Things To Do In Hot Springs, Arkansas

If you’re searching for a fantastic destination to unwind and have a great time, look no further than Hot Springs, Arkansas. Located in the Ouachita Mountains, this spectacular city offers stunning landscapes, outdoor adventures, and a rich cultural heritage. It’s particularly famous for its natural thermal waters, which maintain an average temperature of over 140 degrees Fahrenheit and are believed to possess healing properties; they are protected and managed by Hot Springs National Park. Millions of people visit the city for experiencing the therapeutic benefits of the water in the local bathhouses.

Apart from the thermal waters, Hot Springs, Arkansas has much more to offer. Here’s a guide to the various activities you can enjoy in Hot Springs, Arkansas, along with some itineraries to help you make the most of your time there.

Tourist Attractions

This mountain town boasts an assortment of hiking trails, serene lakes, and some of the best-fried pies you’ll ever taste. Plus, it’s home to Hot Springs National Park, the oldest national park in the United States.

Things can get a little overwhelming with so much to do in this small city. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of all our favorite tourist attractions in Hot Springs, Arkansas, that you must visit during your trip.

1. Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park is a big attraction in Hot Springs, and it’s no wonder with its 5,500 acres of natural beauty. The park’s main draw is its thermal waters, which have been attracting visitors for years. You can still experience the area’s history by soaking in the traditional bathhouses along Bathhouse Row, like the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center.

Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park

The park has many unique attractions, and we’ve listed the most popular ones below for you to enjoy.

1. Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center

Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center is a must-visit spot. It’s like a time machine that takes you back to when bathhouses ruled the town. Initially built in 1915, this vast 28,000-square-foot building used to be the biggest bathhouse in the row. After closing in 1962, it underwent a significant restoration in 1989 and now stands as a testament to the area’s history.

Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center
Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center

Apart from being a visitor center, it’s a museum run by local park rangers. You can wander through the three floors, two courtyards, and even a basement to learn about the past. Upstairs, there’s a room filled with information about the hot springs and why they exist. It’s also the main visitor center for Hot Springs National Park, so you can get all the information you need about hiking, biking, or birdwatching from the friendly rangers there.

2. Bathhouse Row

After exploring the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center, we recommend strolling along Bathhouse Row to soak in the history. This row features eight charming bathhouse buildings constructed between 1892 and 1923. While some still offer bathhouse services, like the Quapaw and Buckstaff Bathhouses, others have found new purposes.

Bathhouse Row
Bathhouse Row

For instance:

  • Lamar Bathhouse now houses the National Parks office.
  • Ozark Bathhouse serves as the Hot Springs National Park Cultural Center.
  • Fordyce Bathhouse operates as a Tourist Information Center and Museum.
  • Maurice Bathhouse, built in 1912, is no longer operational.
  • Hale Bathhouse, dating back to 1892, is also no longer operational.
  • Superior Bathhouse, erected in 1916, has transformed into a brewery.

3. Art Work

Hot Springs National Park has got you covered if you’re into art and culture. One of the highlights is the Ozark Bathhouse, a stunning Spanish Colonial Revival building dating back to 1922. Although it ceased functioning as a bathhouse in 1977, it found new life in 2014 as a fine art gallery and shows some fantastic pieces of work.

Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, Arkansas

4. Hot Springs Mountain Tower

For an incredible viewpoint that offers stunning views of the Ouachita Mountains, Diamond Lakes, and Hot Springs Mountain, make your way to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. You can opt for a scenic 1.5-mile hike from Fountain Street or drive directly to the parking lot. Once there, hop on the elevator for a quick ride up the remaining 216 feet to the top, where you can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss during your visit to Hot Springs National Park.

Hot Springs Mountain Tower
Hot Springs Mountain Tower

5. Sunset Trail

If you’re craving a nature escape, explore the Sunset Trail. This trail winds through the park, offering stunning views away from the mountains. The 8.9-mile loop is excellent for beginners or moderate-level hikers. For a more challenging trek, you can even combine it with nearby trails for an entire 14-mile loop around Hot Springs National Park.

