Hot Springs is a rising family destination located in the Ouachita Mountains. One of my favorite things about traveling is exploring new places and being one with nature. Hot Spring is known for its natural springs, illegal gambling, is home of gangsters such as Al Capone, former President Bill Clinton, and horse racing. Hot Springs offers activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. I recommend the following attractions and activities.
Downtown Hot Springs
Known as gambling mecca in its former life, Central Avenue is a must see. Take stroll down Central Avenue and explore eclectic boutiques and shops, unique restaurants, attractions, and bathhouses. Observe the architecture along Central Avenue. Many of the buildings were constructed as far back as the 1900’s. Many of the buildings have been renovated to house shops, art galleries, restaurants, venues, shows, wineries and museums. Visit the historic Arlington Hotel, Gangster Museum of America, National Park Aquarium, or Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum. Be sure to stop into Pour Some Sweets candy and ice cream shop. They have every type of jelly bean you can imagine from strawberry daiquiri to tabasco.
Hot Springs National Park
Few blocks from Central Avenue, tourists can explore the park filled with natural springs, water warmed to an enjoyable temperature. Fountains are available to collect natural spring drinking water, so bring your water container. Sour 1,200 feet above the downtown at the Hot Springs Mountain Tower overlooking Ouachita Mountain and surrounding areas. Make sure to have your camera.
Constructed between 1892 and 1923, Bathhouse Row consists of bath houses- Lamar, Buckstaff, Ozark, Quapaw, Fordyce, Maurice, Hale, and Superior. You can take a stroll down Bathhouse Row and enjoy the beautiful, intricate architecture. Both Buckstaff and Quapaw are the only functioning bathhouses. The remaining 6 houses have been converted to museums, functional buildings, or closed.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Take a quick drive to Murfreesboro and visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the 8th largest diamond park in the world. Families can try their luck and mine for diamonds. Visitors can bring their own diamond digging tools or rent them for a decent price. The park also provides tutorials on how to mine to increase chances of uncovering a diamond. It was enjoyable to see people of all ages, both young and old, digging for diamonds.
Magic Springs Theme and Water Park
Magic Springs is an amusement and water park located in Hot Springs. The park features roller coasters, water slides and family rides.
Oaklawn Racing and Gaming
For the adults, head over to Oaklawn and watch live thoroughbred racing from January through April, as well as a gaming room with electronic games such as slots, blackjack, craps, and poker.
Garvan Woodland Gardens
Enjoy the beauty of nature at the Garvan Woodland Gardens. Located on Lake Hamilton, the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas sits on 210 acres. Numerous attractions, such as the Anthony Chapel and unique landscapes, offer breathtaking sights and great photo opportunities.
National Park Duck Tours
A trip to Hot Springs would not be complete without taking a duck tour. The duck tour takes you through downtown Hot Springs pointing out key attractions and wades through Lake Hamilton pointing out famous residences and attractions.
As you can see, Hot Springs offers a lot activities that the whole family can enjoy.