What's good in and aroudn Hot Springs, Arkansas?
May 28, 2008 11:16 AM   Subscribe

We'll be around Hot Springs, Arkansas for a few days. What are fun local sights/foods/places/daytrips?

Mrs ManInSuit and I are planning to spend a few days near Hot Springs, Arkansas. Can anyone recommend fun stuff to do around there, interesting things to do, nice daytrips, etc?
posted by ManInSuit to Travel & Transportation around Hot Springs, AK (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm. If you drive for an hour and a half (Google says two hours, but they're totally lying), you can search for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Otherwise, I am guessing you've already looked here?
posted by brina at 11:32 AM on May 28, 2008

You're pretty close to the Talimena Scenic Drive (Ark. 88), which is a beautiful road cutting through the Ouachita Mountains.

Last time I drove the road, we stopped at a lookout point to look around for a while. We got back in the car, drove about 50 feet, and a live, wild bear stood up out of the bushes on the side of the road. I about shit, but held my composure since I was in the car and moving slowly by it. We camped about 10 miles down the road, at Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

I've also camped around the beautiful Lake Quachita (Mt. Ida, specifically) -- if camping is your thing, there's a ton of it to be had around where you'll be.

It may be a bit too far out of the way, buy you could also go mining for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Actually, nevermind: Google says it's only an hour and half away!
posted by nitsuj at 11:32 AM on May 28, 2008

Sure--eat at the Brau Haus if you like beer and/or German food, and at Purity if you like barbecue. Be sure to drink lots of spring water, and go up in the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. If you want to get a tattoo while you're there, the best place in town is Redbeard's Living Canvas.

What kinds of things do you and your wife enjoy?
posted by box at 11:45 AM on May 28, 2008

> What kinds of things do you and your wife enjoy?

Mostly we enjoy being sort of workaholic and not having any leisure interests. :)

We like pretty scenery. We're both pretty happy to see local color - flea markets, local landmarky restaurants. The culture of that part of the world is sort of foreing to us, and so, interesting. We're from Toronto, not exactly a great town for barcecue, for example.

Camping isn't my first choice of fun things, but my partner loves it enough that I can be grudingly convinced, and then end up enjoying it.

The one thing I have found is that MeFi is a good filter for travel recommendations. So, for instance, in the eyes of the green, the Museum Of Jurassic Technology is the most important tourist attraction in Los Angeles. (True for us, but not according to most guidebooks). So - if there's something you like there, I have a feeling it might be something we like there, too.
posted by ManInSuit at 12:12 PM on May 28, 2008

Don't be so sure--if left to my own devices, I'll mostly recommend beer-snob bars and tattoo places.

If you'll be in Hot Springs for a couple days, you might make a trip to Little Rock at some point (it's less than an hour away). Cultural: Arkansas Arts Center, Clinton Presidential Library. Food, vegetarian: Lilly's Dimsum Thensome. Food, general: Argenta Seafood Company, Flying Fish, Ferneau, Bene Vita, Loca Luna, Damgoode Pies. Food, and/or liquor: Bosco's, Vino's, Ciao Baci. Parks: Arkansas River Trail (good for runners/bicyclists/etc.), Pinnacle Mountain State Park (good for hikers).
posted by box at 12:29 PM on May 28, 2008

You can go hunt for the mysterious Gurdon Lights, if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by coffeefilter at 12:35 PM on May 28, 2008

I'm not sure exactly how far it is from Hot Springs, but Eureka Springs is a really neat place.
posted by daser at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2008

Nevermind, I went and looked at a map and Eureka Springs is significantly further away from Hot Springs than I thought. Still a neat place though.
posted by daser at 12:52 PM on May 28, 2008

Box - Okay. It's true. My partner and I have only one tatoo between us, and she can't drink beer (Celiac).

We will be there a few days with time to kill- so a 4 hour trip (Eureka springs) is indeed too far, but a 1-hour trip (Little Rock) is okay.

What are these mysterious Gurdon lights?

I thought about Memphis as a day trip. Anyone know- Is that a nice drive?
posted by ManInSuit at 1:00 PM on May 28, 2008

(Oh, I misread the map. Thought Memphis was 2 hours away, but it looks like 3 - long for a day-trip...)
posted by ManInSuit at 1:02 PM on May 28, 2008

I can't imagine being four hours away from Eureka Springs and not going. It would be like being an hour away from the ocean and not making the trip. It also has one of the top ten most haunted hotels if you're into that sort of thing. The best food, stunning victorian architecture, biker bars, scenery, the works.

But, if I can't convince you to give it a go, the most beautiful spot close to the Hot Springs area is Cedar Falls at Petit Jean State Park. It's about an hour and a half, maybe two hours away, and it's a stunning drive through quaint little country towns, farmland, and twisting curves. You take a nice, easy hike up to the falls and then you can swim, play, take photos. You can also camp for the night there. It's some of the best scenery Arkansas has, hands down.

I second the recommendation for Queen Wilhemenia state park if you're into wildlife. I, too, saw a bear my last trip up there.

As for the other suggestions, Little Rock is not worth the drive unless there's something specific you want to see, like the Clinton museum. I lived there for two years and I can't think of a single thing: restaurant, park, etc i'd be willing to make the trip for. Memphis, also, is a terrible drive: flat, dusty, highway, with nothing along the way except rows and rows of rice fields. But it would be worth it if you've never spent the day on Beale Street. Hope this helps!
posted by Ugh at 2:40 PM on May 28, 2008

Petit Jean is indeed really nice. And Memphis is the kind of drive that makes people fall asleep at the wheel. If you go to Eureka (that's a beautiful drive, by the way), be sure to stop at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

The Malco Theater in Hot Springs is a great old building. I've been there a few times for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (I don't suppose you'll be visiting in October--but if you are, well, it's a great festival). During the rest of the time, though, the Malco hosts a magician.
posted by box at 8:03 PM on May 28, 2008

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