Sunset Trail
Sunset Trail

6. Enjoy A Thermal Bath

While in the Thermal Bath capital, why not enjoy a soothing soak at one of the hot springs thermal bathhouses?

Enjoy A Thermal Bath
Enjoy A Thermal Bath

Thermal baths in the magic springs have been enjoyed for centuries and are known for their health benefits. Although there are eight historic bathhouses, only two are open to the public for bathing in Hot Springs:

  • Quapaw Baths
  • Buckstaff Baths

Buckstaff Baths is unique in the city’s history, operating continuously since 1912. With steam cabinets, whirlpool tubs, needle showers, and Swedish massage therapists, it offers separate floors for men and women. Plus, there’s no need for reservations for baths and massages (though appointments are needed for manicures, pedicures, and facials). Open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m., it’s wise to arrive early here as locals often line up beforehand.

For a more comprehensive spa experience, visit Quapaw Baths, a modern, European-style facility. Like Buckstaff, it receives thermal water from the natural springs directly into the soaking pools. However, it also offers additional services such as foot scrubs, facials, herbal-infused towel wraps, and unique treatments like the Mudslide, which involves a clay body mask followed by a MicroSilk treatment to promote skin health. It’s the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate during your visit to Hot Springs.

7. Superior Bathhouse Brewery

And don’t forget about the Superior Bathhouse Brewery! It’s not just for bathers; beer enthusiasts will love it too. This microbrewery uses water from the springs in their brews, giving you a taste of the park’s unique hydro system in every sip. It’s refreshing to experience the park without dipping in the springs.

Superior Bathhouse Brewery
Superior Bathhouse Brewery

8. BathHouse Row Emporium

Before you wrap up your memorable trip, don’t forget to swing by the Bathhouse Row Emporium inside The Lamar Bathhouse. This charming shop offers a wide variety of souvenirs celebrating the area’s rich history, flora, fauna, and, of course, bath products. There’s something for everyone, from luxurious soaps and loofah sponges to bottles you can fill with water from the hot springs. Plus, many items, including coffee, hot drinks, and spa products, are crafted using the natural waters of the hot springs.

BathHouse Row Emporium
BathHouse Row Emporium

9. Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive

For a scenic adventure, hop in your car and cruise along the Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive. This 3.6-mile route, originally a carriage road in the 1880s, offers breathtaking views and plenty of switchbacks for thrill-seekers. Starting from downtown Hot Springs near Central Avenue and Fountain Street, the drive takes you past a gorgeous picnic area and a historic pagoda from 1910. You’ll also pass by the Hot Springs Mountain Tower and the North Mountain Loop before circling back to town. It’s a must-do activity for anyone exploring Hot Springs National Park.

Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive
Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive

10. Western Mountain Scenic Drive

Take a trip along the Western Mountain Scenic Drive for a scenic drive on the other side of the park. Starting from Whittington Avenue or Prospect Avenue, this drive leads you to the Summit Loop, where you’ll find three gorgeous overlooks. The lower overlook offers views of Bathhouse Row and the old Army-Navy Hospital, while the Summit Overlook offers views of Lake Hamilton and the Trap Mountains. Additionally, don’t miss the historic trail shelter house at the Western Mountain Picnic Overlook, dating back to 1924.

Western Mountain Scenic Drive
Western Mountain Scenic Drive

As you reach the top of the Western Mountain Scenic Drive, it’s worth watching for Arkansas Novaculite because of its historical significance and unique geological properties. This type of silica stone was prized by Indigenous Americans for its sharpness and durability, making it ideal for crafting tools and weapons. Later, Europeans discovered its usefulness as a material for whetstones, which are used for sharpening knives and other cutting tools.

