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Your Road Trip Guide to Hotsprings Arkansas from Houston 

Your Road Trip Guide to Hotsprings Arkansas from Houston

Those aware of Hot Springs, Arkansas, are already taking advantage of all it offers. It’s a low-cost, slow-paced city that’s attractive to live in, and also a refreshing destination for tourists.

Want to learn more about Hot Springs, Arkansas? You’re on the right page! 

What is Hot Springs, Arkansas? 

What is Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a resort town in the Ouachita Mountains. It’s known for its hot springs, as suggested by its name, and is a fairly popular vacation spot for Houstonians. 

History of Hot Springs, Arkansas 

One of the oldest national parks in the United States, Hot Springs National Park is located on Central Avenue. Andrew Jackson protected the lands and springs from development in 1832. 

The mineral-rich hot spring waters have been revered for their healing powers since the time of the Native Americans. Many visited the open springs, which were 143 degrees even then, and then the wooden bathhouses that were eventually built along what is now Bathhouse Row. 

In addition to its healing powers, Hot Springs was also a favorite hangout for gangsters and playboys. It was in Hot Springs that notorious gangsters, including Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, came to enjoy gambling, girls, and horse racing.

How to get to Hot Springs, Arkansas from Houston? 

How to get to Hot Springs, Arkansas from Houston

If you’re driving from Houston to Hot Springs, Arkansas for the ultimate road trip, you’ll be spending at least six and a half hours in the car. 

Depending on traffic, this could be longer. So, if you’re sitting in the backseat make sure to grab a book from the bookstore for the ride! 

You can also fly or take the train to Hot Springs, Arkansas from Houston. A flight from Houston to Hot Springs, Arkansas usually takes only around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

What is the town of Hot Springs known for? 

What is the town of Hot Springs known for

The town of Hot Springs is famous for its inviting mineral hot springs, hotels, nightlife, and the Ouachita Mountains. 

Places to Stay in Hot Springs

Hot Springs has plenty of luxurious hotels to stay in during your vacation. Here are a couple worth trying.

Hotel Hale  

Website Hotel Hale
Address341 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901 United States
Contact Info501-760-9010
What’s Good Here• Located on Bathhouse Row

• Deep Soaking Tubs w/ Mineral Water

The Waters Hotel 

Website The Waters Hotel
Address340 Central Ave., Hot Springs are KS 71901 United States
Contact Info501-321-0001
What’s Good Here• Refurbished Historical Building

• Rooftop Bar

• Nearby Popular Attractions

Places to Eat in Hot Springs 

While Hot Springs offers plenty of Southern comfort food, there are also plenty of unique restaurants to discover here.

Kollective Coffee + Tea 

Website Kollective Coffee + Tea
Address110 Central Ave., Hot Springs AR 71901 United States
Contact Info501-701-4000
What’s Good Here• Artisan Coffee

Kollective Coffee + Tea brings the best to Hot Springs in terms of coffee places. No where else in Hot Springs will you find organic coffee with no preservatives, pesticides, or GMOs. 

Additionally, their hand pour over coffee method makes each cup of coffee fuller and aromatic. 

Will’s Cinnamon Shop 

Website Will’s Cinnamon Shop
Address1001 Central Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901
Contact Info[email protected]
What’s Good Here• Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Will’s Cinnamon Shop’s cinnamon rolls are must-haves if you’re coming to Hot Springs. Their cinnamon rolls are hand-made from scratch and you can taste the fine quality in every bite. 

The Pancake Shop 

Website The Pancake Shop
Address216 Central Ave. Hot Springs, AR 71901
Contact Info501-624-5720
What’s Good Here• Buttermilk Pancakes

• Eggs & Sausage

The Pancake Shop has been a breakfast stable in Hot Springs since 1940. You can never go wrong with eating pancakes whether early in the morning or late at night. 

The Ohio Club 

The Ohio Club
Website The Ohio Club
Address336 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR, 71901
Contact Info501-627-0702
What’s Good Here• Big Al Double Cheeseburger

• Fried Pickle

• Spicy Spears

Ohio Club is one of the oldest restaurants and bars in Hot Springs. The chefs here whip up some of the best burgers in all of Hot Springs. 

Rocky’s Corner 

Rocky’s Corner
Website Rocky’s Corner
Address2600 Central Avenue, Hot Springs AR
Contact Info501-624-0199
What’s Good Here• Chicago-style Pizza

• Garlic Bread

• Fettuccine Alfredo

Rocky’s corner serves up authentic Italian dining to all who visit Hot Springs. However, they are more famed for their deep dish chicago-style pizza—a must try. 

Luna Bella 

Website Luna Bella
Address104 Grand Isle Way Hot Springs, AR 71913
Contact Info501-520-5862
What’s Good Here• Lobster and Crab Cocktail

• Veal Osso Buco

While Luna Bella is not an upscale steakhouse, it is one of the finest dining spots in Hot Springs. Its intimate atmosphere makes this restaurant perfect for a romantic date or celebrating special events. 

By the way, if you go on your birthday, you’ll get a free dessert. 

Bubba’s Catfish & Seafood 

Website Bubba’s Catfish & Seafood
Address5411 Central Ave Hot Springs, AR
Contact Info501-762-3474
What’s Good Here• Fried Catfish

• Fried Shrimp

• Coleslaw

• Hushpuppies

Bubba’s Catfish & Seafood is the place to go for a laid back evening and some of the best seafood Hot Springs has to offer. Their fried catfish is one of the items on their menu that continues to keep bringing tourists back for more. 

Nightlife in Hot Springs

Here are a few of the hotspots at night in Hot Springs to check out during your visit. 

Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery 

Website Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery
Address329 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, 71901 USA
Contact Info501-624-2337

This brewery produces the only beer in the world made from thermal water. It’s one of the most known destinations in Hot Springs if you want something different from your average happy hour. 

Silks Bar & Grill

Website Silks Bar & Grill
Address2705 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901
Contact Info501-623-4411

Silk’s Bar & Grill is inside Oaklawn Racing Casino. More than 30 TVs are throughout the restaurant, so you can get the best food in town while watching the big game. 

Besides the popular favorites such as hot wings and burgers, Hot Springs legendary Reuben sandwich is also on the Silks menu.

Splash Wine Bar

Website Splash Wine Bar
Address325 Ouachita Avenue Hot Springs, AR 71901
Contact Info501-701-4544

Come to Splash Wine Bar for live music and a fine glass of wine. Their wine list is extensive with wines from all over the world. 

Not a wine lover? They also have beer and cocktails available on their menu. 

Vapors Live 

Website Vapors Live
Address315 Park Avenue Hot Springs, AR 71901
Contact Info501-463-4463

There is no better entertainment venue in Hot Springs than this one. Designed for a Las Vegas-style showroom in 1960, it is one of the top music venues in the South. 

Definitely a great place to spend a night out.

Attractions in Hot Springs 

Hot Springs, tucked away in the Ouachita Mountains, boasts an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities year-round.

Hot Springs National Park 

Website Hot Springs National Park
Address305 Gulpha Gorge Road Hot Springs, AR 71901
Contact Info501-620-6715

Cultural heritage abounds at Hot Springs National Park. Its historic bath houses and its natural wonders have drawn people here for hundreds of years. 

Hot Springs National Park is renowned for its ancient thermal springs, mountain views, amazing geology, forested hikes, and abundant creeks all in the middle of town.

You can even touch the thermal water in two places within the park. At the time the water reaches the pools, it is cool enough to touch even though it is 147 degrees F when it comes out of the ground.

Be sure to see Display Spring, which flows from a hillside directly behind the Maurice Bathhouse and into a shallow pool below. You can relax and listen to the sound of running water here as the trees shade you and the mosses surround you.

A hot water cascade can also be found at Arlington Lawn, this is the largest visible spring in the Park. Near the Grand Promenade, hot water erupts from a steep cliff, flowing under the path into two pools at the bottom.

Camping is another activity that can be enjoyed at Hot Springs National Park. Both tents and recreational vehicles (RVs) can be accommodated at Gulpha Gorge Campground. 

Each site has full hookups: Electricity, water, and sewer connections with 30 and 50 amps. It is not a pull-through site. 

There is also a picnic table, pedestal grill, and water at each campsite.

For lovers of hiking, there are two concentrated areas of hiking trails within the park, the Hot Springs and North Mountain Trails and the West Mountain Trails. 

Trails crisscross both of these areas and are relatively short. A longer, more remote trail, Sunset Trail travels through the park’s more remote areas.

Ouachita National Forest 

Website Ouachita National Forest
Address100 Reserve St Hot Springs, AR
Contact Info501-321-5202

Between Arkansas and Oklahoma, the Ouachita National Forest stretches over 1.8 million acres. The forest has a variety of uses, including wood and timber harvesting, wilderness management, mineral leasing, and spectacular recreation. 

There are many paved scenic roads to drive along, wild river canoeing and kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, biking, or off-road vehicle riding trails, some of which are easy and some of which can be quite challenging. 

It is a great place for nature lovers to watch birds and spot wildlife. 

Horsethief Springs Trail is among the most popular trails since it begins at Cedar Lake and loops through magnificent forests with a variety of plants and trees.

 You loop back down the northern face of Winding Stair Mountain to Cedar Lake.

The Gangster Museum of America

Website The Gangster Museum of America
Address510 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, AR
Contact Info[email protected]


Admission• $15 - General Admission

• $14 - Seniors

• $6 - Children 8-12

A short walk from Hot Springs National Park is the Gangster Museum of America.

There is no better place to learn about the history of America’s gangsters than the Gangster Museum of America, which recounts how some of the most notorious criminals of all time co-existed with the quaint inhabitants of a small valley town high in the Arkansas mountains. 

Visiting the seven galleries is worth the price of admission just for the audiovisual experience. Discover who, what, when, and where the fascinating, informative, and educational stories unfold in the antique casino and museum theater.

Garvan Woodland Gardens 

Website Garvan Woodland Gardens
Address550 Arkridge Road Hot Springs, AR 71913
Contact Info800-366-4664
Admission• $20 - Adults

• $5 - Children 4-12

• $5 - Dogs

• $15 - Golf Cart Tours

The 210-acre Garvan Woodland Gardens boasts one of the country’s best Japanese gardens, along with the renowned Anthony Chapel and Bob and Sunny Evans Tree House. 

Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo

Website Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo
Address847 Whittington Ave Hot Springs, AR
Contact Info501-623-6172
Admission• $9 - Adults

• $7 - Children 12 and Under

The idea of holding an alligator baby or feeding its 10-foot-long mother from a stick is incredible. 

In Hot Springs, just across from Whittington Park, you can see some of Arkansas’ most famous and oldest alligator farms. In 1902, alligators were raised mostly for their hides and to be sold to zoos, but the farm quickly became a popular tourist attraction.

As of today, the farm has 300 gators and an emu, deer, pygmy goat, pony, sheep, and pony petting zoo. 

Many other animals live on the farm, including primates, wild ducks, Arkansas mountain lions, turkeys, wolves, peacocks, and many others.

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