US

Little Missouri Falls

3
59mi 01h 17m
Hot Springs National Park
4.4

101 Reserve St, Hot Springs, AR, US

Hot Springs National Park

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Some tips for visiting Hot Springs National Park:

-Hot Springs National Park is small, but because it's developed, there's a lot to dig into here. The visitor center offers guided tours, so you can choose one that speaks to your interests and start from there. -There's no NPS parking, so find something along a street, in the garage a block off of Bathhouse Row, or in a private lot downtown. -You can taste the hot springs water at one of the spigots in the park. The National Parks Service has deemed it safe to drink, and even though in the past, the mineral water was considered "curative", the NPS doesn't make any guarantees that it's medicinal. Plus, it's free to drink! -You can also bathe in the mineral water at one of the bathhouses. A guide will take you through the traditional experience of visiting a bathhouse and make sure that you're totally relaxed and comfortable the whole time... and some places even offer optional massages!

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2mi 00h 07m

Hot Springs National Park, AR, US

Sunset Trail

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There’s still plenty of nature to explore in Hot Springs National Park, too. Hike part (or all) of Sunset Trail to get the full experience. It passes the park’s highest point, a peaceful pond, wildflower fields, wildlife and more. Hot Springs is also a prime destination for bird-watching- you can see cardinals, finches, wrens, eagles, hawks, chickadees, woodpeckers and much more.

5
4mi 00h 14m
Hot Springs Mountain Tower
4.0

401 Hot Springs Mountain Drive, Hot Springs, AR, US

Hot Springs Mountain Tower

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Located at the top of the park's Hot Springs Mountain, the Hot Springs Mountain Tower offers 360 degree views of the region. Hike up the mountain to the observation deck, or drive to the top to take in the views. There are some historical exhibits and a nice gift shop here in addition to the observation decks, so take your time exploring, and definitely consider taking the trail up. It starts right behind Bathhouse Row and it isn't too long... but it is a bit steep!

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2mi 00h 09m
Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery
4.0

329 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR, US

Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery

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Not only can you drink the hot springs water, you can also drink beer made with it, at Superior Bathhouse Brewery! Does that make the beer healthy? Maybe. Is their beer delicious? For sure. Plus, their brewery/taproom is located in a historic bathhouse. They offer everything from stouts to saisons to shandies, plus they have guests beers on tap and kombucha. Order a flight of beer, a meat and cheese plate, or a sandwich, and if you're with kids or non-beer drinkers, get them a glass of root beer, or something from their onsite gelato bar!

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0mi 00h 01m
Ohio Club
4.4

336 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR, US

Ohio Club

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Party like a mobster at the Ohio Club. Open since 1905, this bar offers live jazz and blues, a menu of solid pub grub, and endless history. Ask a bartender about the gangsters and athletes that gambled and boozed it up here back in the day.

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0mi 00h 00m
Hot Springs Haunted Tour
4.0

430 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR, US

Hot Springs Haunted Tour

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9
0mi 00h 01m
The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa
4.5

216 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR, US

The Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa

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If location is important to you when you're looking for a hotel, then you'll want to book a room at the Arlington Resort. It's smack dab in the middle of downtown/the park, and it oozes Jazz Age glamour, since it was built in 1924. The rooms are elegant, the lobby bar is renowned (and features live music on Friday and Saturday nights), and they have an onsite bathhouse!

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0mi 00h 03m
Bathhouse Row
4.5

202 Spring Street, Hot Springs, AR, US

Bathhouse Row

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There are 47 pools at Hot Springs, but the main attraction in the park is Bathhouse Row. The street is lined with old bathhouse buildings in a variety of architectural styles. Many have been turned into shops and spas. Stroll down the Grand Promenade behind Bathhouse row and dip your feet into one of the public fountains.

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0mi 00h 01m
Buckstaff Bath House
4.5

509 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR, US

Buckstaff Bath House

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Buckstaff Bathhouse is the only continuously operating bathhouse left in Hot Springs National Park. An hour-long traditional whirlpool mineral bath is only about $33, and is as classic as it comes. You can add on Swedish massages, moisturizing treatments, manis, pedis, or facials for an additional fee.

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0mi 00h 02m
Gangster Museum
4.0

510 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR, US

Gangster Museum

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Back in the day, Hot Springs attracted all sorts of people. The small town, Southerner locals mingled with sports stars, Hollywood greats, politicians, and even mobsters. The Gangster Museum is dedicated to the salacious history of the notorious mafioso greats who spent time here, including Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia, and Lucky Luciano, who was arrested and detained by Hot Springs police.

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17mi 00h 32m
Lake Ouachita State Park
4.5

5451 Mountain Pine Road, Mountain Pine, AR, US

Lake Ouachita State Park

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14
44mi 00h 57m
Scenic Highway 7
4.0

Arkansas, Ola, AR, US

Scenic Highway 7

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15
24mi 00h 34m
Petit Jean State Park
4.5

1285 Petit Jean Mountain Rd, Morrilton, AR, US

Petit Jean State Park

15
Mount Nebo State Park
4.5

16728 West State Hwy. 155, Dardanelle, AR, US

Mount Nebo State Park

75mi 01h 39m

Cowell, AR, US

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16mi 00h 30m

There's no bad time to visit Hot Springs National Park. Spring and summer are spectacular, with mild weather and less crowds, but summer is great for hiking and exploring as well. Keep in mind that Oawlawn Racetrack attracts huge crowds during races, and rates can spike. Winter isn't a bad time to visit (the springs are naturally warm, and Arkansas winters aren't intensely snowy or anything) either.