11. Northwoods Trails

The Northwoods Trails system in Hot Springs National Park is a dream for mountain biking enthusiasts. With over 31.5 miles of beautiful trails for biking, hiking, trail running, and nature viewing, there’s something for everyone. Choose from green, blue, or black single tracks, jump lines, and flow trails. Afterward, you can head to the nearby Cedar Glades Park to showcase your biking skills and explore its climbing wall, three-story treehouse, and 18-hole disc golf course. It’s the perfect outdoor adventure for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike!

Northwoods Trails
Northwoods Trails

12. Wildlife Viewing

If you’re keen on spotting wildlife, keep your eyes peeled while exploring Hot Springs National Park. With its thick forests and nearby mountains, the park is home to many animals. Look out for over 50 protected mammal species like chipmunks, groundhogs, squirrels, and white-tailed deer. You’ll also spot over 100 bird species, 70 types of reptiles and amphibians, including five venomous snakes like the copperhead. These critters often share the park’s numerous trails, so stay alert! Plus, there are about 50 fish species in the creeks and ponds. Head out early or late in the day for the best chances of wildlife sightings. And don’t forget your binoculars to get a closer look!

3. Garvan Woodland Gardens

One of the coolest things to do in Hot Spring, Arkansas, is wander through the Garvan Woodland Gardens. Among the breathtaking natural wonders of the area, these gardens truly stand out with their lush greenery and jaw-dropping architecture.

Spread across 210 acres, the Garvan Woodland Gardens offers many walking paths to explore. There are walking circuits where you can take a nature walk or just chill and soak in the peaceful vibes throughout the gardens. Plus, there are plenty of cozy spots to lay down a picnic blanket and relax. You’ll also be amazed by the remarkable architecture within the forest. The Anthony Chapel is a prime example of this unique architecture. Designed by Maurice Jennings and David McKee and finished in 2006, this massive wood and glass complex towers above the trees at 17.5 meters (57 feet). When you step inside, you’re instantly connected to the surrounding nature. It’s a seriously excellent experience!

Garvan Woodland Gardens
Garvan Woodland Gardens

Here’s a tip: you can check out the chapel for free! It’s located outside the ticketed area of the gardens. However, keep an eye on the opening hours, as sometimes they have multiple ceremonies booked. But if you time it right, you’re in for a real treat!

4. Downtown Hot Springs

Downtown Hot Springs is where all the action takes place! Many excellent cafes, bars, and restaurants are scattered around here. Here’s a quick breakdown of things you can enjoy Downtown.

Downtown Hot Springs
Downtown Hot Springs

1. Art

As you stroll downtown, open your eyes for some incredible street art. Talented artists have been adding flair to the city’s walls, making them burst with color and creativity. The art scene here has taken off in the past few years thanks to commissions from the council and building owners.

Even cooler is that each piece of art tells a story or teaches you something about Hot Springs’ history. From basketball legends to kids jamming on brass instruments to scenes of native tribal life, there’s so much to discover. You can even read up on each artwork on the Arkansas website.

Moreover, if you find yourself in Hot Springs on the first Friday of the month, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Central Avenue during “Gallery Walk.” This is when the avenue truly comes alive with vibrant energy. It’s a fantastic chance to mingle with local artists, soak in live music, and truly enjoy the dynamic art scene of Hot Springs.

2. Shopping

Downtown Hot Springs is a shopper’s paradise. Central Avenue has shops offering everything from outdoor gear at Trail Mix Outdoor & More to unique antiques at Historic District Antiques. Don’t miss Bathhouse Soapery and Caldarium for luxurious bath products or Evilo for specialty oils and vinegars perfect for gifts.

3. Food

And if all that exploring works up an appetite, treat yourself to a slice of pizza from SQZBX Brewery & Pizza on Ouachita Avenue or head to Deluca’s Pizzeria, one of the most famous eateries in Hot Springs.

5. Lake Ouachita State Park

Lake Ouachita State Park is a must-visit if you’re a fan of Arkansas’s state parks. Situated near Hot Springs National Park, this spectacular location in central Arkansas boasts a stunning crystal-clear lake surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains. It’s the ideal spot to enjoy nature and several outdoor activities. Whether planning a day trip or an overnight stay, Lake Ouachita State Park has something for everyone.

Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita State Park

1. Kayaking and Lake Tours

One of the top activities at Lake Ouachita is kayaking. Bring your kayak, join a guided tour, or rent equipment from the marina.

2. Boating and Water Sports

With over 40,000 acres of lake to explore, there’s plenty of room for boating and water sports. Bring your tubes and water skis for fun in the sun!

3. Swimming

Cool off with a refreshing swim at the designated swim beach, or find your secluded spot along the shoreline.

4. Fishing Pier 

Cast your line from the shore or your boat and try your luck at catching bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. Just have a fishing license before trying at this popular fishing spot!

5. Three Sisters’ Springs

Explore the historic Three Sisters’ Springs, known for its supposed healing properties. While drinking the water is not recommended, learning about their history is fascinating.

6. Hiking Trails

Discover two scenic trails within the park: the Dogwood Trail and the Caddo Bend Trail. Both offer opportunities to spot local wildlife and enjoy unmatched views of the lake.

7. Camping Under the Stars

Spend a night under the stars at one of the park’s beautiful campground facilities. Choose from shaded campsites overlooking the water or walk-in tent sites in the forest.

8. Visitor Center

Be sure to stop by the visitor center to check in if you’re camping or staying in the cabins. There, you’ll find informative exhibits and a gift shop to explore.

5. Mid-America Science Museum

If you’re looking for a fun day out, the Mid-America Science Museum is the place to be. Situated in a beautiful area, this museum offers diverse exhibits that will keep you hooked.

Mid-America Science Museum
Mid-America Science Museum

1. Indoor Wonders

Step inside the museum and prepare to be amazed by the spectacular attractions. Marvel at the impressive Tesla coil and navigate through the underground cave maze, where you’ll discover fascinating displays about geology and natural phenomena.

2. Outdoor Adventures

But the fun doesn’t stop indoors. Take some time to explore the museum’s outdoor grounds, where you’ll find a sprawling skywalk and larger-than-life sculptures of dinosaurs. Follow the wooded trail and soak in the beauty of nature while encountering these ancient creatures along the way.

Whether indoors or outdoors, the Mid-America Science Museum promises an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

6. Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

Since 1904, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has been a hotspot for those seeking entertainment beyond the area’s natural wonders. The excitement of trying your luck at the casino or catching a thrilling horse race has kept visitors captivated throughout the years.

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

1. Horse Racing, Casino and Food

Located in the beautiful Hot Springs, Arkansas, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort boasts a rich history as one of the country’s top Thoroughbred racetracks. From December to May, you can experience live racing at its finest.

You can cheer on your favorite horse while also testing your luck on the casino floor.

And when hunger strikes, you can head to Silks Bar & Grill for a satisfying meal or groove to live music while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.

2. A Premier Destination

The resort also features a hotel, Astral Spa, an event center, and live entertainment. The world-class Astral Spa offers unique experiences inspired by the iconic Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs National Park. From a needle shower similar to the park’s historic features to an infrared sauna and a Himalayan Salt wall, you’ll find exclusive offerings that can’t be found anywhere else in Arkansas. So, make a quick spot at this spectacular spa during your Hot Springs trip.

7. Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo

The Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo is a favorite spot for tourists. It offers a diverse variety of animals, including alligators. With over a century of history, this zoo is renowned for its welcoming atmosphere, ensuring both animals and visitors feel comfortable.

Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo
Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo

The zoo offers a unique experience with live alligator feeding shows on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays during summer. You can even hold a baby alligator, interact with miniature goats, and observe wolves, mountain lions, monkeys, raccoons, and more up close here.

8. Gangster Museum of America

The newly expanded Gangster Museum of America, spanning 10,000 square feet, is perfect for stepping back in time. This unique museum allows you to explore Hot Springs’ gangster past, with spacious galleries showcasing new acquisitions and eyewitness accounts. You can even learn about notorious figures like Al Capone, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, and Frank Costello, who frequented The Spa City during the 1920s-40s. You’ll also see artifacts from their daily lives, including clothing and weapons, shedding light on this intriguing period of history.

