Download GPX file for this article
34.50361-93.05528Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hot Springs is a city in the Central region of Arkansas and home to Hot Springs National Park, a United States national park. It is also the childhood home of former President Bill Clinton.



Hot Springs National Park was the U.S.'s first federally protected reservation, having been created by Congress in 1832 as Hot Springs Reservation. It was made a national park and renamed in 1921. It was originally created to protect the region's 47 natural flowing thermal springs. Today the park protects eight historic bathhouses, and is the nation's smallest national park by area. The park visitor center is housed in the former luxurious Fordyce Bathhouse, and the entire "Bathhouse Row" area is a National Historic Landmark District that contains the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in North America.

Get in

Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs

By plane

  • Hot Springs Memorial Field
  • Little Rock National Airport (with shuttle service and rental cars.)

By car

  • From Interstate 30 take the Hot Springs US 70 West exit south of Benton, the Hot Springs US 270 West exit at Malvern, or the Hot Springs Ark. 7 North exit near Arkadelphia.
  • If traveling south on Ark. 7, come through downtown Hot Springs where the visitor center is located.
  • If traveling south on US 71 from Fort Smith, or north on US 71 from Texarkana, take the US 270 East exit and take 270B through town.
  • Coming from Oklahoma on US 70 go all the way into Hot Springs. When you get into the city you will see signs for the National Park.
  • The Visitor Center is downtown on Highway 7 North or Central Avenue.

By bus

  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 1001 Central Ave, Suite D, Hot Springs, +1-800-231-2222.

By train

  • Amtrak's Texas Eagle route serves Little Rock, Arkansas, with shuttle services to Hot Springs.

Get around

Map of Hot Springs (Arkansas)

The public transport system isn't recommended. It's best to have a car or a friend in the city who doesn't mind driving you around. If you are downtown, it is possible to walk to many sites.


Hot Springs, Arlington Hotel

Hot Springs National Park


For 200 years, the natural hot springs surrounding present-day Hot Springs National Park have been used to treat illnesses and to relax. Today, Hot Springs National Park surrounds the north end of the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Visitors from around the world flocked to Hot Springs National Park’s historic Bathhouse Row in the 1800s and early 1900s to bathe in the thermal waters, thought to have healing powers; rich and poor alike bathed in its healing waters and relaxed in its bathhouses. With the advent of modern medicine, many bathhouses were closed, but the buildings were preserved and many are open for tours. Today hot and cool mineral water flows from the local springs and many people stop on Bathhouse Row and at the Happy Hollow Spring to fill water jugs at the public fountains. There are no park entrance fees charged.

  • 1 Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center, 369 Central Ave (between Reserve and Fountain Streets), +1 501 624-3383 ext 640. Daily 9AM-5PM. The visitor center in the former Fordyce Bathhouse is also a 24-room museum offering self-guided tours. Considered the most elegant bathhouse when completed in 1915, it exhibits beautiful mosaic tile floors, marble, stained glass windows and ceilings, a gymnasium, and routine bathing equipment. The 15-minute orientation movie, Valley of Vapors, offers a brief history of the area. Taking the Baths is a 9-minute video showing the traditional bathing routine in the Hot Springs bathhouses. Rest rooms and water fountains are located in the basement. Other rooms shown include the music room, massage rooms and a bowling alley.
  • 2 Bathhouse Row (Central Avenue). Includes the Fordyce Bathhouse and seven other bathhouses all built in the early 20th century. The Row is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Aside from the Fordyce which serves as the park visitor center, the Buckstaff is the only other operating bathhouse; it is still in use as a spa. The other bathhouses are vacant but awaiting new uses. Bathhouse Row (Q4869025) on Wikidata Bathhouse Row on Wikipedia
  • 3 Hale Bathhouse. The present Hale Bathhouse is the oldest visible structure on Bathhouse Row. The Mission Revival-style bathhouse is a textbook case of the changes in use and design of bathhouses buildings in Hot Springs National Park.
  • 4 The Grand Promenade. A landscaped walkway behind Bathhouse Row which offers a glimpse of the springs and historic landscape features. Entrances are from behind the Visitor Center and from Fountain Street.
  • 5 Hot Springs Mountain Tower, 401 Hot Springs Mountain Dr, +1 501-881-4020. Hot Springs Mountain Tower (Q1576874) on Wikidata Hot Springs Mountain Tower on Wikipedia

Botanical gardens



  • 7 Mid America Science Museum, 500 Mid America Blvd, +1 501 767-3461, toll-free: +1-800-632-0583. Labor Day to Memorial Day: Tu-Su 10AM-5PM; Memorial Day to Labor Day: daily 9:30AM-6PM. A great family attraction and the largest hands-on science center in Arkansas. Take the “Underground Arkansas” tour of a gigantic indoor cave filled with chambers, bridges, tunnels and slides, or experience the light, motion and sound of the “Virtual Reality Simulator.” Mid America Museum is the perfect setting for school field trips, birthday parties, summer science camps and more. Mid-America Science Museum (Q6840598) on Wikidata Mid-America Science Museum on Wikipedia
  • 8 Gangster Museum of America, 501 Central Ave, +1 501-318-1717. Daily 10am - 5pm. Museum about organized crime in America, particularly during the prohibition years of the 1920s and early 1930s, when Chicago gangsters came to Hot Springs to relax in the thermal baths and run illegal drinking and prostitution establishments while local police and politicians were paid to forget they ever saw any gangsters. $15 (adults), discounts for seniors and children.


