Hot Springs National Park: You'll Wish You Were Here

  • Part of the National Park System Since 1832

    In 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside this area as a federal reservation, predating Yellowstone National Park by 40 years! While Hot Springs is the oldest national park (on paper) in the National Park system, Congress failed to pass any legislation for administering the site or giving it the official "national park" designation when that name came into being. As a result, the park lost its number one status in history, but definitely not in appeal to visitors who enjoy its charm and healing waters to this day. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Go Back in Time with a Stroll Through Historic Downtown

    No matter where you turn, you'll marvel at the 19th and early 20th-century architecture of the buildings that line the streets of Hot Springs. The city is home to several antique car clubs and, as a result, vintage vehicles often cruise down the main thoroughfare to add to the historic ambiance.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/Visit Hot Springs

  • Experience the Grandeur of Another Era

    The magnificent Bathhouse Row, part of the Hot Springs National Park, has been under meticulous, historically sensitive renovation for several decades. It consists of eight bathhouse buildings that were constructed between the years of 1892 and 1923, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1987. It's easy to get goosebumps as you stroll past these magnificent buildings that hark back to another moment in time.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Relive the Ultimate Spa Experience of the Last Century

    Built in 1915 as one of the most elaborate bathhouses in Hot Springs, The Fordyce Bathhouse now houses the national park visitor center and museum. For a look at how visitors "took the waters" back in the early 20th century, take a free tour of the building and learn about the bathing process, which included steam and hydroelectric therapy. In the basement, you can view Fordyce spring, the water source that supplied the thermal waters for the bathhouse for decades.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Immerse Yourself in a Historic Mineral Pool

    Quapaw Baths & Spa, a magnificent 1920s Spanish Colonial Revival building, was the first of the restored bathhouses to reopen as part of the National Park's leasing program. Said to contain one of the highest mineral contents of all the area springs, the Quapow offers four shared pools, each cooled to a slightly different temperature. These historic thermal springs are guaranteed to relieve your stress in one of the most picturesque venues you'll ever experience.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Flower Power

    Explore the beauty of Garvan Woodland Gardens, Arkansas' premier botanical garden, located on a peninsula on Lake Hamilton, a few miles outside of Hot Springs. Hike through paths lined with azaleas, tulips, magnolias and other flowering plants in season, and past waterfalls and picturesque stone bridges. Make a point to visit Anthony Chapel. a stunning 57-foot structure built with floor-to-ceiling windows and massive pine columns. If you have small children in tow, plan a visit to the Children's Adventure Garden, the Sugg Model Train Garden and the enchanting Fairy Garden.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Let's Move Outside

    "Let's Move Outside" – that's the motto of the national program of the National Park Service to promote activity in the outdoors. And Hot Springs National Park is the perfect place to put this in action. Choose among 27 miles of picturesque trails that weave through the national park, with incredible vistas, flora and fauna to enjoy along the way. 

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Hot Springs' Classical Bathhouse Row

    Each restored historical building along Hot Springs' majestic Bathhouse Row has its own charm. The neoclassical building of Buckstaff Bath House, completed in 1912, still offers steam cabinets and baths, massages and other treatments – just as spa visitors experienced in the early 20th century.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Drinking Water from the Source

    Residents and visitors alike, gallon-sized jugs in tow, still take advantage of the national park's public water filling stations located in various areas of town. The park certifies that the water is safe to drink and encourages visitors to "quaff the elixir," as was said in the heyday of the park's Golden Age. While the park doesn't claim the water is curative, it's a bet that its rich mineral content has some health benefits. In any event, where can you find such pure water, free of charge, on any of your travels? So grab a gallon jug and indulge!

