Arkansas has earned the nickname of 'the natural state' and it lives up to its name's expectations.
56% of the state is forest areas, and it is known to have some beautiful hikes with amazing scenery and views.
In addition to its crystal mining, Arkansas is also known for another natural wonder.
Natural hot springs.
A Background To Hot Springs Arkansas History
While Hot Springs is only the 11th largest city in Arkansas, it is filled to the brim with a very unique background.
The area was originally known to the Native American tribes as 'The Valley of The Vapors' and was a neutral area where all of the surrounding tribes could enjoy the springs in peace.
But in the mid-1500s, the Europeans came and claimed the area, setting up a town there.
In 1832, then-President Andrew Jackson made Hot Springs the first federal reservation.
And within ten years the small town transformed into a spa city lined with bathhouses.
The last ones were built in 1888.
When Congress made the National Park Service, the once reservation became a national park in 1921.
During your trip to Hot Springs, Here are a few things that you should check out!
The Hot Springs (Of Course)
As the city's namesake, you can bet on seeing several hot springs while you are there.
All around the city, there are pools set up where you can go and see them for free!
The main one we saw while we were there was right next to the brewery, we walked down the path because we were taking our dog to the grassy area, and BOOM there it was!
All around the city, there are public water fountains where you can drink water from the springs!
They are free to use, and are available 24 hours a day!
Superior Bath House Brewery
This brewery is the first located in a national park and is also the first in the world to use spring water as its main ingredient.
When my family and I went, it was an amazing experience.
Our waitress was wonderful, and since the brewery is dog friendly we were able to sit inside with our dog.
They even gave her a bandanna and a disinfected water bowl to drink from while we had our dinner!
We started with an appetizer of roasted shishito peppers, which were seared and salted to perfection!
My sister and I split an order of chicken strips because we were still full from our massive lunch that day, and they were good as well.
I personally don't drink alcohol, but my sister tried a few of their beers and said they were pretty good and worth checking out!
Another interesting fact about Hot Springs is that it used to have very big ties to the mob.
Illegal gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution happened in the city regularly in the early 1900s.
The Ohio Club is the oldest bar in Arkansas, being built in 1905.
It was a speakeasy during the prohibition era and had several famous regulars come through its doors, including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and also baseball legend Babe Ruth.
It is still open, and you are able to go inside and order just like any other bar!
Arlington Hotel Resort and Spa
Open since 1875, its original wooden structure was home to 120 rooms, and was the largest resort in the area.
Over time it has become more modernized, but its history still stands.
They have hosted hundreds of events since its opening, and have been stayed at by several presidents and other various celebrities as well.
Al Capone stayed here frequently and would book out entire floors for his staff.
While I did not go inside the hotel, I took a picture of the building because it was so eye-catching.
It wasn't until I got home that I learned its history!
It is right near the hot springs we saw, and the grass in the photo is the grassy patch I mentioned taking my dog to!
Bath House Row
This street is the central road where everything in this list is located at.
It is a strip that is lined with the bathhouses that Hot Springs is so known for, some of them are closed and have been turned into other things such as Superior Bathhouse Brewery or the museum there.
But there are a few that remain open and act as spas where you can go and soak in the waters or get spa treatments done!
To the left is a photo of the Quapaw bathhouse, which originally opened in 1922, but closed in the mid-1980s.
In 2008 it reopened and was turned into a spa that was more family-oriented.
They allow kids 14 and up to participate in the spa experience!
These are just a few of the beautiful things that Hot Springs has to offer.
Since I was only able to spend three or four hours there, I was not able to see everything, but I hope to be able to go back and visit again one day soon!