Gangster Museum of America
Gangster Museum of America

9. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

Enjoy a swashbuckling adventure at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, where an 18-hole pirate-themed mini golf course waits for you! Navigate through mountain caves, dodge cascading waterfalls, and put your way across a full-scale pirate ship here.

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

With its captivating setting and family-friendly atmosphere, this mini golf course will amaze kids and adults alike. From windmills to bridges over streams, Pirate’s Cove offers all the classic features of a mini golf course, earning it the prestigious “Best in Metro” Award for “Miniature Golf.” It’s the perfect destination for a fun-filled day out in Hot Springs!

10. Central Avenue Marketplace

Central Avenue Marketplace in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a wonderland for shoppers. It’s not just any ordinary flea market—it’s the largest one around, featuring a fantastic variety of treasures waiting to be discovered. When you step inside, you’ll be greeted by well-lit and neatly organized booths, creating a welcoming atmosphere. The best part? Prices are reasonable, and the staff is always friendly and helpful.

Central Avenue Marketplace
Central Avenue Marketplace

Whether you’re looking for vintage toys, antique furniture, stylish clothing, or unique hand-crafted items, Central Avenue Marketplace has it all.

Foods To Try In Hot Springs, Arkansas

The food scene in this area serves up classic American dishes that are simple but incredibly tasty. While the menu items may seem ordinary, their flavors are genuinely exceptional. This place is especially renowned for its delicious pizzas and pancakes, unlike any others you’ve tried before. You’ll also find a variety of unique craft beers at the local breweries, such as dill ale, which are worth tasting. Additionally, the city has many fantastic seafood options. Be sure to visit one of the many oyster bars for the freshest seafood in town.

And let’s not forget the fantastic Latin American cuisine available here. Dishes like Quesadillas de Chivo (goat cheese quesadillas) and enchiladas are particularly famous and worth trying.

Scams To Avoid In Hot Springs, Arkansas

Like in many other places, residents and visitors should be aware of common scams in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Here’s a closer look at each of these scams:

  • Charity Scams: Scammers may pose as representatives of fake charities, soliciting donations for fraudulent causes. You should always verify a charity’s legitimacy before donating.
  • Counterfeit Check Scam: Individuals receive counterfeit checks and are asked to deposit them, then send a portion of the funds elsewhere. The checks eventually bounce, leaving the victim responsible for the funds.
  • Family Emergency Scam: Scammers impersonate a family member or friend in distress and request urgent financial assistance. It’s essential to verify the identity of the person contacting you before sending any money.
  • Gift Card Scam: Scammers may request payment via gift cards, claiming it’s for taxes, fees, or other purposes. Remember that legitimate entities will never ask for payment through gift cards.
  • International Lottery Scam: Victims receive notifications claiming they’ve won a lottery based overseas but must pay fees or taxes to claim their prize. In reality, there is no prize, and the victim loses money.
  • IRS Impersonator Scam: Scammers pose as IRS agents, threatening legal action or arrest if the victim doesn’t pay supposed back taxes immediately. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact through phone calls or emails for tax payments.
  • Tourist Traps: Watch out for businesses or individuals offering tourists overpriced or low-quality goods or services. Always research prices and read reviews before making purchases or bookings.
  • Fake Tourist Information: Be cautious of individuals posing as visitor information representatives offering guided tours or services at inflated prices. Stick to reputable tourist information centers for accurate and reliable information.
  • Pickpocketing and Theft: Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded tourist areas. Thieves may attempt to steal wallets, phones, or other valuables when tourists are distracted.
  • Taxi Scams: Only use licensed taxis or ride-sharing services and confirm the fare before starting your journey. Avoid unmarked taxis or drivers who refuse to use the meter.
  • ATM Skimming: When using ATMs, check for any suspicious devices attached to the machine that may be used to steal your card information. Use ATMs located in well-lit and populated areas.