Hot Springs National Park
  • 1 Magic Springs and Crystal Falls, 1701 E. Grand Ave, +1 501 318-5370. An amusement park with water and thrill rides such as roller coasters perched high above the Ouachita Mountains, outdoor concerts and more. Magic Springs and Crystal Falls (Q2372906) on Wikidata Magic Springs on Wikipedia
  • 2 Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, 2705 Central Ave, toll-free: +1-800-OAKLAWN (6255296). From January through April, Oaklawn is the place to be in Arkansas. Watch and wager on live top-quality thoroughbred racing, enjoy delicious food served up at restaurants and stands and participate in contests and promotions. Oaklawn also offers simulcast racing action year-round, plus live casino games and slots (thanks to casinos being legalized in the state in 2019). Some Arkansas Derby winners have also won one or more of the Triple Crown races in Kentucky, Maryland or New York. During the live racing season, children may enter Oaklawn accompanied by a parent or guardian; children attending during the simulcast season must be at least 48 inches tall to be admitted. Oaklawn Racing & Gaming (Q7074101) on Wikidata Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort on Wikipedia
  • Scenic mountain drives. The drives on West Mountain, Hot Springs, and North Mountains have overlooks to the surrounding areas. An observation tower on top of Hot Springs Mountain is operated by a concessionaire and offers a panoramic view of the Zig Zag range of the Ouachita Mountains.
  • 3 Lake Catherine State Park, 1200 Catherine Park Rd (about 12 miles southeast of town), +1 501 844-4176. Daily 8am-5pm. A tranquil lake setting with a number of waterfalls where one can submerge in pools below and just frolic in general. But also you can arrange boat rentals or horseback rides on the premises. Or camp (surcharge for these). Free.
  • 4 Ouachita River Whitewater Park, 904 Riverview Dr. A place to float or kayak down a semi-turbulent stretch of the Ouachita River. Watch out for hooey bathrooms though.
  • 5 Lake Ouachita State Park, 5451 Mountain Pine Rd, Mountain Pine, toll-free: +1 800-264-2441. Daily 8am-5pm. Centered around the eponymous lake that dominates the area west of Hot Springs, its large size kind of caters to boating enthusiasts, but has hiking, swimming, and camping amenities nonetheless. Visitor center, kayaking. Free.



Hot Springs is home to several festivals throughout the year.





Hot Springs has many restaurants inside Victorian buildings in the Historic Downtown District, featuring food and friendly service. Historic downtown is not the only popular eating spot in town. Dine by the lake, on a riverboat, near the horse track or mall, on a main thoroughfare, on a mountain lane. Hot Springs restaurants offer a wide variety of excellent dining choices and cuisines - from cafes to gourmet cabarets.

  • 1 JavaPrimo Coffee House, Cafe & More, 4429 Central Ave, Suite A (near the Hot Springs Mall), +1 501 318-9789. M-Th 6:30AM-10PM, F 6:30AM-11PM, Sa 7:30AM-11PM. JavaPrimo is a locally owned coffee shop and cafe featuring fresh roasted coffee. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, JavaPrimo offers a selection of paninis, wraps, sandwiches, salads, soups, cakes, pies, pastries and coffee. Gift ideas include coffee beans, teas, collegiate football gifts and greeting cards. $4.25 to $10.
  • 2 Rolando's Nuevo Latino Restaurante, 210 Central Ave, +1 501 318-6054. Great Latin cuisine restaurant with an outdoor seating area. $8-15.


  • 1 Maxine's, 700 Central Ave, +1 501 321-0909. Great atmosphere inside a historic building and a great beer list.
  • 2 Ohio Club, 336 Central Ave, +1 501 627-0702. Live music inside the oldest bar in Arkansas!







Campgrounds with more amenities can be found in commercial, State Park, Corps of Engineers, and Forest Service campgrounds in the surrounding area.

  • 12 Gulpha Gorge Campground, 305 Gorge Road (off US Hwy 70B on the east side of Hot Springs). 40 sites. National park campground with sites available on a first come, first served basis, no reservations. All sites have full hookups: 30 and 50 amp electric, water and sewer connections. Sites are not pull-through. Each campsite has a picnic table, pedestal grill, and water. While there are no showers, there are modern restrooms. Water is available at several stations throughout the campground most of the year and at the dump station. Quiet hours are 10PM-6AM. Pets are allowed if leashed. Camping in Gulpha Gorge Campground is limited to a total of 14 consecutive days and a cumulative total of 30 days in any calendar year. $30 all camp sites (2020 rates).

Stay safe


Caution is advised when handling the thermal spring waters, as their temperatures may reach 143 °F (62 °C). Also, persons with heart or respiratory conditions should have written consent from a physician before bathing.

Go next

  • Broken Bow
  • Hope
Routes through Hot Springs
HugoBroken Bow  W  E  BentonLittle Rock
McAlesterMount Ida  W  E  Pine BluffEND

This city travel guide to Hot Springs has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and travel details. Please contribute and help us make it a star!