This is not your typical National Park! People from all over the country flocked here in the early 1900s to soak in the hot mineral baths, thought to cure multiple illnesses. Today, the vibe is more "quirky tourist attraction." Think Branson, MO meets an old mobster movie. The main strip of the park, Bathhouse Row, is lined with old buildings that are connected to the geothermal hot springs. You can't actually see the springs unless you visit one of the bathhouses. The former Fordyce Bathhouse is the visitor center and museum. Buckstaff Bathhouse is the most unique attraction: It's a park concessioner that offers group soaking pools or private soaks in the hot water. Make an appointment or show up early because time slots fill up fast. There are also multiple fountains around town to fill water bottles with water from the springs.
“prehistoric Native American quarries!”
Established from Hot Springs Reservation, Hot Springs National Park is a United States National Park in central Arkansas adjacent to the city of Hot Springs. Hot Springs Reservation was initially created by an act of the United States Congress on April 20, 1832, and the area was made a national park on March 4, 1921. It is the smallest national park by area in the United States. Since Hot Springs National Park is the oldest federal reserve, it was the first to receive its own US quarter in April 2010 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters series. The hot springs flow from the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain, part of the Ouachita Mountain range. In the park, the hot springs have not been preserved in their unaltered state as natural surface phenomena. They have instead been managed to conserve the production of uncontaminated hot water for public use. The mountains within the park are also managed within this conservation philosophy in order to preserve the hydrological system that feeds the springs. People have used the hot spring water in therapeutic baths for more than two hundred years to treat rheumatism and other ailments. While it was a reservation, the area developed into a well-known resort nicknamed The American Spa that attracted not only the wealthy but indigent health seekers from around the world as well. The park includes portions of downtown Hot Springs, making it one of the most easily visited national parks. There are numerous hiking trails and camping areas. Bathing in spring water is available in approved facilities at extra cost. The entire Bathhouse Row area is a National Historic Landmark District that contains the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in North America, including many outstanding examples of Gilded Age architecture. The row's Fordyce Bathhouse serves as the park's visitor center; the Buckstaff and Quapaw are currently the only facilities still operating as bathhouses. Other buildings of the row are currently in various states of interior restoration or are used in other capacities. The park has become increasingly popular in recent years, and recorded over 1.5 million visitors in 2003, as well as nearly 2.5 million non-recreational visitors.
Agree with comment above . The park is not your typical one it is on the town you can tour a bath house and see a few springs. Ok for adults my kids were boref
Please note this National Park is basically a square in the middle of town, connected to a bunch of gardens on top of it. Totally worth the visit, but dont let your gps lead you to the wrong destination.
I was driving in circles till i gave up and went to town for a walk. Then, wallah! The sign shocked me in the moddle of the city.
Very charming!!! Definitely worth a visit. Gorgeous old houses, a place of luxury that has sort of gone to seed, which is sort of fascinating. Everyone who works there was lovely. We went for an hour on our way through Arkansas and it was so worth it
First, park downtown to walk through the visitor's center. We learned a lot and saw some unusual things! Then, walk or drive a little farther to explore the "nature" part of the park. Make time for a spa treatment! We ended up loving it, but the area was congested/touristy, and navigating the area and the best way to explore the hot spring and park was confusing.
Follow the free parking sign to the lot. Come out, cross the street, and head left to the visitor center. We spent most of our time hiking, taking pictures of the various fountains, & visiting the tower & we thought it was great. Didn't actually visit the bath houses. ;-)
This tourist area was just a beautiful walk and shop! Shopped as much as we gazed upon history and beauty! Could have spent all afternoon there. Allow more time than you thought you needed.
I enjoyed the history of this park, particularly the link to Major League Baseball. We toured the park, went up the lookout tower, and toured the visitor center bathhouse. Then we drove to all the baseball sites. There are signs at all the spots in town with a phone number you can call to get short lectures on the significance of the spot. We really enjoyed doing that.
Make sure you do your research before tripping here, as it seems a lot of people expect natural hot springs in a wilderness setting. Instead, it consists of a row of bath houses utilized in the early 20th century, set in the midst of this bustling town. The bathhouses themselves are architecturally unique and the tours are quite interesting if you're into history. There are nature hikes that will take you to the actual hot springs if that's more your speed. I greatly enjoyed the few hours we spent here, and would definitely recommend the stop, even if you're just tripping through AR and want to stretch your legs.
I loved my road trip to Hot Springs NP! I love the history of the park and how the town essentially built up around the park. Stayed at the historic Arlington hotel right across the street from the National Park and walking distance to Bathhouse Row. Wonderful for history buffs and National Park seekers.
Great. So different .
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Hot Springs National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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Good for bird watching, educational opportunities, and 6 more activities. Has a Scenic vibe.
Credit Cards Accepted
- National park
Campground, Parking, Dining