Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas | Travelogue

Over Spring Break, we traveled to a new-to-us National Park, Hot Springs National Park, in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This was on our list for several reasons: First, it's a national park we haven't yet visited; second, it's not too out of the way from my hometown.

We arrived in rain and spent the night at The Waters, a restored boutique hotel on Bathhouse Row. (Highly recommend!) Hot Springs National Park is so fascinating—unlike most of the parks we've visited, the "park" actually is part of the city of Hot Springs. As one ranger told us, the road splitting Bathhouse Row and the city is actually the dividing line between the park and the city.

In their heyday, the bathhouses must have been beautiful. Even now, those that have been restored are beautiful—especially the intricate tilework. I wasn't expecting such beautiful tile on this trip, but from our hotel, to the bathhouse visitors center, to the bathhouse-turned-brewery we had dinner at, it was everywhere to be seen.

Of course, the reason all of these bathhouses were built: the hot springs! We enjoyed finding the few natural hot springs left uncovered throughout the park... when the rangers told us we were welcome to soak our hands and feet in them, the boys were ecstatic. They also mentioned the mineral content of the hot springs softens your hands and feet and can remove calluses. We didn't stick our feet in, but sure enough, it did make our hands feel softer!

In addition to the hot springs bubbling up from the ground, there are fountains around town to fill up with drinking water. "Quaff the elixir" was the phrase used in the golden age of bathing—it was interesting to see so many people filling up their gallon jugs from the fountains (and I wished we'd brought some along).

We stayed only about a day and a half and ended our time in Hot Springs at Garvan Woodland Gardens. The gardens were the high point of the trip for me... I'll share more photos soon!

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