This Arkansas town’s name really gives the game away. Hot Springs is known as "America’s oldest resort" and "the spa city," and it has been the site of settlement and pilgrimage since Native tribes first discovered the healing properties of the thermal springs deep in the Ouachita Mountain valleys here. With one of the longest touristic histories in the country, it’s easy to see why Hot Springs has a well-developed offering of activities for visitors of any kind. Nearby, the parks, lakes and mountains of the Ouachita backcountry afford a myriad of outdoorsy pursuits, while there’s the opportunity for some tamer excursions in town: exploring the intriguing historical center, to visiting museums or some of the magnificent antique spas. Hot Springs is easily accessed from nearby Little Rock, where the large airport has good shuttle connections into town.
The El Dorado of water sports, this 40,000-acre lake is set deep in the forested hillsides of the Ouachita Mountains, and boasts some of the best water-orientated activity offerings in all of America. With everything from scuba diving to fly fishing, the water is known for its crystal-clear cleanliness and rich array of marine life, which includes the magnificent non-stinging jellyfish. Come here to wallow away your time, or get some high-energy action on the water; the choice is yours.
This sprawling spa facility on the northern fringe of Hot Springs metropolitan area is named after the Native American Quapaw tribe, who are said to have used the steaming mud holes deep in the on-site thermal caves as places of healing. Today the complex houses a variety of spring pools that bubble with the mineral waters once esteemed by the tribesmen, while it’s also possible to get a range of classic spa treatments, from hot stone massage to milk and honey aromatherapy.
Jutting out into Lake Hamilton, these large botanical gardens offer visitors a unique glimpse into the flora and fauna of Hot Springs. With clusters of pine forest rubbing up against well-cultivated flower beds awash with colour, the pleasant walkways and routes that meander their way through the trees here are the perfect place to while away your time and relax.
This Tex-Mex mash-up of traditional southern dishes and build-your-own Mexican favorites boasts fresh flavors and hand-picked ingredients. Daily specials make for an ever-changing menu and kids eat free on Thursdays. Nom Noms is also known for its wide array of desserts and trademark ice cream offering.
Follow in the footsteps of some of America’s most iconic names – from Al Capone to Jesse James – with a visit to the Hilltop Manor estate. A stay in this magnificent building boasts unbridled luxury in the beauty of the Ouachita hills, from the en-suite Jacuzzis to the gushing waterfall in the gardens; a perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy the romantic offerings of nature around Hot Springs.