Find romance and adventure at this Arkansas city
Located in the southwest part of the state, Hot Springs is a mecca for people wanting to explore the area’s naturally-heated water and springs. It’s also billed as one of the most romantic places to visit.
Hot Springs National Park is open year-round where you can see some of the 143-degree thermal springs that made the park famous. Drinking the water is encouraged and you can fill a few bottles at downtown fountains to take home. Since the water is too hot, you can’t dive in but a visit to Bathhouse Row is a must. Seeing the grates in the sidewalk steaming on cool mornings is very cool as well.
The Quapaw Baths & Spa has a variety of therapeutic services. You can swim in the thermal pools for $20 per person or schedule a private bath in the spa. The Fordyce Bathhouse offers look back at the history of the springs. This beautifully-restored building first opened in May 1989 and is now a visitors center. Many downtown hotels also offer spa experiences including thermal water baths.
Other things to do in Hot Springs include the Gangster Museum of America. Learn about the gangsters who liked to hide out in Hot Springs — this was a favorite spot for Al Capone among others. The National Park Aquarium has the state’s largest fish and reptile exhibit.
Downtown, you’ll also find amazing shopping — window gazing if nothing else! — with high-end antique shops and art galleries. Restaurants abound alongside a brew pub and bar scene including a cool 1930s vibe at the lobby bar of the historic Arlington Hotel. The Arlington and other downtown hotels offer convenient locations to walk the nightclub scene.
From January through April Oaklawn Racing & Gaming is the place to be. Since 1904, horse racing has been a big draw so you can place a bet on your favorite thoroughbred. You won’t to miss the excitement and pageantry of race day. You can also hit the slots in the gaming area of Oaklawn.
In warmer months taking in nature is a must at scenic parks like the Garvan Woodland Gardens. They are noted for massive tulip and daffodil displays in the spring as well as autumnal beauty later in the year. There are also some gorgeous walks in the national park and around town with scenic views. The old brick-lined Promenade is an easy and pretty walk just above the main street of downtown.
For more of a thrill there are zip lines and the Magic Springs Theme and Water Park, which is open April to October.
Nearby lakes also offer many scenic recreational boating opportunities in the summer. Other activities to do with family include a Discovery Center for the kids.
More info: www.arkansas.com