Created by the United States Congress in 1832, before the national park, Hot Springs National Park is to be preserved for recreation. The hot springs flow from the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain, and the park manages the conservation of the production of uncontaminated hot water for public use.
Hot Springs National Park is located downtown of Hot Springs, Arkansas (home of Bill Clinton). There are paved roads to drive through the park and to trailheads for hiking. Overall, the park is easily accessible by vehicle and small enough that you can visit and explore within a day or two. There are no public bathhouse or hot springs for the public to use. There are currently 2 operating bathhouses on bathhouse row. Buckstaff (traditional bathhouse) and Quapaw bathhouse (non-traditional bathhouse). Kids are not allowed in the bathhouses so this is not a place for kids if you want to experience the bathhouses. We traded turns going to them so that is how we were able to enjoy it. Something to do think about before heading here.
It is open all year long except for Christmas, January 1, Easter Sunday, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving.
Our Park Highlights
Buckstaff Bathhouse – Buckstaff is one of the preserved bathhouses on the main strip of bathhouses in downtown Hot Springs. Buckstaff provides the traditional bathhouse experience and is a must visit if you’re curious about the traditional bathhouse process and equipment. You can find more information about Buckstaff bathhouse and theire services here.
is also a museum to a real bathhouse where you can experience this!
Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center (Open daily 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) – The visitor center is a historic building that serves as a museum. We went in the winter time and there wasn’t that many visitors at the museum. We went in and we were alone and it was a little spooky walking through this old bathhouse. A very cool (pun) eerie place to walk around by yourself. Harvey was a little freaked out so we left and daddy was there by himself taking photos. He, too got a little freaked out and left and did not finish the museum. Boo!
Hot Springs National Park has a campground that accommodates both tent camping and RVs. If you need other accommodations, there are plenty of hotels that are within walking distant to the park’s visitor center and historic bathhouses in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas. We heard the old hotels are haunted so stay there and tell us if it’s really haunted!
Closest Cities to the Park:
The closest and easiest city fly into and visit Hot Springs National Park is Little Rock, Arkansas, which is 53 miles from Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Recommended Length Stay: 1-2 days visit would be adequate to explore the park and bathhouses. If you are there in the high season (summer and spring time), make sure to make reservations ahead of time at the bathhouses.
Would we be back? Yes if we’re driving through Hot Springs, Arkansas.
For more pictures, click here.