After a long winter, families and solo travelers are gearing up to hit the road for spring break adventures in just a few short weeks. While cities in Florida and California have long been famous for spring-breakers, recent data shows that Hot Springs, Arkansas, is on pace to shatter tourism records as travelers nationwide have their sights set on visiting the No. 1 tourist destination in the Natural State.
However, this news comes as no surprise. While it’s not every day that Arkansas makes national news, in 2018, the CEO from Priceline announced Hot Springs, Arkansas, as the No. 1 “Emerging Travel City in the United States.”
Perhaps it’s the pleasant year-round temperatures, rich history, and breathtaking views that are enticing people to Hot Springs. After all, there is nothing quite like an Arkansas sunset. Flames of orange, yellow, red, and even the occasional pink and purple often paint the skies as the sun disappears below the southern horizon.
Or, maybe it’s the Spa City’s nationally renowned arts community, next-level outdoor recreation, thermal waters, nightlife, and festivals that draw visitors in.
Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking for places to explore in Hot Springs, Arkansas, during your spring break getaway, here are some popular attractions you won’t want to miss.
One of the unique places to stay in Hot Springs is Capone’s Loft. This one-of-a-kind 1920s loft has been completely renovated as a VRBO to include modern amenities while allowing its guests to sleep where Al Capone slept, right in the heart of historic downtown Hot Springs. In addition, guests can enjoy amenities including a pool table, beer draft tower, balcony overlooking the world-famous Bridge Street, flat-screen televisions, Xbox gaming system, high-speed internet, and more.
Lake Ouachita State Park
Arkansas’s largest lake, Lake Ouachita, boasts 40,000 acres of clear, clean water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. This is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to get some fresh air. The state park boasts opportunities for swimming, water-skiing, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and fishing. Plus, interpretive programs such as guided hikes, eagle cruises, and kayak tours are available year-round.
For the adventurers, Adventureworks Hot Springs is a thrilling outdoor experience that offers 10 zip lines through the tree canopy on the banks of Lake Catherine and an adventure ropes course. The treetop aerial adventure allows you to walk, climb, and swing through challenges high in the trees while seeing the ancient forests of Hot Springs from a unique vantage point.
National Park Duck Tours
While aboard an amphibious World War II DUKW, learn how a rough frontier town became the elegant Spa City centered on a row of attractive Victorian-style bathhouses during a Duck tour down Hot Springs’ historic Bathhouse Row. During the water portion of the tour, your captain will take you across beautiful Lake Hamilton, where you will take a trip around St. John’s Island and see other historical landmarks.
World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade
If you plan to be in Hot Springs for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, 2022, you won’t want to miss the 19th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held on the 98-foot-long Bridge Street in downtown Hot Springs. The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts more than 30,000 people to watch an insanely zany collection of Irish Elvis impersonators, green Irish wolfhounds, Irish belly dancers, and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders among many others. This year’s parade will feature celebrity guests including Cheech Marin and Danny Trejo and musical performances by Sugar Ray and Foghat.
Mid-America Science Museum
With over 100 hands-on permanent and traveling exhibits, Mid-America Science Museum is Hot Springs’ premier destination for scientific exploration and education. In addition, the museum offers an array of interactive exhibits, activities, workshops and educational programs such as the Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk, the World’s Most Powerful Conical Tesla Coil, the Oaklawn Foundation Digital Dome Theater, and DinoTrek.
FunTrackers Family Fun Park
The adventure starts as soon as you walk through the door at FunTrackers. First, try your hand at Jungle Quest Laser Tag before jumping in a one- or two-seater go-kart on the largest go-kart track in the state of Arkansas. Then, play an exhilarating game of mini golf at the 18-hole Volcano Falls Miniature Golf course, take a splash or two around in the bumper boats, and top your fun-filled experience off inside Victory Lane Arcade, which features over 60 high-tech arcade games.
Crystal Ridge Distillery
For a truly unique experience that can’t be found elsewhere in Hot Springs, visit Crystal Ridge Distillery, the city’s first and only legal moonshine distillery. In addition to selling a various assortment of moonshine, bourbon, whiskey, and vodka, Crystal Ridge provides guided tours and tastings for guests to learn about the history and ingredients that go into moonshine while experiencing this distillery’s historical building dating back over a century ago. This family-friendly atmosphere features a bar and lounge area with comfortable couches, flat-screen televisions, and old-fashioned games like checkers and giant Jenga.
Crystal Ridge Distillery is located at 455 Broadway Street in Hot Springs.
Call 501-627-0722 for more information.