“The Spa City – America’s First Resort”
Hot Springs, Arkansas, 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. It’s hard to tell exactly how long people have been visiting the springs. Native Americans called this area “the Valley of the Vapors,” and it was said to have been a neutral territory where all tribes could enjoy its healing waters in peace. Spanish and French settlers claimed the area in the mid-1500s. In fact, famous explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to visit Hot Springs in 1541. The hot springs were such a coveted natural wonder that in 1832, President Andrew Jackson designed Hot Springs as the first federal reservation. Hot Springs Reservation was essentially America’s first national park, predating Yellowstone National Park by 40 years.In just a decade, the area changed from a rough frontier town to an elegant spa city centered on a row of attractive Victorian-style bathhouses, the last ones completed in 1888. When Congress established the National Park Service, Hot Springs Reservation became Hot Springs National Park in 1921.
Really neat downtown area.
Lots of shops and restaurants on one long street. There is free parking in a garage that works well. Several interesting things to do. We spent a whole day just walking around and would have spent another if not for the rain.
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Downtown Hot Springs
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