Since the 1800s Hot Springs has been known for the relaxing and restorative thermal waters of its 47 springs. This spa resort town, population 36,000, in southwestern Arkansas has earned a reputation as the state's top vacation spot. Along with a thriving spa-based industry, the city is a popular shopping, dining, arts, music and outdoor adventure destination.
The centerpiece of the city is downtown where Bathhouse Row, a section of historic bathhouses and a part of the Hot Springs National Park, mixes with art galleries, shops and restaurants. Visitors go on foot from shop to shop and can tour historic Fordyce Bathhouse or get pampered at a spa. A thriving artistic and musical community adds an eclectic feel to the city.
Other popular activities include thoroughbred racing from January to April at Oaklawn, theme- and water-park rides at Magic Springs Theme Park and Crystal Falls Water Park and golfing. A short drive away, in Murfreesboro, visitors at Crater of Diamonds State Park can dig for diamonds and keep what they find.
The nearby Diamond Lakes; Ouachita, DeGray, Greeson, Hamilton and Catherine offer water sport and fishing opportunities to Hot Springs visitors. Located just south of Hot Springs, Lake Hamilton is a popular resort and water sports venue. Lake Catherine offers horseback riding and picnicking. Houseboat rentals are available on lakes Ouachita, Greeson, and DeGray.
The Ouachita National Forest and the Ouachita, Caddo and Cossatot rivers are all nearby. They offer camping, fishing, canoeing, hiking and scenic drives.
Hot Springs is 55 miles southwest of Little Rock and is accessible via State Highways 5 and 7 and U.S. Highways 70 and 270. Lodging is plentiful in Hot Springs and around the Diamond Lakes.