If we are ever in close proximity to a National Park, we have to take a detour to visit it. This is exactly what we did when we were in Arkansas recently —we had to visit Hot Springs National Park, which is about an hour outside of Little Rock.
Hot Springs National Park is not your typical National Park. There is a visitor’s center/bathhouse that you visit and some trails that you can walk, but everything is just a part of the town of Hot Springs. In the town along Bathhouse Row, it is so charming and fun—you just have to walk along the street and picture it as it was years ago.
Hot Springs, Arkansas has natural thermal spring water flowing out of the ground. Since the time of the Native Americans, the springs have drawn people from all around the world who have come hoping for relief from ailments as well as to just relax in the soothing waters. Realizing what a treasure the springs were, President Andrew Jackson designated the area around the springs as the first federal reservation making Hot Springs our first national park.
You can still enjoy the water from the springs today at several downtown hotels and spas on Bathhouse Row where the water is pumped into tubs at those locations. If you don’t want to bath in the water from the springs, but want to see how the springs were enjoyed years ago, you can visit the National Park Bathhouse—Fordyce Bathhouse.
To read more about the history of the town, which is quite fascinating, read here:
Since we had little time, we didn’t spend much time there. We visited the Fordyce Bathhouse,
walked around behind it to see one of the springs, sat on the front porch, and walked along Bathhouse Row. As we visited though, we wished we had planned more time to enjoy the spa and take a bath—but we always say it’s better to leave a place wanting more, than to get tired of it. So, we’ll just have to go back someday!