Knowing these common scams can help you stay safe in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and protect yourself from fraudulent activities.

Things To Do If You Are In Hot Springs, Arkansas, For One Day

If you’re in Hot Springs, Arkansas, visit Hot Springs National Park for just one day.

Begin your day by heading to the Fordyce Bathhouse, which serves as the visitor center for Hot Springs National Park. Here, you can grab a map of the area, chat with a ranger if you have any questions, and explore the exhibits.

Afterward, take advantage of the park’s 22 trails, which cater to adventure lovers. Most of these trails are concentrated within the North Mountain, West Mountain, and Hot Springs trail systems and offer gorgeous views of the Ouachita Mountains.

We recommend taking the Sunset Trail, which is particularly famous among tourists. The trail offers a scenic route through the park, allowing you to enjoy the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains along the way. Through this trail, you can even reach the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, which is 216 feet high. On a clear day, you can supposedly see over 140 miles away.

Next, visit the historic buildings of the bathhouses. There are eight of them, each with its style and theme. We suggest stopping at Quapaw or Buckstaff Bathhouses for a relaxing spa experience. Additionally, don’t forget to check out the Superior Bathhouse for some tasty brews.

Finally, end your day in Downtown Hot Springs, where you can enjoy art, shopping, and authentic Arkansas food.

Things To Do If You Are In Hot Springs, Arkansas, For Three Days

Three days gives you extra time to check out the city and experience more museums and real life in Hot Springs. Here’s a three-day plan to help you maximize your time.

Day 1

Let’s kick off your three-day adventure with a visit to Hot Springs National Park, the famous 5,500-acre park. Start by swinging by the visitor center to grab some info and maps. Then, it’s time to hit the trails. We recommend checking out the Hot Springs/North Mountain trail district—it’s like a web of trails where you can explore different routes. Head up the Peak Trail from the Grand Promenade and go to Hot Springs Mountain Tower for some epic views.

Once you’ve soaked in the scenery from the Tower’s top, trekking to the Gulpha Gorge Trail, which loops to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. Follow that up with a stroll along the Honey Suckle Trail and wrap things up on the Tufa Terrace Trail. There are plenty of trails to choose from, so you can make your hike as short or as long as you like. Just pack enough water and snacks, and maybe bring a map to stay on track.

After working up a sweat on the trails, it’s time to chill out at the bathhouses and dip in the hot springs! Quapaw Bath & Spa and Buckstaff Bathhouse are great spots to relax and unwind.

Once you’re feeling rejuvenated, head to the Ozark Bathhouse to check out some terrific art, and then swing by the Superior Bathhouse Brewery for a tasty brew.

Finally, wrap up your day by exploring Downtown Hot Springs. There’s plenty to see, from art galleries to shops, and don’t forget to treat yourself to some classic Arkansas food while you’re at it.

Day 2

Kick things off on the second day with mountain biking at the Northwoods Trails. With over 31.5 miles of trails catering to biking, hiking, trail running, and nature viewing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Afterward, make your way over to Cedar Glades Park, where you can tackle their climbing wall, explore their three-story treehouse, and try your hand at their 18-hole disc golf course. It’s the perfect outdoor adventure for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike!

Next up, it’s time to explore the beauty of Garvan Woodland Gardens. Take a stroll through the stunning landscapes and don’t miss the chance to check out the breathtaking architecture of Anthony Chapel—it’s truly a sight to behold!

To wrap up your day, why not add a touch of excitement and relaxation at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort? Whether you’re into horse racing, casino games, spa treatments, or indulging in some delicious food, Oaklawn has something for everyone. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a day of adventure and exploration.

Day 3

On the third day, make your way to Lake Ouachita State Park; a fantastic destination brimming with activities to enjoy. Whether you’re keen on kayaking, canoeing, booking a tour, taking a refreshing swim, or trying out some water sports, this park has it all. additionally, don’t forget to pack a picnic and make time to visit the Three Sisters’ Springs.

