What trip to Arkansas would be complete without a stop in Hot Springs? My mom and I took the short one hour drive over from Little Rock and it’s a a great little one day getaway where you can experience history, nature and relax in the baths if you have time.
The town itself is located in Hot Springs National Park and one of the bathhouses has been preserved as the Fordyce Visitor Center. You can take a self-guided tour or join a park ranger for a ranger-led experience. Hot Springs National Park does not have an entrance fee.
Make sure you walk to the end of the promenade to check out the hot springs near the end of the walk! It’s a beautiful stroll that gives you a great view of the downtown and you’ll see steaming springs all along your walk.
Also not to be missed is bathhouse row. There are eight historical buildings built in European style bathhouses constructed between the years of 1892 and 1923. Two are still working today – Buckhouse Baths and Quapaw Baths.
Quapaw is advertised as first come, first serve public bath, but when we were there in March of 2022, the covid restrictions were still in place, limiting the number of people that could be inside at a time. Unfortunately, no one was leaving, so we did not get to soak in the mineral springs and there was a waiting list of people who had stopped by earlier in the day. Hopefully if you go, you can enjoy Quapaw!
Buckstaff Baths are by reservation only, but they were also booked up and were closing early afternoon the day that we visited.
Another place to visit while you are in Hot Springs is Garvan Woodland Gardens. This is a beautiful botanical garden that’s part of the University of Arkansas and has several acres that include a Japanese Garden, a massive treehouse and a gorgeous wedding chapel.
Admission is $15 for non-members! Definitely worth a stop, even if you only have a few hours – you can easily stroll through the gardens in that amount of time.
If you’d like to see more of what we did in Hot Springs, be sure to check out my YouTube vlog of our day.