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My Experience at Hot Springs National Park

When I first heard that Hot Springs National Park is one of the most urban parks in the U.S., I was immediately excited to check it out! Sure, I love giant landscapes, tall mountains and luscious forests any day, but getting to experience a park that was literally right in a city seemed pretty unique!


On my quest to visit all 50 states, I had to cross off Arkansas somehow... while also on a quest to visit all 63 national parks! It only made sense to make the drive out to Hot Springs to kill two birds with one stone.

 

What is most fascinating about this park is its history. Even though it wasn't declared a national park until 1921, the area was first established in 1832. The city was well known in the early 20th century during the Prohibition Era, being a hot spot for illegal gambling and speakeasies. It was even the home to former president Bill Clinton! However, what it is most known for is, of course, the hot springs. the water flows from Hot Springs Mountain, and there are multiple places in the town where you can see the water for yourself.


A trip to Hot Springs should also be accompanied by a trip to one of the bathhouses on Bath House Row - I was super disappointed because they were too full during our visit, being on Labor Day weekend and having some COVID-19 restrictions. A local let us know that they are full quite often, so make sure to book a reservation if you can!




Even though we weren't able to experience a bathhouse ourselves, we were able to see what they looked like a century ago. The visitors center has an area you can walk-through to experience exactly what they looked like back in the day.


 

Hot Springs National Park is actually the second smallest park, right behind the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. While you're on the strip, the whole area feels like the park. But if you came here to get some hiking in and to see some views, there's plenty of that, too! Right off of the strip are multiple hiking trails you can take. There's also a 1.7 mile trail that'll take you up to the top of the mountain, where you'll get some stunning views of the city. There's also a tower you can ride up to the top to see even more for 10 bucks.





We came in more interested in the town than the nature aspect, so we drove up to the top of the mountain to see the views and felt pretty satisfied. Bath House Row was easily our favorite area, getting to see the beautiful buildings and learning about its history... It basically feels like an outdoor museum!


 

On the other side of Bath House Row you'll find all kinds of other fun things to check out - museums, shops, wineries, restaurants.... You definitely need to spend at least a full day here. Overall, we had a really great time! I think just about anyone could enjoy themselves at Hot Springs National Park, just make sure to know coming in that it is definitely different than your average national park!

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ABOUT ME

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Hey there, I'm Shelby! Traveling has been one of my biggest passions in life, and so I'm here to share all of my great finds, tips and advice that I discover along the way. When I'm not on a plane, you can find me in Kentucky with my husband and fur child, Zoe (My adorable kitty!) 

I have always loved to write, and after many attempts at blogging again, I find myself here and inspired to share the world. My husband and I both work a typical 9 to 5, but make it a priority to plan as many trips as possible each year. I want to show others that it is totally possible to live a travel-filled life full time or on the side!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy!

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