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Hot Springs on Tap

    Speaking of pure water from the wells of Hot Springs National Park, the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery – the smallest of the remaining bathhouses on Bathhouse Row – is the only place in the world where you can taste beer brewed from thermal waters, right on site. It's also the only National Park that boasts its own brewery! A wide variety of custom brews are available, including a full lunch and dinner menu, offering seasonal cuisine incorporating food grown and produced by local farmers and artisans.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Dining Options: Served in Style

    From American to Mexican and Asian to Southern, Hot Springs has a wide variety of cuisines to satisfy any palate. You might not think of Hot Springs as the home of one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in the nation, but Luna Bella, located a few miles outside of the city, certainly qualifies for that designation. In addition to their incredible seafood dishes, they also serve the best Sicilian rice balls (arancini) this side of Palermo.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Hop on a Bike for an Exhilarating Ride

    Hot Springs is a popular destination for mountain biking enthusiasts.  The Cedar Glades Trail offers 10 miles of scenic trails that meander in and out of coves and small valleys, with exciting twists and turns along the way. 

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Al Capone Slept Here

    From the 1920s through the 1940s, Hot Springs attracted infamous mobsters who came to town to indulge in the thermal waters, luxury hotels, illegal gambling and bootlegging operations. The notorious gangster Al Capone took up part-time residence in suite 443 of the Arlington Hotel, and mobster "Lucky" Luciano was on the run when he was finally nabbed by police behind the Ozark Bathhouse. Visit the award-winning Gangster Museum in downtown Hot Springs for an in-depth look at this colorful period in Hot Springs' history.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Historic Hotel Extraordinaire

    The historic Arlington Hotel & Spa, opened in 1875, is the largest hotel in Arkansas with almost 500 rooms and suites. Ever wonder what the view from Al Capone's favorite room at the Arlington looked like? Or what suite Presidents Clinton and Reagan slept in during their visits to Hot Springs? Or can you imagine a mineral water room, featuring a bathtub or shower with hot springs mineral water piped directly into the bathroom? Check out all the booking options at this historic hotel for the visit of a lifetime.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Perfect Destination for Family Travel

    Traveling with kids? Ride (or hike) to the top of Hot Springs Mountain and take the elevator to the top of Hot Springs Mountain Tower, where you'll be rewarded with a killer view over the park and city. City and national park hiking trails also offer the opportunity to discover the beauty of nature with your family. The Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo, the Magic Springs Water & Theme Park, and the Garvan Woodland Gardens are attractions popular with children that are located just a short drive from downtown Hot Springs. 

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Brick Oven Neapolitan Pizza in Hot Springs?

    You might think that Hot Springs would be an unlikely place to find authentic "Napoletana" pizza, but think again. Thanks to Chef Anthony Valinoti, who trained in Naples to perfect the art of creating authentic pizzas, Hot Springs boasts one of the city's most beloved pizzerias: DeLuca's. A stickler for quality, Anthony makes his pizzas from scratch, topping them with exceptional ingredients. Don't leave Hot Springs without visiting this hugely popular restaurant, but do call for a reservation in advance.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Raise a Glass in Arkansas' Oldest Bar

    Arkansas' oldest bar, the Ohio Club, has been in business since 1905 when its celebrity patrons included the likes of Al Capone, Mae West and Babe Ruth (Hot Springs was a baseball spring training location in the early 20th century and hosted many baseball greats). Live music is performed every night, and the kitchen is open 7 days a week. It's undoubtedly one of the nation's most historic old bars.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • History Runs Deep at McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant

    Established in 1928, McClard's Bar-B-Q is run by the fourth generation of family members. Famous for its secret sauce, the eatery still abides by the family rules:  Use the best ingredients you can get, buy the best quality cuts you can and don't skimp on any portionsRumor has it that this was former President Bill Clinton's favorite restaurant when he visited Hot Springs. Locals say he could often be found at the counter chatting with restaurant staff and patrons as he enjoyed his dinner.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Hit the Shops

    Hot Springs, lovingly known as The Spa City, makes shopping easy with its eclectic mixture of specialty stores. Whether you're searching for skincare or beauty products to extend your spa experience, or that perfect piece of designer jewelry or clothing, you'll have fun searching for treasures in the many gift and specialty shops that line the quaint streets of the city.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Nature at its Best

    Watch the sun rise or set from many spots within Hot Springs National Park, or along the Lake District on the shores of nearby Lake Hamilton – one of three beautiful lakes on the southern and western edges of Hot Springs.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

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