Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, the scenic city of Hot Springs, Arkansas is known for its natural, heated springs and thermal baths. It’s also home to world-class spas ideal for relaxing and forgetting the stresses of daily life. This quaint, historic town features a variety of fun indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family. Incredible Hot Springs vacation rentals put your family in the center of all the action. Here are the top attractions in beautiful Hot Springs.
1. Unwind at a Spa or Bath
For hundreds of years, natural springs have drawn visitors to Hot Springs to soak and heal in the therapeutic, thermal waters. Numerous spas and baths make use of the hot springs today at establishments such as Arlington Resort Hotel Spa, Quapaw Baths & Spa, and Spa Botanica at Embassy Suites. These spas offer a pleasant mix of relaxing treatments, from soaking in mineral waters to full body massages.
2. Slide and Ride at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park
Find thrills to delight everyone at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park. The single-price admission grants access to the facility’s amusement and water parks. The amusement park features kid’s rides, roller coasters and extreme rides like the SkyShark and the Plummet Summit. On the water park side, there’s a wave pool, inner tube river, boogie board area, and a variety of water slides. If you’re staying in Hot Springs a while, consider buying a season pass so you can enjoy the park again and again.
3. Watch a Horse Race
Place your bets and route for your horse as it rounds the track at Oaklawn Racing, a racetrack that’s been operating since 1904. Races are held Thursday through Sunday, between January and April. If there are no races scheduled, enjoy Oaklawn’s casino games, dining, and special events.
4. Go to a Magic Show
Mystify your family with a visit to the Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic, a popular curiosity museum, gift shop and theater that presents magical comedy shows. Kids love interacting with the performer, Maxwell Blade, during the audience participation portion of the show.
5. Explore Garvan Gardens
Tended by the University of Arkansas, the Garvan Woodland Gardens boasts 210 acres of botanical gardens with flowers and spectacular plants around every bend. Snap photos as you stroll down its trails and along a 4 1/2 mile shoreline. While there, visit the Sugg Model Train Garden, a to-scale replica of the Malvern Brick and Tile Company and the Wisconsin Arkansas Lumber Mill. For a small admission fee, you can even bring your dog.
6. Tour Hot Springs National Park
Learn about the history of the park and how the hot springs formed with a tour put on by a vendor of the National Park Service. Available tours include a look at the Fordyce Bathhouse, built in 1915, and an outdoor tour that follows the Grand Promenade. There are also several private tour companies in town, such as National Park Duck Tours, which shuttles visitors around in unique vehicles that are part-automobile and part-boat.
7. Boat on Lake Ouachita
Bring your own boat along to your vacation rental, or rent one from Kahuna Bay Boat & Jet Ski, Hot Springs Marina, or Gregg Orr Marine Hot Springs. Lake Ouachita provides plenty of open lake and coves to speed about or leisurely explore.
8. Learn About Hot Springs’ Notorious Past
Head to the Gangster Museum of America to learn about gangsters and bootleggers that called Arkansas home during the early decades of the twentieth century. The museum includes exhibits on Al Capone and other famous outlaws who had ties to the area. Check out the gift shop for period apparel, books, and mementos.
9. Admire Anthony Chapel
Anthony Chapel is a series of four intriguing structures and a meditation garden located near Garvan Woodland Gardens. The chapel features wood beam and glass architecture complements the natural wonder of the surrounding woods with an open space popular for weddings and other events. Access to the chapel is free.
10. Play Mini Golf
Spend a day with the family playing mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, which offers two 18-hole courses nestled among waterfalls, lakes, and tall forests. The pirate theme will have everyone talking like buccaneers in no time.
11. Gaze Across Arkansas
Located on a hill above the town, the Hot Springs Mountain Tower provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Hot Springs area. The 216-foot observatory has been around in some form since 1877 and offers views up to 140 miles distant. Conclude your visit with a stop at the gift shop.
12. Go Ziplining
Glide from hill to hill at AdventureWorks Hot Springs or Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend. The AdventureWorks course includes up to 12 zip lines, as well as a bridge and other adventure obstacles. At Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend, choose between two-, four-, and seven-zip line courses that offer stunning views of from the roof of the forest.
13. Visit the Mid-America Science Museum
Learn about the local natural environment as you interact with more than 100 hands-on exhibits at the Mid-America Science Museum. Ideal for families and science enthusiast of all ages, the museum covers a wide range of science topics, including energy and matter. The museum’s digital dome lets you tour the stars, while the biology exhibit focuses on the local topography, flora, and fauna. There’s even a human-made cave to explore.
14. Escape From a Room
Use logic, teamwork, and a little bit of ingenuity to escape imprisonment in a confined room. A Narrow Escape and GR8 Escapes Arkansas each offer several escape themes, including puzzle escapes for players as young as eight.
15. Race Go Karts and Bumper Boats
Race and bump to your heart’s content at Funtrackers Family Fun Park. In addition to go-karts and bumper boats, the park offers mini golf, laser tag, and a wide selection of arcade games. If you build up an appetite while playing, there’s a cafeteria onsite to satisfy your hunger.
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