After soaking up all that natural beauty, it’s time to hit up Central Avenue Marketplace for some shopping therapy. You’ll find a vast variety of vintage treasures and great options for gift shopping at reasonable prices here.

Lastly, head over to the Gangster Museum of America to explore the fascinating gangster history of this Spa Town. It offers an intriguing journey through the city’s past that’s sure to leave you with some unforgettable stories.

Things To Do If You Are In Hot Springs, Arkansas, For Five Days

Get ready for an unforgettable journey as you explore the best attractions and experiences this charming city has to offer on your five-day trip. From leisurely strolls through downtown streets decorated with colorful murals to exhilarating hikes along scenic trails, each day will be filled with exciting discoveries and memorable moments.

Day 1

Begin your Hot Springs adventure with a leisurely stroll through Downtown Hot Springs, soaking in the lively atmosphere and vibrant street art that decorates the walls. Each artwork tells a story of the city’s rich history, adding color and character to the streets!

While you’re here, be sure to visit Central Avenue during the “Gallery Walk” to mingle with local artists, listen to live music, and explore the Central Avenue Marketplace for unique souvenirs and treasures to take home. After working up an appetite, treat yourself to a mouthwatering slice of pizza at either SQZBX Brewery & Pizza or Deluca’s Pizzeria.

Finally, unwind and relax with a soothing soak at either the Quapaw Bathhouse or Buckstaff Bathhouse, immersing yourself in the therapeutic thermal springs that Hot Springs, Arkansas, is known for.

Day 2

Today, we will explore Hot Springs National Park, the primary attraction in the city! Start your day at the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center, where you can dive into the area’s history through interactive exhibits and displays.

Then, wander along Bathhouse Row and admire the historic bathhouses, each with its own unique charm and purpose.

Next, enjoy breathtaking views by driving along the Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive, stopping at viewpoints to soak in the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains. During your drive, stop at the Hot Springs Mountain Tower for panoramic 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape before going back down. You can either go back down in a car, too, or opt to take a hike at the Sunset Trail.

Lastly, end your day with a refreshing beer at Superior Bathhouse Brewery, savoring the unique flavors crafted with water from the springs.

Day 3

Visit the Garvan Woodland Gardens on your fourth day in Hot Springs. Wander through lush greenery and discover hidden pathways as you explore the beauty of nature here. Moreover, make sure to marvel at the architectural wonder of Anthony Chapel, which will leave you stunned.

After the Gardens, head over to the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort for an afternoon of excitement, where you can cheer on horse races and test your luck at the casino. You can also indulge in a satisfying meal at Silks Bar & Grill or enjoy live music as you soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the resort.

Before concluding your day, we highly recommend pampering yourself at the world-class Astral Spa and enjoying its exclusive treatments inspired by the historic Bathhouse Row.

Day 4

Get set for an exciting day surrounded by nature at Lake Ouachita State Park! Kick off your adventure with a kayak excursion or a guided tour of the pristine waters and majestic Ouachita Mountains. Afterward, cool off with a refreshing swim at the designated beach area or try your hand at fishing, aiming to reel in bass, crappie, and more.

As the sun begins to set, head to the historic Three Sisters’ Springs, where you can uncover their rumored healing properties and set off on scenic hikes along the Dogwood and Caddo Bend Trails. Finally, unwind and reconnect with nature as you settle in for a peaceful night under the starry sky at one of the park’s charming campground facilities.

Day 5

Begin your last day in Hot Springs at Mid America Science Museum. You can dive into a world of indoor activities and outdoor attractions, marveling at the fascinating wonders of science and nature. We especially recommend navigating through the underground cave maze and becoming amazed by the electrifying power of the Tesla coil.

Next, head over to the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo for a unique experience, where you can witness live alligator feeding shows and get up close with various animals.

Then, dive into the intriguing history of Hot Springs at the Gangster Museum of America before ending your day with an adventurous round of pirate-themed mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf.

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