Things to do in Hot Springs
Hot Springs National Park is the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System. It dates back to 1832 when Congress established, 40 years ahead of Yellowstone, the first federally protected area in the nation's history. Hot Springs Reservation, which was renamed Hot Springs National Park in 1921, was created to protect the 47 naturally flowing thermal springs on the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain.
Bathhouse Row, as it exists today, is a collection of eight architecturally significant bathhouses, most of which were built between 1912 and 1923 along Central Avenue, the main road through downtown. Two of the structures, the Buckstaff and the Quapaw, currently operate as bathhouses offering spa services. Visiting the park is free.
Hot Springs, AR, which is the boyhood home of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, is located in Garland County. Along with the national park it is home base to live Thoroughbred racing and gaming at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, Magic Springs Theme and Water Park, the 210-acre Garvan Woodland Gardens, and a renowned arts community with plenty of gallery options. The Mid-America Science Museum is a great stop for families.
Illegal casino gambling thrived in the city during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, until Governor Winthrop Rockefeller closed the casinos in 1967. The Gangster Museum of America focuses on the 1920s-40s era of the town, when a number of infamous gangsters, such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, vacationed here.
The Northwoods Trails are a standout world class system of mountain biking trails in Hot Springs.
Outdoor activities in the area include mountain biking, hiking, golf, horseback riding, fishing, digging for quartz crystals and water sports that center around the Diamond Lakes Catherine, DeGray, Greeson, Hamilton and Ouachita. There are also a number of campgrounds just outside the city. More outdoor options can also be found at the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Catherine State Park and Lake Ouachita State Park.